Got a nice box from J&M Miniatures earlier this week, and even before I cut the tape on the box I could smell the future… oddly enough, the future (of wargaming scenery) smells like scorched MDF. Laser-scorched MDF.
Specifically, a whole whack of 4Ground’s wagons. Corey had ordered approximately enough wagons to provide logistics for an invasion of Russia (well, OK, six…), which he might get around to showing off here at some point, and I’d tagged a single extra General Purpose wagon onto his order. I’ve previously reviewed 4Ground’s Generic Horse Cart, so it was nice to get my paws on the cart’s larger relative, the GP Wagon.
In the ziplock, you get a single 8″x5.25″ sheet of 3mm MDF full of laser-cut wagon parts and a single double-sided sheet of illustrated instructions. That and a dab or three of white glue are all you need to turn out a very nice wagon.
The GP Wagon is a bit more involved than the Horse Cart, but everything is very precisely cut and well engineered. I’ve built injection moulded plastic kits that fit a LOT less precisely than this MDF wagon does! The only time I found the photograph-illustrated instructions less than clear was when beginning assembly of the front axle/steering assembly, but a bit of dry fitting reveals that the pieces really only go together one way, which makes it hard to really screw up.
You have the option of adding canopy hoops over the bed of the wagon for the classic covered wagon look, but I elected to leave them off this one. The next will probably have hoops, just because! The finished wagon is just over 3″ long (6″ including the pole), about 1.75″ wide across the hubs, and about 1.5″ tall. You can fit three figures on 20mm bases into the back, two if you use oversized 1″ bases. I’ll probably paint both this one and the Horse Cart eventually, but even in bare MDF they look pretty good, with the dark laser-burned cut marks providing nice contrast to the normal honey-brown MDF.
As part of an order that arrived this week from Brigade Games I picked up one of 4Ground’s neat looking laser-cut carts. This one is “28-CAW-303 C19th C Horse Drawn Utility Cart”, known on 4Ground’s own site simply as “Horse Cart”! I’ve been meaning to get some of these 4Ground carts & wagons for ages, as carts and wagons are nearly universal scenery and the pewter & resin ones out there tend to go for larger sums than I usually want to spend on waht i
It comes as a 8’x3′ sheet of 2mm MDF, laser-engraved on both sides, with the parts laser-cut except for very tiny sprues holding them into the sheet. There’s an A4 sheet that is both package label and (black and white) instruction sheet. The instructions are all photo illustrated, over a dozen small but clear B&W photos taking you through the assembly.
The parts are all marked by clearly engraved letters on the sheet, and the photos and text are more than clear enough to take you through the step-by-step assembly. I should note that there is a typo in the last sentence of the written instructions, though, where the letters identifying two parts are duplicated. The photos are clear enough, and by that point you’re down to so few parts it’s reasonably obvious where things are supposed to slot in.
The finished cart is actually fairly substantial. The body is about 2″ long and 1.5″ wide; the whole cart from tailgate to front of the arms that hold the draft horse is 3.5″ long, 2″ wide across the wheel hubs and 1″ high when sitting level. Resting forward on the arms (what are these pieces actually called? I’m sure they have a name in a real cart…) the back end of the cart is about 1.25″ tall.
I’ve not yet decided how I’m going to, or even if I’m going to, paint this up. I think I’ll experiment this weekend on the offcut pieces of MDF and see how it reacts to washes and other paint. A grey wash and a bit of off-white drybrush might be all it needs to weather the wood a bit and give it a well-used appearance.