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Model Builder in use from a Wargammer
Secrets of the Third Rank review!
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Written by Michael Cannon
Thursday, 06 March 2008
The Bottom Line —|
Model railroaders a have a lot to teach gamers about terrain things. Although a great deal of the terrain items railroaders produce is delicate and designed for static demos or dioramas and not for the heavy handed use wargaming terrain sees, there are techniques that railroaders use that can be adopted. A number of companies produce paper terrain templates that come in specific sets which can be used to produce buildings (Paper Terrain)or sets which can be combined into multitudes of designs (Worldworks) but very few allow the granularity that Model Train Software's Model Builder provides. It's easy to use - with a few caveats - and produces nice looking terrain that can be replaced without a lot of spousal or gamer angst. I recommend it for those who do skirmish level gaming such as SOTR1949.
The system requirements are not onerous for current computers purchased in the last five years or so:
* Windows 2000, ME, XP, XP Pro, Vista
* 850mhx processor
* 230 Meg HD space
* 250Meg RAM
Obviously the faster your machine and the better the processor and graphics card, the quicker you will be able to generate drawings and plans. Sorry, Macs can't play unless they are running Boot Camp or some other emulator. Since I don't have a Mac, I can't verify that it will work on a Mac. I am running mine on a Sony Vaio with Media Center 2005 with SP2.
What you get
The kit comes with a CD, user's manual, and an ideas booklet. The version current as of this writing is 1.5.2. When I ordered the package, they sent me a message stating they had shipped it, followed by another one the next day expressing concern that they had sent me a previous version that would expir. To their credit, they sent me a link to download a file that would overwrite what I would be installing to make it the current, licensed, and non-expiring version, plus sent me a new disk. That's quality service and they deserve kudos for it.
How do you use it?
Rather than providing a boring, step by step, I'll walk you through the process with the video below. I'll provide a PDF copy of the building I made so you can download and see how it looks.
M y version of the building is below. You can see that I used the extra doors and windows to make separate pieces to glue on. I mounted the building on framing matt board but have not added any flock to it yet. The building is removable and I have added some simple ruins inside the model so it can do double duty. I assembled mine using the cardstock it was printed on and put the roof, windows, and doors on matt board for thickness. I also added some pieces to the interior to give it some stability and make it more durable. The figure next to the building is a Westwind Soviet Survivor Squad member.
Model Builder Software sells for $45.00 (postage for a purchase over $40 is free) and is available from the Evan Designs website, http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com. You can watch a video demonstration of the software here. Check out all of Evan Designs’ other software products including Sign Creator, Stained Glass, American Advertising, Brick Yard and Window Designer. Evan Designs also sells a line of inexpensive LED lights that can add some abience.
H ere are some other images for your consideration. The image on the left (click the image to enlarge it) shows the difference between the program's 1:56th scale and 28mm options. The other two show a *very* rough building which was the first I did with the software. It took all of 5 minutes to layout (longer, of course, to assemble).
tn_scales.jpgZoom tn_rough1.jpgZoom tn_rough2.jpgZoom
* Easy learning curve
* Video on how to use it is good
* You can employ a modular approach to making structures
* You have to come up with your own drawings for making peaks (I've included two of the images I used to mark the peaks here )
* Some buildings might involve spanning sheets for larger buildings
* If you don't plan properly, you *will* go through printer cartridges