Wargrid Terrain for 6mm Gaming from Bob's Bits
Wargrid was a series of paper and cardstock terrain models produced by Bob's Bits. The designer and proprietor, Bob Bosscher, designed these specifically for wargaming. Bob's Bits produced sets in 1:1000 scale and others as well, but I have only seen and worked with the 6mm (1/300 or 1/285 scale) sets, so this review will cover 6mm only.
The following photos include bits and pieces from these five Wargrid packs:
Why paper buildings? That's what I asked myself throughout this review process, comparing these paper construction kits to the "traditional" resin, plastic, and metal buildings I usually use for wargaming. Two reasons for going with paper kits come to mind: economy, and speed/ease of construction/painting.
On the first count, the paper buildings are cheaper than resin buildings and much cheaper than metal buildings. The paper roads, rivers, and railroad tracks are much, much cheaper than their rubber, vinyl, or resin counterparts. If you're on a budget, these paper kits may have a great deal of appeal for you.
On the second count, the paper buildings take longer to assemble than resin buildings (which are often one-piece castings that need no assembly) but require no painting, so that probably evens out. If you're one of those gamers who hates painting, you might prefer the paper terrain, but if you also hate assembling things you might be better off with resin. Hopefully the following photos and comments will help you to decide what's best for you.
At first I was a bit leary about working on paper buildings for wargaming. I've been working with plastic, metal, and resin models for nearly 35 years now, but the few experiences I had with paper building kits were all disastrous. This first photo shows what happened the last time I tried to build a paper kit.
I was actually surprised to find that I enjoyed the construction of the Wargrid kits. Most of them went together very easily, and even those that didn't were not too difficult. I strongly suggest the use of a cutting board when working on this sort of thing. You'll also want some nice sharp hobby knife blades, a metal straightedge, and a good strong sharp pair of scissors.
The instructions that come with the Wargrid kits suggest Bostick or UHU. Unfortunately I have not seen these brands of adhesive here in the United States where I live. I found that Elmer's Craft Bond Tacky Glue works very well for this task. It is similar to regular Elmer's "white glue", but starts to set in a few minutes, is stronger, dries clearer, and fills gaps a bit better than regular Elmer's. Craft Bond is also easy to work with and clean up.
Contruction is relatively painless. First you have to cut out the various pieces. I used an X-Acto knife and metal straightedge for all the straight lines and scissors for the jaggy bits (mostly the top edges of the ruins). It takes about 15 minutes to make the basic building. If you put on all the optional fiddly bits (chimneys, dormers, ruins, ground base piece, walls around the base) it can take about an hour per building. That's a six-inch ruler there in the background, to give you an idea of how big these things are.
The second step for most of these buildings is to glue one wall end to the other, forming the four walls of the house. Usually there's a tab on one wall end to make this a bit easier. Suprisingly, even where there isn't a tab, the pieces go together pretty well. I left the roof hanging there while the side wall glue dried for a couple of hours, then started the next building. The Elmer's Craft Bond adhesive sets quickly enough that you could proceed to glue the roof after perhaps 15 minutes of letting the wall glue dry, but I wanted to make sure everything dried straight and strong.
Glue the roof down, voila. Basic building finished. Cut out the ground/garden/yard base piece and the "ruined building" matching piece that comes with almost all the buildings, and you're done with the easy bits. Note the cleverly printed interior pattern on the inside walls of the ruins. The Wargrid sets are full of nice little touches like that. After working with these buildings for a few hours it became pretty apparent to me that Bob Bosscher is himself a wargamer, and knew what he was doing when he designed these pieces specifically for game use.
A few 6mm miniatures to give you an idea of scale. The Char B1 bis, artillery, and crew are from Heroics and Ros, the Somua is from GHQ. On most of the Wargrid buildings, the "ruined" version of the house is glued to the ground base and the "regular" house slips easily over the ruins. On a few buildings, I cut the walls of the ruins just a tad too long so it took a bit of effort to get the regular house to slip over it. This is easily fixed by cutting down the ruin walls to fit, but after I made that mistake a couple of times I learned to pre-measure the ruin walls before I glued them together.
The chimneys and dormers ("fiddly bits") do add a lot of time to the construction, but I think they really add a lot to the appearance of the buildings. You can leave them off with no ill effects.
Notice the white edges along the corners and ends. That's the exposed paper where it was bent or cut. The instructions suggest you go along the edges lightly with a marker or paint brush, but I left them as is so the shapes would show up better for these photographs. I didn't notice the edges after a while, so I suspect whether or not you'll want to touch up the edges will be a matter of personal taste.
The Wargrid fields are pretty nice, I think. They're made of cork, painted and flocked, with cardstock gates. The Panther is from GHQ, the rest of these miniatures are from H&R.
When I set up this part of the photo shoot I pulled these fields out of a storage box and noticed a couple of them were slightly warped. I found this was very easily fixed by stationing a couple of large KV-85 tank models on each corner of the field and leaving them there for a while.
Okay, so far so good. The kits went together fairly easily, were fun to build, and look pretty good. Of course, the real test of these buildings is going to be how well they do in a game.
Next Page: The Game
Contact information for Bob's Bits:
I don't have any up-to-date contact information for Bob's Bits. I haven't heard from him in several years and a number of people out there have e-mailed me to let me know the Bob's Bits web site was down.
Anybody out there have up-to-date contact info?
Last updated: June 11, 2016