Sunday, 3 February 2013

Stoelzel's Structures Warehouse

The first Stoelzel's Structures model that I made was the Cottage (see here ). That just whetted my appetite for making more of Carl's models. For my next model, I wanted to make something bigger and more challenging, so I chose to make the Warehouse, and here it is.
The first thing to note about this model is that it is big - very big! It measures 18" long by 10" wide by 10" tall. Just look how it towers over my figure of Vampifan.
This is not a model that I would recommend for beginners, as I had a few challenges to overcome when I was making it but thanks to my own card modelling ingenuity and help from Carl in rectifying some oversights of his I have made a model that I am very proud of. My review will go into greater detail and explain why this was such a challenge.
I took this photo of the underside of the roof for a very special reason. In the original instructions, the roof is made in three sections - the two central parts of the roof and the upper side windows was one piece. The two lower side roofs made up the other two pieces. I did not think that this was the best way of making the roof. I felt that it could be made as one large piece. So, I mentioned this to Carl and, lo and behold, a week later, Carl had designed an internal piece to join the three components of the roof together. I made four of these support pieces to fit to the underside of the roof, as you can see in the photo above. This was a very elegant solution to my problem and praise must go to Carl for adding this to the set. I can now lift my roof off in one piece, which makes it so much easier for accessing the interior. Notice that at the far right I have had to cut out a small rectangle from the support piece. This is so it does not obscure the window in the back wall. It also helps me to instantly identify which is the front of the roof and which is the back.
The model does not come with any signs, so I used this "West Mayhem Freight Co." sign from my WWG Mayhem Industrial set and reduced it in size to fit snugly above the doors. Seeing as I wanted this building to be a part of my Mayhem City collection of buildings, the lack of signage was not an issue with me. There is a story to tell about the front doors. Carl's original version of this model lacked any front doors. The entrance was just a gap in the wall. This was unacceptable to me. So once again, I contacted Carl and he agreed that it was an oversight. As with the roof supports, he came up with a solution and he designed these magnificent front doors and surround that you see above. This is just one of the many reasons that I have so much respect for Carl. He listens to criticism and will act upon sensible suggestions to make his product as good as possible. Would that all designers were like him!
This side view of the Warehouse shows that I have replaced the original windows with transparencies. I like to do this with all of my buildings. In the original version of this model, there was no sheet of windows for the modeller to print out onto transparency paper. I mentioned this to Carl and by now you won't be at all surprised to hear that he added two sheets of windows to the set that could be printed onto transparency paper for those who, like me, wanted that option.
When I came to build the back wall, I noticed a glaring omission - there was no back door. A building of this size would not be allowed to be built with just one entrance/exit (the front doors). My solution was to add the door you see in the photo above to one side of the back wall. The door is taken from the Stoelzel Modular Lair Base set. As with all of my doors it does open and shut. I have kept it shut as it is rarely used. You may notice that the back wall is actually in two parts - upper and lower walls. The lower part is glued in place but the upper part is removable. There is a good reason for this and I'll explain why later. I should point out that after mentioning to Carl about the absence of a back door that he has now added one to the back wall, although his is not in the same place as mine, and his matches the front door to the hidden room.
Here is the second side wall. One of the things that I like about this set is that Carl has provided thin wall columns to help hide the joins between the wall sections. The front, back and two side walls all come in three pieces. I glued 16 of these thin columns onto mounting card and then stuck them in place. They add a subtle 3D effect to the walls that I like.
And so we come to the interior of the Warehouse and this overhead shot shows the layout that I came up with. The raised office at the back of the warehouse is a part of Carl's design and has to be included. The two support girders in the centre, attached to the side walls are an optional feature. You can add as many as you want or omit them altogether. They are designed to help keep the roof sections in place. If you go with the option of making the roof in one piece, using the new support pieces, as I did, then these girder supports are rather redundant. However, I added a pair because I like the look of them
This view, looking towards the back of the building shows what the two support girders look like. The staircase leading up to the office caused me another challenge. There was originally only one side to the stair railings - the side shown here. I got round this by printing out the page, scanning it and flipping the image through 180 degrees and then printing out that new page. This gave me my reverse side. Have no worry if you buy this set now, as Carl has rectified the problem. Notice in the office that there are two cupboards at either side of the window. I added these from Carl's Modular Mansion 3: The Asylum.
I wish I could have filled the office with furniture items from Carl's sets but unfortunately I haven't. The four filing cabinets, the desk, the computer and the two chairs are all from WWG sets (Mayhem Industrial and Mayhem Police Station), Just above the filing cabinets is a poster of a busty, topless model, which is just the kind of small detail that I like to add to my models.
Around the floor are scattered various sized crates and wooden pallets. These all come from the Warehouse set. I noticed the wooden pallets in another of Carl's sets and I told him that they ought to be in this set as well. Soon afterwards, Carl took up my suggestion and added them to the set. I just couldn't imagine a warehouse without crates, so I had to include at least some. These are all stuck in place but I could always add lots more if the scenario called for it.
Note in the office are a pile of boxes against the side wall that I added. These came from a Mel Ebbles Store Room set. They look like military foot lockers and I suppose they could be holding guns and/or ammo. I wanted my Warehouse to store more than just wooden crates and these fit the bill perfectly. Because they are being stored in the manager's office that rather indicates that they hold something valuable.
A major design fault in Carl's original version of the Warehouse was that if you followed his building instructions to the letter, there was no way to get inside the room below the office. Essentially, this room was just dead space. This was my biggest challenge that I was faced with in making this model. Perfectionist that I am, I wanted access to that hidden room. My solution was to glue the office floor and upper half of the back wall together to form an "L" shape. This section would not be glued in place. I added extra pieces of foamboard at the two sides of the hidden room so that the office floor could rest on them. you can clearly see these support walls in the photos above and below. The upper part of the back wall would rest on top of the lower part. I can lock the L-shaped section in place by simply opening the office door. The door fits snugly over the floor and stops the removable section from moving. In my mind, this is a very simple but elegant solution. I know that Carl has come up with his own idea for how to access the room below the office, which is now included with the model (with building instructions),  but that was after I'd come up with my solution.
There is very little in the back storeroom and that was a deliberate decision of mine. I did add one wooden pallet, which is propped up against the side wall. And, I just had to choose the crate marked "Top Secret" to store in this room. Who knows what is inside it? My reason for keeping this room almost empty is so that I can fill it according to the needs of a scenario. For example, it could be used to store barrels containing toxic zombies as in the film, Return of the Living Dead. Or, it could contain an arsenal of some kind. Leaving it empty gives me plenty of options for the future. That is also the reason why there is so much available space in the main room.
As you can see this really did give me the challenge I was looking for. Other, less experienced, modellers may well have given up in frustration. Fortunately, I was able to overcome every obstacle. Some, it must be admitted with the help of Carl but others, especially the hidden room, by myself. Despite everything I did enjoy making this model and the end result more than justifies all the hard work involved. However, as you can imagine, it did take far longer to make than I thought it would - roughly four months!
Please, do not be put off in making or purchasing this set because of the problems I faced. Carl has fixed everything that I mentioned to him. As a result, the Warehouse set that is available for sale now is a very different beast to the one that I purchased early last year. All of the wrinkles have been ironed out so that you can purchase in confidence.
All that remains now is to use it in my ATZ-FFO campaign. This will make a stunning centre-piece to any game-board. Obviously, I want mine for zombie gaming but just think how many other gaming genres and historical periods you could use this in. The only limit is your imagination.

39 comments:

  1. That is one awesome building! I love all the accessories inside it too. It really helps bring them to life and feel like a real mini building :)

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    1. Thanks, Carl. I love adding interior details to a building, even though it is time consuming.

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  2. That is a brilliant bit of Card Fu Bryan. It is a very imposing building it would make a good base for survivors to operate from

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    1. The thought of using it a base for a group of survivors had crossed my mind, Simon.

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  3. Wow, that very cool, i love everything about it, and how you got the back room to work is fantastic. i dont have this set, but if i ever build it, ill add the secret door from the arcade for access to the back room.
    This would make a great hide out for team Vampifan

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    1. Thanks, SK. I like your idea of adding the secret door to the back room. That should work well.

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  4. Awesome building Bryan, and I look forward to seeing it on the table!
    I just wish I had the room at home to accommodate such builds

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    1. Many thanks, Dave. Since my father died just over a year ago, I now have loads of storage space - basically the whole upstairs of our house. My mum lives downstairs and I have use of my bedroom and the two guest bedrooms upstairs. Storage room is no longer a problem.

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  5. Great look built Bryan and you certainly tell quite the tale. The warehouse, you and I have a long history, and I glad how this turned out. Thanks for the suggestions, as they certainly have made for a better product for everyone.

    The roof as an absolutely necessary change, and really opens it up for your/my hands. And I like you solution to getting into the lower back room, looks like it will work pretty well in games.

    Speaking of which, I can't wait to see a battle report detailing the exploits inside this.

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    1. Cheers, Carl. As I said in my review, the Warehouse that is on sale now is very different to your original design that I purchased. It has undergone a lot of changes and I'm glad that you agree, they were all for the best.

      I agree that having the roof come off in one piece is the way to go. I'm also very pleased at my solution to accessing the hidden back room. Believe me, it works very well!

      Now that I have made it, I am dying to feature it in an FFO scenario. As others have mentioned, it would make for a very neat base of operations.

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    1. Thanks, Tito. I like this building as well!

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  7. This has to be my favorite review yet. I think Carl is going to benefit from my birthday cash this year!
    It looks like a perfect match to the finger and toe industrial park. I really like the transparencies, I'm almost tempted to revisit some past builds for an upgrade! ;)

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    1. Thanks for the compliments, David. I'm sure Carl will appreciate your spending. The Warehouse will also sit well alongside the Finger and Toe Factory, Modern Warehouse and Multi-Storey Warehouse as well.

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  8. That is truly magnificent! I bow down in homage before the master!

    Ah, there are so many of Carl's products that I want to build, but I just can't find the time. He's do damn prolific!

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    1. Many thanks, Hugh. I do have the time, but even so, I'm still struggling to keep apace with Carl's output. He certainly is prolific.

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  9. It's a beautiful build!

    The kit is pretty sweet, and it's always awesome hearing how open to constructive criticism Carl is. I think this can only make the products even better.

    I cannot wait to see this in a game or two.

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    1. Thanks, Jon. Carl admits that he is still on a learning curve, so ant constructive criticism is welcome. Best of all, he acts upon it!

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  10. Nice Building. Loads and loads of opportunities for all manner of activities. Gangster, zombie, Pulp, ACW, SCW, WW1 and WW2. In fact anything from Victorian smoggy London all the way to a less affluent area of the States now and possibly 20 years from now! I really like it.

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    1. Once you start thinking about it, Clint, the possibilities are endless. To your list I'd add Cthulhu mythos, Cyberpunk, Supers and Conspiracy gaming. Also, note how the hidden room has no windows. It could be a vampire's lair.

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  11. I use to work in a warehouse. Where's the forklift? :)

    Great model. I like your open door concept on all your models? When is Season 2 of Team Vampifan coming back from hiatus?

    Ernie

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    1. Ernie, I actually have a die-cast model of a fork lift truck, so I could easily add that.

      Team Vampifan will hopefully be making a new appearance next month.

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  12. Another great build VtG! as said by others, I am looking forward to seeing it used in anger

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  13. I'm there with cmn. It is huge mind you. Tel me this now I'm looking to do some terraced housing type stuff any hints or directions I may look for plans? Keep up the good work.

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    1. For terraced-style houses you want to check out the Warm Acre Terraced Houses (no interior detail, mind you). If you do want interior detail have a look at Stoelzel's Structures' Historic District Old Towne or Victorian Town House sets

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  14. Damn it, Bryan. If you keep posting things like this beauty, I might actually consider switching to Carl's models. Certainly looks easier than all that "lego-brick-preparing" that TLX requires.

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    1. Believe me, Stefan, Carl's models are far easier to make than the WWG TLX models. Although to be fair, anyone's models are easier to make than WWG's TLX buildings! Much as I like WWG I do think that their TLX range sucks!

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  15. That is truly one helluva building and from its size it looks fits for purpose. Nice amount of internal clutter.

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    1. Thanks, Joe, and I agree with you about it being fit for purpose.You could store all sorts in here.

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  16. Than is an amazing piece of terrain, Bryan. As with the others I can't wait to see it filled with Zeds. Thanks for sharing and improving the model.

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    1. Cheers, Adam. I'm glad to hear that you think the model has been improved. Given its size, you could fit a lot of zombies in there.

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  17. Hello Bryan, fantastic job on this (and all of your terrain pieces!) I just recently got into the hobby of Tabletop skirmish gaming thanks to finding your ATZ posts. I began making terrain myself, I started with WWG but have moved towards Stoelzel's after deciding the terrainlinx was a TON of work. I have a question if you don't mind: For Stoelzel's structures, do you print the images on cardstock, or on regular paper? I ask because I had already been using 110# cardstock from my work with WWG, but am not sure if it will be too thick when mounting on foam board.

    Thank you for blogging, it is always a pleasure to read!

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