Review: Hive city shanties

Shanty example 1Whether you are a manufactorum worker living in the squalor outside a great hive city–or a mutant struggling to survive in the radiation-soaked wastelands of a desert planet–your most likely home across the Corvus Cluster is the humble and cobbled-together rockcrete and plasteel shanty.

At the recent Cold Wars wargame convention in Lancaster, Pa., I picked up half a dozen shanties produced by the Miniature Building Authority (MBA). Produced in resin, these buildings are nicely cast and detailed, with detachable roofs so figures can be placed inside. I was able to acquire a handful already painted.

MBA produces a number of models, most of which are suitable for both modern, post-apocalyptic, and 40K wargaming:

  • Small wooden shed
  • Small shanty
  • Medium shanty
  • Large shanty
  • Small shanty shack
  • Cinder block shanty
  • Store front shanty
  • Two-story shanty
  • Waterfront shanty
  • Small trash heap
  • Shanty wall
  • Shanty wall gate

I highly recommend them. They are a good size for wargaming, and set up on a tabletop, they add a nice “squalor” to any 40K setting. Mixed with my Games Workshop buildings, I can create the outlying slums of a manufactorum or hive city–all, of course, infested with mutants and Chaos cultists.

Shanty 2Reinforced with shanty walls, I can create a poverty-stricken community on some half-forgotten world. Grouped together with trash heaps, they provide the right atmosphere for a sci-fi setting in a grim, oppressive future.

These also would be useful in recreating any ork-infested areas. The shanties are relatively generic, so they will easily blend into any community with a few visibly orkish buildings. I’m also thinking of building a few accessories–perhaps some ork shields that will hang from the roofs–to instantly give the shanties an orkish identity.

The scenario opportunities of these shanties are obvious. Already, we’ve played on scenario set on a desert world, with the shanties sprinkled among adobe buildings, that pitted rival Rogue Traders against one another. I could easily see an Inquisitor searching a slum area for mutants–or a kill squad hunting down an ork or a cultist leader.

My Imperial Guard recently scoured the slums of a hive city in search of heretics and rebels.

Alas, as of early March, MBA has lost its main painter–and painted versions of these buildings are either out of stock or soon will be. I had to purchase the two-story shanties and walls unpainted, but I was given some tips by MBA on how to match up the paint job:

  • Prime black
  • Basecoat with dark gray
  • Drybrush with light gray (maybe slightly different grays on different panels)
  • Color each panel of wood or metal a different color with a wash

I may layer a coat of Dull-Cote after the drybrush, so the grays are more impervious to the washes. I hope to match up my paint job to those of the professionally painted buildings. I’ll write up a blog of my experience, as well as my work on those ork accessories.

trash heap (2)Again, I heartily recommend these shanties–I’ve got my eye on another half dozen or more. Now I need to get started on some miniature mutants and cultists.

Photo of debris pile from Miniature Building Authority. Visit their website at

Categories: Review, Terrain

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