2/28/2013

Frugal GM Review: Fantasy Cutouts Hovel

Frugal GM Review: Fantasy Cutouts Hovel
I finally went and assembled this rather interesting little home....or hovel, from Fantasy Cutouts.

It is a cute & quirky little building that came in a 14 page PDF....7 pages of which were ads.  I don't mind some ads in a free PDF, but when half of the thing is nothing but ads it is a little much.  It isn't a big deal unless you don't delete the ads before having the file printed on nice cardstock at a print shop.

I didn't do that....this time, but I have accidentally done it before.

Hovel Pieces Cut Out
This paper model is not for the new paper modeler.  The instructions are a bit on the sparse side, consisting just of some pictures of how the parts go together.  I wish that the part numbers had been printed on the parts themselves, possibly in areas where they get glued together?  There were a lot of little parts to this model and I'm glad I had the foresight to mark the pieces up before cutting them out.

This roughly 6" model has a number of parts spread out over five pages.  It seemed quite excessive at first.  The reason there are so many parts is because the walls of this hovel are quite thick, consisting of more than just a front and back glued together.  There are cutouts for windows and two small doors which can swing open.  The fireplace on one end sticks out a bit into the living space and there is a small woodpile that gets glued on to the outside.

I really enjoyed this extra "body" to the model, but I found it a bit difficult to work with.  One window is quite tiny, maybe 1/4" square.  I just had to glue it into the window frame.  On the one hand it was a cool effect, having this tiny widow in the middle of a thick wall....with an actual window frame, but it was a PITA to get everything to fit right.

Areas showing off my less than stellar craftsmanship
There were so many parts that had to be lined up just right.  Getting the cuts and fold perfect was impossible for me.  While I thought I was doing a decent job, the finished model had a lot of gaps and bits of blue and white I did not want showing.  I wished that they had not used a light blue color to denote areas where the building pieces were glued together.  I also wish they had basically colored outside the lines so if parts didn't line up perfect the model's color would cover up some of the errors. A light beige or even a darker "wood" brown would have hidden some minor imperfections in craftsmanship.

Finished Hovel
Hovel End ViewOverall I liked this model even though it was a bit "fiddly".  I sure wouldn't want to be assembling a string of them, but I could see printing up a couple and maybe mounting the pieces to foamcore instead of building it out completely.  I think if I used two thicknesses of foamcore, I could put the window in between them.  This could shave a lot of time off of assembly and give me a sturdier model.  Of course if I did that then I'd need to Photoshop out the light blue bits.

Frugal GM 4 Star Review: Fantasy Cutouts Hovel
The added depth of the windowsills and the swinging doors were an excellent touch and even though I had problems with assembly, I would recommend this model for a more experienced builder.  This free model from Fantasy Cutouts really is one of the nicer homes I've had the pleasure of putting together.  I think with a few minor tweaks I could see this being an even better model.