Cardboard Heroes

My previous posts on suitable structures for Superhero skirmish gaming have concentrated on buildings made from pre-moulded plastic, hard foam buildings and building kits made from laser-cut MDF and card. This post will deal with print-on-demand cardstock buildings.
The advantages of POD cardstock kits is that for a relatively small financial investment,  you can summon an entire city from your computer’s hard drive, if you have a suitable colour printer at home (or at work, if you can get away with it). Construction varies from very simple to highly intricate, but all POD buildings come with building instructions, so even the most ham-fisted of us can produce good-looking buildings.
There are a lot of sites which provide free kits, but the majority of these are designed for paper modellers or railroaders, and are therefore the wrong scale for 28mm gaming. These can be re-scaled, but this can take a bit of experimentation until you get the ratio correct and if you’re the one paying for the ink, either at home or at you local print establishment, this can prove to be less cost-effective than downloading POD kits actually designed for 28mm gaming. With that in mind, I will be primarily concentrating on companies and websites who produce kits specifically designed for 28mm.

So, we’ll start with WorldWorksGames – I’m not sure if it’s all one word, but that’s how it appears on their website, so who am I to argue. These American paper engineers produce a mind-bogglingly vast collection of print-on-demand building and terrain kits, covering just about any genre you could possibly want to game in. For our purposes, however, we’ll be looking at two of their offerings, namely the Mayhem and DownTown ranges.

The Mayhem range was their first release to venture into the modern cityscape, and their Mayhem Armoury set, at $9.50, was the first to provide multi-level buildings suitable for Superhero or any type of Modern gaming.

As you can see from the bottom banner in the picture, all floors and rooftops can be plain or have a 1″ or 1.5″ grid overlaid, so as to be usable in popular CMG’s. There are a wide variety of kits, covering rail transport, police stations, traffic (i.e. cars), junkyards and constructions sites. The DownTown sets are for your skyscrapers and apartment blocks, such at the City Scraper set at $4.50;

Now, one thing I haven’t mentioned and has caused me to re-think this as my last post on this subject, is that WorldWorksGames also do a set called Streets of Mayhem, which is effectively a set which allows you to print road tiles, so that you can create the actual streets of your city. I have not covered the foundations of your Superhero city, so will have to research and write a further post, detailing the options you have for providing the base for the buildings I’ve previously highlighted. But that will have to wait…

Of course, the Streets of Mayhem set doesn’t just provide you with road tiles, but all the other bits and bobs that you could possibly need to clutter up your city’s streets, as can be seen from the picture above. All for a very reasonable $11.50.

All WorldWorksGames sets are designed to be printed on 110lb cardstock or 80lb coverstock, which can be sourced in your local office or art stores.

Next, we move on to Fat Dragon Games, another producer of paper model kits for gamers. Whilst they don’t have quite as large a range as WorldWorks, their Capital City base set – $13.99 – does have the option that you can customise the “skins” or your buildings, from clean and new, to dilapidated and run-down, all from the same set. The other advantage with their base set, is that you don’t just get the buildings, but the road tiles as well, along with various props and street furniture.

And they have this wonderful additional set, for your very own fast food emporium, with a distinctive spokesman, at $4.99:

Our next company is MicroTactix Games, who actual website promises a new website “coming soon”, but whose actual products can be purchased on RPGNow. Their Twilight Street Heroic Scale set, at $10.00, provides similar buildings and tiles to the Fat Dragon set.

The graphics and detail don’t appear as polished as the previous two companies, but if you want to try before you buy, RPGNow do offer two FREE buildings from this range, Horseman’s Deli and Drakes Radio & TV, allowing you to see whether this set is for you.

Our next paper engineer is The Virtual Armchair General, and more specifically, his Mean Streets sets. These sets are bought as city blocks, with each set representing a building, or set of buildings, occupying a 10″ square.

SMC Cartage Co. Lot and The CarlingtonThis is Block Section #1 – which consists of the Diamond Club, SMC Garage and lot and the Carlington Hotel. Each block is a separate kit and price at $10.00 each. Whilst they appear to have been designed with pulp or gangster gaming in mind, those of you who live in the bigger American cities will no doubt have seen buildings like this in the older parts of town and therefore I feel that if you wanted to recreate Hells’ Kitchen in New York, for example, or the older parts of Chicago, these sets are ideal.


There are 20 individual blocks available, covering banks, office buildings, warehouses, apartment blocks, small businesses, a park and a cathedral. They also provide kits so that you can build your own streets, alleyways and sidewalks, so you can create the whole city. Well worth a look.

Our next paper realtor is Stoelzel’s Structures, whose kits can be purchased from Wargame Vault. Unlike the other kits above, which are designed to be printed onto cardstock, the kits from this company are designed to be mounted on standard 5mm foamcore, to provide more rigid and longer lasting structures.

Whilst this company provides several individual kits, ranging from a cineplex to an 80’s style arcade (which will be familiar to anyone whose watched Tron or Tron: Legacy recently and comes with a secret office behind a video game machine!), a hospital to a fire station, the above set, the Modular Urban Construction Kit, at $15.00, is a good ‘starter set’. It offers 12 different building styles in 6 different sizes and, as you can see from the picture, a dice tower cunningly concealed as part of the structure. The preview on the website allows you to take a peek inside the instruction book, and it all looks very well-produced.

This almost concludes this particular post, but I will touch on two sites where FREE cardstock kits are available.

Firstly, Heroscapers, the website dedicated to the much-mourned modular plastic tile board/wargame Heroscape, which was released by Hasbro in 2004 and (officially) discontinued in 2010. Prior to its demise, Hasbro released a Marvel-themed base set, which caught the imagination of the fans of the game, so much so that there is now almost every character from both Marvel and DC represented in Heroscape terms. However, one of the members of the boards, a chap by the username Grishnakh, created some cardstock kits, available as free downloads from the site, of various multi-storey modern city buildings for use in the game.

His particular thread – Grishnakh’s Custom Terrain – has links to all the buildings he’s created, including models of both the Baxter Building and the Daily Planet.

As these were designed for Heroscape, which is nominally 28mm, they are just the right size for your gaming needs. And did I mention, they’re FREE!

The last link I’m going to provide is to Ray Keim’s Haunted Dimensions site, specifically his Paper Model Purgatory page, which is mainly a repository for papercraft models of Disney’s Haunted Mansions from the various parks.

However, also on this website are two models that will appeal to Zombie or horror gamers, namely paper models of the Bates House from Psycho:

And the infamous and distinctive house from the Amityville Horror:

Both FREE and nominally 1/66 scale, so you may have to jiggle the scale somewhat on your printer to get them the right scale for 28mm zombie gaming, but imagine the expressions on the faces of your players when they see them on your table…

As there are a HUGE amount of paper models out there, the above is no means exhaustive and no doubt I’ve left some suitable buildings out, but hopefully this provides a starting point for you, if cardstock is your chosen medium.

Comments, as always, appreciated.