Thursday, 13 October 2011

Review: Sarissa Precision Oldwest Hotel

 Sarissa Precisions Promo shot

Well, before I took any photographs of the Hotel put together, there was quite a bit more assembly required than there was with either the Jailhouse or the Shack. There was significantly more assembly required than even the Church. Nothing overly taxing, if you know what you're doing, just a bit of PVA glue on a few window and door frames here and there, oh yeah and a feck load of rubber bands to hold everything together while it dries. Don't worry I'll explain...

Product Description

This is by far and away the largest Sarissa Precision Oldwest building I've brought to date. It's also easily the fiddliest to put together. As well as the 36 pieces in the picture above and the 9 wall parts and balcony, there are two floors and a roof. That's 48 pieces of HDF laser cut and etched wood in total. Fixing the normal window and door frames on is as easy as it was on the church, indeed the ground floor and balcony is as simple to put together as some of the smaller single story buildings they do. It was the second floor that caused all the problems. You see, rather than the walls clipping 'into' the floor, they sort of rest on it with a few tabs. Holding this all together without gluing it is impossible, and holding it all together while gluing it requires the worlds biggest elastic bands. That's my top tip for the day if you do decide to go for this piece.

Lady Justice wandered why she was here, and not a sniper!
Usefulness 9 out of 10

With a bit of interior work, this could easily be the entire battlefield for a small skirmish game of Mailfaux. However, as a large central building in the middle of a built up town, it is also pretty darn good addition. Sure on a 3' by 3' Malifaux battlefield it will take up a sizeable chunk of the available space, but surely that's part of it's charm? On a 4' by 4' table it wouldn't dominate the scenery as much, but it does provide a nice chunk of scenery. Although it does a great job of blocking Line of sight, there are plenty of windows to shoot in and out of. The balcony at the front provides a great vantage point to shoot people from. It is just a really nice sizable piece of terrain, that with a bit of internal work could be split off into various rooms to hold your fights in. It'll also take up a nice proportion of the board.

Ground floor without the balcony attached
Character 8 out of 10

Realistically it's a large wooden box. But then again, that is exactly what many of the buildings were during the Wild West Frontier era, large wooden boxes. They weren't subtle, or well designed fancy works of architectural folly. They were functional, squat, square buildings with very little in the way of ornamentation, and in some cases they were temporary. However, the Hotel is not without its charms as a scenery piece, Otherwise why would I give it a score of 8? The balcony and it's support stanchions look brilliant at the front of the building, and reminds me of many a Spaghetti Western film. Also the big advertising space at the top of the building gives it a quite pleasing shape at the front, and makes the building look more important, or impressive than its box like structure would've otherwise.

Detail 7.5 out of 10

Apart from the Balcony and the stanchions there really isn't too much in the way of detail on this building. Sure there is the windows with their window frames, and likewise the doors. But, reality is this is just panel, after panel of wooden planking, and that's fine for what this is, as really I don't think you could do too much with it could you? It is what it is, and to be blunt the buildings of the era and area it is trying to replicate weren't exactly architectural marvels now were they? Nope, I think it's as detailed as it needs to be, and I'll be adding my own details with my paint work and weathering techniques.

Quality 6.5 out of 10

The second floor... finally glued together

I think all the pieces were perfectly well cut and etched with those lasers, and indeed it all went together fine. However, that second story was an absolute pain in the ass to sort out, I don't mind admitting I might has turned the air blue with profanity, more than once of twice! I'm also not as sure as too its strength as a piece, the ground floor is fine, but the second story again does look a little bit weak without those walls actually 'clipping' into the base. There is no way you could use this building as a flat packed piece of scenery, it just wouldn't stand up under its own weight, so it does require assembly and the second story doesn't make it easy on you.

Service 8 out of 10

Erm... I said hello to them at a games expo in Derby. They were friendly and gave me lots of advice about which buildings would be good for Malifaux. They showed me how they went together, and where to put glue so it wouldn't be visible after assembly. They took my money, said thank you with a smile and put it in a plastic carrier bag for me. I can't say fairer than that.

Price 8 out of 10

This piece will set you back £32.50. I suppose for the amount of wood that's really not a bad price, and I do think it's worth it. However, that's almost 3 of the smaller buildings and you'll know yourself whether you have the money to drop on a piece of scenery like this. For many hobbyists, with tight budgets, pieces like this are a bit of a luxury. I think it's a worthwhile luxury, but I'm a mega geek who needs to play all of his games on amazing boards with all the best scenery he can. I already own more than enough Sarissa Precision scenery to play every game of Malifaux I could, but I always want a bit more variety, and the Hotel, with its shear size offers something a bit unique from the other pieces. That makes it worth the asking price in my mind.

Overall 8 out of 10

Yeah so I've had problems with putting the second story together, but sat on the table it does look pretty damn impressive I have to say. It's also currently the only two story building I own for Malifaux so it offers me something new to fight over. It also looks the part as a Hotel... although lets be honest, I'm going to paint it up as a whore house. Peace out!

Edit: One of the posters below, Darg, actually came up with a good top tip. Try plonking some super glue in certain places to hold the pieces together while the slow drying PVA dries. Thanks.


  1. A good technique when glueing big stuff like this with a slow drying glue like PVA is to use a couple of drops of superglue just to hold the pieces in place. It doesn't need much but a tiny amount will just keep everything together while it dries. Just put it somewhere the PVA won't run in to when you press the pieces together or might go a bit funny.

  2. Heya Frontline....
    What say you paint those Malifaux model, huh?

  3. errr....models...with an 'S'
    Stupid...finger/brain connection seems to be suffering from some kinda interference....

  4. That looked really fiddly, bloody good work and patience.

  5. @Darg, that is a really good top tip! I will amend my review with that tip and cite you as it's source good sir!!!

    @SinSynn, tentacles struggling with the human button interface device again I see... what do they call it again... ah yes, Keyboard! What I've never understood is where the hell you put the key, plus I've never actually been given a key to go with any keyboard I've owned. What gives? Human's must be stopped!!! As for painting Lady J... I know, but sadly she's behind Seamus and his crew atm, plus a shed load of Infinity stuff I need to get done. When the town is done though you can expect a Malifaux battle report...

    @TAL, it was, and it did!!! And thank you. Now if I'd only heard of Darg's brilliant tip before hand I could've super glued myself to it as well. Genius. :P

  6. Hello, there!
    I just enjoy your blog, it rocks!
    Now : one question about these buildings : are those from the Old West 25mm range, or the Old West Heroic range? I'd really like to order some for my Malifaux games, but I want to order the right ones, not something which might come too small for my minis (I'm French, live in France, and I am a bit afraid to have to send them back for a change of scale...).

    1. Firstly thanks for the compliment.

      All of the buildings I'd get for Malifaux would be in Heroic scale. If you are unsure though do email the guys at Sarissa Precision, they're all top people and will be more than willing to offer advice. I know they're avid gamers and would be willing to talk to you about stuff.