Thursday, 6 October 2011

Review: Sarissa Precision Oldwest Jailhouse

A nice size comparison shot for you Malifaux nuts!!!

Right, this is the first of the Sarissa Precision Oldwest buildings I am going to be reviewing. It's also actually the first complete scenery product review I've ever done. So while writing this article I noticed that there needed to be both a usefulness AND a character section in this review, as opposed to one or the other. So these reviews will have slightly more sections (one more, to be precise). However, as I'm reviewing a fair few of these I'm going to deliberately try and keep these reviews short.

Product Description

All of the pieces that come in the kit

The Jailhouse came sealed in a nice thick plastic bag with bubble wrap. The building itself is made out of laser cut HDF and it gives off a lovely burnt wood smell. There is a base, 4 wall pieces, 2 small jail bars and 1 large bar section. There is also a top section, that also does a nice job of of providing some nice external detailing, a bit of rigidity and also a handy place to rest the roof section on.

Lady justice fits in, true its snug but she does fit
Usefulness 8 out of 10

Well I think this nice small little building is actually quite good for use in Malifaux. When you consider that as a game Malifaux is meant to be played on a 3' by 3' board, the fact that this is a 4" by 4" square means that it's not an inconsiderable piece of scenery to have on the table. Also as an objective in a themed game for a jail break, it's perfect. I can just see Seamus breaking into a Guild jail to free one of his 'lady' friends. The roof comes off easily enough, and the sections inside are actually big enough to fit a small based, or normal sized Malifaux miniature in it as this picture to the left shows. My only gripe would be that I'd like the corner cut away section, on the roof for lifting it off to be a little bit bigger; it is a wee bit small. It could do with being a bit bigger for me, but that's because I've got fat fingers!!! Just as a note, in none of the pictures in this review, was the building itself 'held' together by glue or any other means. This could be happily flat packed after a days gaming. I'll glue parts of mine though because I have nice big storage boxes to pack it away in after those games.

It has bags of character gringo!!!
Character 9 out of 10

This small laser cut HDF building has bags and bags of character to it. From the wooden beams sticking out at the top, to the cracked plaster and exposed brick exterior. It really, really does look the part, and the very fine cut windows with there steel bar look are excellent. Inside of the building the wooden beamed floor is nice enough, but lets be clear about it, it's those jail cells that steal the show. The laser cut bars are very thin, but are surprisingly sturdy when all the walls are in place. I mean come on, if you're building a Wild West themed town to have your Malifaux fights over who doesn't want this jail? Yeah, thought so, you all want one don't you! I'm tempted to get another one for myself when I find gainful employment.

Detail 8 out of 10

Scoring the detail on this is a bit of a toughie if I'm honest. One of the biggest issues I have with laser cut HDF scenery is that its a smooth surface, and to get a 3D or textured effect can sometimes take extra layers of HDF put on top of other layers. This building doesn't do that, however those wooden roof beams do look brilliant sticking out of the wall and the exposed brick work is exceptionally fine detail, as are those jail cells. So the walls look and feel a bit flat, but you can fix that yourself with your paint job, if you so choose. By mixing just a little bit of fine grain sand in with your paint you'll get a nice textured surface no problem. The ladder you get with the kit is also a really nice touch, and means you're not having to scratch build your own ladder to use that roof as a nice vantage point.

Quality 7.5 out of 10

The HDF components of the Jailhouse are not as thick as some other companies products. Namely those produced by Micro Art. However, they do come fully pre-cut from the wood so there is no need to take the pieces off of a 'spru', so to speak, and they are hardy enough for gaming purposes. Also when glued in place it  will be even more rigid and sturdy. The cuts were also precise and there was no issues with pieces being out of alignment due to miss cuts.

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.

Arguably the greatest design feature ever...
that might be an exaggeration.

Price 8 out of 10

I don't think this is on their webstore right now (lucky me), but I'm pretty sure it will set you back £11, or at least that is what I jotted down in my note book as to what it cost me on the day of the show. How accurate that note is I don't really know. However, having looked through their website it 'seems' about right and I think it's a pretty good price for a sturdy, characterful piece of scenery.

Overall 8.5 out of 10

So I don't think they're off to a bad start really, especially considering this is one of their smaller pieces. It will add bags of character to any Wild West battlefield, and if that's the direction you're taking your Malifaux games, then this comes highly recommended as a good solid cheap option, not to mention a good looking one. Hopefully now some of you Malifaux gamers will stop bloody emailing me now about reviewing them!!! More will be on their way over the next few days. Peace out!

Link to Sarissa Precision, where you can buy this stuff


  1. And if you don't do wild west, it'll happily fit in most other Games too...

  2. They do a few other ranges as well GoldenKaos. Not a bad product at all.

  3. And here's my take on the same thing:

    A very nice piece, and ever so easy to assemble.

  4. Some nice pictures in your blog there Jake. I think it's arguably my favourite of the Oldwest buildings I own. Sure the Hotel is ace and the church is cool, but honestly I just really like the Jailhouse. Perhaps its the internal detailing.

  5. Thanks for the review. If you like this then have a look on our website, we've just added this along with a couple of other Adobe style buildings (with more to come next week)

    We've also been rather busy and a quant Railroad Station (think 3.10 to Yuma) and large multifloor Livery Stable have just gone on as well.

  6. @Steve, do you mean the Livery stable is on your website now? As in to buy now? That would be awesome!!! Looking forward to picking a few more buildings up from you to 'complete' my own wild west town.

  7. At the risk of being cheesy, the Jailhouse Rocks ;P

  8. @Quirkworthy, Oh dear, oh dear. I hope you have your coat to hand, because methinks you might need to go get it! :P