GF9: Review: Eastern Front Terrain: Part 1

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 Добро пожаловать на восток! Frost here to tell you about some exciting developments in a long-neglected area of our hobby: terrain.


Since the first days of modern tabletop wargaming, terrain has been the bane of many. You would spend countless hours painting your army, only to bring it to a local gaming establishment that had terrible-looking terrain that made it simply impossible to get immersed in the fantasy of the game. So you started making your own terrain, but you quickly realized that getting an entire tabletop’s worth of terrain created is a difficult, time-consuming and often pricey process. Premade terrain up until recently has typically come unpainted and rarely has matched any other terrain product all that well, making for a terrain table with little to no cohesion.

But no more! Thanks to GaleForce 9’s Battlefield in a Box series, you can now have an amazing tabletop to play on that is as immersive as they get for a price that is surprisingly low. The first few rounds of releases over the recent years caught my attention, but they were still only a handful of unrelated pieces. But now, GF9’s pre-painted terrain is finally coming full circle, with enough varied terrain to make an immersive, diverse yet thematically cohesive, and simply amazing table for a price that most unpainted terrain doesn’t compete with.
Nowhere else is this more evident that with their Eastern Europe-themed terrain. If you want a battle that encompasses all of the elements of taking a small Russian, Belorussian or Ukrainian village, it’s all there. There are snow drifts and icy ponds that complicate the attacker’s advance, roads that offer faster travel and a better sense of orientation, homes and churches that now only provide the comfort of cover and concealment, and newly planted crops who await the sun’s warmth only to be greeted by the cold boots and hard tracks of the Soviets and their German adversaries. But, even better than that, these pieces are not in any way limited simply to the Great War of the Fatherland (what the Soviets called WWII); they can be used in battles as old as the Battle of the Ice, where Alexander Nevsky and the Novgorodians (now part of Russia) pushed back the German Teutonic knights. As Eastern European villages didn’t really get a makeover since before the first millennium AD up until the Axis Germans were kind enough to burn all of the old stuff down, this terrain has astounding versatility over a long span of historical time. In particular, they are excellent for the Napoleonic wars, a genre of historical wargames that is really ramping up.
For Part 1, I’ll be covering the Eastern European buildings: the Rural Church, Rural Farm Buildings, and the Train Station.
Just remember that the church is typically the center of the village.
As far as the Rural Church and Farm Buildings go, these are about as authentic as you can get. The dirt farmers of the fertile “Black Soil” region will feel right at home among the thatched roofs and the very authentic-looking Russian Orthodox church, which even features an onion dome and an orthodox cross. Believe it or not, the Soviets, who brutally repressed religious observation in the urban sphere, more or less turned a blind eye to the villages, where religion and superstition were die-hard ways of life. All of these buildings are designed to each fit several stands of Flames of War infantry. The church’s tower can even accommodate an observer team.
A very nice OP perch, if you can make it up there.
Some units can fit their entire platoon in there!
Side view of the church roof.
About as Russian Orthodox as it gets in the countryside.
Anybody home? These fit two stands of FoW infantry each.
As these communities were almost entirely agrarian, some crop fields are a great touch to add a more immersive environment that gives the village a lot more personality.
What’s a farm without ploughed fields?
If you are going for a WWII battlefield, the Train Station is a great addition. These popped up all over Russia in the decades leading up to WWII, and were considered the life-giving veins of the country, even during the twilight years of the Romanov tsars. The villages, where food was shipped out to the rest of the hungry nation, were no exception.
It’s not Grand Central, but it more than a dirt farmer could ever hope for.
Plenty of room to fortify this place pretty heavily.
I would like to note that while the series I’m reviewing is almost, if not entirely, designed with 10-15mm miniatures in mind, these buildings are really more along the lines of 15-18mm in my opinion. This is actually positive as far as I’m concerned, as Napoleon at War uses 18mm, and looks right at home next to these buildings.
And that’s it for now! Stay tuned for Part 2, where we will present even more GF9 terrain that goes perfectly with the buildings we’ve seen so far.

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