Finishing the Chiesa Santa Maria del Villaggio al Fiume

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Mediterranean Church, Chiesa Santa Maria del Villaggio al Fiume

Those who have visited the site may know that I have been on the look out for some quality Blood & Plunder terrain for a long time. While there are a lot of Spanish/Caribbean-styled buildings out there, I was happy to hear about a quality HDF set of buildings in the form of a Kickstarter, that includes a church (today's project), buildings, fences, walls, and a fountain. The church from the Kickstarter, the Chiesa Santa Maria del Villaggio al Fiume, was on sale early at the designer's website, Things from the Basement, and I was the happy recipient of one for Christmas.

The building is quite detailed for an HDF kit, where as, other MDF/HDF kits on the market always seem very flat-looking, particularly the roofs. More importantly, knowing there would be more buildings in the set that would accompany the church, it made sense to take a look at this church first. From an aesthetics point of view, I prefer not to mix HDF buildings with resin as I find the two types very different in style. While the resin kits generally have a lot of details molded in and can look awesome, they are also usually thickly walled and the resin kits I have purchased have had lots of air bubbles in them.

For tabletop gaming, I am happy with the resin kits and I still intend to build, paint and use the ones I have. However, now that there’s a full set of HDF buildings, I plan to spend the extra time to paint and detail them. Although they won’t be the same as perfectly molded resin, they will all fit together stylistically.

Prior to the church, I had only constructed one MDF building, a Ukrainian Rural House from 4Ground. I bought an incomplete kit off ebay, so not all the doors had accompanying hardware, but it was still a good building experience. The church is less detailed than the 4Ground buildings, which are colored, textured, and have working hardware. As with most MDF kits, the church exterior walls required detailing and subsequent painting, but it was cut well and easy to construct. I was particularly pleased with the designer's choice of using corrugated cardboard used for the tiled roof, as it is both simple and results in a good titled approximation.

After receiving the church for Christmas, I hurried to put it together and assumed it would be easy enough to detail and paint the model afterwards. A beginner's mistake! Texturing the walls would have been much easier if there had not been windows and door frames in the way. In the future, I will texture the exterior prior to construction.

Step by Step

Painting supplies

I applied a very light stucco texture (because you know, I had already assembled it in my post-holiday excitement) to the outer walls with Vallejo White Stone Texture. I used the Vallejo texture product instead of spackle, for two reasons: (1) I had it and (2) I thought it would give a more subtle effect, requiring less sanding. There is an excellent tutorial for using spackle to texture walls available at

I then primed the entire model with a gray Rustoleum primer.

I mixed a base coat of Artist’s Loft Naples Yellow and Yellow Ochre, in a roughly 6:1 ratio. I thought it would be simple enough to thin down craft acrylic paints for the airbrush, but that was not the case. By the time I got the paint thin enough to shoot though the airbrush, it provided absolutely no coverage. As a test, I tried to brush on the paint inside the model, but I was still not happy with the result. In the end, I muddled though with the acrylic paints in the airbrush for a good while before throwing in the towel and resorting back to Vallejo Yellow Ochre (70.913) and Khaki (70.988) model paints. With miniature painting, I have a lot of experience thinning down Vallejo model color to airbrush smoothly, and I was much happier with the coverage the model color provided. I applied it non-uniformly, to develop color variation in the exterior paint.

The base coat was still a little dark for my taste, so I took out my rarely used Vallejo White (70.951) - I never really take highlights whiter than ivory - and applied it to the exterior of the model. In the end, the mix of the gray primer, the while texture paste, and the spotty airbrushing gave a nice varied look.

The church after the base coat

In order to develop textures and lighten up the fairly dark base, I dry brushed - first with Naples Yellow and then I mixed in Unbleached Titanium. Next, I applied pure Unbleached Titanium, and finally, blended Unbleached and Titanium White for the topmost layer.

On this model, details were limited to wooden doors and floors. These were painted with Burnt Umber and dry brushed by adding Naples Yellow and Unbleached Titanium.

I air brushed the roof with Vallejo Scarlet (70.817), and then mixed in Clear Orange (70.956) and Old Rose (70.944).

I textured the base with Vallejo Brown Earth texture and used the air brush to shade the ground, bottom of the walls, and corners with Burnt Umber (70.941). I used Unbleached Titanium to dry brush highlights on the earth texture and give it a grayer look.

Lastly, I coated the entire model with a few coats of Rustoleum Matte Clear.

The Final Church

Final Thoughts

As I write this, the remaining buildings from the Kickstarter are out for delivery. This project was underway for 5 months, and I realized too late that (once again, in my excitement to build this kit), that I forgot to document the process. In the end, I am really pleased with the stucco look and the dirty yellow color, although my wife would have liked the church to be whiter in color - I have managed to avoid her bright color preferences once again!

Until next time, adventure on! Koliada

Tags: Blood & Plunder Bolt Action Terrain Mediterranean Caribbean MDF

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