Okay, this is going to be my biggest review to date, so buckle in and enjoy the ride. This is my office block, based on the "Hollywood Flats" walls found in the Bits of Mayhem set. Hollywood Flats is a term used for buildings that are put up on a movie set that lack any interior detail. They are just a facade. World Works Games provide more Hollywood Flats in the Downtown Mayhem set. These are useful for people who play Heroclix, for example, when all that is required is the outer shell of a building. However, these are absolutely no use to me. One of the things that I love about WWG's buildings is that they come with interior detail. As a skirmish wargamer this is important to me. So I decided my office block would have interior detail. I knew from the onset that this would be my toughest challenge so far, and so it proved.
The two photos above give you a good view of the roof so I'll comment on that now. The roof is also from the Bits of Mayhem set and I made sure that the trapdoor hinged so that it could open and close. The roof is glued onto mounting board and further reinforced with foamboard. The foamboard is thick enough to allow it to sit on the floor below without moving as it is cut flush with the inside of the lower walls. Also, the hole for the trapdoor is cut slightly smaller than the hole I cut in the mounting board. This helps keep the door flush with the roof.
The roof is provided with edging that is supposed to hide the sides of the foamboard as WWG expect you to cut it flush with the outside of the walls. It wasn't necessary for me to do this, so I printed out some extra pieces and used them to make a parapet surrounding the roof.
I knew that this was going to be an office block but what kind of offices? The answer to that came with the signage provided in the Downtown Mayhem set. One of them was for a firm of barristers and solicitors. If you have your own ideas for what the offices should be you can still follow my tips here and just make a few cosmetic changes. Replace the front sign with whatever you fancy.
Another decision that I made when I was planning this was that I wanted to alter the building's footprint. Most WWG Mayhem buildings have a 7" by 7" footprint or some multiple of this, although now they seem to be moving towards 6" by 6" footprints. A footprint, by the way, is the ground area that the building covers. The walls for this building come with four clearly marked columns of windows. If I made this without making any alterations it would give me four columns front and back and eight on the sides. I opted for three front and back and seven on the sides. The sides had to be reduced to give me enough room to fit my fire escapes. The actual footprint of these offices is 5.25" by 14".
The fire escapes come from the Bits of Mayhem set. This is my first building fitted with them. I knew that I wanted this to be four storeys high, making it my tallest building so far, so I reckoned that fire escapes ought to be a necessity. They were the last thing I made on this project apart from the roof. Edging makes a big difference and I edged my fire escapes with acrylic paints, mostly black, but also some rust stains added for good measure.
As I mentioned before, the walls come with four columns of windows. Take a close look at where I made my cuts. For the front and back I cut the walls one and a half columns to the right and one and a half columns to the left. For the sides I made the cuts three and a half columns to the right and three and a half columns to the left. Why? For aesthetic reasons - it looks better doing it my way. If you look very carefully you will note the outer columns are not quite the same as the inner columns. It's only a subtle difference but it is a difference. My way makes the walls perfectly symmetricral.
And now we come to the interiors with an overhead view of the ground floor. The floor tiles come from Return to Shellendrak Manor for the reception room; Mayhem Police for the junior lawyer's office and Pubs and Inns for the corridor and stairwell. The stairs are from the Mayhem Police set, whilst the stair rail is found in the Mayhem Industrial set. I mentioned a website called Jim's Printable Minis found at http://www.printmini.com/printables/pq.shtml in my review of my semi-detached houses. Jim provides free downloads for dolls' houses. I made quite a few trips there for this project. The wallpaper in the reception room and the junior lawyer's office came from Jim. The inner walls of the corridor are simply coloured card (yellow and pastel yellow) purchased from an art supplier's shop. Most stationers should stock them. An important tip - do not glue the windows in place until after you have marked where the window opening is on the back of your interior wall.
In the reception room, the desk, telephone and receptionist's chair are from the Mayhem Police set. Her laptop computer comes from the Ebbles Derelict Core 2 set (Office Props). If you want to remain loyal to WWG, there is an excellent laptop computer in the Mayhem Junkyard set, which wasn't available when I made this. You'll notice a lot of portraits on the walls as well as numerous certificates. I typed in "lawyers" in the Google Images search engine and printed out page 1 of the results at A5 size to give me lots of individual portraits and group portraits. The certificates came from the same place as the laptop computers - Ebbles Derelict Core 2 set (Office Props).
The desk used by the junior lawyer is found in Mayhem Industrial. Ditto with his computer. His chair comes from the Mayhem Police set. The welcome mat found in the reception room comes from Jim's Printable Minis.
The two long red seats in the reception room are from the Mayhem Police set. The filing cabinet in the junior lawyer's office can be found in the Mayhem Industrial set but cut in half. The other half gets used later. His ancient looking bookcase comes from the Castles and Keeps set, with one set of shelves removed to make it fit heightwise. Remember to leave a 0.25" gap on the top of your internal walls so that the foamboard that reinforces the floor above can fit in place.
The smaller bookcase in the junior lawyer's office is one third of the extremely long bookcase found in the Shellendrak Manor set. The big, black coffee machine in the reception room is from the Mayhem Police set.
This floor represents the secretarial pool. The corridor floor and walls are made in the same way as the the ground floor corridor. Now here's a clever tip for the cork effect floor in the big room. Go to Microsoft Office Word. Click on Insert. Click on Shapes and choose the Rectangle shape in the Basic Shapes choices. Draw a rectangle that just about covers the page. Now click on Shape Fill and choose the Textures option. The cork texture is the sixth one down at the extreme left column. Click on that and your rectangle will be filled. Print it out and then cut to measure. I'm using Windows Vista, so I don't know if this will work on earlier versions of Windows. The floor and walls of the toilet are both wallpaper patterns from Jim's Printable Minis. The walls of the big room are red and pastel red card, similar to those used in the corridors and stairwells.
Most of the furniture found in the secretarial pool comes from the Mayhem Police set, which is a godsend for furnishing offices. I'll only mention the stuff that doesn't come from there. The six room dividers are a great way to form cubicles for the secretaries.
The six laptop computers are the same ones as used by the receptionist downstairs. You can also find a good set of laptop computers in the Ebbles Ambient Elements - Barracks set. Very useful if you want variety on the screens.
The clock at the top of the photo above comes from Jim's Printable minis.
The toilet and sink were used from the Mayhem Police set. For an older look, use the ones found in Shellendrak manor.
The second floor (or third floor if you are an American) consists of offices for the barrister (far left)and the solicitor (centre) as well as a store room. The walls and floor of the corridor and stairwell continue the theme started on the ground floor. The floor and walls of the barrister come from Jim's Printable Minis. The floors for the solicitor and the storeroom can both be found in the Mayhem Police set. The walls of both rooms are just thin coloured card - light grey for the storeroom and pastel green for the solicitor.
The two long bookcases are kitbashed from the very long bookcase found in Shellendrak Manor. I've replaced the lower set of drawers with more bookshelves. A simple cut and paste job. These bookcases are two thirds the length of the Shellendrak Manor one. The filing cabinet in the solicitor's office is from Mayhem Police. The shelves and boxes found in the storeroom are from the Ebbles Ambient Elements - Storeroom set.
Both desks are from Shellendrak Manor, as are the four chairs for clients. The barrister and solicitor sit on the bigger chairs found in the Mayhem Police set. This is where their computers, keyboards, monitors and telephones come from.
The small bookcase seen in the solicitor's office comes once again, from the Mayhem Police set.
The filing cabinet in the barrister's offices can be found in the Mayhem Industrial set but here, I've cut it in half. It comes with four sets of drawers but I only wanted two sets of drawers. The other half was used in the junior lawyer's office on the ground floor.
The fourth storey is where the senior partners have their offices. As you can see, I've made all corridors and stairwells the same. The big office to the left uses wallpaper and carpets from Jim's Printable Minis. The carpet in the other office utilises the same technique that I used for the secretarial pool. This time look at the top row of the textures and chose the one at the far right - denim. Once again, I turned to Jim's Printable Minis for my choice of wallpaper here.
The big bookcase seen in the big office above is a fullsized kitbash of the Shellendrak Manor bookcase with no drawers and extra shelves. It's quite a size and only just fit in.
The desk in the big office is identical to the receptionist's desk, i.e. it came from Mayhem Police. The other desk is the one found in Shellendrak Manor. Chairs and desk items are identical to the ones found in the two offices below.
The two bookcases shown in the small(ish) office are my kitbashes of the Shellendrak Manor bookcase but both at one third its size. The filing cabinet seen at the very top of the above photo is from Mayhem Police.
The filing cabinets in the smaller office are those that come with the Mayhem Industrial set but this time cut to three-quarter length. The filing cabinets in the larger office are from the Mayhem Police set.
Still with me? This was a much bigger project than I thought it would be. It took over five months to complete and when I was finished I just couldn't face making another building with lots of furniture in. This was the last building that I've made. I'm now working on the Mayhem Skateboard Park, which I've almost completed. Yippee, no interiors to worry about! As you can see there was a hell of a lot of work involved in bringing this project to fruition but once completed my sense of satisfaction was immense. I'm very, very proud of this model but I wouldn't want to make another one soon!