Wednesday, 2 December 2009

WWG Bookstore

This week's World Works Games review looks at a building that I am especially proud of - the Mayhem City bookstore. The reason that I am so proud of this is because it is a complete conversion that I came up with. If you look on the WWG website you won't find any Mayhem City bookstore listed amongst their contemporary products. The idea for this conversion came about when I bought the Shellendrak Manor set and saw the long bookshelves that came with it. That was the spark that set me off on this unique project.

The roof comes from the Mayhem Downtown set. There are two roofs supplied with this set and I chose the broom roof, so called because there is a broom discarded on it. There is also a knocked over white plastic chair printed on the roof. I did not like this feature because it should be in 3-D not a flat image, so I Photo-shopped it out on my computer. The box of air conditioning units in the centre of the roof came from the Mayhem Armoury set. They make a very useful handle for lifting the roof off!

So, the first decision to make was to choose a set of exterior walls for the building and for me, the obvious place to look was in the Mayhem Downtown set, which consists of numerous "Hollywood flats" i.e. exterior walls for buildings without any interiors. I chose the stucco wall from that set. The sign above the front doors also came from that set and I like the pun name of Baiurs and Selers, which sounds like Buyers and Sellers. The front doors are also from the Mayhem Downtown set and are stuck onto the ground floor wall that has only two windows. There is another ground floor wall in this set that has four windows printed on it, which was not used in this project. Note that on all the upper floor windows I cut out the strip at the bottom of each window and glued it to thick mounting board. I then stuck them back in place. This gives them a more realistic appearance, especially when viewed from an angle as in the first two photos.

The side walls came from a kitbash set designed by Bob Cooper called Urban Mayhem Flats: Siding 1 (Neutral Colours). The grey walls fit in perfectly with the grey stone work of the ground floor. I had to do a bit of work in Photoshop with the ground floor wall to remove the two windows - not that hard a task for me, a qualified graphic designer.

For the back wall I used the stucco walls with two windows in from the Mayhem Downtown set. I placed a back door directly over the right hand window on the ground floor. This came from the set of spare doors that are supplied with the Mayhem Downtown set. I wanted a solid-looking door with no windows in and this fit the bill perfectly.

The right hand wall is identical to the left hand wall so my previous comments apply here.

The photo above shows an overhead view of the interior of the ground floor. The wood panelled floor came from the Fantasy set, Pubs and Inns. I added a welcome mat taken from Jim's Dollhouse Minis website, where all the props are free to download. the piles of books that you can see stacked next to the sales counter came from the same website. I just glued the bookcovers to offcuts of mounting board to create differing heights. The stairs came from the Mayhem Industrial set

Now that I am moving onto the interiors I ought to say how my bookshelves differ from those found in the Shellendrak Manor set. Once again, some copy and paste work in Photoshop was used. The SM bookshelves come with five rows of shelves atop a row of drawers and a strip of wood panelling. I added an extra row of shelves for the books to give six in total. This strip replaced the row of drawers. The wood panelling was cut in half so that I had a strip running along the top of the shelves as well as the bottom.. Then I designed a series of black strips with white writing on to go over the top strip of wood. The shelf that you see against the back wall says "Best Sellers" and "A-Z by Author" on the black strip. The height of all my shelves remained the same as the Shellendrak Manor shelves but the lengths vary. The SM bookshelves are really three shelves joined together. For my bookstore I printed some off as triple units, some as double units and others as single units. If there is sufficient interest in my bookshelf conversion I may submit it to WWG as a kitbash. The wall clock above the back door is another prop from Jim's Dollhouse Minis.
The single bookshelf next to the stairs contains children's books. The two shelves in the centre of the floor are stacked with fiction. The sales counter is a conversion of the one that came with the Mayhem Armoury set. I've changed it from an "L" shape to a single long unit. the drawers are in the centre at the back and the two shelves have been moved to the front left and their contents replaced with stacks of books, waiting to go on display. The phone on the desk is from the Mayhem Police set, whilst the laptop computer is from the Ebbles Derelict Core 2 set - Office Props. The painting by the back door came from the Mayhem Police set.

Note the filing cabinet hidden underneath the stairs. That came from the Mayhem Industrial set but was cut in half to fit in the space. Throughout the store, on walls and ends of the bookshelves you'll see posters of books. I got these from an excellent website called Fantastic Fiction, which must list every work of fiction ever published. I had a look at their list of top twenty books and copied the images of the front covers to a separate file. I resized them then printed them out. They give the place a very authentic feel. The only downside is that they date the store. This can't be helped and it would be unrealistic to try and keep them current.

The five shelves along the back wall contain works of general fiction, whilst the two shelves in the centre of the floor are where you'll find the romance novels. I spent an interesting morning in a large bookstore (Waterstone's) noting down the different categories of books they stock. Very useful research!

This overhead view shows the first floor (or second floor if you're American) and is devoted to specific genres of fiction, like for instance, crime, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi and horror.

Against the back wall are three shelf units stacked with fantasy and science fiction novels. The stairs are identical to those on the ground floor, coming as they do from the Mayhem Industrial set.

I made a simple parapet to run along the hole in the floor caused by the stairwell. It's just a piece of grey mounting board with a brown strip running along the top and bottom. The shelf at the bottom of the stairs is devoted to film and TV tie-in novels and is flanked by posters for Star Wars and Doctor Who. The two shelves in the centre of the floor contain mystery novels.

I like reading but there are very few of the books that I chose to advertise that I have read. In the centre of the far wall above is a poster for Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamilton, which I have read, as I'm a big fan of her Anita Blake series.

The two shleves in the centre of the floor are stacked with crime thrillers, which is rather appropriate as the mystery novels occupied the opposite side. Against the far wall are one shelf of science fiction novels, two shelves of horror novels and two shelves of historical fiction.

Moving up a floor, this section is devoted to the non-fiction and reference books. I did wonder whether each floor should have a sales counter but due to lack of space I ditched that idea. Anyone who buys a book here has to pay for it on the ground floor.

The three categories of books found on the shelves against the far wall are art and architecture, biographies and cookery. The L-shaped parapet around the stairwell was made in a similar manner to the one on the floor below.

Against the far wall in the photo above are a pair of bookshelves devoted to reference books, like dictionaries. The two shelves in the centre of the floor stock books on religion and sport. To some people sport is a religion!

I chose a couple of large book covers from Jim's Dollhouse Minis to stick on the end of the shelves in the centre of this floor. They are both to do with cookery.

I arranged the different categories of books on this floor in alphabetical order going in a clockwise direction. So, on the five shelves against the far wall you will find books on film and TV, gardening, military, natural history and poetry. Transport and travel are the two categories of books found on the two centrally placed shelves.
This was an enormously satisfying project to work on and quite a challenge. It is not something that I would recommend beginners to try. There is nothing I like more than to see a building that is fully furnished on the inside. "Hollywood flats" may have their place in a lot of people's cities but not in mine. I like my interiors too much!


  1. Well what can I say! I'm insanely jealous once again. Fantastic job as usual. I'd love to try to get his kind of quality but there's two things standing in the my way:
    1. Time. With gaming several different games with the kids I have to scrounge for build time.
    2. Talent. I just don't have it!

    I have a question! I can't quite tell from the pictures. What is the wall thickness of your buildings? Is it just cardstock or do you have a filler? They always look so freakin good.

  2. Thanks, Veloci. Your question has been answered many times in previous reviews of my WWG buildings. Of course newcomers like yourself probably haven't read them all, so for the benefit of you and other newcomers all of my buildings are printed onto 130gm matte photopaper. Once cut out I stick the pieces to thick mounting board, which I believe is called artboard in America. It is about 2mm thick and makes the buildings incredibly strong and durable. It does mean that the building time is increased quite a bit but the results are more than worth it. Just about everything you see in the above building was glued to mounting board. The exceptions being the doors, which are glued to thin card, like that found on cereal boxes. The posters were not reinforced at all. I hope that helps.

  3. Thanks Vamp. I thought I had read about this in your reports but I was too pressed to re-read them all last night. 2mm would make them about .080"
    I think I will follow your lead. So far I have just slammed some stuff out to game but I am about to start a warehouse and then a hospital. These will be much bigger buildings with more time investment and I want them to last. It is very humid where, commonly over 80% and I am very worried about warpage.
    I was thinking to kitbash the hospital from the WWG police station as a basis.
    Don't worry, before I start these I will re-read every post on your site!

  4. Hey Vamp, Excellent as always, would have responded on Facebook but I just don't use it even though you are added as a friend :)

    Still checking out every one of your posts. Will be starting some buildings soon, have found some free ones too. Have started painting the odd miniature.

    Keep up the good work!


  5. Another question! How are you handling the corners with the thicker walls? Is it strictly edged or do you actually cap them?

  6. @Neil. Thanks, mate. I'm more likely to read your comments here than on Facebook but I do go on FB about once a day or every other day, whereas I usually check my blog for comments about two or three times per day.

    @Willy. Check out my review of my WWG warehouse for how I handled my biggest building so far, at least in terms of width and length. With regards to the corners of my buildings there is a knack to it and again, it is explained in at least one previous post.
    Just to recap, if making a square room two opposing walls will have the mounting board cut to the exact width of the exterior wall pieces. The other two walls will have the mounting board reduced in length by about 2mm (the thickness of the card) on either side. However, the photopaper with the exterior walls printed on them will not be reduced in length. This means that they will overlap the mounting board ever so slightly to form a seamless join at the corners. The interior walls need to be reduced in size by about 2mm on each end in order to fit snugly inside. 2mm is an approximate estimate of the thickness of the card. You'll need to measure your own artboard to get an exact measurement. I hope that makes sense to you.

  7. It does make sense. Twas on the lines of what I was thinking. But I still bet I mess it up! The only way to learn is to get after it and practice.
    I will definitely make sure to re-read all your building posts.
    I will never be going for your incredible level of detail, but I would like to have some sturdy long lasting buildings.
    Thanks again!