Thursday, 7 March 2013

Mad Mecha Guy laser cut MDF scenery

Mad Mecha Guy started selling laser cut MDF scenery in November 2012 but I only recently discovered him via Dropship Horizon's "Cataloguing 15mm Scenery" article.  He's still revising some of his products and refining the web site, at the moment you have to contact him via e-mail to confirm postage costs and to order but he hopes to add a PayPal cart to the site soon which should speed things up.  I e-mailed to check postage on Sunday, received the information and confirmed my intent to purchase on Tuesday, received and paid the PayPal invoice on Thursday, received notice it had been posted on Friday and received the box on Saturday.  Communication was very good throughout and he removed much of the excess cuttings to save weight and therefore postage costs.  I don't mind receiving the few remaining cuttings, I can see that it would take a long time to remove all of them and besides, lots of tiny regular-shaped blocks are always handy to use as additional surface detailing on buildings, or just as rubble.

The contents of the parcel...

The first thing that struck me when I opened the box from Mad Mecha Guy was... the strong smell of burning!  I hadn't really thought about it before but if you're getting a box full of freshly laser cut MDF scenery, of course it's going to smell of burnt wood.  I've left the bits out of their bags so the smell can dissipate but it's something to bear in mind if you order any - don't open them in the dining room half an hour before you're due to eat a meal in there or in the living room if you're expecting guests!  I should say now that this is the first set of laser cut MDF scenery that I've bought so I don't know if this is a common feature of all of them or a particular quirk of the way Mad Mecha Guy cuts his.

The second thing that struck me was how much you get for your money and the well-thought out way that all the parts go together.

I purchased a range of items  - a set of crowd control barriers, a set of 2 x 3-storey shops, 2 x 3-storey houses and a pair of large 2-storey shops.  There was also a large bag of mystery MDF squares with rounded edges, it turns out that these are small bases (suitable for figures etc.) that he throws in to make use of any excess MDF because he can't stand wastage - a man after my own heart!

3mm MDF bases

Each individual set comes in plastic bag, with larger sets these are subdivided into additional bags to separate the different parts.  The quality of the cutting is excellent, all but one of the parts (that's one in probably over 1000 separate bits)  pressed out without any problem and there wasn't a single broken bit in the entire order despite many of the pieces having detail sections less than 1mm thick.

Very finely cut detail and it all arrived completely intact!

Where they differ, ground floor walls interlock differently from upper storey walls so that there is no chance of you accidentally incorporating the wrong sort as you build.  The design of the interlocking wall-ends differed between the various packs I ordered, depending upon your point of view this could be an advantage (no accidental mixing of packs together) or a disadvantage (harder to customise buildings by using wall sections from other packs).  There is such a range of different packs on offer that I don't think the latter inability to customise buildings is an issue, there are often different wall types within a pack that enable you to create variety even using only the basic set of bits.

A wide variety of wall types within a single building set.

Many of the parts seem to have a slightly tacky surface texture near the cut edges, which I assume comes from the cutting process.  I think this is from the waxes and resins used in manufacturing MDF, I've heard that these can spread onto the surface either because of the heat of cutting or because of the jet of air that some cutters blow as they work.  Whatever the cause, a quick wipe over with a piece of damp kitchen roll removed most of the residue and I've undercoated the buildings with MDF primer which has sealed in anything that remained.  I painted the crowd control barriers with primer without wiping them first and they've come out fine.

Crowd control barriers
I'll review the individual sets at a later date but here are a few more photographs to whet your appetite...

3 storey shop

3 storey dwelling

Single shop unit

Large shop

Crowd control barriers (easy peasy to assemble and paint!)


  1. Great looking stuff and you weren't kidding great prices. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Those are the best looking mdf buildings I've seen!

  3. Look great and yes the burning smell is common, I bout a 4Ground shed to experiment with to see how they paint up and yes they smell though it does wear off :D

    Look forward to seeing these all made and painted up.

    1. Thanks for that, I thought that other MDF scenery might smell the same but nice to have it confirmed.