I love miniatures and I love terrain, and have since I was a kid. In fact, my primary gaming is with kids and I love watching their yes light up when I unveil a cool map or a sweet piece of terrain.
I Built It is a new company that is designing architecturally accurate models of medieval structures. The sets are laser cut model kits that fit together without glue or materials, and they are 28mm scale, meaning they pair wonderfully with all the D&D miniatures you likely have.
Nerds on Earth was sent a few sets to sample before I Built It’s upcoming Kickstarter. I won’t bury the lede: They are amazing.
The photos below walk you through the last build my 12-year-old and I did, the CREAKY TIMBERS kit that was rated as 2 stars on the 5 star difficulty scale.
I Built It kits are meticulously designed. We’ve all known the feeling when you open a box and you realize you are staring at a bunch of flimsy junk. When I opened the I Built It kits, I immediately knew I was staring at a finely crafted product.
All the materials are well-suited to their place in the design. The framework is laser cut from sturdy wood. Fine details like shingles are laser cut from a thinner, lighter material that I think is some sort of vinyl.
In short, it’s obvious that every single little step and part of the kit was meticulously designed with care taken to get it just right.
I Built It kits are designed so no tools are needed. I found this to be 100% accurate. Being laser cut, the pieces come off the spurs clean. And they snap tightly together, so no glue is necessary.
But I couldn’t help myself. As my daughter would work through the steps, I took a little time to clean everything up with a hobby knife. Again, this wasn’t necessary, but I’m a nerd and can’t help myself.
I also used a little tacky glue in places. Again, this wasn’t necessary. Indeed, being that the kit is modular, you want to be careful that you don’t glue it together. But I wanted to put a tiny drop of tacky glue in a few places, such as tacking down the shingles. This way each module feels nice and sturdy, yet I’m still free to mix and match them, or feel comfortable banging them around at the table.
These models take care to be historically and architecturally accurate, but an enthusiastic market for the kits will be D&D and Pathfinder players. If there is a village you frequent in your campaign, then the modular approach allows you to build it!
There is a line of kits for towns and villages, but there is also a fantastic line for castles and similar structures. Higher level campaigns that may feature a Stronghold or Keep will be perfect for the castle line. It absolutely phenomenal.
I loved the I Built It kits I’ve assembled. They aren’t overwhelming but they certainly aren’t slap it together affairs. My daughter and I spent a couple hours on the simple cottage above. And every step was enjoyable. We had a great time with it.
I love terrain, so I was predestined to enjoy these kits. But I also do other modeling, like Hirst plaster molds. Other hobbyists dabble in 3D printing for terrain. I can see I Built It kits being an interesting product in those categories. I think some folks will want it simply because it’s so cool.
It’s scientifically proven that terrain enhances D&D games. Just trust me on that fact. Don’t Google it, there are a lot of lies out there. One thing that is certainly true: I Built It is a great new product for hobbyists. Promise me you’ll give it a look.
[Disclosure: Nerds on Earth received a couple of I Built It kits in exchange for an honest review of the product.]