Generic Building Sectors for Crossfire

Most of my Crossfire buildings are generic 3″x3″ sectors of foam board on a cardboard base. Some are building complexes of more than one sector. And I’ve also done Triangular Blocks to give Diagonal Streets.

My design principals were:

  • Easy: Simple to make as I wanted a lot of them
  • Game aids: I’m willing to sacrifice realism for playability

The results are alright in a sort of cartoonish manner – see my Wooden Buildings for something more sophisticated.

All Buildings

I got all my generic building sectors out the other day and plonked them on a table. The table was 5′ x 4′ but I had to cram the buildings onto the table to fit so I’m confident I could fill a 6′ x 4′ table. They are all home made.

All generic buildings

All generic buildings

All generic buildings

Shapes of Buildings

My Generic Building modules are, mostly, designed around 3″ x 3″ building sectors.

Square Single Sector

When I was doing my stand alone generic single building sectors I got all keen and made quite a few different building shapes within the bounds of the standard 3″ x 3″ sector. All of the shapes left room for two squads and a PC – the standard capacity in Crossfire. This made the whole thing slightly more complicated but made for more realistic buildings. Some of the shapes are a small building with a small yard attached. Some have an open back wall so that if you put two together they form a realistic looking compound with a couple of buildings and a shared yard (although in the game I treat them was simply two building sectors). If I did it again I might not bother as the more realistic a building is, particularly when chained together the more confusing it is for the players. .

Larger Rectangles

I then made some larger pieces starting with a 2 x 1 rectangle. As with the single building sectors the walls of the building don’t have to correspond with the edges of the building sector.

One Story Ruins 2×1

Some of the building sectors are a single story. Some, like the following, have walls that reach another story even if there are no floors at above ground. In a game the had a 3D aspect this would still be only a single story.

2 Sector building – alternative view

For multi-story buildings I did a ruined upper floor and usually gave them a blown out back wall. This is to facilitate putting figures inside all floors.

Two story ruins 2×1

Stackable City Blocks

I also made some rectangular city blocks. Each city block is 3 or 6 building sectors. They are stackable to form multi-story buildings – I’m thinking about Beirut in 1982. I made the exterior walls, by and large, intact to allow the modules to stack. The ruined interiors are to facilitate moving bases around; they are also easier, or perhaps just more fun, to make.

City Block 3×2

City Block 3×2

L Shaped

The Ponyri scenario in Hit the Dirt had some L shaped buildings with three building sectors. They also happened to be two storied. So I made some.

3 Sector L shaped building. Two stories

Large Buildings

I’ve already built some not-quite-so-generic large buildings. Nominally these are for the University City of Madrid or the Hospice of Jerusalem. So far I’ve built two of the set of three. The two are both 3 x 1 sectors and three stories high. The sectors are larger than usual, being 4″ x 4″. You can’t see it from the photo but the back walls are blown out with ruins inside … again to facilitate putting troops inside.

Large Buildings 3×1

Triangular Blocks for Diagonal Streets

See Triangular Blocks to give Diagonal Streets for a fuller discussion. Basically I want diagonal streets in my densely built up areas. So I designed some triangular city blocks that when use in pairs give diagonal streets. The interiors are not meant to be realistic. They simply divide the blocks into building sectors that are at least the floor area of a normal 3″ x 3″ building sector.

2 Foot City with Diagonal Streets


I’ve experimented with a few colours for my generic building sectors:

  • Off white, my default
  • Adobe, really just a variation in off white
  • Cement grey, which I’m not a fan of
  • Stone coloured

Off White Modules

My original building sectors are an off white. My wife says they’re quite evocative of Quneitra – a ruined city on the Israeli-Syrian border.

I went for off white because most of my armies are from the Mediterranean or similar climates. This colour is less suitable for WW2 Eastern Front but even there many villages in the Ukraine had white washed walls.

The original off white was achieved by painting them with a white acrylic paint – anything cheap – then washing with diluted black paint. Now I’d go for a dark undercoat and successively lighter top coats without covering everything until eventually it becomes dry brushing.

Generic ruins

2 Sector building


I’ve repainted some my generic off-white modules as Abode and added a mosque. This is nominally for the Rif War. The mosque is commercial and solid; at some point I’ll replace it with a hollow home made version for easier game play.

Muslim Village

Muslim Village

Grey City Blocks

I also built some generic city blocks in a concrete/cement colour. This is actually quite unrealistic but the grey is a gaming convention – i.e. gamers expect ruins to be grey – which I couldn’t fight any longer. Actually a light pink is more realistic – at least that is the colour of the dust that covered everything at Stalingrad – bear in mind that most of the non-wood buildings were made of brick and powdered brick is a light pinkish-brown.

These blocks were undercoated in black, followed by a heavy dry brush in dark grey, a dry brush in mid grey, and finally a light dry brush in light grey.

Concrete City

Having played a couple of games I decided I really didn’t like the grey effect. So I painted over it with a lighter grey to make them more compatible with my white-ish modules.

City Block 3×2

Stone Colour

My large buildings are stone coloured. Actually this is merely a wash made from Cote D’arm Horse Color Dun applied over white. The corner work and window frames are light grey.

Large Stone Buildings in the background

3 comments to Generic Building Sectors for Crossfire

  • Matt

    Really cool buildings. DO you have a guide or a template or a how to?

    I’d be interested in trying to build something similar.

    I am reading Island of Fire right now so your Stalingrad game is inspiring.

    Hope you keep this great site going.

    • Steven Thomas

      Matt, thanks for the positive feedback. As you’ve asked I’ll organise a “how to”. Also thanks for reference to “Island of Fire” – I’ll look it up.

  • John

    This is really helpful!

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