Wednesday 27 February 2013

Barcelona Universal Models Far West Town

 While I was in Pennsylvania, I purchased a number of wargaming and modelling items. Part of the haul was these sets produced by Barcelona Universal Models, or BUM, as they are better known - which is a rather unfortunate acronym for a variety of reasons.

The haul of of BUM sets.
BUM produces or markets a variety of sets, and a number of them are essentially copies of Airfix figures with accessories thrown in, some of which I believe to be originally produced by Giant.

Close up of some of the Far West boxes.

The box art is bold and colourful
The Far West town range is one that I have been interested in for some time, as I believe that they could be used on templates for BUAs for games set in 19th and possibly 18th century North America.

The three most usable buildings. L. to R. Saloon, Railway Station, and Hotel.
The attraction of using these building are that they are largely only the 'storefront' and lack any real depth - generally only being 20-30mm deep (3/4" to 1 1/4" deep in wargaming measure) which allows plenty of room on a V&B BUA template.

Two small wagons with an Imex AWI British soldier for scale.
 The problem is that the best buildings are definitely not suitable for 18th century use. Fortunately they are fine for !9th Century use! The wagons that come with the ranches (each ranch got a wagon in a similar colour) can be converted to use as 18th century wagons, and some of the figures could also be adapted, so the 18th Century does get a look in!

One of the two Ranches.

The two ranches, with soldier for scale.
 The ranches themselves will require much work to be usable, but could be used for parts, particularly fencing.

A small engine and a smaller church, possibly a chapel.
The locomotive will require some further work, and the church will need have a larger doorway cut and the bell tower tweaked. So both of these will also be of use.

The Church and the Hotel with soldier for scale.

Locomotive and Station with soldier for scale.

The figures from the combined sets. All the figures are copies from various Airfix sets. The horses I believe are copies of horses from Giant.
 The figures are all reduced size copies of Airfix figures and are nearly perfect HO scale. Some of these figures are quite usable, but most will probably prove to be too small when put near 1/72 scale figures.

Sprue number one: copies of Airfix Cowboys and Airfix Indians.

Sprue number two: Copies of figures from the Airfix Wagon Train set, and the Airfix Civilians set.

Sprues of horses - that look very much like horses by Giant.
By and large I am quite happy with these sets, and if worse comes to worse I could always use them for playing games of Boothill.


  1. A pretty good score, Brian! I must adnit, I'd be in two minds how I would use them: give them a 'proper' paint job, or leave them 'as is' for a simpler type of game. As they are, they do present a charm of their own.

    I like the loco, but I agree, that at the very least it will require some paint work. And you will need to construct some rail lines as well - unless it fits on HO/OO gauge lines. If there is another model train exhibition in October you might be able to pick up lengths of rail there for not too large an expense...


    1. Hi Ion,
      The loco will have to have its chassis cut to get rid of the bend in it, plus I might reposition the wheels slightly. I also have at the very least put on some rods and lifting arms.

      As to paint jobs, I am leaning towards doing a 'proper' job - but an 'as is' look does have a certain charm.

  2. Is there a reason the figures are smaller than the originals?

    1. They are probably smaller becuase they are using the original figs to create new sprues and they then have an added amount of shrinkage.

  3. This is something new for me. I didn´t know that BUM made houses etc. The figures aren´t any great shakes but the buildings look interesting
    The funniest thing is what they have named thier site..BUM slot :-D I nearly wet myself laughing when I first looked

    1. Hi Paul,
      Their website name is very unfortunate.... but very funny!

      The figures are not great, but the buildings have potential, hopefully I will be able to do some interesting things with them.

  4. I'd some of those boxes but I've sold them all!
    Even if the buildings are "original", they are not good enough for my taste and like I'm not a wargamer, I've no good use with them.

    Waiting to see what you will do with them!

    Interesting review : never read a so complete one on all those sets!

    1. Hi Sam,
      I agree that as models these buildings leave a great deal to be desired! Hopefully the end product will look a great deal better!

  5. I'll be interested to see what you do with them as well. I like the idea of playing Boot Hill with them. I was very disappointed with the sets I bought. I somehow bought two copies of the church, the sheriff set and the Locomotive set. I had bought the Revell Cowboys and Indians as well as the Imex Sioux at the same time. Not only were the BUM figures tiny and and misshapen, but the buildings seemed way too small for use with the other figures. That, coupled with the high shipping costs killed my enthusiasm for the whole project. Maybe I should see if I can trade my sets for something on Benno's.

    1. Hi Sean,
      Another Boot Hill player? Cool! I will post something should I run a game this year. The Revell figures are very cool, as are the Imex Sioux. Also neat are the Hong Kong knockoffs of the Airfix Cowboys and Indians.

      Good luck with trading the sets!

  6. The Horse is not the same as the Giant one, but has some similarities with the horse their neighbours across the Beleric sea; Baravelli, issued in their similar 'Hong Kong' sets. The Giant horse was a hybrid between the Rel and Marx horses, without the sticky-out stirrups, which become strange mouldings below the saddle.

    The only Giant stuff connected with BuM are the knights and Mongols, the war horse and the medieval fort which came to them late (2000's) via (or after) Accoutrements/Archie McFee. They then added the footbridges and tents from the ex-Montaplex range, which is also where these sets of yours originate.

    The name is worth a paper on its own - as Paul points out the whole name is BuM-Slot, and while the story is that BuM is 'Boom' in Spanish which would be understandable for a war games company, the slot-racing came own suspicion is that someone with Anglo-Saxon roots knew exactly what he was doing when he named his project...I stand to be corrected!!

    1. Hi Maverick,

      Thank you very much for the information, and for taking the time to comment - it's always good to get information from an expert! I had no idea that that BUM's wild west sets had been produced before.

      The horses do look very similar to Baravelli horses - of course I had to google it to find someone selling the horses to see what they looked like!

      After reading your comment I also googled Montaplex to see what else they produced, and I was quite impressed with the scope of their production - in particular their range of warships!

      I agree with you that somebody at the company must of known exactly what BuM-Slot would sound like in English - so was it sabotage? or schoolboy humour?

  7. lets see what you make of them Brian. I think I'll keep my post short as I don't have much to say that has not already been said. But what I will say is that; whatever you do with them enjoy the outcome!

    1. Thanks Gowan,
      I certainly aim to enjoy playing with my toys!