The Chinese buildings continue with an addition from Dragonfrog Games. This is part of their Asian Shop line, which consists of six building variants. You get two identical buildings per package, plus one additional third floor (not used in this build). Design-wise, they seem to be based off the Chinese shops is South East Asia, particularly Penang, Malaysia. I plan instead to use them for Shanghai and considering the European influence on the city at that time, I think they'll blend in without too much fuss.
For this particular building, I've gone with a green painted front and signage for a puppet/toy shop. As usual, I've used plastic roof tiles and paper textures to enhance the basic MDF kit. The kit comes with engraved window frames, but they look very flat and I was concerned about getting a good edge where the paper textures meet the windows.
I thought about adding window images over them to match my scratch built buildings, but was then worried about stability with the window openings behind them. In the end, I decided to glue some clear plastic to the back of the windows, and attached window frames glued to card on the outside. This both helped hide the window seams and added a slight 3D element.
The floors link together using divots and pegs at the meeting of each level. While the seams aren't too noticeable in the busy brick texture, They are painfully obvious with a stucco texture.
To help hide this, I added some additional trim to the front of the building. On my first attempt I put the trip flush with the top of the pins, but the seam was still not completely hidden. As such I had to add some additional material. For future builds, I'll be sure to have the trim sit a bit higher.
And here's the finished product. The balustrade color was supposed to match the grey trim and did so under my desk light, but in sun it ended up with more of a beige tint. Luckily, I don't think it's too distracting.
The kit come with enough shutters for all the upper windows, but I opted to leave them off the sides so I could put the shops closer together.
While I am overall happy with the kit, the one big drawback I find with it is the reduced height of the upper level. As you can see in this side by side, the upper floor is only about 2/3's the height of the lower. The optional third floor is even shorter.
While visually it still looks good when assembled, it limits the usability when trying to put figures on the upper floors. As you can see in the below photo, Copplestone figures easily fit on the ground floor even when waving a sword.
However, on the upper floor the standing officer will just barely squeeze under the ceiling, but the swordsman will not fit. The optional 3rd floor (not pictured) is too low to fit any figures in my collection that aren't prone. It's a not a deal breaker in my ability to recommend these kits, but definitely a missed opportunity.
Looking at the photos on the Dragonfrog site, it was difficult to get a sense of size for the buildings. The actual frontage was a little narrower than I visualized, but you should be able to fit approximately 3 figures on 25mm bases across the front.
Width and depth-wise, the shop is actually fairly close to my scratch built buildings. Though shorter, I think it will blend into the street scene without a problem.
If people are interested, these are the doors and window frames appropriately scaled for the shop.
So my final verdict is that I am overall happy with the kit, despite it's one limitation. I bought the bundle of variants 4,5, and 6, so will have six shops by the time this is done. The nice thing about them is that parts seem interchangeable across the kits, so I'm going to try mixing them up on future builds to add additional variety.