When you're painting a house, it's said that the preparation is most of the work -- and that poor preparation will always result in a poor outcome. I think the same may apply -- to some extent -- to miniatures. A poor undercoat ruins your figure before you even start. Too much primer, too little, too slick, too grainy. There are a million ways to ruin a figure. Here's an article on the subject of undercoats.
A two story, half-timbered inn would be a great addition to any wargames table, and useful in miniatures games ranging from fantasy to World War II. It'd also be a lot of fun to work out a rold playing baroom brawl. Here's a pictorial tutorial on how to do it. A warning, though, the pictures are HUGE and take a bit of time to download.
A nice touch that can make your WWI and WWII terrain more realistic is to put posters on the walls of your buildings. What you need to do is find a site that has pictures of such posters and save the images using your web browser's "save image as" option. Then you can resize the image using a paint program -- or even a decent word processor (import the image into a blank page, then reasize it by grabbing the handles. Once you have the proper size for your figure scale, print it out with a color inkjet.
All you need to do is find the right site. Fortunately, I've done that for you. It's here.
Loose Files and American Scramble by Andy Callan was one of the first American Revolution games that I played. Originally published in Wargames Illustrated in 1987, it is a lot of fun. For thouse of you who don't have a copy of the magazine, it's been reprinted here.
I own a copy of the original Grenadier Fantasy Warriors boxed set. In fact, all the dwarf and orc miniatures that came with it are still unpainted and on their sprues. (I already had hordes of Games Workshop orc and dwarves and simply played with those).
The game had a lot to recommend it: the figures were great, they were a good bargain, and the rules were a marked departure from Games Workshop. What we liked most about the rules was the emphasis on command, rather than on individual super figures. Sadly, however, it's been out of print for many years.
Now you can get the original rules as a download here. As for the figures, I understand that there is an italian company that produces them, but I've had no success in finding them.