Glued down the towel thatching, slapped a coat of paint over the small stone building, added the door, and declared it done!
The towel got cut into a rough rectangle, big enough to hang an inch or so over the edges of the cardboard roof on all sides. I used a hot glue gun to glue the towel over the cardboard roof, including wrapping it around the edges and underside of the sides of the roof. This gave the roof the nice thick edge you see on a lot of thatch roofs. To fit the roof around the curve at the rear of the building I cut up to the peak of the curved part and layered the towel over itself further down, trimming a bit away so the overlap wasn’t too large.
The first layer of painting was actually a mix of paint and white glue, generously applied with a fairly large brush, with a bit of water to help move the paint around. Towel soaks liquid up like, well, towel, so expect to use more paint and more glue than you first thing you’ll need! After this mix has dried overnight it’s really solid and gamer-proof. One of the reasons I usually use a tan or off-white towel for thatch, even though I always paint over it, is that any bits of towel that don’t get painted still look reasonable, which wouldn’t be the case if I used a colourful towel &mdhas; thatch ain’t usually blue or red…
After the black paint has dried overnight I drybrushed various shades of brown and tan over the thatch, ending with a fairly bright yellow-tan colour mixed with a bit of white, applied mostly along the ridgeline and edges of the roof, just to make them pop a little. As with the base coat, don’t bother using a small brush for this, I used a 3/4″ wide cheap house painting brush for all of this work!
The stonework had also been based black. I put a few blotches of green and brown down here and there, and then drybrushed a dark grey, a pale grey, and finally a mix of pale grey and white over the stones.
I didn’t get a photo of the door, but it was done on a rectangle of light card with narrow pieces of scrap wood from coffee stir sticks, glued down with hot glue, then hit with a heavy dark wash (mostly GW Nuln Oil) so it looked like heavily weathered wood.
Stonework from styrofoam is a lot of fun and fast to do; I might do a few more stone cottages or something eventually. Maybe a ruined abbey or something suitable for pulp/English Civil War crossover gaming? We shall see!
With the farmhouse and dovecote progressing well, I wanted to move on to a few smaller buildings to the mix.
This little stone outbuilding is the first of those. It’s a few random scrap pieces of pink insulation styrofoam, hot glue, and a chunk of corrugated cardboard so far. Footprint is about 2″ wide by 3″ long, and it’s about 2.5″ tall or so.
The four wall pieces were glued together with hot glue and the curve across the back cut after everything was assembled. I didn’t get a photo before I put the cardboard roof on, but there’s another couple of bits of scrap styrofoam under it to reinforce the roof.
The gap in the front wall will get a door from scrap cardstock after the stonework is all painted up.
This one might be finished tonight, if I get time to glue the towel thatch down and slap a bit of paint around. It’s nice to have some quick little projects sometimes!
I’ve been painting the dovecote and farmhouse together, so rather than separate updates I’ll just do combined “state of the ECW scenery” update today!
Both buildings have had most of their painting finished, with touchup and work on the bases the main things left to do, along with the roof of the farmhouse.
I’ve also glued the tower section of the Warbases church down to the base, which had already had the floor glued down and cardstock flagstones added earlier. I haven’t posted about the church yet, I’ll do a separate post soon about it, but it’s a nice basic MDF kit that I’m planning on dressing up considerably!
I’m not entirely happy with the roof and cupola/tower of the dovecote, so might go back and add some more details there, and I think it needs at least one more round of paint to really get the slate tiles (from thin card) looking really good. I’m really pleased with how the rest of both buildings have come together, though, espcially now that they’re painted.
Both buildings got a black undercoat across everything, then the woodwork got a heavy drybrush of very dark brown (brown + black paint mixed), then a lighter drybrush of brown, and finally a very light drybrush of tan mostly on the corners and edges of the bigger beams. The plaster areas between the timber got a brown coat, very thinned, then tan paint, also very thinned, then a final coat of white with a bit of the tan paint mixed in, also very thin. The final colour is a great blotchy not-quite-white that varies between panels.
I am really pleased with how the big chimney up the end wall of the farmhouse has turned out. It’s a mix of stone, brick, and plastered areas (some broken with brick showing through) and came out looking great. Paint on the brick is brown base, red oxide, then washes of GW Nuln Oil and Seraphim Sepia, and finally a light drybrush with red oxide and tan. The plaster areas got the same paint mix as the walls.
More soon; I’ll be building a couple of small cottages, hovels, and outbuildings to finish off a bit of a rural hamlet or farm for English Civil War gaming or pulp games set in the English countryside.
After getting the dovecote constructed (although not yet painted) I decided the next building would be a bit more substantial, and that a farmhouse would be the obvious counterpart to the dovecote.
It’s not quite a manor house, except maybe in some rather backwoods shire, but it’s a substantial two storey building with a big chimney rambling up one end. The main structure is all 1/16th matt board, the stonework is pink styrofoam insulation, and the timbering is thin wooden coffee stir sticks, mostly split lengthwise into thinner pieces.
The dimensions, roughly, are 5″ long, 3″ wide, and about 5″ tall to the top of the chimney, which is about where the roof peak will fall too once that’s done. The walls are 40mm high; the total base is about 7″ long and 5″ wide or so.
For the cobblestone patches outside each door and the bricks up the chimney, I used two different old paintbrushes that I yanked the worn-out bristles from and then re-shaped the metal ferrule with a pair of needle nose pliers and a small file. The smallest brush became the brick press tool, and a slightly larger round one became the cobblestone tool. There’s also a larger rectangular one that doesn’t appear on this project but will at some point in the near future. I’ll get a photo of the press tools for a future post, they’re a great easy way to do bricks, cobbles, and other semi-regular or regular masonry patterns.
The second floor is three-sided to make building the big chimney down the back wall easier, rather than splitting the chimney into two or three pieces. The second floor is held in place by the half-timbering horizontal beams along the two long sides of the house, and the beams overlap at the back corners so the join between the floors and walls is nearly invisible when the house is all assembled.
The top cap of the chimney is a scrap of matt board and two little segments of styrene tube, all coated in more GW Liquid Greenstuff for texture.
The roof will be thatch, once I get around to picking up another cheap handtowel to chop up for thatching. The understructure is a mix of 1/16th matt board and lighter card, and will all be buried under towel in due course.
In the background of the last photo you can see the current state of the dovecote, all black primered with yet more GW Liquid Greenstuff to add texture to the wattle & daub panels between the timbering.
I’ll probably paint both buildings together, now that they’re both at the primered stage. More on that soon!
When we last saw the dovecote, the halftimber detailing on the walls was done, the roof was just started, and it lacked paint.
Here’s the current state of the beast!
The roof got cardboard tiles to look like slate on both the main roof and the top of the tower. The capping along the ridges on the main roof is strips of light card, while for the tower roof I used greenstuff putty for the ridge caps and the little finial decoration right at the peak.
I also used a bit of greenstuff to add a ring handle to the door, and some details to the hinges.
The whole thing has been primed black, and then the wall panels between the timbers got a coat of GW Liquid Greenstuff to add some extra texture to those areas.
I’ve also started work on a large farmhouse, two stories with a thatch roof planned for it. More photos of that soon, it’s coming along nicely and I suspect I’ll paint both buildings at the same time.
I’ve had people ask about plans for these buildings. I rarely make formal plans for buildings in a way that would be useful to other people, to be honest! For the dovecote I started with the article in WS&S #87 and tweaked things slightly; the farmhouse is entirely out of my head, starting with a basic idea of how large I wanted the building to be (about 5″ by 3″, as it happens) and the basic features I wanted. I have spent some time looking at photos and sketches of the real thing; the post I wrote a few years ago on half-timber architecture in the Internet Archive is still useful, as is Google Image Search for terms like “17th Century English farmhouse” and similar. A lot of buildings like this, especially rural or village buildings, could be pretty wonky and random, so it’s kind of hard to get things wrong! If in doubt, just chuck a coat of plaster over it, like real builders have been known to do!
I’ve been wanting do some more area terrain – mostly flat pieces to serve as rough ground, forested areas, and the like – for a while now. With the move back into ECW skirmish and terrain building for same, I’ve decided to start with a set of low profile stream pieces that can be used on practically any table.
As a test piece, I started with a small duck pond, about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide or so.
I started with an offcut of relatively thick styrene sheet (plasticard) that I think is either .030 or .040. I chopped it to roughly the shape I wanted with an Xacto, then sanded the edges smooth and beveled them slightly.
Styrene sheet isn’t the cheapest material for terrain making, but it has a number of advantages for this type of terrain. It’s sandable, making it easier to smooth down corners and edges. It’s waterproof, so you can slop paint, water, and glue around with abandon and not worry about ruining your base material. It’s also stronger than similarly thin card and more resistant to warping. I’m using an offcut of Evergreen sheet styrene for this particular pond, but for future use I plan to go down to our local plastic supply place and buy a big 2 foot by 4 foot sheet of .030 or .040 styrene; it’s sold in bulk for signmaking and other applications and it’s much, much cheaper to buy it at that scale than in the little Evergreen or Plasticraft packages at a hobby store!
For the shoreline of the pond I used a long thin “snake” of Milliput, rolled out to about 2 or 3mm across. I mashed it down with my fingers, keeping my fingertips damp while working to prevent the Milliput from sticking to my hands. I tapered the outer edge down to the edge of the styrene sheet and kept the inner edge fairly vertical but only a couple of millimetres tall. Pushing your thumbnail up against the inner edge of the Milliput is an easy way to achieve this, although you could use sculpting tools too!
After letting the Milliput dry overnight I painted the whole thing brown. The outer edge got a couple of different shades of brown scrubbed on to look appropriately muddy, and the pond water is a greeny-blue with some brown added to the centre to make it look slightly deeper.
With all the paint thoroughly dry, I added several layers of white glue over the pond to give it the appropriate wet look. You could easily use gloss varnish or even a thin pour of clear or tinted resin here, but the white glue I’ve currently got dries to a high gloss and looks good as water so that’s what I used. I did one coat of white glue mixed with little bit of GW sepia wash to tone down the blue-green paint a bit.
When layering gloss varnish, glue, resin, or whatever water-representing material you choose, it’s important to let each layer – and any paint that will wind up underneath it – dry completely before adding the next layer! Forgetting this will get you frosting and/or bubbles and other inclusions in your layering and could really screw the look of your water up. Paint that isn’t dry properly can also crack or craze under a sealant layer and really screw things up.
I’ve got a set of 28mm ducks coming from Warbases soon that I’ll be added to this pond for some extra character. I added some flocking and tufts along the banks after the last coat of gloss had dried.
As I mentioned in my last post about the things I brought home from Trumpeter Salute, one of them was a copy of Issue #87 of Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy, their ECW special. One of the articles in there was by Tony Harwood, also known as Dampfpanzerwagon around the internet, including on the Lead Adventure Forum.
Wanting more buildings suitable for an English Civil War game (and possibly for early 20th C pulp games set in the English countryside!) I decided to build my own version of Tony’s dovecote. It’s a great building for wargaming, having a minimal footprint but nice presence because of it’s height.
My version of Tony’s dovecote has walls 60mm wide and a total footprint, including minimal base, of about 65mm by 65mm. It’s 120mm (12cm) to the tops of the walls. I haven’t actually measured to the top of the roof, but it’s somewhere around 20cm or so total height.
The walls and base are 1/16th” matt board (picture framing card). The stone foundation is thin (about 1/8th” or so) styrofoam insulation, carved with an Xacto blade and pencil. The half-timbering is all wooden coffee stir sticks, most of them split lengthwise to make narrower beams.
The half-timbering took a couple of hours all told, done in bits and pieces in between household chores on a Saturday. Do the big vertical corner beams first, then the horizontals, then the infill verticals or diagonals. The pattern of the half timbering is slightly different on all four walls, which seems pretty typical of this sort of Medieval/Renaissance building!
The central “tower” on the roof is more 1/16th matt board, 20mm a side. The sloping pieces of the main roof are lighter card, cut to fit by trial and error. The tower roof is a scrap of styrofoam insulation, cut with a fresh Xacto blade into a four-side pyramid. All eight roof surfaces will get “slate” tiles from medium weight card, and the top of the tower will get some basic detailing from card as well.
For texture in the panels between the timbers, Tony uses air drying clay in his original dovecote. Lacking air drying clay, I’m trying out stippling a fairly heavy coat of white glue over the card. I’ll slap some paint over it soon and see how it looks; the white glue I’m using currently dries very glossy which makes it hard to see how much texture I’m actually getting.
I’d gotten most of the painting done on the building six years ago, then moved on to other projects as the 16th C ECW/TYW gaming failed to grab my attention. The barn has floated around the edges of my painting bench, almost but not quite finished, ever since.
Earlier this week I was off sick and needed something sedentary and easy to do, so I pulled the barn out and started adding doors, some final paint touchups, and flocking and terrain around the outside of the walls. I’d originally planned, long ago, to do hinged arched doors on the big front doorway of the barn, but decided that six years of not figuring out how to do that in a wargamer-proof way was long enough and have gone with simple closed doors across the back of the arch!
Here’s what it looked like back in June 2011:
Here, all finished and detailed, is the barn in April 2017!
The big front door is wooden coffee stir stick planks over an offcut of picture framing card (matt board), cut to size, and then roughed up with sandpaper, an Xacto knife, and a razor saw. The back door is just card, with planks scored into it with the back of an Xacto knife. The hinges on both are scraps of light card painted with Tarnished Steel. Both doors got all-over washes with several different colours of wash, including green on the front door to stain the wood.
The roof is towel thatch (this was the first thatch building I’d ever done!) with thin foam for the stonework on the bottom half of the walls. The greenery is a mix from all over, including the nice red flowers from Rain City Hobbies over in Vancouver.
For more details on building the barn, check the two 2011 articles I linked to right up in the first paragraph of this post, there’s lots of detail there.
Nice to finally get this building done and dusted after nearly six years of three-quarters finished limbo! Now I need to consider other buildings for an English Civil War or Thirty Years War hamlet… some cottages, maybe a version of the interesting dove cote seen in the ECW edition of WS&S I picked up at Trumpeter Salute. We shall see!
One of the goals with the spacestation terrain set was to make the whole thing look like not just a collection of tactically interesting obstacles but also a (relatively) sensible, lived-in/working facility. Right now the non-cargo bay area is a bit plain, really just the Impudent Mortal walls in my collection arranged in various ways. I did up some lockers recently to add colour and interesting cover, and now I’ve found a really simple way to do food booths or other fairly small terrain pieces.
Start with a strip of card 3″ wide and at least 11″ long, or multiple 3″ wide pieces making up roughly the same length. I use 1/16″ mattboard, the stuff used by picture framers, but for this project you could use just about anything. There’s only one measurement in the whole thing that depends on the thickness of the material being used (the height of the front wall of the booth) and that’s easily adjustable or even avoidable if you tweak the design a bit.
You’re cutting as follows:
1″ wide for the under-floor brace/foot. Cut this piece in half again.
1 1/2″ floor
1 1/2″ roof
1 3/4″ back wall
1 9/16″ front wall (NOTE)
2″ end wall
2″ end wall
Start by gluing the two foot pieces to the underside of the floor. Centre it under the floor — exact placement isn’t important, they just exist to lift the front edge of the booth above ground level and add a bit of visual interest. Note that in the layout photo below, I forgot to allow for the foot pieces, as I’m using that scrap of 1/8″ foamed PVC plastic above the card strip instead.
While that dries a bit, cut the two end walls some more to make them interesting. They stand vertically, and you can see from the photos that I’ve cut each in a different way to add variety and provide support for the booth’s large overhead sign(s). You don’t need to get fancy, just a couple of angled cuts can do nicely, especially if you re-use the offcut pieces again as I’ve done on several of the roofs in my set.
Glue the back wall to the back of the floor, with the bottom edge of it resting on the ground. Use the end walls to make sure the back wall is vertical and square, then glue them on, again with the bottom edges resting on the ground.
Fit the front wall in between the end walls, again making sure it’s square and vertical. Exact placement isn’t important and will depend on how you intend to detail the front wall. I’ve recessed all my front walls and used various offcuts of card to add a few bits of detail. I figure these are automated booths using various machinery to process FoodGoop9000 (or possibly Soylent Green…) into various forms of fast “food” by adding flavour, so there’s no order window or anything specific on the thing.
I’ll probably eventually do some graphics to add to the fronts and signs of these booths, including various fast food brands we all know and love like Ariadna Fried Chickenoid and such! They’ll get posted here to the blog when they happen!
Glue the roof on last, and put the resulting box aside for the glue to dry a bit. Time to move on to the overhead sign.
This could be as simple as a single strip of the same 3″ wide card you’ve used for the rest of the thing, or any number of more elaborate constructions. If you want a really, really striking sign, there’s H-Archive’s awesome how-to on making “holographic” displays, which I want to follow myself sometime soon!
The curved sign is simply three layers of light card (65lbs, I think it is) cut 1″ high and 3 1/8″ long, just slightly longer than the gap between the vertical bits of the end walls, so that it curves. I glued one strip in place, let it cure for a bit, then gently pushed the second and third strips into place and held them with clothspins until the glue dried. Pre-curving the strips by running them over the edge of my workbench helps.
The grid on the roofs of my booths is some sort of embroidery/craft mesh stuff that I got a leftover chunk of from my girlfriend. It adds interesting texture if you can get some, or something similar like the plastic mesh used in window and door screens.
The Manned Booth
The fourth and final booth is a variant design that is actually run by a person (or humanoid robot, you never know in Infinity) with a door in one end wall and an open order window/bar in one side wall.
Design is identical to the autobooths above except I cut two of the “back walls” and instead of cutting the roof 1.5″ I cut it 1 5/8ths” wide so it would go over the top edges of the walls properly.
The inside is outfitted with various bits of card for the bar counter, a side bar/prep table, and a whole bunch of cupboards along the walls.
The outside end walls will eventually be painted and decorated to look like drinks glasses, and there will be a sign of some sort on the roof, although of slightly different design than the autobooths because this roof actually comes off.
Any comments or suggestions please leave them below, I do read and reply to comments but due to the spam filters it might be a while before I approve your comment!
I’ve posted a test print of some printed space station walls previously but after finding a nice batch of Sintra (1/8th foamed PVC plastic board) in the offcuts bin at my useful local plastic supplier I decided to start that project with some larger, more space-consuming pieces and started building a set of six big wall modules.
These are 12″ long, 6″ high, and designed as hangar or cargo bay walls. Six of them plus a couple of pillars will allow me to section off a 2′ by 2′ area of table, run a line of wall clear across the table, or do a number of other interesting arrangements. I’ll also do a few end-cap pillars so we can have stub walls if desired.
The design incorporates an “access tunnel” across the top of each wall that is 30mm wide and 30mm deep; there will be hatchways on each wall module to access it. I wanted to provide alternate ways of getting around the table and give players options for moving through the walls aside from the doors. Similarly, each module except the one with one single huge 6″x4″ door has at least two doors in it. Doors are always going to be chokepoints in scenery like this, there’s no avoiding that, but at least with multiple doors and hatchways per module that effect is somewhat limited.
Basic construction is done on five of the six modules; the sixth is going to be a variant of the very first, with a huge 6″x4″ door in it. All of the large doorways will have built-in sliding doors installed, and I’m planning some freestanding doors on small stands for the human-sized doors. After that it’ll be on to the more human-scaled portions of the space station terrain, but this is a good start!