Tag Archives: terrain

Half-Timber ECW Buildings, 11 May

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!

Farmhouse on the left, dovecote centre, and Warbases church on the right and in the foreground. Click for larger.

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.

The chimney and end wall of the half-timber farmhouse. Click for larger.

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.

Half-Timber Farmhouse, Part One

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.

The earliest construction photo I remembered to take. Walls all up, foam stonework in progress, started the half-timbering on the back wall and one long wall. Second floor off to the left. Click for larger.
The other end, early in construction. Stonework in place and half-timbering just begun on the first floor. Click for larger.

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.

Upper floor in place; it’s basically a three-sided tray held in place by the horizontal half-timbering along the sides. Click for larger.

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.

Close up of the end wall, with brick patterning all done on the chimney. The pink foam has been coated in GW Liquid Greenstuff for strength and texture. Click for larger.
Wider view of the chimney end of the farmhouse, with 28mm Warlord pikeman on a 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

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.

Timbering all complete and roof structure started. Click for larger.

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!

Half-Timber Dovecote, Part Two

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!

Waiting for paint! Click for larger, as usual.

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!

A Quick And Simple Pond

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 base for the pond. 28mm Warlord pikeman on a 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

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!

Shoreline in place with Milliput. Click for larger.
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.

Basic painting done and first layer or two of gloss glue in place. Click for larger.

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.

Half-Timber Dovecote, Dampfpanzerwagon Style: Part One

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.

Dovecote started, with the finally-completed barn on the left! Click for larger.

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!

Roof structure installed, half timbering done. Click for larger.

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.

The dovecote at the far end of the table during our first games of Pikeman’s Lament. Good game, look for a proper review here sometime soon! Click for larger.

On to roof tiling and paint!

Half-Timber Barn, Finally Finished!

Way back in June of 2011, I started a fairly small half-timber barn for 28mm, for either my ECW/TYW stuff or early 20th C pulp gaming.

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:

barn01
A stone-and-halftimber barn, work in progress. Click, as usual, for larger.

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!

More Jungle To Rumble In

Scored another big paper towel roll from our recycling bin, so I decided to make a fallen tree instead of another upright one.

Like the other trees, the fallen tree started with a paper towel roll, scrap cardboard, some CDs, and my hot glue gun. I made the root ridges lower so the tree would sit mostly level, and glued on a few random bits of cardboard to break up the surface of the paper towel roll a bit. All the ridges are made of two strips of cardboard, so they’re a bit thicker.

Tree assembled, with Infinity Ghulam light infantry on a 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

I used a pair of CDs as a base, and didn’t bother filling in the gap between them.

Right after assembling the fallen tree (I love hot glue, there’s no waiting for glue to dry or cure!) I got to work with white glue, some paper towel, and toilet paper for bark texture. I filled in the two ends with scrap cardboard and a bunch of paper toweling, added some ridges of paper towel here and there, then covered the whole thing with toilet paper, pushed into place with a damp brush and sometimes my fingers, with extra white glue drizzled on as needed to make sure everything was well stuck down.

Bark texture done with toilet paper. Click for larger.

That needed to dry overnight, so the next evening I got the basecoat done, mostly brown paint with a bit of black and some tan to add a bit of variation, with a squirt of white glue mixed in for extra strength.

Basecoat all done, still wet. Click for larger.

After the basecoat had dried overnight again, I did some drybrushing with tan and white paint to bring the bark texture out, then splodged on some green paint in two different shades here and there. That didn’t really need any drying time, so I got the hot glue gun out again and the box of random plastic plants and other greenery. I finished the fallen log off with a mixed batch of plants and foam, then ground foam grass over the base and here and there on the log as well, and declared it done!

Finished fallen log, same Infinity figure on 25mm base as the other photos. Click for larger.

The finished piece is about 9″ long, 3″ wide, and 2.5″ tall. I’m looking forward to adding it to my jungle themed tables!

BS2017: The Bloodyear Blomp, Part 8

Blomping along…

Primer! Got the gondola spray-primed grey and the balloon envelope brush-primed black.

All primed up, except the base. Click for larger.

The LAF Build Something 2017 contest rules ask that you not post painting progress photos of your project past the priming stage, so this will be the last photo anyone sees of the Blomp itself for a while. I’ll try and remember to take some in-progress shots and save them for a post-contest photo gallery, though.

Up next is finishing the base with a bit more putty and then paint and flocking, and then working on the half dozen or so goblins who are going to be crewing this thing!

Deadline is Feb 18th, which is coming up awfully fast!

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle…

Several years ago now I did a whole banker’s box full of jungle terrain, but it was all fairly low-lying stuff, thickets and bushes and that sort of thing.

I’ve always intended to add some bigger trees to the set, inspired by the nice trees DM Scotty does in this video…

…and Dr. Mathias’ extravagantly photographed jungle tree tutorial over on Lead Adventure forum!

Our paper towel dispensers at work are the large commercial models, and staff are expected to refill them on their own when they’re emptied, so I’ve brought home a few of the heavy cardboard tubes from the centres of the big rolls of brown paper towelling, as well as a couple of lighter tubes from home, and a few shorter toilet paper tubes.

This weekend I sat down to crank out a few trees! I started with the hot glue gun, the tubes, some CD-ROMs salvaged from the recycling bin, and some scrap cardboard to produce four trees and one big stump.

Fourth tree and stump all covered in paper towel. Three other trees drying in the background. Click for larger.

The three big trees and the stump basically fill the entire CD base edge to edge, with space between the buttress roots for figures to duck for cover. The smaller tree (from a tube that originally held glow-ropes) covers about half the CD it’s on.

I used lots of white glue to attach a layer of brown paper towel to the trunks, let that dry, then slapped on a base coat of reddish-brown and black mixed. After that dried I gave the trunks a heavy drybrush of tan, then blotches of two different shades of green here and there to suggest moss or jungle fungus.

Basecoated trees drying, before drybrushing and foliage. Click for larger.

After that had mostly dried I broke out my box of random plastic plants, gathered from craft stores over the last couple of years. Vines, random bushes, and some low-lying lichen filled some of the gaps around the trunks and provided some colour, then I put a generous layer of flock around the bases and declared these things done!

All flocked and foliaged. The white primered figure in the lower-right is an Infinity Ghulam infantry on a 25mm base. Click for larger.
Stump speech! Using the toilet paper roll for a giant stump gives the tabletop some vertical tactical possibilities, which always makes games more interesting. Click for larger.

It’s nice to have a quick down-and-done project, sometimes, and I’m really pleased with how these all came together. Looking forward to getting them onto a table for a pulp or Infinity game!

BS2017: The Bloodyear Blomp, Part 7

Greenstuff all over the place this time!

Base greenstuff work – on the troll, the barrel, and the base itself. More to come! Click for larger.

I’ve started on the heavy leather harness that the troll uses to tow the Blomp along, as well as structural greenstuff to secure and cover the magnets in his base, hold the barrel in the right position, and secure the steel plate the barrel magnetizes to.

There’s at least one more round of greenstuff here, the front and belt parts of the troll’s harness don’t exist yet, and the base needs some more patching up.

Greenstuff on the piping around the Engine. Click for larger.

Up on the gondola the various joints in the pipes have greenstuff seals added. I’ll be painting them up as leather, which has historically been used as a seal and still is to this day in some applications. I also smoothed out a few parts of the hull, and on the first photo above you can see the putty filling in the underside of the bridge wings to secure the three eye-bolts on each end.

The eye-bolts are jewelry making supplies, intended to be posts on earrings or something. I have a little baggie of dozens of them, and I think they’ll come in handy for all sorts of things – parts of railings, for example. It pays to cruise slowly down the random aisles of your local craft store, the jewelry and bead aisles are full of all sorts of interesting things!

The greenstuff work on the gondola means it’s finally ready for priming and painting. I didn’t get a photo but the fabric patchwork is also finished on the balloon, so painting will start on that this weekend. I also need to get stuck into the (mostly minor) conversions to the half dozen Reaper Bones goblins who will serve as crew!

The Feb 18th deadline looms like an irritated troll with a big club!