Sunday, July 24, 2011

NEWS FLASH! Three men build village in under twenty hours!!

      In an amazing display of ingenuity and energy three men built an entire village housing hundreds in under twenty hours of labor. This bodes well for the ongoing housing shortage currently afflicting 28mm miniatures world wide. Now back to that thrilling plane crash.

     OK, now that I have got the TV media thing out of my system it really went something like this; A while ago Dan A. had mentioned that he wished to put together some African/Mediterrainean buildings for 28mm wargaming and also said that he had the foam-core in hand and ready to go. I was on vacation and the weather was far too hot for doing anything out of doors so I said (foolishly), "Why not". Little did I know that Dan would show up with Kris (his brother), a bushel basket full of precut foam-core, a bucket of wallboard spackle, a gallon of PVA glue and ready-to-use template for making generic buildings. We quickly cleared the game table, fired up the hot-glue gun and set to work. Tacking stuff together with the hot glue gun was quick and fun once I learned (once again) not to touch the hot part, we banged out the rough shells of more than a dozen buildings in the blink of an eye.

all the building were constructed using this basic template

we added vestibules to some buildings to break up the cookie cutter look

Dan also learned about the dangers of hot glue, but kept going like a trooper

the Bar "in the white", notice the other structures in the background

     Having created a dozen building we noticed that they looked more like a prison colony than a friendly (but soon to be fought over) village. What we needed was detail and decorations. I dug around and got out my supply of "interesting bits" that I had aquired from various craft stores over the years. This consists largely of pre-formed wooden parts that came from Michaels and Hobby Lobby, they came in handy as we progressed. One was a package of 1/16" square by 3" long wooden sticks that I had purchased intending to make snake-rail fences many years ago, these provided the window and door jambs and sills. Another was a bag of small wooden spools, these turned into balustrades on the Pasha's Palace. At this point things began to slow down, a lot. We busily began cutting and fitting the window and door frames. At first it was fun, then it became dreary and in the end it was a battle of will to finish installing them.

the Pasha's Palace, wooden spools as balusters

windows, lots and lots of windows to frame

interior details were an added distraction

the fort/prison begins to get details

this style of decoration over the door was found in some pictures so we added them

the bar got a custom grating by the stairwell

oh, it had a lot of windows and doors as well

Having finally finished with the detalis we needed to rough coat the models to give a textured surface and hide the seams. To do this we mixed together one part wallboard compound and one part PVA glue. The wallboard compound provides the body to fill gaps and seams and the glue reduces the tendency of the compound to chip as well as providing a good adhesion for the grit used to texture the walls. The grit we used was Chinchilla dust (available at most pet stores), it is a much finer grain that the sand one usually finds.

you may want to pass on the scented variety of dust, it gets overpowering

Everything got a coat of the mixture and a good dusting with the Chinchilla sand, this process ruined a couple of brushes but we made great progress and got everything coated and sanded before exhaustion overcame the group and we knocked off for the night. We would have had to stop to wait for the glue to dry anyways. The results looked like this;

the mixture was oddly translucent, note the drafting lines showing through

wooden frames were scraped clear of grit later

the two-story house assembled wrong-way-round

the family photo

The next day I spent an hour or so putting a second coat of the mixture over the top of the grit, This seals the surface and stops the grit from shedding during painting and use, I also coated the inside of the buildings to provide a good painting surface.

Sarah, I shall be taking my tea on the veranda

gratings provided detail to otherwise plain buildings

the stairway was built layer-cake style from slabs of foamcore

With fourteen hours in we were ready (at last) for paint, we thought that the hard part was done.

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