Friday, October 29, 2010

The Little House on the...

...Savannah? I decided to attempt something a little different as a refreshing change from all the Arab-style buildings and African huts I've made recently. Here's a small Colonial-style house suitable as the residence of a District Commissioner or similar European official. It can fit anywhere in the world, from Africa through India and Burma to the Far East.

District Commissioner Carstairs and His Lady pose on the porch of their residence.


The thatch is an experiment that came off rather well. Basically it's a mixture of vinyl spackle, papier maché and PVA/Gorilla glue, layered on thick card stock previously prepared by spreading diluted PVA and sand over it. This gives a keyed surface for the mixture to grip onto. The base is two more sheets of thick card laminated together. I'd use 2mm MDF for a second version, but the card serves well.

The shell of the house is foamcore, one of the most useful materials known to Modelling Man! The porch is 1/8th" basswood, with uprights made of square-cut cocktail sticks, readily available from dollar stores and other outlets. Embroidery battening makes excellent trellis work and window lattice. Jo-Ann's fabric stores sells it at a mere 99 cents for a large sheet. It's a bit fiddly to cut, but is worth persevering with.

All vegetation is Spanish moss, with a layer of dried green tea leaves glued to the rambling vine alongside the steps and finished with spots of magenta paint to make nice bright flowers. Steps, support blocks and water barrel are Hirst Arts components cast in Hydrocal plaster. A dowel spigot was added to the barrel.

I follow Major General Tremorden-Reddering's advice for making wargames buildings in that I try to keep the footprint of the building as small as possible while emphasizing the height. The priciple being it gives more space on the average-size table for figures to deploy.

Next up, I'm thinking of building a steamboat suitable for exploring the great rivers and lakes of Africa. Watch this space...


Martin said...

Hi A.J.,

Snazzy looking building there. I suppose it could be called "Little Shack In The Outback"! Ha, ha!

I've had pretty good luck using string cut into appropriate lengths, glued to the card roof in layers, then painted a straw color to represent thatch.

Looking forward to seeing how the steamboat turns out. Are we talking "African Queen" size or something bigger?

A J said...

Thank you kindly, Martin. =) String thatch is a good method to use. The paper-spackle is something new I'm trying out.

I did make a small steam launch (see earlier post) in the African Queen style. My planned steamboat may be either "Saffieh" class as used on the Gordon Relief Expedition, or a "Heart of Darkness" style steamer. I'll see what the portents say. ;)

Bluebear Jeff said...

A very nice little building, AJ. I like it. As you suggest, it would fit well in many places in the world.

-- Jeff


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