As I am going to be building a lot of houses over the next three months, I thought I might take you step-by-step through my basic method.
Retractable blade heavy craft knife
Scalpel blade knife
12″/30cms steel rule
A pair of good scissors
A few drawing/bulldog clips
A cutting board
5mm foam board – I buy these in A1 size sheets from Hobbycraft
Cereal box card
Cat food sachet box card (corrugated and stiffer than the cereal box card)
PVA wood adhesive
Wooden lollipop sticks and coffee stirrers
The house whose construction I shall be demonstrating needs to be 100mm square to fit on my board.
Each floor shall be 40mm high as this gives plenty of room for most 28mm figures.
It will have a peaked roof which shall rise to 40mm above the building. It will have a ground and first floor, so the total height of the building is 120mm.
The ground floor shall have rough stone walls, and the first floor will be timbered with a lath and plaster in-fill.
The gable ends will be 100mm wide and thus, to fit on the 100mm square base, taking into account the 5mm thickness of each wall, the side wall shall be 90mm long.
I have decided to have a door in each of the gable ends. Then a fairly random assortment of windows as befits a medieval building.
One first floor window shall have a large window that will allow goods to be hoisted up and into the building.
As this is for skirmish games, I want the insides to be accessible so this will mean a separate lift off roof and first floor.
Method – Part A, the outside of the building.
1. Draw up the gable end and side walls onto the foamboard and then cut them out.
Note: the building shall not be assembled until each wall is complete and painted, inside and out.
2. Now decide where you want your doors and windows. Draw them on freehand and cut them out.
3. The ground floor walls are 40mm high and will be stone on the outside. So you need to carefully strip off the paper with the scalpel. You do not need to do this on the inside as it will make the foam board too weak. So we shall pretend that the occupants have plastered the insides.
Do this as carefully as you can but do not worry if this leaves the foam beneath a little messy. This give texture to the walls.
3. Mark out the stones into the foam with ‘special tools’. I use a 50mm length of coffee stirrer. I cut one end straight then sharpen it. This can then be used to mark out the edges of each stone block by pressing it in 1mm or so.
Pay attention to the ends of the walls and around openings. There should be larger blocks at the building’s corners and you will need lintels for the doors and windows. The rest can then be filled in a a bit randomly.
You might like to have regular rows of masonry blocks, though I prefer a rougher look for most smaller buildings.
4. Before you do the timbering have a look at pictures of medieval houses and decide just how complex you want it to be. Consider that every beam will be need to be painted, so less beams is often better.
Timber beams should look like they serve a structural purpose, and you need to timber around doors and windows.
I shall continue this series as I build this house, so keep watching…