K GUnited States
New MexicoI wasn't born , I was hatched in the deepest darkest part of the ocean , and raised by sharks !
This is one of the projects that I had finished for submission to FFG , I am presenting it as I wrote it 2 or 3 months ago , without further editing to reflect my new dislike for FFG :
Ok , so lets talk cottages .
I have been a minis gamer for about 20 years , so in that time I have gained a lot of experience at painting and scratch building scenery .
Looking back at it all , I see how intimidating it can feel to look at some one else’s projects and think "I cant do that " . Or even worse , try , fail horribly , and feel embarrassed about how it came out . This can be compounded when you read a project write up where they use specific terms as though every one should already know what they are talking about , or use nation specific terms/slang . I remember reading a article by a games workshop studio member that used terms for some of the materials and processes that were specific to England .
This project will go over some easy to build rural buildings to flesh out your terrain collections , and open up your options .
We will NOT be going "pro grade" on this project , as this is intended for beginners , people who have little or no experience in terrain building , but want to have a nice looking table to play on .
In the interests of keeping this project novice friendly , we will NOT be doing this as an involved project completely from scratch , or going into depth on plans and drawings . This is very much a cookie cutter project that you can do with few tools , relatively cheaply , and very little practiced or learned skill .
Once you have read through this article and tried it out for your self , you can take this idea and modify it as much as you want to make a variety of these buildings in different sizes and shapes . .
This project has several steps and could take the better part of a week for most people to complete , BUT don’t let that dissuade you from it , its all easy to follow , easy to copy , and the majority of the "week" is just drying time between steps . This is not going to be some all consuming project , because when I see some one claim that they spent 80 hours building and painting a single figure or unit , I think its ridiculous .
This project is also amazingly cheap when compared to buying ready made terrain . Many of the supplies you buy to do this project will be enough to do SEVERAL projects , so you will have lots left .
So first lets look at materials :
Craft paints : $.50-$1 each from a craft store like hobby lobby .
1 can black spray paint : $.98 a can at Walmart
1can Krylon satin clear sealant : $3.48 a can at Walmart
1can Testors "dull coat" lacquer sealant : $4.99 a can available at most hobby stores
Paper mache houses from a craft store like hobby lobby $1.99-$6.99 each .
Card stock : FREE . Just save cereal boxes , cracker boxes , Little Debbie oatmeal pies
A bottle of white glue
Various terrain bits , pebbles , sand , etc..... . to decorate the buildings as you like .
Some paint brushes : $ variable
Exacto knife , EMT shears , or something similar .
Clamps of some sort
Large rubber bands
craft sticks or coffee stirrers
Now down to the nitty gritty ......
So here we have a medium-small paper mache house I got at hobby lobby in the paper mache section .
Essentially it’s a card board building coated in paper mache . They come in different sizes , and their price depends on what size you choose .
This one (excluding the base) , is about 1&½ squares long , and one square wide .
This one cost $2.99 .
Using these houses will save a ton of time in construction because we already have the building , and roof , all assembled and ready to go .
As you can see , the roof comes off . So to begin with , take it apart and we will work on them separately for the next couple steps .
Here I have taken a marker and marked where I intend to cut to size down the base so it will fit the grid better , and make a much nicer looking finished project .
I used EMT shears to clip off the edge .
And here I have marked where I want to cut on the top . These sections are easy to remove because they are lightly glued on and coated with a single layer of paper mache .
It isn’t marked , but I also made the choice to remove the chimney to make them more novice friendly .
Now you don’t HAVE to do this step , but for first timers , removing these parts will mean less having to fiddle with measuring angles or fudging roofing materials .
Here you can see the resulting carnage .
So now its time to start the actual construction part of the project .
I wont give you sizes of the parts I am using , because there are 5 different sizes of buildings to choose from , so this should be easy enough to follow along and make bigger or smaller parts as needed for what ever size building you choose to make .
So cut a piece of cardstock big enough to cover the side of the roof you just removed the pieces from . Glue it to the roof and secure it . I prefer to use the clamps because they are stronger , but you could use clothes pins if you wanted . This helps keep the roof from buckling as it dries .
Glue the roof lid onto the building body .
Now is the first big time break , let it dry for at least a few hours .
Now if you are a big fan of little Debbie oatmeal pies , this was obviously the project for you . One box of the oatmeal pies is the perfect size to make 2 full frontal wraps .
OBVIOUSLY the DT scale is much smaller than the paper mache house I am using , and the windows and doors in the buildings wont work for what we are doing , so we are going to cover them with a strip of cardstock
Ok , 3 of the sides have windows and a door on them , so you just have to cover the 3 sides . When cutting the card stock , make sure it covers all 3 sides from corner to corner .
Make sure the pieces fit perfectly before you apply any glue . And bend the cardstock sheet at the building corners to make sure its got a snug fit .
If you are using cardstock from cereal boxes or the like , glue the printed side to the building , and don’t be stingy with the glue , make sure the whole contact surface is covered .
The side with printing is sealed by the ink , so its better to have it glued printed side down so that the paint sticks to it better . This is also why I say don’t be stingy with the glue , because the printed side also is harder to get to bond to the 2 surfaces . But as long as you have the 2 surfaces well and evenly covered with glue , it will hold just fine .
Wrap them with rubber bands and let them site for at least a few hours , until they are completely dry .
Ok , so you see the 2n wooden sticks , these are available in the wood section of any major craft store for a couple bucks each for a bag that will last you for a long time .
If you are being super thrifty , the one on top could be substituted with a fist full of coffee stirrer from star bucks , you just need to clip off the rounded ends so they are flat . these will be used for trim .
The one on the bottom is essentially a long match stick , but you really need to buy them from the craft store . These will be used to frame the doors and windows .
Ok , so here I have combined 3 steps into one picture .
First step is to determine how tall each level of your building will be , and draw a guide line around the whole building at the dividing point of the 2 levels . .
Now measure and cut craft sticks to lengths corresponding to the height of the building as shown in the picture .
Now glue 2 craft sticks at each corner from the bottom to the top as displayed in the picture .
Let it dry for at least a few hours .
Depending on the type of craft stick used ,they may start to bow when glued . So you may need to rubber band them in place as they dry , but don’t worry if the corners are not exactly perfect , it wont really be noticeable in the finished project on a game table .
Now measure and glue sticks to fit the front , back , and sides where the dividing line for the 2 levels are , as shown in the picture .
Now let it dry a couple hours . And again , use rubber bands if the craft sticks bow too badly .
Now use the smaller craft sticks to make window frames and door frames and glue them where you want them .
They don’t have to be perfect .
Again , let them dry for a couple hours .
So here is something to do during all that drying time , were making shingles ! Roof treatments come in a variety of sizes .
Here you can see some I made from cardstock strips a half inch by 1&½ inch in size . I cut about 2/3rd way across to make each shingle .
It can seem daunting , but when you consider how small the roofs are , its really easy to cut enough to finish the project . If you want to do the smaller shingles like these ones , measure , mark , and cut longer strips of say 10 inches , and then cut them down into smaller sections like this one . Its easier to apply them if the strips are smaller , AND if you make some of them JUST a TINY bit crooked , it makes them look more like realistic .
As you can see in the pic , as you cut them , they start to curl .
So before you apply them , take and bend every other one down to create the stepped appearance . This also makes it easier to apply them because they will make better contact with the glue .
Now just glue them onto the roofs .
If you are using cereal box or some other printed on cardstock , glue it printed side down , and be a little generous with the glue .
Once both sides are done , I took a piece of thinner cardstock , ½ inch wide , and as long as the roof . Fold it in half width wise and glue it to the top of the roof where the 2 sides come together as in the picture .
Let these dry over night .
As you can see on the right edge , they are not even . After its dried , just carefully clip or cut the edge to make them nice and even .
Here I have combined several steps .
First off you can see an example of using larger shingles .
Now because the houses are not a full 2 squares long , I have decided to put them on bases that are .
You don’t have to do this , but it gives you a few extra opportunities to add some extra zing , so if you don’t want to add a base , then some of the following steps can be skipped , its all up to you .
I textured the base by spreading some glue and then adding some ballast gravel , but you can use sand and little gravely bits from your yard if you want . I have also added a tree and a planter pot
Here’s another with the house more to the center of the base with a shrubbery on each side .
Once these have dried , I primed them all with black spray paint . And of course allowed them to dry over night till the fumes were gone .
* and I would like to point out that this is the first time I have had a legitimate reason to use the word shrubbery since ........... well probably ever !
I want the walls to have a nice stuco type appearance so I have mixed in a small bowl about a table spoon and a half of sand into about 3 table spoons of brown craft paint .
This mixture is referred to as texture paint . You can add more or less sand depending on how much texture you want in it . This is also how I made the mud texture for the hell runner .
The colors you choose are important . By priming them black , and using a brown texture paint , any paints I apply to the surface will be darker than if I chose lighter colors to base it with .
A side note , I use scenic sand I bought at the craft store to make the texture paint , you can use sand from your yard , just make sure its clean sand , not from your pets favorite peeing spot .
If you get some on the wood trim , just use a toothpick to scrape the texture off before it dries .
Let the textured paint dry for several hours .
Now you can paint up the cottages the rest of the way .
This is nothing really special , I have just painted up the textured areas as though I were painting a house , using cheap craft paints .
The trim and roofs were painted matching colors , and a light dry brushing done to each .
Since this is an article for beginners , NOT a diorama , I’m not doing any special window painting effects , they are just a dark blue .
The shrubs and tree foliage were dry brushed green , and the rocks and sand were dry brushed in lighter browns , with a final dry brush of sand stone .
Dry brushing , for those that don’t know , is a method of painting where you dip the brush in paint , then wipe it on a sponge or towel to remove some of the paint (without rinsing the brush off) . This leaves enough paint on the brush that when you pull it over the models , it only touches the raised surfaces , so any recessed areas are left untouched . Its an easy way to add shadows and highlights by dry brushing a model with lighter or darker shades or tints of the same base coat color .
Let them dry for a day or 2 so that they are completely dry .
You can see a better detail of the dry brushed base , but more importantly , you can see I left some areas without texture . This is another chance to add some zing to the base after these are sealed .
So now its time to seal them . First a good coat of the krylon , make sure you coat all the surfaces , every corner and side except the underside . This is the coat that REALLLLLLLY protects the paint . So make sure it’s a good one .
Let that dry for AT LEAST several hours .
Now you will notice its still a bit too shiny , even when dry . So apply a light coat of the testors dull coat lacquer . The purpose of this is JUST to kill the shine , so it doesn’t need to be heavy , just enough to lightly cover the surface .
Now let it dry at least over night .
It is very important that you seal these well . While we all try to take care of our miniatures , and the terrain wont be handled nearly as much , these are YOUR babies , and other players are not nearly as likely to treat them as carefully when they handle them . Following my directions , you should produce a very sturdy piece of terrain , but the paint is only a surface treatment . So you need to protect it .
Again , this is all completely optional , I am doing it because its easy , and it adds some more zing to the project .
so to add the zing , I have applied some SLIGHTLY watered down glue to the bare areas , and around the base of the house .
Do these one house at a time .
Adding just a little bit of water keeps the glue from drying out too fast since you need to apply it to the base all at once as opposed to in sections because of the next step .
So here I have applied a couple different colors of static grass .
It‘s applied , just sort dropped in clumps on the wet glue , let it sit in the clumps and dry for several hours before removing the excess by tipping the base over and tapping it over a sheet of paper or cardstock . don’t tap it or press it or do anything to it once you have dropped the static grass onto the glue until after it has dried .
First I dropped on the dead grass color , then the half dead grass color .
Sitting in clumps , it would seem like it uses up a lot of the static grass , but once it dries and you remove the excess , you can reuse what falls off , and you will see just how little it actually takes to add in a lot of effect .
Here you can see the effect after it has dried and the excess removed . You can see the nice variation I got by using the 2 separate colors .
So after the static grass has dried and you have removed the excess , apply some glue along some of the trim areas like so .
Now apply some “clump foliage “ to the wet glue .
GENTLY press it on .
Let it dry for several hours .
After the glue has completely dried , carefully remove the excess clump foliage , and pick away at the loose foliage until its thinned way down .
Whala we have moss .
Here is an example of the same sized paper mache house (on the right ) , but covered in craft sticks cut with "the chopper" , dry brushed instead of texture painted , and left without the base .
On the left , is an example of the next size down in paper mache house , on a single square base , covered in craft sticks and done up as a shed .
The shingl roofs on each are actually "plastistruct" plastic sheeting with a shingle texture , available at train stores for about $10 a package .
More examples of more options .
KAZA , and now its YOUR turn , run wild and free , and post lots of pics , even if it all looks like ash trays form 2nd grade art class !