Monday, February 8, 2016

Blackstone Buildings #1 Peasant Hovel

In a previous post, I introduced the village of Blackstone to the world, while noting that I would post a series on how I put it together. In the next few posts, I will look at the process for each building type in more detail, with some hints on how I made the item, and some lessons I learned the hard way! Before we start though, let me say that these aren't 100% finished, as I could add more interior detail and I know that in "real life" these couldn't possibly work as living spaces, but I reckon these are good enough for a wargaming table now!

The Hovel

First of all, let's look at the hovel, the standard abode of the common fantasy wargaming underling. I made x3 of these, with one tiled roof. I recommend a minimum of x3, as that gives you lots of options to combine them into different buildings, some of which you will see below. Your imagination is the limit. Add scatter terrain like barrels, bodies and skeletons for more atmosphere! If you want to go crazy, make 6, make 12. Here are some possible combinations using using x3 hovels.

Option 1: The hovel.
This run down  derelict living space suits a small family, usually has one door and 3- 4 walls. It might also have once had a simple roof, but no more...

Option 2: The Long House.
For your better class of town-folk, this combination makes for a nice long space...

...put a third unit in, and it becomes even more spacious, with doors connecting each unit.

Option 3: The Merchant's store.
Combine x3 hovels, using one of them as a second floor, and you can represent a two storey building with an alley, perhaps I lead to a central courtyard. Perhaps the lower units are the shopfront, and the family lives upstairs. This could also function as a town gate.

Option 4: The "Wealthy Bastard".
Put x2 or x3 hovels on top of each other, add a roof, and boom!, you lord it over your neighbours. They hate you, but you don't care - the air is (marginally) cleaner up here after all. The lower floor could be the reception area, 2nd floor a kitchen, and the top floor is for you and your family.

So, how to make a simple hovel? Pretty simple.

Making your hovel.

In my opening post, I mentioned materials, so now all you need is a ruler, pencil and desire to measure, cut and glue. I find a box cutter to be best, but exercise extreme caution when working with this.

++Before we start, an important public service message++
Please note that these buildings are not "true" scale or carefully designed to match the scale of GW or other 28mm games systems building. True to this being "quick and dirty terrain" I put them together by just literally "eyeballing" a 28mm model and taking it from there! They are going to look bigger and rougher!"
++Thanks for your attention++

Step 1: Marking out.
Each hovel is 10cm on each side, 6.5cm in height, and has a base. You need to:
  • Gently score a rectangle 30cm x 6.0cm in your polystrene.
  • Score a solid vertical line every 10cm, so the rectangle is divided into three.
  • Mark out a doorspace on the center wall (3cm wide x 4cm tall - but think about making it less! 4 cm tall can look really big...)
  • Mark out a window to right or left of the door. (Option: mark out other windows on the other walls.)
  • Cut out a base, either to fit exactly under the walls, or that extends slightly beyond each wall.
  • I don't add any kind of ceiling, as I want the inside to be accessible.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so:

1. Have a model from your army close by to check the scale of the building. As you mark it out, does it "feel" right to you? I realized later that I made the doors too big on most of my buildings!
2. Do you prefer to have the hovel with walls all the way around? I kept mine open on one side to allow easy access for models and movement options in addition to always using the front door. In you want 4 walls, don't forget to factor that in!
3. Keep those off-cuts, they will come in later! e.g. When you cut out a door, keep it! Then, using your box-cutter, score some lines down the front to look like wood planks. Finally you can glue that to the floor inside your hovel, so it looks like someone busted down the door.

Step 2: Details.
You probably now have a beautiful hovel with smooth walls and unblemished surfaces, but what I want is a run-down, at best shabby or at worst abandoned vibe! The way to get this is detailing and adding some wear and tear. Detailing really adds a lot of character to the overall look. The good news is all you need is a craft knife and some PVA.
Here are some detailing options that I think add a lot to the model.
  • Bricks. Add decorative bricks around the tops of the door. Using your craft knife, cut out 5mm x5mm x10 cm pieces of foam strips, then cut these down to small bricks. Using PVA, glue these stategically over the doors, and in the gaps between the walls.
  • Window details. Add window sills, definitely outside, but also on the inside of the window if you have time.
  • Wall damage: Using your craft knife, cut out wall damage, carving out uneven chunks of the wall from the ceiling to the floor. You can be as aggressive as you want, depending on your goals. You can see here that one of my huts is missing whole sections of wall. This not only looks better (IMHO) but it gives models more tactical options (FLEE through the nearest gap!)
  • Missing plaster. First things first - to do this, you will never cut right through the board! To make missing plaster, first use your blade to outline an area, making sure you can access it from one of the edges. Cut NO deeper than halfway into the board. Then, slide your cutter into the board from the wall edge, slowly slicing through the board where the plaster will be missing. Finally, lift away the top half of the board. You should not have an area that looks like it was under the plaster.
  • Cracks. Using your craft knife, starting from any wall, score some cracks into the wall.
You can see that I like my hovels to look abandoned!
That's it! Quite simple, but a good place to start. Let me know if you have any questions.

In part #2, we will look at a larger building - the village pub!


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