Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Buildings for the "Old West" --

For some reason I keep getting sidetracked away from my intention to write about my Seven Years War project.

Well, today I came across some photos I took of some "old west" building I built about a year ago.

Picture #1 shows the four in a row. They are all slightly different shapes and heights; and no two are alike (although two are pretty similar).

Picture #2 should give you an idea of how I constructed them.

First, I built the four walls of foamcore. I then glued thin sheet balsa to the four sides.

Then I traced and cut out a cardstock "base" for not only the building, but with a rear walkway to an outhouse and a front walkway.

I used an old dull pencil to scribe the psuedo-board shapes into the balsa.

The roofs were made of two pieces of cardstock held together with masking tape. This was then covered with "shingles". These were made while watching TV as I simply cut strips from cereal boxes and then clippped them into odd shapes.

As you can see from picture #3, I added strips of balsa trim around doors and on top of the "false fronts".

You can also see that I used strips of clipped-off "craft toothpicks" to create the walkways.

Pictures #4 and #5 show some two storey buildings. The first is a "hotel" with balcony; and the second, a corner saloon with a walkway around it.

All of these buildings were surprisingly simple to make. A little time-consuming, but really rather easy.

One piece of advice though -- pre-planning is vital. For example, while the buildings are of differing sizes, I made sure that the fronts and sides were such that I could use standard sizes of balsa to clad them.

Oh, and if you ever wondered why so many "old west" buildings had those "false fronts" . . . it was because frequently all that was behind them was a big tent (and not a building at all).

Also, keep in mind that much of the "old west" was actually on the prairies where wood was in short supply.

Hopefully my next post will get back to the real focus of this blog -- the principality of Saxe-Bearstein and the Tricorn Battles of the "Wars for Arcadian Glory".

-- Jeff


marinergrim said...

Like those a lot Jeff.

Deadwood is (was?) a favourite series of mine and I have a hankering to "go west young man" - probably in 40mm from HBLS.

No not another period dear....really I will stick with this one....yes it won't take up much room.....

Bluebear Jeff said...

While I didn't show them, I've built quite a few flat topped "Arab" houses -- which work just as well as adobe buildings. The (*sigh*) only time I've actually got to game with these buildings saw the "adobe" houses in use along with the western ones.

It was a lot of fun . . . but then I moved away and most stuff is still in storage until our home in California sells and we can buy a house up here on Vancouver Island.

-- Jeff

Bloggerator said...

Those are some fine-looking buildings.

HM Freidrich Augustus is looking enviously at them and thinking you may have to build a new palace or a folly for him.

As to distractions, I've just about finished painting up some dark ages Saxons when i ought to be painting some Alzheimer light infantry...

I'm a bad person...


Poruchik said...


Very nice.

Locally a group of us played western skirmishes for a while. The motivation behind the games moved to St Louis, but those types of games are great fun with the right buildings and setting. Looks like you've got a big piece of that completed.

Fantastic work!


Bluebear Jeff said...

Greg & Donald,

Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, I also have a couple dozen painted figures for the western town as well. They too are "somewhere in storage".

*sigh* . . . but, Greg, don't think that you're a "bad person" for painting figures from a different period. After all, it is changes of pace that keep us fresh, right?

-- Jeff

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Great buildings! I'm sure the late Ian Weekley is gazing on appropriately from somewhere.

Stokes Schwartz