Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bad Day in the Old West --

Due to some 'real life' stuff I've not been able to game for a while -- hence the lack of recent posts.

I still haven't played anything (gotta finish some 'honey dos' first) . . . but after my last post about converting 'Christmas houses' to gaming terrain, I realized that I haven't given you a good look at my scratch-built 'Old West' buildings.

Remember to 'click' on the photos to see larger versions of them.

Now I'm the first to admit that I've seen far fancier and more detailed buildings on other blogs . . . but these were actually very easy to build and I think that they look very much like I suspect a lot of the actual buildings did . . . that is to say, a bit rough.

Incidentally, I think most of the figures are from the Old Glory 'Warpaint' line (although it is possible that a Dixon or two crept in).

What you see are four buildings. A hotel (with the balcony), a fancy saloon (wrap-around walk) and a couple of miscellaneous buildings.

All are foamcore shells covered with thin sheets of balsa. If you look closely you will see that the 'planking' on these buildings were simply scribed into the soft balsa with a dull pencil. And don't forget to scribe some board ends.

Okay, I cheated with the windows. They are just squares of craft sticks glued on (I was in a hurry). The sidewalks are made of craft skewers that I've trimmed the pointed and rounded ends from.

By the way those 'fancy' posts (the ones with the 'lathe work' are the fancy bamboo toothpicks that you can often find in supermarkets. (Note that they also make nice flag staffs and for the chunkier figures they're not bad lances).

The shingles were particularly easy to make, by the way.

They are simply strips of card cut from cereal boxes, then made into 'combs' (i.e., irregularly spaced vertical cuts not quite through to the 'spine'). Then cut alternate 'teeth' short and at slight angles.

Overlap the strips and you've got a nice irregularly looking set of shingles.

What else?

Oh yes, the doors are simply defined by some balsa strips to 'frame' them. And I've capped the 'false fronts' with another strip of balsa.

By the way, if you are scratch building your own Western town, I heartily suggest that you do not make 'square' buildings.

Rectangular ones give you more options. Also try to vary the heights of the 'second storey' of the buildings . . . remember that these were not designed and built by professionals. They are NOT built to any sort of architectural standards . . . people just made do as best they could.

-- Jeff


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Good to see you posting again Jeff...

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

PS. Nice buildings as well!

Donogh said...

Very nice indeed
I love this:
"They are NOT built to any sort of architectural standards . . . people just made do as best they could."
A real reason *cough*excuse*cough* to cover up my modelling ineptitude!

Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke said...

Morning Jeff,

Terrific buildings you have there. How to create buildings and terrain is one of the most interesting features of the wargaming hobby -- besides the figures themselves of course!

Best Regards,


Prinz Geoffrey said...

Very nice buildings. How did you paint them?

Martin said...

Hi Jeff,

Excellent looking buildings! Do you have a "Silverado" type shootout planned?

Whats the latest from Vile Stagonia? The news blackout is starting to cause concern.

Too bad about your copy of "The Wargame Companion" being snagged as a Christmas present by your better half. Sigh...Oh the things we wargamers have to put up with for continued matrimonial bliss. Your have the sympathy of the entire IBOMM (The International Brotherhood of Married Men.)

littlejohn said...

Nice buildings Jeff. And from an architect's perspective might I say they look darned accurate to the period as well! I'm a big fan of those turned toothpicks and I've used them for everything from lances to tiny cannons for a set of little wood iron clads still on the back burner to bits of table leg debris for 15mm FOW Stalingrad terrain boards. Very cool!


Bluebear Jeff said...

Prinz Geoffrey,

They are not painted. What you see is the natural color of the balsa and other wood.

The shingles are the color of the cardboard.

I'm actually of a couple of different minds as to whether to paint them or not. I kind of like them as they are . . . but the wood would have aged very quickly, so they probably should get paint.

-- Jeff

Fitz-Badger said...

They look quite good, very authentic methinks!

You could slap on a bunch of red paint... ;-)

Or, more seriously, I've seen places like MicroMark selling some stuff for weathering wood. It's suposed to make it look like real aged wood, you know, the gray stuff. Maybe some additional paint to add detail. Another option might be whitewash.

marinergrim said...

Excellent "High Plains Drifter" & "Unforgiven" appeal for that set up Jeff.
I can see The Duke, Little Bob & will Munny now, guns blazing.

DestoFante said...

Welcome back, Jeff!

Fantastic timing - I spent my Thanksgiving in Arizona with my family, and one night we enjoyed watching the old western movie "3:10 to Yuma" (the old 1957 edition, with Glenn Ford.) Which made me think of that nice 15mm range by Peter Pig... and now your post... I really need to learn how to stay focused... :-)

Great reading!

CWT said...

Hello again! Very nice post, and good inspiration.