Witchlands Hovel - A 28mm Terrain Article
Written by Tony Harwood Thursday, 12 April 2012 06:00
Architecture of Valon
Modelling Materclass: A 28mm Scale Building
My latest Modelling Masterclass features a simple Witchland Hovel, the sort of wooden structure that could be found all over the undead frozen Steppes. The model owes much to various postings on The Lead Adventure Forum and some images I found on e-bay. It is therefore not an original design. However with a growing Witchlands Undead Army I felt that it was about time I build another undead themed terrain pieces.
As with most of my modelling projects it started with a simple sketch scaled for the slightly larger Flintloque miniatures. The sketch also shows a larger Russian style church which could easily be built using the same techniques and materials.
I wanted the subassembly to be robust and after transferring the dimensions on to corrugated cardboard I glued the base or core model together with my hot-glue gun. It isn’t clear in some of these images, but the basic structure is in fact two layers of corrugated cardboard covered with some cheap mounting card. This gives a very strong building block on which to add the surface detail.
TIP; One tip I want to pass on is something I came upon by accident. When using a hot-glue gun it is common to have the now cooled glue squeeze out and settle in lumps on the surface of the model. In the past I have cut this excess glue away with knife. On this occasion I ran the still hot nozzle of the glue-gun over the excess glue and smoothed out the surface, thereby giving a very strong and smooth surface on which to start building up the detail.
Once the basic house shape was finished I moved on to cladding the walls. I have used coloured lollipop sticks (or craft sticks) which I bought from Hobbycraft some time ago.
TIP: For some unknown reason coloured lollipop sticks or craft sticks are cheaper than plain lollipop sticks. As the model will eventually be painted – I suggest you choose the cheapest you can find.
I started with the buildings ends, laying distressed strips over superglue and trimming the ends with a large ‘snap-off’ bladed knife when the glue has fully set.
There is no reason why you cannot use the lollipop sticks straight from the packet, however I prefer to distress the wooden sticks with either coarse sandpaper or scribing the planks with the point of a scalpel. In addition I further distress the edges of the wooden planks by trimming and nipping the edges with a knife. Both these actions although tedious will pay dividends when it comes to painting and particularly drybrushing the model.
Once the ends were done I built up first the back and then the front of the hovel in the same way. You will see from the images that I have drawn the door and window details onto the building and laid simple plastic card squares for the windows.
When the glue has fully set, I trim all the edges and sand the joints smooth.
The next step is to add the supports or detailing strips to the plain sides. This is done in exactly the same way as the earlier wall cladding, however I have used a little bit of Milliput to fill gaps and smooth out the joints between adjoining wooden posts.
Once again when dry I have sanded all edges and joints smooth in an attempt to hide the joins.
The door detail is again strips of lollipop sticks and the window detail is built up from both thin card and lollipop sticks.
The roof cladding is applied in the same way as the walls, although I have varied the lengths of the strips to give some variety and visual interest.
TIP: You will see that I have NOT been particularly careful to join the roof ridge joints – these will be covered with a separate piece of Lollipop stick later in the construction and any carefully mitred joins will not be seen!
The decorative roof end detail is copied from a model featured on The Lead Adventure Forum and is applied in six separate strips each end. The larger strips are in fact scrap wood cut from a Clementines or Nectarines box, they were cut with a ‘snap-off’ bladed knife and a steel ruler, sanded smooth and then trimmed to size before being distressed and superglued into place.
TIP: I am always on the look-out for scrap wood and Oranges, Tangerines and sometimes Vegetable are still supplied in small wooden crates. This scrap wood is ideal for scratch-building terrain pieces, being light, easily cut and above all FREE just ask your local Greengrocer or Market Trader.
The final piece of main construction was to add two strips across either side of the roof. It will not surprise you to read that these too have been modelled from lollipop sticks, cut into thin strips, distresses and superglued into position. The small (white) additions to either end are meant to represent the strips protruding through the decorative end panels. I modelled mine with plastic card and superglued them into place.
I have commented on earlier Masterclasses that my favourite part of any terrain construction project is the final detailing, this model was no exception.
I cut four thin strips of plastic card into tiny plastic card squares and using superglue applied with a wooden cocktail stick proceeded to add rivets and wooden joining pegs all over the model. In total I have added about seventy such slivers each of which will be picked out during the drybrushing phase.
With the modelling completed I spray painted the whole building with a cheap black spray can and when dry touched-up any bits I had missed with black acrylic paint.
I was trying for a subdued and old weathered wood finish and therefore applied subtle dark brown and grey drybrushes across the whole model. The technique I used was one I had observed in real life; Wooden buildings tend to have dark almost black walls near the base of the building or at ground level, more colour further up the walls and then silver/grey or bleached wood on the roof. I think I could have done with one more grey (light grey) drybrush over the roof – but decided not to as I quite liked the under-done effect.
All that scribing and distressing of the coloured lollipop sticks during construction has really paid-off as the different layers of drybrushing make them ’pop out’.
Apart from the drybrushed wooden walls there is little in the way of any detail painting. I have picked out a couple of features with brighter colours, but overall the dull weather-beaten effect was the look I was after.
The base was first modelled from a 3mm thick ‘For Sale’ sign cut into a rough oval with the groundwork built up with DAS modelling clay, this is painted in my usual colour scheme – Games Workshop Snakebite Leather, highlighted with Snakebite and Skull White with occasional stones picked out in highlighted grey. To tie everything in, I have washed the base of the building and the groundwork around the base of the building with a ‘muddy brown’ wash,
I have flocked the edges of the base with green railway flock – to match-in with my gaming table. I have also added some static grass clumps and a couple of bits of green foam foliage that I have been wanting to try out for some time.
Once again I am left wondering if the model could have been slightly smaller. The Witchlands Hovel is 120mm wide x 100mm deep x 100mm tall (to top of chimney). If I was building it again, I would cut all dimensions by at least 10mm, maybe even 15mm. However I am pleased with my first Witchlands Hovel and plan on building a couple more – maybe even that church.
"Wicker Fence" - Tony turns his attention to creating some cover for your tabletop gaming.