Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Room with a View

For my Gambusian campaign, I needed some buildings to represent larger urban areas. I still have not completely decided on what sort of architectural styles abound on the continent. I built this small building as a generic urban dwelling:

I built it out of Sculpy polymer clay and hence, it has a rather warped look. The windows are out of cardstock. Not the greatest building, but from a distance, it doesn’t look too horrible. The problem is that its sort of pain to cut the slabs of sculpy to make the walls of the buildings. Oh sure, they look nice initially, but when you even start to move them, the corners warp. It was also a lot of work to bevel the corners evenly to glue the corners together. So, I think this will be last of my 6mm sculpy buildings.

Recently, I ran across Matakishi's Tea House ( It is an excellent site where the author has a lot of how-to stuff. He is very good at going step-by-step in how things are done, which really helps a lot. One of his projects is a how-to on building generic Middle Eastern buildings. He even provides the plans. Here is my take on them:

These buildings are modified from his plans. His are for 28mm scale. Also, they are built so that you can stick your troops inside. So, there was a lot of reduction in size. I am never too good at getting my proportions right. I think my buildings suffer from scale creep. My trees seem to come out that way, too, but that is for another entry.

Here is the first one I made:

I used Adobe Illustrator to reduce the size, and to adjust for the fact that I won’t be putting figures inside the building. The windows and doors are made out of sculpy. There is some warping on some of the windows, but it’s minimal. Besides, we’re talking “developing nation” here. To get a sort of adobe effect on walls of this building and the following, I took craft paint and mixed it with some baking powder. It gave the rough texture. You need to paint fast because the baking powder dries the paint quickly.

This first apartment looks cool with the balcony wrapped around the two sides of the building, but it was very tricky to pull off. So, I got lazy and put the balcony only on side of the second building. Besides, the tenants pay lower rent at this apartment:

Again, same methods. I got a little fancier with the doors and even tried my hand at building a dormer for the top floor apartment.

The third building is more of a shop or restaurant:

The awning outside the shop is just a piece of paper held up by segments of wire. I didn’t intend for the building to be this dark a brown. It seemed to darken a little when I mixed it with the baking soda. The building’s walls look rougher than the others because I let the paint-baking soda mixture dry a little more before application, and I think I added more baking soda than on the other two. One nice thing is that the mixture also works as filler and can cover up some gaps between cardstock and can smooth out edges a little bit.

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