Scenery for Wargaming and Role Playing

By Slim Mumford

How do I make a basic small town house (100mm x 50mm x 75mm high)?

This is of a type that I have found suitable for actions from ancient times to World War II in the Mediterranean. In this case I am making a single house but it is sensible to make batches of them at a time. If doing so, differences in the numbers and positions of doors and windows will give some variety. Also one may have some slightly taller than others.

Materials: Stout cardboard such as that used for backing pictures and cereal packet cardboard for the roof. Centimetre square strip wood, I use rocket sticks. Glue and paints.

Tools: Cutting Board, rulers & set square, pencils, craft knives, chisels (optional) paintbrushes.

Mark out the stout cardboard walls, floor and roof supports with 50mm and 64mm strips as shown in the photograph. If the roof slope angle is set at 45 degrees the off-cuts can be used as the roof supports. The 64mm strip is marked into two pieces 100mm long which will be the front and back walls of the house. On these one should mark out the door and window arrangements. On this example the windows are 10mm wide by 12mm high with the bottom ones 15mm from the ground and the upper ones 46mm up. The door is 69mm high by 15mm wide. This house has no door or any ground floor windows at the back, a useful arrangement if it has to be defended. End walls very rarely have windows and this type of house can easily be made part of a row of them. The two side walls in the 64mm are 66mm to the eve with the roof support/gap being 50mm to give the 45 degree slopes. The floor section is 97mm long assuming that the card is 1.5mm thick. I normally cut a hole to indicate where the ladder or stair from the ground floor comes up. At one time I would actually make stairs, internal walls, fireplaces and even once a kitchen sink but there is little point. If an action is to take place inside a small building it is best to use a floor plan to play on. The door and windows layout should be decided with any variations. If a batch of buildings is to be made, to save the time taken measuring out each time it is best to make a cardboard marking out template or stencil. The windows can be cut out with a craft knife or if speed is more important than precision a pair of chisels and mallet. In the latter case the windows are the dimensions of the two sizes of chisel. It may be thought desirable to add projecting sills and lintles to the apertures or even to use transparent sheeting to simulate glass. Just gluing cardboard hollow rectangles to the wall and painting them with a dark silver can also make windows. This is the way to do it if lancet or other fancy shaped ones are required. Doorways are best cut with the craft knife because the piece cut out, can become the door itself. It will need slivers trimmed or sanded from the bottom and one side to give it a loose enough fit. It will be given a large paper hinge on which to pivot glued to the inside of the house wall. Four pieces of 10mm strip wood 38mm long are cut, usually with a hack saw. These have the dual purpose when glued, of holding the walls strongly in position and supporting the upstairs floor. Use a quick setting glue to assemble the house but do not rush and keep checking that it is fitting perfectly.

   The roof is made from a piece of cereal packet cardboard 100m x 85mm folded in the middle. In the case shown I have inscribed slates on it before paining it and using a light varnish tinged with grey. If red tiles or a darker shade of grey is required it is best to do the scribing after painting. As mentioned elsewhere I use sandpaper to represent thatched roofs. The pitch of the roof is held in place by gluing the two triangular supports a bit in from the ends of the roof. Enough space is needed for the supports to slip inside the end walls. I keep my roofs removable so that figures can be put in the top floor or clumps of sheep’s wool to simulate smoke if the house is set on fire. Figures can be put in the ground floor by just plonking the whole house on top of them. I tend only to have an actual floor at ground level in ruins or building large enough to allow play inside them. The chimney is made from the 10mm square strip wood although larger ones are possible. The 90-degree notch is sawn into it so that it fits onto the roof. The ring door handle is made from a twist of fuse wire flattened with pliers.          

    The painting stage is when doing batches of similar buildings pays off the most in time and paintbrush cleaning resources. Most of these town houses I paint plain matt white with a few with sample or touch up paint added to give variety. A reddish brown touch up paint, I use for tiles or in this case the ridge tiles. The floor is a mixed greyish brown. The door I normally paint with gloss enamel and with the handle black. 

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Scene 1 Countryside Samples

Scene 2 Dark Ages & Medieval Village buildings

Scene 3 Medieval Town scene

Scene 4 Medieval City Buildings

Scene 5 Temples and Eastern Buildings

Scene 6 Half Timbered Buildings & Palisade defences

Scene 7 Castles & Town fortifications

How do I make castles and stone town fortifications?

How do I make a batch of Wild West town houses

How do I make a Cathedral?

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