Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Man's House is His Castle - A Scratchbuild

Whilst I've put together a small selection of buildings styled after the Helsreach illustrations in Rogue Trader (like this or these), I've not made any larger centrepiece type structures in the style of this hillfort:

Carl Critchlow's fantastic Helsreach illustration.

I've been thinking about making a building in homage to the above illustration, but its quite a daunting prospect. Happily, I discovered some cheap household items in my local discount store, which I figured would be good basic shapes to make a practice build using some of the techniques I would employ on a hill fort.

A pair of plastic bathroom tidies (for your toothbrushes and so on). These were on the clearance shelf and cost less than £5.


My plan was to upturn the pill shaped one and use it as a bastion, with some of the square holes as windows. The one with multiple compartments would be a series of small rooms around an enclosed courtyard.

Early configuration mockup in the car park!

After I got the two bathroom tidies home, I started to play about with some of the parts I could used to accessorise them.

A selection of plastic, plaster and resin parts.


Overhead view.

And the teeny tiny courtyard.

Although I hadn't finalised the configuration, in particular the transition between the two different plastic elements, I wanted to make a start on working out the shapes. Step one was to add some foamcard roofs to the 'rooms'.

Foamcard was roughly shaped then trimmed to fit. It's resting on balsa wood batons.

A crude tile pattern was scored onto a thin cork mat and glued into place as the courtyard floor.

I started working out where I wanted windows, and where I didn't!


At this stage I wasn't entirely happy with the build. I didn't like the transition between the two 'buildings'. I didn't like the relatively low playability element either. So I got out a sheet of foamcard and started messing around. After an hour or so, I had a new section to the building - a big new set of  blast doors, a terrace and some steps.


The construction is entirely from foamcard, cut on the hoof and stuck together using a hot glue gun. The resin entrance way is a bunker section (no idea where from) that I stuck on its end and trimmed to fit (there's a plastic blast door in there from Maelstrom's Edge too).


The new transition section changed the whole look of the building, altering the size and footprint, as well as inserting playable 'gaming area'. I also much preferred the asymmetry that resulted from the new parts.

Next step was to add a bit of detailing. I plundered the Maelstrom's Edge plastic terrain accessories for some doors and windows, and covered most of the square holes in the taller building with thin card.



I added some more resin parts (like the little console above the blast door), and shaped some foamcard to add interest to the flat sections.

I primed the slippery plastic to help with the rendering process to come later.

A sunshade canopy from Renedra.


After the base build was completed, I liberally spread a mixture of filler and sand across pretty much the entire structure. As I went, I textured the filler using a scouring pad (the kind used for dishwashing). The render took three sittings (I think) and plenty of drying time between.







Once the whole thing was covered in render, I couldn't resist setting up a little townscape, just to see how it was going to look!



I haven't ever built anything of this size before, and certainly nothing other than detailing of basic boxes. I'm pretty pleased with the results so far, and am looking forward to having a finished, painted building shortly.

Next steps: sanding down some of the rougher texture and addition of a few more detail elements, before adding some paint!

54 comments:

  1. It's a fantastic piece worth every minute spent.

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    1. Thanks! I reckon it's roughly equivalent to 4 or 5 painted figures so far, which is a big time investment. But it's worth it to make stuff like this I think.

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    1. Thanks! It's been a fun process making it up on the fly!

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  3. Magnificent! Worthy of the mad architects of Logan's World!

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    1. Thanks very much! I'm sure the denizens of Logan's World would be very much at home!

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    1. Thanks Tom! My biggest learning point from this build is that rendered adobe buildings are much easier than precision engineered ones...all the wonking surfaces and dodgy cuts are happily covered by the filler :D

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  5. That's magnificent! I like how you couldn't wait to even get them back home and were taking photographs of the layout in the carpark.

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    1. I also did some trial mockups in the store. And got weird looks, so decided not to take photos there!

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  6. Absolutely cracking work Jon. Can't wait to see it finished and then i want an invite to a game on it.

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    1. Absolutely. Both things are very desirable!

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  7. Bloody amazing Jon! I was really keen to see how you rendered this from the start. It will look fantastic when your done with it I'm sure. The asymmetry of the shapes helped a lot, great idea to separate the plastic sections.

    Well done :)

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    1. Thanks! The render was a lot easier than I anticipated in many ways (the texturing), but also a lot trickier (it didn't like being spread out. I'm really pleased I added in the extra section, for a whole host of reasons.

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    2. Just out of curiosity, you reckon the render will hold to the plastic ok? It's not going to peel off?

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    3. I hope so! That's why I primed the plastic first to give it grippage.

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  8. Awesome job mate - that is the dog's danglies!!

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  9. Just to join the chorus, that's really incredible work there! Even without paint that's splendid. Practice for a hill fort? It's a showpiece in its own right. A very playable showpiece. :) Well done!

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    1. Thanks very much. I confess I'm a little nervous about how a bigger, more complex structure might go, but this one's turned out OK :)

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  10. That's a fantastic looking townscape, and the new building is the cream of the crop. Excellent work.

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    1. One day I hope to populate a whole board with buildings in the same vein.

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  11. Very impressive, equally at home as Tatoonie

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    1. Tattooine is the touchstone for desert sci-fi I think. I've been on the search for scale Tattooine models to mix in with these.

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  12. I'm always in awe of people that can scratchbuild to the point that it stops looking like a conglomeration of junk and suddenly looks like a beautiful terrain piece.

    Its already exceptional work, even unfinished. Well done.

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    1. I've some way to go yet I think. When I look at the precision engineering that goes into some of these things, my scrappy, unplanned structure is some distance apart in terms of quality. Happily, I want a rustic finish, so it's all worked out quite nicely.

      Thanks cheetor!

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  13. That's a stunning piece of terrain already; the composition works perfectly with the asymmetry and variety of shapes and surfaces. All those little details you've added just take it to the next level. Totally inspiring and I've just browsed Maelstrom's Edge...

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    1. Thanks Stuart. Interesting multi-level buildings are more fun to play over I think, and they also give the impression of having been added to over years (rather than coming fully formed from an architect). Glad you like it!

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  14. That is an amazing transformation! When I saw the first pics, I never saw the final result coming!

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    1. Thanks Andrew! It took some perseverance to get to the end result, but I think it was worth it!

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  15. Sir, I have no words to praise you enough. That is fantastic, I find this highly inspirational!!

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    1. Thanks Suber. It's seeing some of your work that's really pushed me to try some of this stuff :)

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  16. Excellent! Adding that middle section was an inspired choice. Very inspirational.

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    1. Thanks very much. It was a bit more work to add in the middle section, but I think it really helped with the logic of the final structure.

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  17. Cracking job, very nice bit of work.

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  18. That's a great terrain piece. The breakthrough moment of adding the transition entrance and staircase is brilliant.

    Great looking, playable, and within reach of the regular hobbyist to follow along and build.

    Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thanks very much! I reckon with a good eye for potential homewares, some foamcard and a hot glue gun, this is within reach of everyone :)

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  19. That is spectacular - Awesome work! Really hearkens back to the old Rogue Trader days of terrain design. Good stuff!

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    1. I just need some yogurt pot bunkers and I'm sorted!

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  20. Old Skool Cool! I love rendered buildings, they always take me back to my early days in the hobby when second edition first came out. I love it so far.

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    1. Thanks! Rendered buildings are pretty much the touchstone for backwater sci-fi I think - they evoke Westerns, Star War of course, not to mention they're easier to make than precision engineered structures!

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  21. Wow, what an improvement over some plastic junk containers to something that looks quite at home in your growing scenery collection. It has the look of an older building that has been added on to over time (something you might want to keep in mind when painting).

    Are you going to festoon it with wires and lights and cameras and such? Seems like a fortified house would have a security system.

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    1. I'll have to think about whether I can make sections look older than others. I've added a few wires and lamps. Security cameras would have been nice, but I'm not sure if I have anything suitable.

      Thanks!

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  22. It already looks great at this stage seeing that it started off as mere plastic bathroom tidies ^_^ Super creative work so far.

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    1. Thanks very much :) I'm keeping an eye out for more suitable containers!

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  23. Amazing Vision and execution. I'm always impressed with how people can even come up with the idea of using such odd things as a basis for terrain...this is a perfect example! It looks perfect with your other pieces as well.

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    1. Thanks Blue! I wish I'd bought more of the tall pill shaped one - it's a fantastic sci-fi shape :)

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  24. Good lord that is an impressive feat. Very nicely done sir, the finished products are going to impress further for sure!

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    1. Thanks very much. Here's to half a dozen more and a fun townscape to play over!

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