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Author Topic: From half-timbered houses to more early medieval ships (WIP)  (Read 3733 times)

Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2020, 02:33:42 PM »
The project continues, slowly but surely. I cut another piece of bank-calendar cardstock for the attic floor, scribed both sides, and painted it. I assembled the 3 end pieces and got the intermediate timbers lined up right, so that I could do a lower layer of beams, under the attic flooring, and have them line up right (more or less) with the timbers in the upper floor walls. I decided that the timbers with the "upper cruck frame" would remain a visible part of the attic level, still allowing miniatures and furniture to be placed on the attic floor when the roof is removed.

The beams that you can see in this first picture will be attached to the underside of the roof piece, so they will not obstruct fat-fingered gamer access. The key part here is going to be getting the angles between the two roof parts right, not to mention the dormer window above the front door right. I breifly considered making five dormer windows, but it's going to be hard enough to get the roof right with just one, so I decided that the current project is complicated enough that one single dormer window is going to have to be sufficient.



In the second picture you can see the attic level just about as it will look when open for gaming, with the balustrade around the open stairwell going down.



Once I get the templates properly sized for the roof pieces and get them cut out and glued to the roof beams (hopefully without glueing them at the same time to the support timbers), I'll need to do roof tiles  and build the fireplace that will run from the ground floor to the roof, out of carved polystyrene. After that, I'll need windows, shutters and a little ground clutter before seriously working on the interior furniture.

Making buildings with playable interiors is turning out to be quite a chore. I can see why many gamers don't bother. Perhaps I should fill out the village with a few buildings *without* playable interiors, and just resort to printed floorplans set off to the side, should the action take us in there. Are playable interiors really worth it? I'm curious what the rest of you think.

Offline Cubs

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2020, 02:36:10 PM »
Holy crap, are you going to move in?! That's amazing work! How do you bend the beams like that? Did you steam the wood or just hold it in place with clamps?
'Sir John ejaculated explosively, sitting up in his chair.' ... 'The Black Gang'.

Paul Cubbin Miniature Painter

Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2020, 03:16:42 PM »
Good question, Cubs!
Although balsa is a very forgiving material to work with, and in theory it would be possible to steam or soak beams and then bend them to shape, I find that in practice it's really hard to get a consistent bend. Once you bend a piece to shape, even after full drying there is a degree of "spring back" and so it would be a devilish proposition to get just the right shape.

So I did it the easy way. I sketched out the facades on paper, and cut out a template piece for the curved beams of the cruck frame. I then transfered the curved shape onto sheet balsa (3mm-thick sheets for the end pieces that are backed by cardstock, and 6mm-thick sheets for the freestanding interior frames) and carefully cut to form. Then came a period of adjusting and gluing, including cutting a dado joint (a grove in each piece) where the two curved pieces overlap at the top. Tricky work with small balsa pieces and I had to do a couple pieces twice, since I ruined them by cutting too aggressively.



Without the framing plan on paper, I don't think I could have achieved this level of uniformity for the three end pieces and the four intermediate frames that you can see in the previous post.

Oh, last thing: after assembly, I shaved off the square edges of most of the beams, so it looks more like they were carved using hand tools. It really improves the overall look, but I don't know how much that really shows, in the photos. None of this is really "hard" as such, but there sure are a lot of small steps involved.

Offline scatterbrains

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2020, 04:00:13 PM »
Holy crap, are you going to move in?! That's amazing work!

I blew air through my nose really fast at that  lol

Offline Cubs

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2020, 04:57:43 PM »
So I did it the easy way.

I don't blame you. I looks supoib.

Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2020, 08:46:35 AM »
After many interruptions from real life, the project continues.
I knew that cutting strips of shingles/roof tiles was tedious, but somehow I'd forgotten just how many of the buggers I'd have to prepare! It takes a lot of roof tiles to cover a roof!



In the upper left corner you can see my raw materials: old medicine boxes. I find the cardboard used to be stronger than, say, cereal boxes, as well as thinner. And since the strips of cut tiles get layered on top of each other once glued to the roof piece, I didn't want the whole thing getting too thick. But I have to say that I feel like I need to find a simpler method for doing a roof, because cutting these strips of tiles takes a *lot* of time. There's got to be an easier way. I suppose I could make larger tiles, but this size seems to fit the scale of the project: 1cm-wide strips, with notches between 2/3 and 3/4 of that width.



But before even reaching that stage, I had to make some templates for the roof pieces, out of scrap cardboard (old Paizo shipping envelopes). Measuring the model only goes so far, I had to test and actually fit together the roof pieces, re-making a couple pieces several times until they meshed properly. It's at this point that I'm really happy with my decision not to add more dormer windows to the model. I've got enough complex roof pieces to fit together as it is.

So now I *think* I may have enough strips of tile prepared to finish the remaining two roof pieces, then the tricky part will be assembling them so the roof can not only lift off, but not be completely destroyed in the process. Then the chimney and fireplace will need carving, there are windows and shutters to add, more interior furniture to build and these seated tavern drinkers to paint.

Maybe my next buildings *don't* need to have playable interiors. <g>

Offline ffrum

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2020, 04:46:30 PM »
I developed a process for making shingles for the many building constructed.  Paper/cardboard strips wider than the shingle (length) size and 6-8 inches long are cut on a paper cutter.  I make a jig of pieces of Masonite and wood spacers to hold the strips, stacked 10 deep or so, about 6-8 inches long.  The jig has notches cut in it for the shingle width dimension.  Then the strips, held in the jig, are cut into at each of the notches with a scroll saw.  This operation results in "mass produced" strips of shingles to be placed and glued, overlapping horizontally on a building roof.  The glued strips of shigles are cut to fit the roof.  Crown rows are added at the peaks and flashing is placed on the roof joints (before shingles are added).  Painting then is completed with dry brushing and weathering.

Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2020, 06:15:50 PM »
Ffrum, thanks for the suggestion. I'd heard of this method, but I'd need the right tools to do it, and I do tend to like the irregular appearance of hand-cut tiles. It's very tempting, though, after having spent untold hours with an xacto knife cutting notches in 1cm-wide strips of light cardboard.

I have finished applying tiles to all the roof pieces and will post more photos once I've completed the removable roof assembly - or bolloxed the whole thing up.

Offline snitcythedog

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2020, 06:59:44 PM »
Bravo on the trussing.  Something that I would never think to do.  I just hide that part of the building. 
A bottle of scotch and two aspirin a day will greatly reduce your awareness of heart disease.
"Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference"... Mark Twain
http://snitchythedog.blogspot.com

Offline DS615

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2020, 01:25:32 PM »
I developed a process for making shingles for the many building constructed.  Paper/cardboard strips wider than the shingle (length) size and 6-8 inches long are cut on a paper cutter.  I make a jig of pieces of Masonite and wood spacers to hold the strips, stacked 10 deep or so, about 6-8 inches long.  The jig has notches cut in it for the shingle width dimension.  Then the strips, held in the jig, are cut into at each of the notches with a scroll saw.

A brilliant idea!  I am working on buildings at the moment, and have been dreading the roof tile cutting portion. Your idea is fantastic, and something that appeals to my own building habits.  (build a thing to make another thing easier, even if doing so takes longer that just doing it the "normal" way).
I'm going to do that tonight!
- Scott

Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #25 on: August 05, 2020, 02:00:29 PM »
The roof is assembled, glued and ready to paint! It was a real dog to build, since I chose to make such a complicated system to allow the roof to be removed, and had to glue the roof beams in just the right place to make them correspond to the slots and supports on the trusses. Plus, first time round, I glued the dormer window roof on *backwards* and had to detact it, make several further cuts for it to fit right, and reattach it. Looks just about right now, though.



The shingles on this side (next pic) are the most irregular, I did this side first and it shows. Hopefully it won't be quite so glaringly obvious once I have some paint on it.





Whilst various bits were drying, I also pulled out a piece of scrap styrofoam, measured and carved the chimney and the ground floor fireplace. Due to lack of planning and foresight, I had to put the chimney in over an existing window, but since I also wanted to make it wide enough to hide a tea-lamp led inside, that worked out fine. The upper floor fireplace will have to be wide enough to cover that window too, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.





Next step is painting the roof, carving the upper floor chimney and the roof-based part of the chimney, painting and assembling all that, then windows, shutters and ground clutter in the yard. Only then will I be able to turn my sights on painting up the figures and furniture that will go inside.


Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2020, 11:52:55 AM »
No, it's still not done yet.

But we had a game this Sunday, so I pressed it into service. The roof tiles have got two base coats and the beginning of some detailing, but it still needs lichen, moss, and the upper part of the chimney, not to mention windows, shutters and ground clutter. Still, it's starting to shape up nicely. Here it is, as mid-grade tavern in a shady corner of the vast city of Freeport.



And here is the ground floor, with some temporary tavern furnishings:



And the upper floor, tarted up with some scratchbuilt and some prefab Dwarven Forge furniture:



And the attic floor, with a bit of clutter and some half-painted bedrolls pressed into early service:



More soon.

Offline CookAndrewB

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2020, 07:27:50 PM »
That is basically the inn that my brain imagines at the beginning of every D&D game I've ever played lol. Well done!

Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2020, 12:08:42 PM »
"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."

Although, as it turns out, all the action took place in the tavern courtyard. The adventurers (Luciano the Varisian, Alarielle the Sorceresse and O'gral, Servant of Grome) had leant, after interrogating a few prisoners and speaking with the young women who'd been kidnapped for human sacrifice, that the serpent cult would try to kidnap a visiting Mwangi princesse. (Mwangi being the Golarion equivalent of Darkest Africa). A Varisian (=Gypsy) fortune-teller drew this Mwangi princess into the courtyard just as the serpent cultists provoked a stampede of all the horses in the tavern stables, then tried to eliminate the princess's guards. Naturally, the adventurers managed to thwart the serpent cultists' plan, killing several of them and following the others deep into the ancient ruins beneath the city.

Kidnapping

Attempted sacrifice
« Last Edit: August 12, 2020, 12:11:31 PM by PhilB »

Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2020, 07:17:21 PM »
Windows and shutters are done. Exterior landscaping is done. The upper part of the chimney is done.



The windows were made by taking 3x3mm basswood strips and cutting them down to less than 1x1mm, then each window had to be custom fitted because during construction I neglected to use a standard window size.



The shutters were made by using scribed bank calendar cardstock, painted, then thin strips of medicine-box light cardstock, cut to get a maximum number of braile bumps to represent rivets, pre-painted and glued across the top and bottom of the shutters. A little post-cut touch-up, and they were ready to be glued in place.



Here are some additional views. I took the longest time to decide what to add in the rectangular area left by the L-shaped building, and eventually decided on a well, carved out of dense insulation foam using Xacto knives, since I still haven't sprung for a Proxon foam cutter. With PVA covering the building's base, I added first some sand, painted in with a few shades of dark brown, then added flocking, leaving a few paths in the dirt, to represent traffic.





The outside of this house is pretty much done, except for some climbing ivy on the walls, which turned out fairly nice on previous projects, then I'll try to put the finishing touches on the furniture inside, and finally get the seated taven patrons painted up.

My takeaway from this project is that it was far too involved. Future houses will be simplified so as to reduce construction time and effort. But as you can see in some of the earlier photos, I'm starting to have enough buildings to do a nice-sized corner of a big fantasy-medieval city, and our first game (Pathfinder 2e) in this setting went over really well.

 

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