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Author Topic: Half-timbered house: now working on the (removable) roof (WIP)  (Read 960 times)

Offline PhilB

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Didn't get much pull for this thread on the fantasy board, so thought I'd try it here.

Modelling has been on my back burner for quite some time, but I'm finally getting back to it.
Some of you may recall my earlier projects making houses for 28mm fantasy RPG games with playable interiors. My first one involved whacking apart the laketown house kit to do the interiors. After that, I built a larger house from scratch using old bank calendars as cardstock with balsa pieces to do the timbering. After completion, though, I realized that I should have filled in the spaces between the timbering, rather than just painting them. I'm trying to remedy that shortcoming in my current project.



Later, I got a dozen houses from a Tabletop Basement kickstarter (resin kits with blank interior walls) and tarted up the inside, assembling the kit as intended, just with added floors and interior details. I then did a second one, shortening the side walls of the ground floor to create the characteristic overhang of half-timbered houses. Here is a view of the ground floor interior of that house:



So now, on to my current project. I decided I wanted to add some variety to my village, but all the Tabletop Basement have the same basic rectangular floorplan. Here is a view of the components of one of their kits. Notice that the pieces are of variable thickness, which is a pain, and although the outside of each piece is acceptably detailed, the insides are less than ideal with a few bubbles and especially irregular thickness within a single piece. Much sanding ensued.



So with my new project, intended to be a small inn, I decided to take the ground floors from two kits and put them together to make a larger L-shaped building. This involved cutting some walls to size (then dremel works wonders on resin casts!) and gluing the longer walls together from shorter pieces. Here is the base of the new house, made from 2 layers of heavier cardstock, and the L-shaped floor was scribed in 1-inch squares before painting.



 I had also learned something from my previous projects: to finish all the interior walls *prior* to assembly, since it's really hard to do any painting inside there once the walls are put together. I printed up a nice wood-slat wall texture and glued it to the interior of the ground-floor walls, clamping them in place with wax paper to prevent them from sticking to each other, but there were still some unsightly wrinkles when I had finished, doubtless due to using too much glue or rushing the project. I *almost* decided to rip the offending paper off, but finally settled on accepting it as "good enough" and added some trim for the window interiors.



The ground floor was ready for assembly. I used 2-part epoxy to glue together the resin pieces, and that seemed to do a reasonably decent job. This was also the stage when I had to prepare the doors (one included and one built from calendar cardstock and balsa) by drilling holes in the upper and lower corners, inserting short bits of paper clip and drilling corresponding holes in the resin walls and base, to leave doors that open and shut.


Originally, I had imagined also doing the second floor from Tabletop Basement kit parts as well, but suddenly changed my mind. These resin kits are fine on the outside, but the interior blank walls are often uneven and require a lot of sanding and other preparation to make them work, and then require additional material to make the interior walls look right (like the printed textures I used on the first floor). I decided the rest of the building would be fully scratchbuilt. The Tabletop Basement pieces work great for the ground-floor stonework, but the upper floors  are built from timbers and plastering, so balsa and cardstock would be quicker and easier.

First step was laying the beams that would support the upper-floor flooring. I put thinner balsa along the interior lip of the ground floor, so the upper storey would settle firmly in place, then added beams with a slight overhang, like in real half-timbered construction.



I then laid the floors and started measuring the wall pieces with a very slight outward lean, about 4mm over the height of the storey, all from old bank calendar cardstock, scribed on the inside to represent planking. I cut balsa for the wall bracing to a little less than half the width of the beams, cut a few windows, and added some interior trim for the windows as well.





After initial painting, this is what the upper-storey walls looked like:





Then began the really tricky part. In my previous half-timbered house, the exterior bracing wasn't "filled", I just painted the walls to simulate plastering. Now, I wanted to go a step further and fill in the blank spaces between the bracing beams with patching plaster. So I got a small trowel, and had at it.



After drying, however, there was a lot of shrinkage, as well as more than a few unacceptably uneven spots, so my next step will be adding another coat of patching plaster in the hopes of obtaining acceptable results. That's where I am today. I need to put on that second coat, repaint the exterior, add more interior details, and I will be ready to assemble the upper floor. After that, more beams to support the attic, more beams for the roof and dormer windows, the roof itself, and a nice styrofoam chimney down the back side.

A also snagged two excellent Mirliton kits for seated tavern figures, The Dragon's Inn and The Medieval Tavern, so I'll have my hands full for the next couple months.

Update: after a second coat of patching plaster to compensate for shrinkage, I found that the plaster sands very nicely, so that took care of the many irregularities in my trowel work. I'll try to post more pics as the upper floor comes together.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 09:30:01 AM by PhilB »

Offline Codsticker

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I love the miniature carpentry. :D The printed paper for the interior is very clever.

Offline PhilB

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Thanks, although next time I need to use less glue, so it doesn't get wrinkled. The glue on the second floor is slowly drying as I write.

Offline PhilB

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Second floor

The glue is still drying on the second floor, but it's painted and assembled.



I lightly sanded the patching plaster between the beams, then painted it, repainted the beams and touched up a few spots on the inside. My goal is to avoid having to any painting on the inside (at least) post-assembly, and so far, so good. Painting anything on the assembled interior is a real pain to reach properly.

I cut some dressing pins in half and inserted them in the balsa beams to help link the walls together, then used white glue along all the edges, assembled the walls, applied various clamps and weights, and prayed. It went far better than I'd feared, and there are few unsightly gaps.

Prior to assembly, though, I added a railing around the open stairwell, using textured cocktail sticks (toothpicks) that one of the lads here on Lead Adventures suggested for the railing on an earlier ship project, and it looks perfect.



I also built a stairway and added an interior beam to the ground floor, even adding a couple of those wooden pins they used to use to attach beam parts together.



Next step will be adding some interior walls and doors to the second floor (this building is supposed to be an inn) while the ground floor will remain open plan. Then I'll need to make a floor for the attic and start planning the beams and other carpentry for the roof, with a few dormer windows, something I didn't dare try with my previous scratchbuilt house.

Offline Wirelizard

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Looking good, the mix of resin for the stonework and traditional scratchbuilding for the upper floor seems to work well.

Offline ulverston

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This is a really interesting project, little details/tips like the toothpick one are priceless. Keep going I would very much like to keep informed of your progress

Offline PhilB

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Yes, it was another guy here who reminded me about those toothpicks, when I was trying to figure out how to do the railing on my medieval cog. You know the ones I'm talking about, right?

It would be hell trying to sculpt the profiling on railings (with a lathe?), but those toothpicks do the job nicely. You just have to be very careful to drill parallel and evenly spaced holes in the banner and the floor, because if they are uneven, it really shows.

Offline Wilgut Spleens

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Fantastic! What a project! I did something similar from foam board, but I left the interiors as I wanted the placement of figures to be easier, now I am regretting that decison seeing the lovely work you have done, I may have tom get the builders back in for a refurb

One thing I did that I was quite pleased with was hanging some oil paintings
https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/6011658442679297464/2467304258361538914
I have a bad case of prescient nostalgia. The future's not what it used to be.

https://wilgut.blogspot.com/

Offline PhilB

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Hey, great idea on hanging paintings. This is intended to be a fantasy inn, so I'm thinking the upper floor will have a common room (around the stairs) two shared rooms (in the front wing) and a larger luxury room in the wing above the front door. That is where luxury furniture and paintings would be most at home.

Your windows look really good, too. I'm saving windows for last, so there's a bit of time left to think about that.

Now that it's coming together, I almost regret not making it wider and bigger, for more playable space, like on a recent Dwarven Forge inn scene I did for a game. But it would have dwarfed the other buildings in my village, so this is probably a good compromise.

« Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 09:13:39 AM by PhilB »

Offline scatterbrains

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Can smell the beer and blood from here! Great project!

Offline PhilB

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The project has slowed down (again) as I quibbled about design. Before, I didn't really worry about beam placement, since all the half-timbered houses I had seen seemed to have extremely diverse, even haphazard design in beam placement. But as it turns out (after hours of research) there is a method to their madness, and for a medieval roof truss I had several choices: king post, queen post, hammer post and, the one that appealed to me most on a visual level, the cruck frame. Now, in many cases the cruck frame rises from the ground level. It was too late for that. But I also found what was called an "upper cruck frame" that rises from a horizontal beam. That is what I needed.

Here is one of many schematics I found in my search:



I decided the end frames would be half-thickness, backed by bank calendar cardstock, so as to match the lower floors. I would need too intermediate frames, which would be full thickness, and leave a reasonable amount of interior space for the playable 3rd floor. Here are two views of my frames. the two intermediate frames are designed slightly shorter than the ends, so as to have a bowed roof, as if the timbers had settled over the years.





Of course, there's always something you don't think of at the moment. I want to be able to lift off the roof to expose a playable 3rd floor / attic level. But the lower beams of the intermediate trusses are in fact the support for the roof flooring. So, now that it's all glued together, I'll have to figure out precisely where I'm going to whack it apart, so that the roof lifts off, leaving the attic flooring exposed.

I also have yet to face the conundrum of how to set up the dormer windows.

So, while that all stews in the back of my brain, I'm working on installing the interior walls on the upper floor. Scrathbuilding may be free (or close to it) but there are a heck of a lot of steps to undertake to achieve the intended results.

More soon.





Offline Burgundavia

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2020, 11:57:39 PM »
Amazing work. What about making the roof come off as one piece?

Offline PhilB

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2020, 02:36:57 PM »
The plan is to have the roof come off in one piece (including the roofs of the dormer windows) leaving the attic floor and rooms as playable space. So one of my next steps is to separate the upper parts of the roof trusses from the lower, which I probably should have planned for during the design and construction phase, but didn't. Still, I have full confidence that it'll come out all right.

Offline Codsticker

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One thing I did that I was quite pleased with was hanging some oil paintings
THAT... is a really nice touch I don't see very often. I am envious of your miniature timber framing- it looks very tight. 8)

Offline 6milPhil

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Re: Half-timbered house: kitbashed lower floor, scratchbuilt upper (WIP)
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2020, 04:06:43 PM »
Good build but outstanding timber work.  8)

 

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