Thursday, 23 June 2011

Scratchbuilding buildings ...... Is there a market?

As I am still currently out of work and see absolutely no prospects of gaining employment in the near future due to the state of our economy, I've considered scartchbuilding for wargamers both as a source of income and to keep my sanity intact!

Firstly I'd like to gain some feedback from my fellow gamers to see if there would indeed be a market for such items. Although my pieces would probably not be any cheaper than the mass produced items due to the time involved in constructing them, each would be totally unique.

Please leave feedback for me so that I can guage the amount of possible interest. In the meantime ........

As my Napoleonic armies start to come together I've started to think more about scenery for my planned tabletop encounters. As such I thought I'd share how I built my last piece which was for a WWII project many, many months ago ........

The building was a generic rural farmhouse piece, loosely based on a structure found in the Normandy area of France. Being totally skint at the time I decided to have a go at completely scratchbuilding the piece from cardboard, matchsticks and anything else I could find lying around.

The first step was of course the walls...

As you can see, I used thick corrugated card for the walls and the roof sections all fastened together using good old PVA glue. The base was formed using a piece of MDF. ... The roof was also braced to give it a little extra strength ...

As you can make out from the background I added the buildings corner 'Quoins' window sills and the odd stone on the walls using a thinner grade of card.

Next up were the roof tiles. These were cut individually using varying thickness's of card so the roof didn't appear too flat and gave the building that 'aged' look. Time consuming but worth the effort. The roof was then covered in PVA and some fine sand was lightly sprinkled on to add a bit of texture. As you can see, the walls of the building were coated in a diluted decorators filler, this again gave a bit more texture to the piece which would be picked up during painting.

The groundwork was formed using tissue paper and PVA. The whole piece was then undercoated in some old brown emulsion I had lying about in my shed. After this windows and doors were added using card and trimmed matchsticks for the window frames.

After several layers of paint which was drybrushed onto the building, flock and foliage was added. A blast of varnish and the job was done...

Time consuming yes, but worth the effort.... and very, very cheap!


  1. Absolutly fantastic looking building...learned something, using tissue paper for ground work...excellent walkthru on this project

  2. Thanks Richard, glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Looks lovely...and best of all..original and cheap :-D

  4. I think there is definitely a market but that you must be at the marketplace with several in stock so I would suggest make some, then finding the nearest shows you could get yourself to. If they won't give you a license hang out around the parking lot with your buildings under a trenchcoat. Good luck with it.

  5. A beautiful piece of work - but would the economics stack up to earn you a living? The sad reality is that you could never charge enough to warrant the time spent/effort put in - how much would you have to charge to make it economic - I suspect too much of a cost for most Wargamers to buy. Sorry to be a doomsayer - work like this would certainly make a rewarding sideline, at least...

  6. I'm afraid I think you may be right SteelonSand. I'll ponder on it for now. Perhaps I should consider going back to sculpting and producing resin pieces .... 1/72nd scale of course... I need the scenery!


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