Thursday, 5 February 2015

Building A Thatched, Timber-framed House

You can never have enough buildings. 

Of course that's rubbish; I'm sure you can, but I never have. I find building terrain quite relaxing (painting it is a different story) but somehow I always have too little time to to do it. 

I've been itching to add some new thatched buildings to my SYW collection for ages. I bought the windows and doors from War-bases at Fiasco last year - it's taken until now to get round to the first of three new buildings. 

This building is a simple two story house. Like all my buildings, it is under scale but big enough to look right. Here is how I went about it.

The basic construction is 2mm MDF. The building is wider at the top than at the bottom, so there are two gables ends and four side walls (two for the lower floor and two for the upper floor). Before sticking them all together I stuck on the doors, widows, chimney and the balsa-wood 'timber-framing'.

Except for some elastic bands and a pair of scissors, this picture shows all of the tools I used. Everything is made square with the set square. The MDF was cut with the Stanley knife and steel rule. I used white PVA glue (which I buy by the 4.5 litre bottle), UHU, and a small amount of superglue.
Construction is fairly straight forward. 'Squareness' is achieved using the set square - the most expensive tool, but absolutely essential.
An elastic band is used to hold everything together - it should not be to too tight. 
The upper side walls go in. I made the wide horizontal framing over long so that it could be cut to match the wide horizontal framing on the gables once dry.

Note that I didn't bother to 'floor' the side wall overhangs - you never see this.
After cutting the horizontal framing to match up with the gable ends, some final pieces of wide framing were added to the corners so that they appear to frame both gable and side.  

I like my building to have room for occupying troops, so I added a suitably sized walled garden. I actually got the measurements wrong on this and had to add a strip to extend the garden by 2cm - not a problem, but a pain, doh. 

The walls are resin - manufacturer unknown. I glued the walls down with UHU glue.
The roof is made of teddy bear fur on MDF. Wrapping over the edge gives the thatch the appearance of having some depth. 

I used UHU to do all of this. 

"Short" refers to one side being 2mm shorter (top to bottom) to account for the overlap of the longer piece at the ridge. 

The picture shows it after it was glued and combed (see below).

Teddy fur is usually made to lay flat in one direction, so you have to use a separate piece for each side of the roof so that the fur lays flat going top to bottom on each side. 

After the fur has been stuck onto the MDF roof pieces, the fur is coated, then combed through, with white PVA glue. 

The ridge is covered with an extra narrow strip of fur added after the rest is basically dry. Because you have to comb this in two directions it is best to have the fur laying flat from one end of the ridge to the other. 

Then the roof is attached.
The building is almost finished. 

A few bits of PVA soaked teddy fur without backing cloth are brushed into the small gaps around the chimney.
Just the top of the chimney to finish - CONSTRUCTION DONE!

Next post on this building will show how I'll finish it.


Steve J. said...

Excellent scratch built building. Look forward to seeing the finished result.

Neil Scott said...

Excellent looking model

Phil said...

Excellent tutorial James.
I'm with you on buildings... Can never have enough.

David said...

Very effective, and cheaper than an MDF kit?


Thanks guys

Much cheaper.

I buy my MDF by the 3' x 4' sheet. I buy five sheets at a time (that's 60 square feet) for about £25. It is sold as picture frame backing (see artist's picture framing materials suppliers for web purchase, or have a word with your local artist's materials / crafts / picture framing shop).

I reckon I've saved £100s of pounds on basing and terrain buying this stuff in bulk. I'm down to my last 1 and a half sheets of my second lot.

The windows and doors were 20p each. The balsa (4mm wide, cut in half for the thin framing) was 25p a meter.

Cheap as chips!

dmchodge said...

For keeping things square it's hard to beat Lego for price.