Sunday 8 February 2015

Painting a timber framed thatched house

Firstly, let me say that I don't think there is only one right way to do this. This is just the way I did this one. Certainly, I'm learning things all of the time and when I do the next one I plan on doing at least one thing differently - more anon.

First job: Seal the model. For this I used a good quality household emulsion paint. Household emulsion, these days at least, is basically acrylic paint you buy in bulk. If there is enough for half a jar after painting a room, I put it in a jam jar for painting terrain.
Next I put a layer of paint on the roof (cheap artists brown acrylic).

Then, using a reasonable quality, undiluted, heavy body artists acrylic (Daler-Rowney in a tube), and an old brush, I liberally daubed  the areas between the timber framing. This is one reason why it is best to seal the model first - it goes on easier.

In the past, I have used plaster mixed with water and PVA for this job; believe me, the acrylic is far easier to use as it comes 'ready mixed' and it sticks like sh*t;  heavy body acrylic will never flake off like paster does.
Next, the walls needed a base coat. 

To get the right shade, I used a mix of cheap brown artists acrylic and a 'sandy' coloured household emulsion. It looked a bit like straw so I also used it to dry brush the thatch.
To get a weathered look I washed the walls using a diluted burnt umber artists ink (diluted 4 water to 1 ink). 

The model looks a complete mess at this point. It also looks far too dark, but (IMHO) initial weathering needs to be bold.
Then I dry brushed the walls with the walls base colour (see above) and then dry brushed twice more, lightening the base colour with more white emulsion each time. The thatch also got some extra dry brushed highlighting.

As with painting figures, I think the trick is to use a little less highlighting with each application - to build a depth of colour. 

This picture shows the model with the first two shades of dry brushing - one still to add.
The building now needs the detail adding. For this I used Derwent Inktense blocks and a water brush. These are water solid blocks of ink that dry permanently - like acrylic does. 

The 'water brush' is the thing with the big clear plastic handle - this one is pictured with the brush cover (top) on. The handle is full of water. You give it a squeeze and water comes through the bristles. You then use the brush on the block and start painting. It is a fantastic way to do this detailed work.

I bought these for my dad for Christmas a couple of years ago, I bought them just before he told me he had given up painting! His loss, my gain - he got socks, or something.
To make finishing the model easier the thing I would do differently next time are the windows. Next time, during the construction stage I will paint the bluey glass colour on the wall section, paint the laser cut window frames, then stick the frames on. 

The outside edges of the windows will still need to be done at this stage, but the insides will be much 'cleaner'. It took over an hour to paint them the way I did.
I used a mixture of grit, sand and cut up broom bristle scatter for the yard. 

The yard will be used to put troops in so it needs to be hard wearing and functional.
After a base coat and dry brushing the yard in various earthy colours (artists acrylic and emulsion again) I put a little flock around the 'non-roadside' base edges.
 And, there we are....
 Job done....
 What next?....
A thatched barn, perhaps.

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.