Medieval Metropolis

Open Day update from Stephen:

For my Open Day game I am going to need a lot of buildings because the game is set in a medieval town. Fortunately, I already have plenty, but a few more wouldn’t do any harm because I want it to be crammed to give the idea of an enclosed town with narrow streets..

So this post is about how I go about making buildings.

To be honest, I don’t start with a clear plan and impression of what it’s going to look like. I know how big I will want it and I know what size footprint it must have (after all, I’ve got to store it) but I don’t start the building process with some end image in mind. I think that’s how it should be for a medieval building – make it up as you go. That way you stand more chance of recreating that higgledy-piggledy medieval look.

For this building I did know I wanted it to be made of stone with a tile roof. So I got some Wills Scenic embossed styrene sheets and made some boxes. I decided I wanted some different elevations as well. So one tall box and one not so tall box.

The windows were previous castings I had made. I had enough spare so I didn’t have to cast any more. You can check a previous article about how I make windows for buildings.

You will notice I decided to have a second floor doorway. This means I can add a wooden stairway and platform so there will be a different surface and texture which also adds to the medieval look. Likewise I decided to include a wattle and daub lean to – again, this will provide another texture. The wooden beams on the roof ends and lean to are simply card strips. Then the area in between the beams is given a coating of PVA glue and sand is sprinkled on.

At this point it gets left over night for everything to dry. Where the styrene cladding meets on the corners there are often gaps. This is remedied with a bead of milliput. Since that could obscure some of the stone pattern I then go back with a cocktail stick to scribe it back in and take it to the edges to make the stone work look continuous. Now to tile the roof – I make tiles from heavy paper/card. The stuff used by water-colourists is good because it is textured. I cut strips of card then snip it almost to the edge to make the tiles rather than cut individual tiles. You then stick the tiles on in strips, starting at the bottom, and making sure they overlap. You can cut out the odd individual tile and stick it on a bit wonky to make it look like a slipped tile. When the glue has dried you just trim the edges.

Once construction is complete I give the model a spray of a single flat colour. This helps tie it all together and you can see if anything is needed. What I forgot to do on this model is add a chimney! I usually add the chimney before the tiles but on this occasion I had to add the chimney afterwards. The pot is made from the end of an old felt tip pen.

Whilst that was all drying I made the stairs. Nothing special about this, just out with the balsa. Originally I was going to keep the area under the stairs open and put a barrel or log pile under it. But it didn’t look right and so I decided to enclose the stairs in the final model. Again, I think this suits this particular building better.

With construction complete it’s time to slap some paint on it. I’m not a fan of stark black/grey for stone. It just looks wrong. Very few stones are actually grey. Limestone was a popular building material in the middle ages and limestone is not grey. I kept the grey undercoat and then added a dark brown wash (I actually used GW Agrax Earthshade). When that had dried I gave it a heavy dry brush with khaki. I then gave it three of four lighter dry brushes using a mix of khaki, light grey, and finally a barely off white. The tiles were done using a terracotta/rust colour. The wooden stairs and gantry were given a basic coat of khaki and then washed with the Agrax Earthshade. It is then dry brushed with khaki and succeeding dry brushed coats have a bit of grey (but not as much as the stone work) added.

Weathering is done using a dark green (I used Tamiya XF5). Pay attention to the base, where it could be mold and damp rising, and to areas that could be sheltered and stay wet (under the eaves, in crevices, etc). I then also gave it some more weathering and shading using the Agrax Earthshade just to reinforce corners. And that’s about it, really, apart from basing using a mix of various model railway ballasts and a bit of static grass.

Author: Brigadier Tony

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