All this building is making me scratch

dscf0788For this project you will need the following, a bottle of Plastic Weld (or glue of your choice), a cheap gluing brush, a pencil, a Swann & Norton scalpel with a fresh 10A blade (or knife of your choice), a metal ruler (if you’re new to all this then a rubber backed one to avoid slipping is recommended I prefer the small one in the picture), a piece of plasticard 30mm by 200mm and around 1mm thick, and an optional strip of plasticard as made by Evergreen around 2mm wide and as thin as you’re comfortable with. You’ll also need a cutting mat or suitable cutting surface. In the U.S.A. plasticard is more often called styrene. All measurements are in milimeters which is handy when building in 6mm.

dscf0889To start take your piece of plasticard, mark and draw two horizontal lines 10mm in from the top and bottom edges, these represent your floors. Then draw a vertical line 30mm from the left hand edge, another 30mm from that, etc until you’ve drawn four – these are your walls. The first two are going to be the walls either end so they need an apex for the gable, and as the walls are all 30mm the apex will be 15mm from the wall edge at the top edge of the plasticard. Onto the other wall sections, where you draw four windows on each one, no exact measurement needed for those, and also draw a door, make it a little wider than the windows for reasons you’re see later. Mark each piece which will be waste once cut with a scribble as shown.

dscf0891Next cut out the windows and doors. I cut these out by hand, but if you’re new to making your own buildings use the ruler. I always find it best to do it with a number of cuts per line, the first one scoring it and the second finishing the cut. If you press too hard in trying to make the cut first go it can warp the card, plus if you slip you may ruin your work, have a cut to show for your effort and blood on your model. So relax and take your time. In cutting out these small details first you have a sizeable piece of plasticard to hold onto and it makes it less fiddly. Keep every piece of scrap you cut off for now.

dscf0892Next cut off the waste from the top of the front and back walls, and the gables either end. Why it’s starting to look like a house already! Do not seperate the wall sections just yet though as we’re about to add some detail.

dscf0894Remember how we cut the door wider than the windows? Find that offcut, cut it into small horizontal strips and glue one to the top of each window aperture as a lintel. Other detail you might want to add is window sills, and the window offcuts are perfectly sized for that, or if you wanted to add shutters those same pieces cut in half would fit too. However don’t try both unless you’re going to cut more plasticard as you’ve a limited number of offcuts. I’m just doing the lintels on this one, you can do however much or little you choose.

dscf0896I’ve added a door from one of the wall offcuts. I’ve cut it larger than the doorway, scored it vertically to add a little wood-like texture and then glued it to the inside of the wall. If you do texture the door make sure the texture faces outwards, sound obvious but every now and again you’ll make a simple error like this, so better to remind you now.

dscf0897Once you’ve added the details you want to use the metal ruler to seperate the wall sections. This next bit is entirely optional; I want a slight bevel to the foot of the walls, so I’ve cut four pieces of the Evergreen strip plasticard to just over 30mm. One of the handy things with a cutting mat marked in 5mm increments is this doesn’t need a ruler as it’s a rough measurement.

dscf0899Here’s those pieces glued into place. I’m only doing the front and back walls, it will help in joining all the walls together and the pieces for the gable ends will go on at the end. It’s a simple but neat detail, it could even be added between the upper windows and the lower, but I’m keeping it simple.

dscf0902Now glue one corner together at ninety degrees. You don’t have to be exact but you get the idea, even if you’re out a little plasticard is flexible and very forgiving.

dscf0904Now glue another wall into place. Don’t panic if it’s not sitting square at this point, it’ll all fall into place with the next step.

dscf0906Now add the final wall. This can be a little tricky, so best to glue one corner first let it set and then glue the other corner. The relief detail at the bottom of the wall has helped alignment, the overhang can be trimmed when the final pieces of it are added.

dscf0908Onto the roof. On our main piece of plasticard we measured two horizontal lines 10mm apart right? Find that piece and cut along one of those lines, with a ruler, so you have a 20mm strip. From that cut off two lengths of 35mm, these will be your roof. Roofing can be tricky, so to start with we’re only going to apply glue to the sloped gabled walls and where they’ll touch the roof piece. Make sure you set this as perfectly in place as possible it’s the part of the model you’ll see most when gaming so do try to get it as spot on as ability permits.

dscf0910One it’s dried turn the model over and add glue to the parts which you didn’t glue in the previous step. The apex of the roof may have to be gently held in place will drying to ensure a good join.

dscf09121There you go, a simple house ready for painting, I built it in a single sitting and if I hadn’t been taking photos of it it’d been finished in around 20 minutes. If you prefer closed off windows it’s not too late to do that in the same manner as the door. I prefer a mix of doors and windows, as well as the occasional mild bickering over line of sight it can produce when your para with a PIAT can see a Tiger through the windows of a couple of buildings. Painting and basing this model will be covered in a later project, which will include a couple of basic scenic features as well. As you can see this is a very simple technique complicated only by your imagination. If you can draw the kind of building you want onto plasticard you can build it.

dscf0915Finally a word on EMA’s Plastic Weld. I don’t use anything else on plastics because it’s so totally brilliant but if you’ve not used it before it’s worth giving you a brief insight. It’s of a watery consistency, and should be applied to each surface or edge you wish to join and briefly held in place, it dries and bonds in seconds. Often because of the scale getting pieces together is fiddly, but you can use this to get a weak joint made and then if you let it dry and then go back and add another coat it will make a stronger bond. For those times when you make the wrong joint or you’re just not happy with it you can brush a liberal amount on the join and pull it apart. Great stuff indeed. I’m not sure how widely available it is globally but it’s worth tracking down.

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One Response to “All this building is making me scratch”

  1. Michael Says:

    I know this as liquid poly.

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