Lord of the Manor

dscf0947In this project we’ll be looking at putting the GHQ buildings “Manor House” and “Bombed-out Manor House” together and basing them. This has turned out to be quite a time consuming project. Not because they’re difficult rather they’re such good models I wanted to base them reasonably well to reflect their quality. I’ll start with a gripe; originally I was going to do identical, before and after versions of the same base, rather like the Hartenstein Hotel at Arnhem. This isn’t possible because as you can see from the picture “Manor House” comes with an additional 13 parts, and the “Bombed-out Manor House” with none.

dscf0949This limits the number of varients to just one, giving both a single bay, which takes more away from the manor house than it adds to the ruin. A shame but not a big problem given the overall quality of the castings.

dscf0950So I decided on two very different bases to make the most of them. The ruin will be set on a country style base, while the manor will be an urban one, but in a way to make it suitable as an embassy, or seat of local government, etc. I take a pencil and ruler and mark off where I want detail, keeping in mind how I want room front and back on the ruin base for a tile of troops, and enough space on the front of the urban one.

dscf0954Starting with the ruin I glue strips of plasticard around the border where I want to have hedges. I make a slightly raised curved driveway with miliput and texture it with the blunt end of a brush before it dries. Inside the driveway I add gravel and PVA glue. I also set a small terrace, or patio, where the rear of the ruin sits.

dscf0958Next I make a very basic and quite rough box wall around the edge using strips of plasticard and plastiweld glue.

dscf0962Then the edges are made even more irregular by sticking on scrap pieces of plasticard, and a little bit of whittling.

dscf0963It really should look rough, although I’ve held back from doing it to the interior to make getting bases in and out that little bit easier. You’ve two choices with the hedge, for a quick finish paint it green, and then flock it, or follow the more complicated method I did. This is the point where I was made aware of a great possibility, the gravel in the drive way looks similar to hedging, so I’ll be gluing some to the walls to see how well it might work.

dscf0967Take great care in not spilling these everywhere just like I didn’t. This method actually took a bit too much time, it takes several coats to get enough grit on all the surfaces, several coats to paint them properly, and a couple of passes in getting the flock on. It takes even longer if you take a photo of every step so I didn’t.

dscf0969Luckily while you’re waiting for each stage of basing to dry you’ve got a couple of buildings to paint. The ruin is well detailed and also quite quick to paint. I’ve made a point of painting the interior walls to show where the walls and floors were, to add a little detail. I’ve also cut a small piece of plasticard to fit inside so I might add an interior and bring this great model to life.

dscf0977This is what I came up with. Much more damage to one end than the other to reflect the original casting, putting a few walls in, a staircase and plenty of planking. This is it undercoated, I did paint individual details in and a very dark wash, you’ll see this towards the end.

dscf0975The Mansion urban base is much simpler. It also features gravel but this time it’s just flock sprayed grey. It’s a much better scale effect than the grit. I’ve also added a plastistrip low wall onto which I’ve glued railing from an N-gauge railway modellers shop. It’s a little tall for scale, and incredibly fragile. The front grey corners are for tree and grass. Although the gravel worked I didn’t like the colour so I went over it with a sandstone colour.

dscf0974The Manor has come along, it’s a joy to paint but quite a lot of time is required to make it look good. I undercoated in grey, and then put extra grey in the windows before I painted it in pieces, varnished them, and then put it altogether with superglue, and varnished twice again. Some of the detail is so fine it really does benefit from plenty of varnish.

dscf1016Having finished the hedges, I’ve super glued in some Irregular Miniatures metal trees, flocked the lawns, added some plants to the front, and taken this rather poor photo of it.

dscf1014I think it’s worked rather well, and it’s got enough room for three bases on it. The gravel has more a look of crazy paving, but it still works even if it’s more as a worn out old piece of country manor paving. I think the house could do with an extra dirty wash and I may add some scattered rubble.

dscf1017A quick peek inside shows the extra detail well.  It also shows how I need to do something to the chimney stacks.

dscf0988Meanwhile the Manor has worked very well. The sandstone gravel works much better than the grey, and the two Irregular Mini’s metal trees added the finishing touch to an incredibly posh base. It’s also one of the heaviest, a factor which I hope won’t work against avoiding any damage ever happening to those fragile plastic railings. I’ll not use such lengths of them again without shortening them or using pillar walls to support it.

dscf0994

Rather predictably this was my favourite of the two models. It was a joy to paint, simple to build if a trifle fiddly putting the roof windows on. Making both has been fun, if I only had the choice of one of them I’d go for the Manor House, it’s a delightful model with a wealth of possibilities as well as making a good HQ befitting the status of a senior officer.

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