This project began a long time ago. Situations both personal and business related conspired to slow me down. It goes without saying that when I start a project with an eye to turning it into a how-to article, it takes 10 times longer to do than if I just sat down to do it for fun.
Cellar Dwellers makes resin kits for miniature wargaming. The Blacksmith’s Shop is a fairly easy kit to build as the main building is only 7 pieces. Making it true (square) is a little tricky. Best advice here is to make a couple of Lego forms to line up the angles.
I didn’t worry about pinning the walls together as I was planning to base it and use green stuff on the seams. Pinning is the act of drilling small, matched, holes and inserting a small length of wire in the holes to “pin” the sections together.
Using a small piece of scrap wood, I set the main building on it and moved the accessories around until I was happy with the layout. Remember to always have a mini handy to check spacing. The next big decision is the doors… Open? Closed? Ajar? Hang Curtains instead? Since I had always planned to make the roof removable (little did I know what I was getting into with that “simple” notion), I opted to make one slightly open. I super glued everything together and use construction grade wood glue to attach it all to the base.
While some people make a paste of sand and glue and spread it, I prefer to coat the surface in watered down white glue and pour sand on it. I do this in sections and knock off the excess sand. After it’s had a chance to dry, I mix a thin mix of white glue/water/dish soap (1 or 2 drops). Using an eye dropper, I drip the mix on the sanded parts. It soaks in and sets up like concrete.
For me, the roof is the hardest part. As I mentioned above, I planned to make the roof removable. Why you ask? Ummm… ‘Cuz! Not many games call for mini’s inside a non-ruined structure. I could always store stuff in it I also feel that a poorly done roof ruins the whole structure no matter how good the rest is.
I had to decide HOW to make the roof removable. Since it’s not designed that way, I had to do some kit bashing. The roof comes in two pieces which are quite thick and it gets support from the main structure. First things first. I needed to check fit. Laying the two halves together I saw a gap in the fit so I cut and sanded it to fit. I also checked the fit on the Blacksmith Shop itself.
Warning! Resin dust is toxic so wear a mask.
Now the fun part begins: Making Roof Supports! I took one roof part and laid it on the Shop and used a pencil to mark the inside edges of the walls. I also marked it as “left” since that was the side I used for positioning. Putting the halves together again and taping them I cut channels in the bottom of the roof sections. Why Channels? The saw blade is about the same width as the sheet styrene so the supports slide in and won’t shift. It also gives more surface area to the glue and makes a stronger bond.
Taking some sheet styrene and placing it against the angled walls of the Shop I traced the roof lines and cut out triangular shapes. Each piece was marked as to where it fit (Front, Middle, Back). I slotted and glued the supports in place. This makes a perfect fit and as you can see from the picture, I used different sizes depending on the location. The tiny bit was for the front as there isn’t a wall, just a wood beam frame. The larger bits fit inside the walls so aren’t visible at all.
Time for more Green Stuff! There’s an excellent How-To on using green stuff on the GW Site. I basically ran green stuff sausages along the inside and outside of the roof line. Shaping it was fun. The roof is thatched so highly textured. I used a sculpting tool to cut the major shapes into the putty by stroking down the roof surface. I did this randomly and repeatedly at different angles and depths. Once the major shaping was done, I took a stiff brush and did the same thing (stroked the roof in a downward motion.), this helped duplicate the smaller textures of the thatch.
I don’t want to minimize the work involved in making the roof removable. It was a royal PAIN! Was it worth it? I think it was. It was fluff though, definately not needed to end up with a great looking model, especially if you don’t mount it to a base.
Thus ends Part One. Part Two will cover painting and Part Three will deal with finishing. Stay tuned!