Category Archives: Terrain

More cardboard buildings from Paperboys

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I’ve been quietly boxing on making some more of the cardboard models from Florian Richter and Peter Dennis’s book European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames.

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In addition to the windmill I have previously posted about, I now also have a mansion, a church, and a watermill.

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This impressive mansion will be perfectly at home as either a country house or a town hall.

The book also provides roof connectors to so you join more of this model together to form a larger building – making the entire Palace of Versailles wouldn’t be out of the question!

I’ve made this and the other models straight out of the book. The only additional work I have done was to strengthen the inner structures with some heavy card.

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The northern-European church looks surprisingly solid for a cardboard model. I think it is the buttresses that make it so sturdy-looking.

If you wanted to super-detail this model, you could cut out the windows and then re-inset them behind the holes to give more depth. However, the original artistry is so good that the windows look sufficiently 3D just as is.

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I did this watermill in one afternoon.  I’ve made it fit with my existing latex river terrain by adding a foundation to the main building so that the wing with the wheel sits on the upraised bank, and the wheel itself hangs down ‘into’ the water.

I also added some piles made from sprue to support the overhanging wooden outhouse.

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Here’s the first building I make from the book. It was probably a brave move to pick this one as my prototype, as it is the most complex. But it came out surprisingly well.

There are still plenty more buildings to make in the book – a Spanish-style church and windmill, farms and houses from both northern and southern Europe, bridges , walls …

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Filed under Uncategorized, Eighteenth century, Terrain, Paperboys

Simple-to-build cardboard European windmill

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I made this complex-looking cardboard windmill in just one evening! It’s a cut-out model from Helion Publishing’s latest Paperboys book, European Buildings: 28mm paper models for 18th & 19th century wargames by Florian Richter and Peter Dennis.

Despite the intricate design of this windmill, with protruding attics and overhanging annexes, it was surprisingly easy to make. It was simply a matter of scoring all the folds, cutting out the pieces, folding them into shape, and gluing. Everything fitted perfectly.

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This windmill is one of the many cut-out buildings included in the book, which covers both Northern and Southern Europe settings. Other buildings include two churches, a mansion, a watermill, houses and farms, bridges and walls, and much more.

Unlike the Paperboys model soldiers I’ve made, which need to be photocopied before assembling, these buildings can be cut straight out of the book. The pages are printed on light card, with only some instructions and explanatory photos on the back of each page, which (if necessary) you can simply capture with your phone camera before you start cutting out the model.

The book’s front cover also shows a column of figures from Peter Dennis’s other new Paperboys book The War of the Spanish Succession: paper soldiers for Marlborough’s campaigns in Flanders.  I bought this second book too, intending to use it just as reference.  But, boy oh boy, Peter’s figures are just so colourful and eye-popping (especially the French Maison du Roi) that I don’t think I’m going to be able to resist assembling some regiments!

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The figures shown in these pictures of my windmill aren’t paper, though – they’re from my Minden Miniatures army.  But they show how well these cardboard buildings will go with any traditional 28mm army.

Peter’s preference is that his buildings are a little smaller than true scale so that they have a smaller footprint on the battlefield. But you can easily photocopy them larger or smaller if you wish.

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Probably the most complex part of the assembly was the beam structure on which the windmill sits. But in fact this was surprisingly simple to put together. The trick is to score all the folds first, and then use Uhu All Purpose contact glue for very fast bonding.

The finishing touch with any cardboard building is to use a wash (I used green wash) to disguise any white card that shows through the folds or on exposed edges.

So there you have it – a wonderful windmill in one evening …

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Filed under Eighteenth century, Minden Miniatures, Paperboys, Terrain, Uncategorized

Gorgeous 3D-printed governor’s mansion

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‘Every local despot needs a stately mansion to flaunt his wealth and influence,’ says  Printable Scenery’s website in the description of their  model Governor’s Mansion.

I’ve been really enjoying painting this 3D-printed model over the last couple of nights.

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I love the quaint look for this building, with its saggy roof, diagonally-placed overhanging tower and intricate half-timbering. It wouldn’t look out of place in the city of Ankh-Morpork (as per the screenshot below from the old Discworld computer game).

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The model was a cinch to paint, with lots of luscious detail that was easily picked out by dry-brushing. I chose a colour scheme that hinted at Bavaria, with its light blue and white shutters and doors.

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Printable Scenery deliver this model as a .ZIP file pack containing STL files for use on a home 3D Printer. The files are set to 28mm scale but can be rescaled before printing.

If you haven’t got access to a 3D printer, Printable Scenery have a list of licenced third party printers all over the world.

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Paper buildings for the Jacobite Rebellion

To complete my paper armies for the Jacobite Rebellion, I’ve put together some of the lovely Scottish buildings that are included in Peter Dennis’ book Battle for Britain: Wargame the Jacobite ’45. Whilst the figures in Peter’s books are flats, the buildings are fully 3D.

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Firstly, here’s a hamlet of four typical turf, stone and thatch ‘Black Houses’. As the only chimney was a hole in the roof, these houses became blackened both inside and out, thus the name.

The book also includes a peat pile, which I assume is a feature characteristically found in the Highlands.

The civilians, too, are paper figures from the book.

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And here’s the ‘Big House’, with its exterior circular stair turret. The windows come separate for you to glue wherever you like, and the wings and tower can be configured in different ways – so you can make more versions of this house with no two alike.

By the way, the figures in the second picture aren’t paper, nor are they flats – I have included them to show that these buildings will work just as well with metal fully-rounded figures too.

This is actually the second version of this model that I have made, as the first one (see below) suffered a spray varnish disaster when I tried to give it more of a matt finish and the varnish went white. Frustrating, but in the end it was just some time that I lost, as I only had to pay the cost of another colour photocopy.

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Filed under Eighteenth century, Paperboys, Terrain, Uncategorized

Two WW2 Dutch farms in cardboard

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This weekend I finished the final two Dutch card model buildings by ‘Gungnir’ that I had bought recently from WargameDownloads. I’ve posted previously about the first four buildings for a small Dutch village. This latest pair consists of two farmhouses.

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The first is a massive farmhouse/barn complex from the province of Gelderland. Like the other card models I’ve made so far, I have replaced the windows and doors with snippets copied from digital images of real-life buildings. I’ve also added some different coloured tiles to the roof to add a bit of interest to the large area it covers.

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The second building is a smaller brick farmhouse. It is apparently modelled on one near Arnhem, though the shutters are my own addition. Note the traditional ‘Tree of Life’ decoration on the fanlight above the front door.

Talking of shutters, I’ve since been told that they are traditionally painted in distinctive designs and colours for each province. So for these two buildings to be on the same wargames table, I’ll have to change the shutters on one of them so they are both the same.

I’m now looking for a nice paper windmill, which is almost obligatory for a Dutch wargame setting!

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Filed under Terrain, Uncategorized, WW2

A whole 28mm Dutch village in a weekend

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My WW2 Dutch army isn’t quite finished, as I await the release of the May ’40 Miniatures Landsverk armoured car and a couple of artillery pieces.  So in the meantime I’ve been working on some terrain for them to fight over. This small Dutch village is the result.

My budget for terrain is somewhat limited, so I needed to find a reasonably priced solution. And the card models by Dutch wargamer Gerrit Postma (also known as ‘Gungnir’) certainly meet that criteria – $6.00 for a six downloadable buildings from Wargame Downloads. I had to spend another $15 to get them printed on light card, but even at $21 for six houses, that’s still a steal!

My other criteria was that the models had to look … well … Dutch. Anyone who has travelled to the Netherlands knows the neat and tidy look of the Dutch countryside, which carries through to their traditional architecture. Gungnir’s models achieve this look very well.

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You could simply print, cut out and assemble these kits as is. The above picture from Gungnir’s website shows how attractive they look straight from the kit. But I decided to do some extra detailing.

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Firstly, before printing the models I used my graphics programme to replace Gungnir’s drawn windows with ones copied and pasted out of suitable front-on photographs of real houses. This made the windows really come to life, with intricate frames, lace curtains and even pot-plants in some of them – typically Dutch!

I also added some additional time-appropriate sign-writing to the shop and to the bar windows, also located by searching images on the internet.

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For my first attempt at printing, I used my home copier to print onto standard A4 paper, which I then glued onto card backing. But the resulting lamination had a lot of air-bubbles. So I went to a printing company instead, and asked them to print the designs direct onto light card.

A bonus of using a commercial printer was that their industrial-grade copier provided crisp resolution that I could never achieve on my home printer. Well worth the extra $15!

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I got two copies printed of each design. I cut both out, but then on one of them, I also cut out all the windows, doors and other openings. I then sandwiched the top layer with the cut-out holes onto the other layer, giving the windows and doors a slightly inset look.

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After that, assembly was pretty straightforward. I glued as much as I could whilst the pieces were still flat. The roofs were the trickiest part, as with so many angles the paper can develop a mind of its own! I found the solution was to glue one side of the guttering to one wall, and wait for it to dry completely. Then I could glue down the rest of the roof later without it trying to flick itself out of place.

To give the models a bit more strength, and to stop them blowing away in the lightest breeze, I cut a thick piece of heavy card to the base-size of each house, and then glued it inside the bottom of the walls.

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So far I’ve assembled four of the six buildings (and one of them I’ve done twice, the first being a test run).

  • a barn-roofed Dutch house
  • a row of two workers’ cottages
  • a hip-roofed corner shop
  • a small pub (the “3 Hoef Ijses”, which means “3 Horseshoes”)

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I still have the small and large farms to go. And, most exciting, I’ve just learned that Gungnir does some other Dutch buildings as well, such as a villa and several factories!

The scale of the buildings I bought was 1:72, which some would argue is a little on the small side for 28mm. However, I am quite happy with the two scales together. But if you do want something a bit bigger, Gungnir also produces pre-printed card kits in 1:56 for 28mm figures. Or you could simply enlarge the prints onto A3 paper!

Overall, these are very nice kits indeed. They are cheap, beautifully designed, and fit together well. And with only a minimum of detailing, you can easily personalise the kits to match your imagination of what a Dutch village should look like.

I guess the only downside for wargaming is that they don’t have removable roofs – but neither do many other kits these days. There are ways you can work round this when playing a game.

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Filed under Terrain, Uncategorized, WW2

Sights and sounds of the Netherlands in miniature

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Today’s posting has nothing to do with the hobby of wargaming. But if you like terrain modelling, or model railways, or the Netherlands, or video sound-mixing, there’ll be something here for you! Especially if you consider that the above and below photos aren’t of a real Dutch double-decker train, but a model in 1:25 scale.

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Although I was born and live in New Zealand, my heritage is Dutch – both my parents emigrated here in the 1950s. So I love visiting the Netherlands to explore my ‘roots’.

Most people when they think of the Netherlands imagine windmills, or tulips, or dikes. For me, one of my first impressions of the Netherlands when I visited for the first time back in the 1970s, was the yellow Dutch trains! I was so taken by the dog-nosed Dutch commuter trains that I drew one in my travel diary!

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And that impression has remained right to this day, through my many return trips to the land of yellow trains. During this time the Dutch national railway company has continued to use yellow and blue as their livery colours, albeit in different configurations as the trains have modernised over the years.

Keeping the same colours for so many decades is surely unusual in the corporate world, where PR people will change colours and logos on a whim, with no thought towards preserving tradition.

Another memory from that first trip to the Netherlands was visiting the miniature city of Madurodam, an amazing model town situated in The Hague. Madurodam recreates many of the characteristic locations of the Netherlands in 1:25 scale. Having always been fascinated by models, I was captivated, and spent many happy hours there!

I hadn’t given much more thought to Madurodam for many years, until the other day I stumbled across a YouTube video depicting a railway view of this miniature city. Not only does the camerawork beautifully capture the tiny scenery that so entranced me back in 70s, the film-maker has married the visuals to appropriate audio that adds to the experience. And there are yellow trains – lots of yellow trains!

Watch the Madurodam video:

This is not the first Dutch model railway video I’ve seen recently that uses realistic audio. One of my favourite examples is taken at Miniworld Rotterdam.

It explores this huge 1:87 layout, starting with a small Dutch town and the countryside (complete with windmills!), and ending up in the bustling heart of a miniature Rotterdam, with trams, motorways, and even ship-building at the Europoort harbour. And, of course, yellow trains …

Watch the Miniworld Rotterdam video:

Certainly inspiring model-work for wargamers!

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