Long Road To The Harbor City, Part III : “Holy crap it´s windy! Where are the walls?!?”

A harbor city is often located near water (at least if it is a proper harbor city) and where’s water there’s wind. It’s much more comfortable to sip your hard earned pint after battle in a warm and cosy room than on a flat and wintry platform. So I need to add walls to my houses!

We left our project to this stage:

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Now it´s time to grab a big pile of foamcore and start cutting.

Foamcore is a must in terrain making. It’s lightweight, sturdy and very easy to cut. You can peel of the paper and carve brick patterns into the foam. If you want even sturdier stuff, there are boards where the paper is replaced with plastic sheet.

It´s good to have some premade plans on how to cut the board because you don’t want to waste any of it. I drew outlines of the windows and doors onto the board and used very sharp knife to cut those open. If you use dull blade, the paper will rip. After I had all the walls cut I used normal PVA glue to glue those to the plasticsheet (which is the floor).

I also used glue on the corners where two walls unite. I didn’t pin the walls because I glued some balsa to the corners to hide the joints and I felt that it would be enough support. For the corners I used 1 mm balsa and attached it with superglue. If you use superglue with balsa and foamcore, be very sure what you are doing. Superglue dries almost instantly and if you place the balsa in a wrong spot the only way is to rip the whole thing off, and if you do this the paper will tear.

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As you can see in this next picture I also glued balsa strips around the doors and the inside corners of the house as well.

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After this I glued more balsa strips on the both sides of the windows and for the windowsills. I also used 0.5 cm thick balsa wood rod to create small “support” logs under the floor of the Inn.

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There is a balcony in the Smiths house and it first looked quite fragile without any support. I decided to make two stone pillars from bluefoam on each side of the balcony. Use a knife to make small cuts into the foam so it look´s older and not too smooth. You can see from the next picture that I used bluefoam also to make small support stones under the main floor. Under these I glued balsa wood strips to make it look somehow realistic and also to “break” the dullness of the brick wall. Remember always to keep a miniature at hand to check all the proportions.

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I wanted the Smiths house to look like a real craftsman’s house so I used balsa wood strips to cover a few sides of the house. Now it looks like the smith has expanded the house after some mighty fine paying jobs. Don’t use very neat balsa strips but carve them little bit with your knife to give them some character. The support beams under the expansion are 1cm thick balsa rod.

The forge is made from bluefoam. I used the same technique to carve the brick pattern as with the brick wall. I glued it in place with PVA glue.

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For the second floor of the Inn, I cut the floor and the walls from foamcore. This way the second floor is light but sturdy. Again I used a miniature as a reference when making the doorways and windows. All the gluing was done with PVA.

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Because there is no second floor in the Smiths house but only a removable roof, I made the frame from 1mm plasticard. I really think that I should have used foamcore here also because I had to glue support beams inside of the frame to make it sturdy. I don´t have a clue why I chose to use plasticard. I covered the whole outside of the frame with balsa strips because I thought that the house would look too unified and heavy if the second floor were stone also. In this picture you can also see that I glued small magnets on the corners of the frame and the house so that the second floor wouldn’t drop so easily.

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At this point my stock of balsa, foamcore and PVA glue was very low so I had to stop working and head for the nearest shop. This is also good place to end the third article about my harbor houses. All comments and question are welcome!!

Next up : Part IV, “It´s raining mad!! I need a roof!!”




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  1. Mugu said:

    This is such a great project! What do you guess as to the number of hours that it takes to build each building?

  2. JCooJCoo said:

    Thanks for your comment!

    It´s rather hard to count how many hours i have spend with each house because i´m working all of the three pieces at the same time.

    I would say that now when i have some experience with these houses and different techniques i would build one house in a week or so (without painting).

    With these houses i have spent muuuuuch more time because of the mistakes/remakes, all the thinking and such. Also my normal dayrutines like work and a 5 months old boy slows down the project little bit =)

  3. Netfrost said:

    Great tip about the premade plans, that’s something I’ve always done. You should provide some as downloads

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