4 August 2021

Season of Scenery: One of them had to go wrong

Nothing to see here, move along...

After the resounding success of my convenience store I really wanted to make another post-apoc building. However, being unemployed again (and more to the point, skint) I couldn't buy another one and I'm fairly sure of Alicia's response if I ask to borrow the money.

However, I did think ahead for once and made a note of the dimensions of the MDF pieces, and then asked our builder to make me some templates from scrap wood while he was installing our French doors. So this morning I dug out the cheap foamboard, a knife, the templates and PVA and set about buggering up in spectacular fashion.

As the Chemical Brothers once said, "Where do I begin?" Well let's have a look, shall we? 

First off, I didn't actually plan this out. Unlike the Warhammer cottage, I didn't have any plans to base this on. I basically decided to make a bigger building and set about it with the kind of wildly overoptimistic confidence that only someone who hasn't got a bloody clue could muster. 

I didn't actually measure anything. I used the templates but just made the front, back and sides 1.5 times taller than the convenience store by the scientific method of "moving the templates up a bit". This became blindingly obvious when I dry-fitted the pieces together, so after a lot of trimming I had four pieces of foamboard that could generously be described as "geometric". 

I did actually use my ruler to measure where the windows and the long entrance would go, and they worked pretty well right up to the point where I had to cut them out. Despite a nice shiny new blade on my Xacto I still managed to tear the foam to bits as I cut them out. Once they were done, a small forgotten detail popped into my mind:

What am I building? 

In my misplaced enthusiasm I hadn't even thought of what this is supposed to be. I could only think in terms of "four walls, a roof, some windows and a door". So as I own a resin 28mm ATM, I decided on a bank, and cut a slot for it to the right of the door. In a twist that came as no surprise, I didn't even get that straight.

Never mind, let's press on, everyone has to start somewhere. I need window frames, so I'll use matchsticks. The only ones we have are chunky long ones for lighting the fire, so I guess they'll work. Four attempts later I got them the right length and used PVA to glue them in place. Then I added some around the entrance before realising that a bank usually has large glass doors and I don't know where to start in terms of making them. Aha! Corrugated cardboard will work as a security shutter, so I cut some out and glued it to the inside. It was the first bit to go right.

And then it was time to glue and pin the foamboard together. Addressing the elephant in the room, the reason there's a brick pattern on the inside of the rear wall is because I didn't want another chinchilla dust job on the walls, so I printed out a brick wall background and stuck it to the back wall to test it. It looks great, it's just a shame that i) I only printed one sheet, ii) Alicia started a marathon Minecraft session on her laptop so I couldn't print more, and iii) I STUCK THE REAR WALL ON BACKWARDS. 

You can see from the top photo what a crappy job I did of gluing the walls together. I hoped the pins would help but, well, it's me. I think, and I hope, that part of the reason was I was using cheap 3mm thick foamboard that costs $1 a sheet and warps if you breathe near it, so I've splashed out on some slightly more expensive 5mm board and will try again. I know my cottage was made from 5mm board and it was a lot easier to glue and pin together.

The day wasn't a total waste: I managed to make a couple more barricades, and this time I angled the sheets a bit more. I also made a girder out of some chipboard and added it to the base. These'll be painted tomorrow. The bank will probably be taken apart and the sheets used for something else.

On the upside, the French doors are awesome, albeit not quite finished.


  1. Firstly, nice French doors with a great view out of them.
    Even when measuring mistakes can happen, so you are not alone Matt. From what I can see the piece is easily salvageable with some filler on the corners, but it's your build, and if you think it will be better in 5 mm, then that's the way to go. As for the brick pattern, as your using foamboard could you not draw it on, this will give the effect of the mortar being set in from the brick and give a 3 D effect

    1. The French doors are awesome and there's so much more light in the kitchen now. The same builder did the deck and the fence you can see.

      Yeah, I think it's salvageable too, with a bit of effort. The 5mm foamboard just gives so much more area for glue though. As for drawing the brick pattern on... I've seen people do this on tutorial videos and it just looks like too much work LOL!

  2. Hahah, yep I've been through all the problems and mishaps you've gone through. Now though I take time to plan whatever it is I'm building, in rough sketches and measurements, but still things go amiss in the translation from drawing to cutting board. I now couldn't do without my set metal set square (adjustable).
    I've also never used pins on my foamboard - can't see the benifits. For squaring up the building , along with my set-square I use a well - cut block of would for the alignment ofvertical and horizontal surfaces. For corners, I tend to rabbit evry corner as I find joining wall at 45 deg. a pain and as a bonus you get two surfaces to glue.
    All that being said though, despite no measuring etc. I think this isn;t that bad (even the rear wall could be a feature) but it all does look OK.
    For some templates I've used many card building for proportions (just the fre ones to be found on-line) and used their measuements for my own versions.
    It's still worth pursuing this model to its completion though imho a first scratchbuild is always satisfying.
    Good luck with it !

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Joe! I think I will keep on with this one as it's still viable. I also have a bit of a thing where I'll look at it, think "Oh it's a bloody mess" and forget that it's going to be painted... so all the bits of wood and foam and card will look a lot better soon.

      I've been trying to find 28mm urban building templates online but all I can find are Wild West, fantasty/D&D or bloody 40k. I'll keep looking though.

    2. Try "papermau" for templates- they have card buildings for everythiing aimaginable:

    3. Oh man thanks so much! Is this stuff scaled for 28mm figures?

    4. Some are suitable for 28mm, but you may have to re-scale for your needs (not a big task imho).

  3. Nice to see someone else having issues with this years "Season of Scenery Challenge", (sorry if that sounds cruel, but I never claimed to be nice! 😉). Seriously though we've all been there mate, you get so far through something and then think "Naw that's shite!". So don't beat yourself up over it, the billboards you did last were excellent as were the barricades (see I'm too lazy to go back and comment all your posts! not nice 😀).

    My first thought on seeing the building with the brick back wall, was Theatre or possibly Cinema, it looks tall for a bank to me but that might just be the perspective of the photo.

    As for glass doors, though I've never made any myself, I would think you could use acetate, with the gaps/hinged bits scored in and cardboard painted silver to make the "middle push bits" (sorry I have no idea what these are called!).

    Keep it up mate, I seem to think Keith (Dead Dicks Tavern) had some very nice printed modern buildings a while back, might be worth picking his brain as to where he got them.

    Cheers Roger.

    1. Thanks, Roger! My main issue with this one was not planning it at all, even down to what the building was going to be. I wanted to do a taller building and just settled on "bank" thanks to owning the resin ATM lol. A lot of the buildings in downtown Bennington are narrow and tall, I think it's maybe a New England thing?

      I have some clear plastic from a large Reaper blister pack that I might use for the doors, but then again the shutter looks good as it is. It's mainly things like windows that drive me up the wall; getting the placement and size right and then actually cutting them out is a total pain, not to mention the whole window frame thing.

      I think Keith downloaded some Tommy Gun images and stuck them to cardboard (not knocking his building skills there). I might give that a go too just to get some buildings on the table.

    2. Say his name and he will appear...four days later. Indeed I did print and paste not only the free Tommy Gunn stuff, but also some World Works Games Streets of Mayhem buildings. I'm pretty sure WW is no longer in business (shame), and Tommy Gunn's stuff comes and goes. If you want it, I'm sure I have some of the files somewhere...

    3. The Tommy Gunn stuff is awesome, I've got it somewhere on my PC. I've not heard of World Works Games before, and it looks like it's gone :-(

  4. See, this is why I don’t scratch build. I am terrible at it and get frustrated far too easily when my ham fisted efforts don’t pan out! Lol

    French doors look lovely tho mate and that view… wow

    1. I actually want to scratch build, I just need to learn it :-) Some of the MDF stuff you can get is amazing but expensive, so if I can make them from a $5 sheet of foamboard then I can have more buildings. It just takes practice, and I need to learn more patience and not give up so easily.

      That view is nice, the one out the back is nicer; there's basically nothing but forest behind us all the way to New York state LOL!