The Normandy Farmhouse, part one

As I mentioned earlier, I am building a Normandy farm house that will do double-duty on a friend’s Napoleonic wargaming table and his World War II wargaming table.  Today I had the day off and made some serious headway on the project, and I thought I’d go into some detail about how I’m building this piece of terrain.

First, I’m building it primarily out of foamcore, which for the uninitiated is 3/16″ styroam sheets sandwiched in-between paper.  It’s too bad most places sell it at 3/16″ and not 1/4″, but thems are the breaks, as the say.  Anyways, I drew a 1:1 scale blueprint on graph paper first to figure out how large it would really work out to be, calculate things like floor thickness, etc. and then with my trusty metal ruler marked out the walls on the foamcore.

Walls drawn onto foamcore
Walls drawn onto foamcore

As a small side note, my father used to be an old-school draftsman, a tradesman who drew blueprints for engineers with paper and pencil (CAD essentially ruined his career).  I think some of that rubbed off on me.

Cutting foamcore is a pain, no two ways about it.  You have to use a very sharp knife and regardless of how good a job you do measuring and cutting, it never really works out exactly right.  In any case, I cut out the walls and then used masking tape to cover the foam edges around the windows and the door.  This will give it a better appearance and protect it should I decide to use spray paint on it (the spray paint will dissolve the foam).

To glue foamcore I use a product called “Hold the Foam” which is sold in craft stores.  It’s formulated to adhere to the plastic foam better than white glue or Aileen’s.  It’s very thick so you’ll have to smear it around with your finger.  To hold the walls together while the glue dries I use straight pins nicked from my wife’s sewing box

Creating the joints
Creating the joints

Here, you can see the first floor put together.

the ground floor of the farmhouse
the ground floor of the farmhouse

Now here is where it gets a bit off the beaten path for me.  Recently I acquired two molds from A&K Studios, both part of the “tiny brick” line.  Both “A” and “K” are friends of mine, and I wanted to see how the molds worked.

The “tiny bricks” are actually 1/4″ by 1/8″ long, and actually appear to be “scale” for 28mm miniatures.  I know they include lots of them, but the single bricks don’t seem nearly as useful as the larger blocks of bricks.  They are also 1/8″ thick, which is thinner than a floor tile for Hirst Arts, so you have to be gentle removing them from the molds.  The molds themselves are of a more pliable silicone rubber than Hirst Arts, so I’m being a bit more gentle with them.

Tiny Brick molds 1 and 6
Tiny Brick molds 1 and 6

My plan is to cover the outside of the foamcore with sheets of the brick.  I can tell you now that the inaccuracies in cutting the foamcore are now become very, very apparent, and in the future I think I’ll save this technique for buildings that don’t have detailed interiors so I can just do fake windows rather than cutting real ones.

More to come.  Comments welcome.  If you by chance end up getting some A&K molds, tell them you heard about them here, okay?

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