Scratchbuilt 1/48 Ramshackled Shack

It’s been a long time since I’ve built any wargames terrain. I don’t play, but I love the scale and look of the games. I’ve had a terrain itch to scratch for some time now so I finaly grabbed some bench time to put glue to foam with this scratchbuild ramshackled shack.

This post is picture heavy as I managed to remember to take lots of WIP shots.

I started with 4 rough cut foam card walls, 2 with gables on the end for the roof. I chopped and shaped them till I got a crooked angle that didn’t look like it was about to collapse. I glued the sides together with hotglue. I’m not building an interior on this piece so it doesn’t matter what the inside looks like.

Once that had dried I cut up lots of bricks from strips of varying widths of blue extruded polystyrene, the stuff builders use for insulation. This is about 6mm thick and pulled from a skip. I stuck them to the outside of the foam core shell with pva. Any wooden features were added with balsa strips scored with a razor saw.

It looks tedious, but goes surprisingly quickly. I was after a higgledy piggledy stonework, patched many times over many years.

Next I built up the chimney and padded it out with scrap foam card. The roof was made from thin card, and sagged in the middle.

Next I cut loads of random roof tiles from a couple of different thicknesses of card. Applying  one at a time these WAS tedious, but worth it.

You need to be careful not to let any pva leak out between the tiles, it spoils the illusion. You can’t always mop it up from between tiles.

I capped the roof off with folded card coping stones.

I built up the chimney brickwork.

Now I had a size for the building, I cut out a circle of 6mm MDF and chamfered the edges roughly. I could now start sizing up the barn and get a feel of space on the dio.

I clad the barn with snapped balsa strips, again textured with a razor saw. I clad the walls inside and out.

As I’m sizing everything by eye I make sure I do lots of test fitting.

I gave the shack a coating of watered down PVA to seal it and to give the next coat (polyfilla) something to grip to. Polyfilla will grip to foam but it’s easy to scrape it off. It also makes a great gap filler. If it’s refusing to flow, add a drop of washing up liquid to break the surface tension.

Once the PVA wash had dried, I stippled on watered down ready mixed polyfilla with a stiff brush. I made sure I got it into all the nooks and crannies.

Keep stippling back over it as it dries otherwise the polyfilla has a tendency to dry flat (it’s a selling point!)

While that was drying I finished off the barn woodwork.

Once the polyfilla was dry, I went back in and cleaned up around the woodwork and don the shack and distressed it further with a scalpel.

Next I made a rough door from balsa and stuck it in place.

I cut out the foam core behind the door where the gaps are as you could see it from the front.

I carved some shutters for the back widows and glued them in place with PVA.

Next I turned my attention the barn. I fancied a thatched roof, so built some supporting rafters from balsa, test fitting as I go.

Now the door needed a bit of detail. I rummaged around in my watch parts stash and found a few hands and cogs that would do just fine.

I attached them to the door with superglue. Be careful not to overdo the superglue, you don’t want the glue to be visible once it’s dried.

That was pretty much it for the build of the shack, so I gave it a basecoat of black and set it to dry.

Now I worked on the barn thatch. I prefer fun fur for this and cut a suitable sized piece. I folded over the edges and glued them in place to hide rough edge.

You can never have enough clamps…

I then glued it in place on the roof of the barn.

I clamped it around the rafters to give the thatch some shape and to expose the detail on the edges.

Next I gave it a coat of watered ready mixed polyfilla, brushing with the lay of the fur.

I left it to dry and got on with painting the shack. I gave the stonework a drybrush of dark grey.

And then a lighter gray. Dragging my brush down the stonwork to highlight the exposed tops of the bricks.

Next I picked out random stones in brown.

And yellow.

Once that had dried, I went back with the light dry brush, again using vertical strokes, to pull the stones together and to get a streaking effect on the walls.

I base coated the roof and woodwork in brown. I missed a few spots >.<

The barn had dried, so I painted up the woodwork using a variety of shades and gave the thats a base coat and dirty wash.

I drybrushed the roof tiles with dark brown. Again, most of my strokes are vertical to help indicate streaking.

Now I’d got the shacks base colours down, I turned my attention the base. I built up a small rise in the center with blue insulation foam and carved out where the path to the door would go.

I filled in the path with rough card shapes to represent stones. In the end, this detail got lost with the base covering, but it was a nice idea in principle 😉

I fixed the shack to the base with hotglue and textured up the groundwork with a mix of pva, polyfilla, sand & grit. I pre-colour my groundwork with paint.

As the wet mixture is drying, I sprinkle on sand and grit to give areas of texture.

Next I airbrushed a couple of shades of brown randomly around the basework, it doesn’t matter about a bit of overspray on the shack as it will be weathered into place later.

I drybrush a couple of shades of grey over areas I want to look rocky, like the steps.

The roof of the shack and the barn both get a final, very ligh drybrush of white /yellow, just to catch the tips.

Next I flocked the base with a ground cover blend. I make the blends up as I go, but this has bit of bark, small vines, leaves, grit, flocks…

This is intended as a wargaming piece so needs to blend into most tables. I achieve this by flocking areas with a pretty standard green flock. I use a couple of shades to add depth.

I make sure I embed the structures in the base and get the coverage right up close.

I fixed the flock in place using watered down pva and washing up liquid in a pipette. I left this to thoroughly dry…

Now I began to bed the buildings in. I added clumps of flock to the walls and roof with pva.

While that was drying I started to build up the underbrush using static grass clumps.

I also used regular static grass, and a static grass applicator for the shorter grass.

Now I added a few clumps of foliage flock and a few static grass clump plants I had in my stash. I need to get some more of those…

I test fitted the fence too. It will look much more beaten up by the time I’m finished.

To finish off the foliage I planted clumps of tall grasses. These came from the bristles of a poundland haloween witch’s broomstick.

I chewed up the fence and spent a fiddly 1/2 hour cutting nail heads from pins and trying to superglue them in place. Worth it.

Now the moss flock on the roof and walls had dried, I streaked them with dilute green acrylic.

I drybrushed up the woodwork.

and steaked pigments down the roof and walls once the green streaks had dried.

I painted up and distressed the fence and it was pretty much done.

Thankfully, the following morning was sunny, so I managed to get some daylight shots.

All in all a very enjoyable build. I had no real plans going in and let the build happen organically. It’s given me lots of ideas for a few more terrain pieces…


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