Friday, March 4, 2011

Normandy Farmhouse Redux.

This is the (new) beginning of my 28mm Normandy/France scratch building project. I wanted a set of buildings for my 28mm collection. Commercially available resin building kits are great, and there are some out there that are works of art, but they are very expensive. Plus, very few makers produce buildings with a realistic scale "footprint" of how much space the building would occupy. Most makers scale the building down considerably. This is due to materials cost. Resin is expensive and to make realistic sized buildings in 28mm would not be cost effective. Plus most gamers don't want just a few buildings taking up their whole table, so they sacrifice size for space to allow them to put down whole villages. I have done that myself for years with my own buildings (Armorcast). But after working on the 1:1 scale combat system for Iron Ivan Games (due out this year) I decided it would be nice to have a detailed set of buildings to go with it to do small scale squad level games in and around them.

I chose Normandy/France as a subject because I can use the buildings for both early war and late war games, so I can get a lot of use out of them.

That was my original plan from as far back as 2009. In fact, One of the first posts on my blog featured a scratch built Normandy Farmhouse just for this purpose. I worked on that thing for what seemed like forever, and I used it as a testing run for future scratch building efforts. I have been building terrain since my earliest 40k Rogue Trader days, but it seemed like I had either forgotten everything or had to relearn it on a steep curve now that I was tackling a real subject. This thing caused me more grief than anything else I have worked on. The windows were a total pain, I couldn't figure out if detailed interiors were worth it or I built some and then ripped them out after some stupid mistakes (making the interiors too difficult to access for gaming). I even cut the second floor off to try to do a modular stackable building but then ended up gluing it back together. Twice.

In the end, the thing had been worked and reworked so many times it was beginning to fall apart and look pretty rough.

So I started over.

This time, I vowed not to ever try to do windows myself again. Especially after discovering the wonder of pre made plastic windows and doors. I had known about the Grandt Line of products for a while. Lots of companies make kit bashing supplies that help model railroaders. But Grandt's stuff was too expensive for how many items you got per pack and since I hoped this project would become a whole series of buildings, I needed LOTS of these things.

Then a few months ago I found Tichy Train Group completely by accident. Score! A selection of plastic (O scale) windows and doors for cheap. Plus they have pallets and 50 gallon drums!

Here are the items (most of these come in a pack of two for $3.00 which gives you 6 windows in each pack). In fact, the one set allows you to do open or closed double sash windows. How cool is that?

When I got them in the mail, I was very happy with them. The only real complaints I would have is that they have some pretty brittle parts and that the windows do not have a thick enough tab to fill in a hole cut into foam core. No worries though, with a little basswood and a trim, they will do nicely. Here is the window ready for slotting into foam core:

I cut out the windows and doors using the completed and framed windows as a template by tracing around them. A few minutes with a sharp X-Acto and they are ready to be put in. This is SO much easier than hand making windows.

So here are the results:

Front View.

Back View.

Lift off roof.

I even decided to give this a set of rain spouts. These were made out of a plastic U shape rod and glued in place and then connected with hollow plastic rod bent into shape.

Also, I recently read an article on working textures into foam core by cutting off the top layer of card and scribing into the foam with a pen things such as bricks and stone. After scribing it with rough stone I sealed it with a watered down coat of Elmer's for painting. Here is the result.

Here is a completed window with plasticard shutters.

Interior shots. I built a floor to drop in. Simple plank for now, but leaves me room to do detailed interiors some day if I choose.

Here is a figure for comparison (The Assault Group Late War German).

And that's it! I have plans to do a whole village to go with this. Next up is a barn and set of walls to turn this into the farm complex I had planned in the first place.

Hope you enjoy!


  1. Looks great. I like wargame buildings that you can "get in to" and you´ve gone and added the one thing that always annoys me when it/they are missing....the drainpipes!! :-D

  2. You sick bastard, you made the drainpipes! Looks good!


  3. Good lord man! Pre-hung window frames? Gutters? Drainpipes? Shutters? It's like an episode of "This Old House", not "This Very Blog". Fantastic work. You make it look easy.

  4. Haha, this caused my wife to ask "Can you make that in 1:1 scale?"

    Wasn't easy, and the learning curve was steep. But now I have a process! Muahahaha.

  5. This looks really good. Beyond my abilities.

  6. This thing looks stupid bitchin'!!! Which is to say it's very nice. I need to get some of those windows.

  7. Very tasty... getting inside is vital to me for a 28mm building.