Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Terrain Tutorial: Mausoleum - Part 1

Tools and Equipment:
Balsa wood
Something to use as a base - part of my bed needed replacing last year, so I have some wood left over from the damaged portion
Decorative bits and bobs
EVA foam (I ordered mine from Amazon, though have since found it in a store called Hobbycraft)
Cylinders suitable for use as columns (I used the plastic innards of the rolls of paper used in credit card machines)
Balsa wood
Assorted glues (PVA, superglue, EVO-stik)
Stanley Knife or other sharp blade
Ruler(s) - preferably steel so you won't slice through it/them by mistake
Half a large Christmas bauble or hemisphere of some other kind
Decorative wood
A Lego shield

Introductory note: Blogger does a wonderful job of rearranging pictures and sometimes even removing them. For your convenience I have numbered the attached pictures 1-11, so even if they go astray or end up back to front, you can tell which one I mean.

First, lay out your base and make sure you have plenty of room for your building. I wanted to allow a large enough lip around mine for models to stand on. I also wanted to make it large enough to have a distinct presence on the tabletop. My base was about 10" (25cm) square, so I decided to make the building about 7" (17.8cm) on each side. That's an approximate measurement because I had some offcuts of decorative wooden stuff from B&Q (from about 15 years back, but which is still available as of my last visit there last week), which I fancied would look good on the sides.

Second, cut out your foamcard. I ran a little short during this phase, and ended up making some of the front of the building from balsa wood. Plan ahead so this doesn't happen to you! I made it 3" tall so it would loom over most models. Having made the essential box shape of the building, I started work on the one side without the wood, the front. I want ed some nice columns here, flanking the door, and a pediment for them to stand on. I measured carefully to ensure they would be symmetrical. Figs. 1-3.

Having done that I wanted to get a good visual notion in my head of the shape of the finished building, so upended a handy empty box of tissues, and popped the hemisphere atop it, balancing the "columns" in place on their pediments. Figs. 4-6. Pleased that the image confirmed my mental image, I continued, boxing the building in with balsa, and placing an EVA foam layer above that. Figs. 7-8. I had heard of EVA foam as a great thing to use for paving and so on, and so it proved. Though the paint did tend to fill in the scribed marks I made with a pencil to resemble flagstones and cracks. I dealt with that by applying a diluted wash, but we shall come to that later.

I wanted the option for figures to manoeuvre around the roof of the building, so ensured an inch (25mm) between the edge of the building and another walled section 1.5" (38mm) in height. Having run out of foamcard at this point, I created a box from balsa (not the best of materials for this, as it kept wanting to fall down as I glued the EVA to it later). Over the course of a few days (owing to the fragility of the balsa) I glued the EVA to the wood in stages, one flat side at a time. I used a vice to do this, and because it would have marked the foam, I folded up a sheet of A4 paper on either side of the vice, preventing it from doing so. Then I blocked in the roof with cardboard, and applied the dome to the top of the roof. Figs. 9-11.

Stay tuned for Part II next Wednesday!

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