Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Buildings for the French and Indian War

I've gone off the deep end with the French and Indian War thanks to the spectacular Muskets and Tomahawks rules (I plan on writing a detailed review of the rules in the near future).  When I embarked on the journey of building terrain for the period I was looking all over for buildings.  There are many manufacturers that have buildings available - from forts to a log outhouse (I've hovered over the checkout button on the Grand Manner site many times) ... but after looking around I found what has to be one of the best deals available today.

Pegasus Hobbies has plastic 1/72 kits available for Russian houses.  Russian you say?  Yes, but you see, they are just log buildings with thatch roofs.  If you are willing to replace the thatch roofs with wooden style alternatives then you too can have what is pictured here.  It really isn't that hard - I'll show you what I did.

First, here are the bulidings that are offered by Pegasus Hobbies:

As you can see, for a small investment you can get a lot of buildings.  For my collection I currently have one box of each, with a second box of the "Russian Farm Houses" (the first one pictured) for a total of seven buildings.

So what do you need to make these into North American style houses for the French and Indian War?  The materials are shown below:

MDF board (available at most hardware stores)
Stripes of cardboard (cut mine from "Ritz" cracker boxes)
Mapboard (thicker cardboard)
The MDF board I use for the base.  After assembling the house I put it on the MDF board and trace and slightly random pattern around it.  I then cut the MDF with a jigsaw (also a router works well as it lets you do nice curves).  After cutting the MDF I use a box cutter to shave the edges of the MDF down.
Next, I put the building down on the sheet of mapboard and trace a line along the inside.  Take off the house and cut along the traced line.  This is the floor for the building.  I then do partial cuts along the length of the floor.  When the lengthwise cuts are done (remember, don't cut all the way through) I put some random perpendicular lines in to deliniate the various lengths of floor planks.  When complete, I superglue that floor down on the MDF based and spray the whole thing, both sides, with black primer.  I also spray the inside and outside of the house with black primer as well.
I then drybrush three colors on the floor.  The first is a heavy drybrush of GW "Rhinox Hide" (formerly Scortched Brown), followed by a healthy drybrush of "Steel Legion Drab" (formerly Graveyard Earth), with a finishing light drybrush of Foundry #10C Base Sand (could easily use GW Bleached Bone ... or whatever that is now called under the new complicated system).  These colors and this approach is used across all components here. I drybrush the houses next, inside and out.  Use a heavy drybrush of the Foundry #10C Base Sand on the exposed log ends.  For the window frames I paint a single coat of the Steel Legion Drab (inside and out).  Once the house is done I glue it down (roofless) around the floor that was glued and drybrushed previously on the MDF.  You can then finish the base around the house however you like.  For me I use white glue (PVA glue) to glue fine grain sand to the base.  When dry I paint it black then use the same drybrush progression outlined above (I like the darker look to the finish).  Some GW "green" (not the glad grass, the original green grass) later with some Army Painter "Swamp" tuffs and you are almost done.
The roof for the larger houses (Russian Log House and Russian Log House - Two Stories) you can do each side of the root separately.  I use the platic top frame from the kit and cut off the end decorations that make them look Russian so that it is just a plain run of lumber.  I then fit the top peice (they have notches they fit into) into the house.  Either use the plastic roof parts as a template, or measure them, either way cut out the proper sized mapboard.  After that, place the mapboard on the roof and position it so it is straight and square.  Run a healthy amount of super glue between the crack that separates the mapboard and the plastic top part (make sure you are careful at the ends, you don't want to glue the top part to the main house so the root is removeable).  Let that dry and while it drys start cutting 1/4" runs of the thin cardboard (cracker box cardboard is perfect).  Use a pair of scissors to cut smal triangles out of one side of the strips (see picture above).  Start at the bottom, gluing the strips down and making sure the next level up to the top overlaps the one before it.  Do this for both sides and when you are done --- you got it --- spray paint with black primer and drybrush using the same method previously described. 
If all goes well, you should have a nice removable roof and a set of buildings that look like the ones pictured below.

I hope this all makes sense.  Thanks for reading and until next time, happy gaming!


  1. How do these building match up with 28mmg figures?

  2. I have one of the Russian log houses and the scale works just fine for true 28mm but is a tad small for heroic 28mm