Small house

By Michael Cannon / July 29, 2008

The Hirst molds are made from a premium grade of silicone rubber and can be reused hundreds of times (depending on the casting materials used). I generally make my castings from Excalibur dental plaster or SmoothOn resin. This particular building was an experiment to see how new techniques would look. I used Excalibur dental plaster for the door and walls.The dental plaster is heavy and is a mix of resin and plaster designed for use in making molds for dental use. It can be cast with few bubbles even in the most complex molds. (Bruce has a page on his site where he has designed a shaking table to remove bubbles even further using a hand held back massager and some various other materials)!

The cast pieces are glued together using carpenter’s glue one can get in bulk from a DIY store. I mount most of my buildings on 1/8 inch thick MDF as I like to do some “landscaping” around them to add to the look. I used talus, gravel, and sand on a layer of glue on the board to get the textured ground showing through the grass. Once I was happy with the way the bottom layer was constructed, I also beveled the edges of the MDF slightly because I’m somewhat anal. Next I used a generic brand of flat black spray paint to prime the building and base.


The peaks on either end of the building were made from balsa wood. My wife attempted to use a water soluble paint she got from one of the major paint stores in the area on one of our bedrooms. She *hated* the paint as it was too watery in her opinion and was almost impossible to use properly. Frustrated, she took it back to the store to return it but since it was a “custom” mix – based of course on their colors – they would not take it back. So we were stuck with a gallon of dark brown paint with a viscosity higher than that of acrylic craft paints. Hmmm… wonder what we can do with it now?  I love when domestic issues can be solved in such a beneficial way! I used this color on the balsa as it was a good brown and I could drybrush the wood with a lighter brown/tan and make it look like wood from a distance. These peaks were glued onto the building. I also used the paint on the base as it was sufficiently thick enough to add some gripping power to the gravel and detritus on the base.

The roof is made from sheets of Plastruct shingles. I measured the width of the house and added a quarter of an inch or so at either end and did the same for the height of the sheet. I mounted the cut sheets on thin balsa sheets to make them sturdier and then reinforced the roof with triangles of matt board in a couple of places along the roof line. The roof was then sprayed black (flat, generic, fast-drying) and drybrushed with craft paints. I got the join on the roof peak just right and did not have to add a piece along the length of a roof which is what I normally have to resort to. The roof is not glued on so I can put figures in the building when necessary.

The floor on the interior is made from Plastruct sheeting and is sprayed black and drybrushed grey with hints of brown. You’ll also notice, I hope, that the base of the walls has some browns, tans, and greys added to reflect mud and dirt landing from the surrounding area. The only issue I have is that the carpenter mishung the door. (I had to leave to get to the phone after gluing on the dorr and it moved.) Otherwise, I am very pleased with how this project came out.

About the author

Michael Cannon

I have been wargaming as long as I can remember. I met my wife when I was 14 and had been gaming long before that so that should give you an indication as to how long it has been. One of the first games I owned was Anzio by Avalon Hill. I drove over to the hobby shop in the snow to pick it up as I finally had the money to get something! I can remember playing with Airfix figures and Roco tanks back in the 6th grade and before.

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