8 November 2009

How cats helped win the West

I hope you'll be pleased to know that I haven't been just been sitting sulking about GW for the last few days, I've also been beavering away on the first building for Thorncreek, which I think is in the southern part of Colorado. This should allow mountains, plains, and (at a stretch) the occasional gang of Mehican bandidos that are on the run from down south. Well, quite a big stretch...

In case any of you would like to see how I did it, I've laid out the in progress pictures below. The method is very heavily based on this set of articles over on Geektactica, and using Gungnir's sterling work as inspiration as well.

First off, I measured out some templates (sorry, can't find the picture, but it's not that exciting anyway) for the walls, cut them out of 5mm foamcore and glued them square. I then started cladding the walls with the splints/spills/little-bits-of-balsa-like-wood-for-lightning-bunsen-burners-with. This took quite a while!

The elastic band was to hold the end piece in place while the glue dried. Use lots of glue!

More cladding in place...

I realised I had to add a pointy roof bit on the back of the false front to support the roof - lesson learned for next time, when I'll just make two of the back end pieces and stick one on the back of the false front.

This is where the cats come in! The corrugated iron roofing is made from the box my cat's food pouches come in. I just peeled off the outer layer and was left with the beautifully even corrugations you can see :) It took a little while to find the best way of removing the little bits of 'outer' that stuck to the bits I wanted, but I found that a sculpting tool scraped down each corrugation allowed me to clear the stubborn bits off in about ten minutes. Free and reused - bonus!

The finished building! I trimmed the scrappy bits of foam core around the windows so that they were smooth and stuck bits of splint to form door/window frames. I stuck the whole lot onto some thick card, put a ridge-cap over the tin roof, backed the door/window holes with thin card and used some more of the base card to make a front door. I cut two pieces of thin card rectangle to make the sign, removing the central section from one and sticking it over the other to make a frame. The boardwalk was made by gluing a few modelling matchsticks (from a massive bag I picked up for a song) at right angles to the direction I laid the planks which were more splints. I'm pretty chuffed with it for a first attempt, and now that I've done it once I reckon I'll be much quicker next time.

What will I use it for? As I hope my future buildings will be less crude, this should really be the oldest Thorncreek building. The Land Office, perhaps? Suggestions on a postcard...


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