Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Building a Bohemian Village

I builtthese some years ago to go with my Austro-Prussian War armies, but they only sawthe light of day in a game in November.

Theoriginal idea for these came from some line drawings of Bohemian villages in aGerman book on the Austro-Prussian War. Nearly all of these were woodenstructures with thatched roof, and these suit my modeling and painting style.

I set outto create six buildings, but finished up with five, four farm buildings and abarn. Each was to be built on its own base, with walls, fences and gardens – anarea that could be clearly defined as a built up area. Three of the  five buildings areshown here.

For onebuilding, the two storey farm and barn in one, I recorded the constructionprogress in photos and I will describe the construction progress here:

1:Construct the basic cardboard form. This is quite rough and glued together withPVA. The approximate location of doors and windows is sketched on the surface.

2: I gluedthe cardboard form into the shaped polystyrene that will form the model’s base.

3: Textureone face of the building. I use a two part epoxy putty called EmerKit. I applythis across the surface of the model to a depth of about 2mm. I then sketch anoutline of what I am going to etch into the surface. First I mark out thewindows and remove the EmerKit from the surface of the model. The I marked outthe door and window frames. Next I textured the door and other wood surfaceswith a scalpel blade, going back to mark nail holes where boards have joined.Finally I marked out the pattern of the stone wall, using a tool to press outthe shape of the stones and then putting a few irregular dents on the surfaceof the stonework. Once this is done I leave the material to harden.

4: I thenwent around and completed the etching on all the sides. I always work on oneside in a sitting and allow it to harden before starting the next – too manytimes have I put my finger on areas just completed and had to re work them! Onwhat would become the back of the building I added the steps and the railings,made from matchsticks. I added the stone chimney.

5: The nextphase was the thatched rood. For this I covered the whole roof area with alayer of EmerKit that was around 5mm thick and then scribed the thatch effectwith a craft knife.

6: With allthe basic etching work done I went back and added shutters to some of thewindows. With Green Stuff I added door hinges and the bar on the barn door.With this the work of the building was completed and I was ready to start onthe model’s base.

7: Thefirst step with the model’s base was the adding of a rail fence, built frommatchsticks. Then went around the areas I began to cover the base with Emerkit,working on the front of the building and the stone wall areas first, beforecovering the whole base. I added a couple of details like a stack of firewoodby the back steps and a spare wagon wheel leaning against the house. Iroughened a few areas of the base that would not be covered with grass flock,where bare earth would show through.

8: I thenpainted the model, weathering it as I went. Finally I added two trees which Ihad made earlier from twisted wire and tissue paper and flocked the base.


  1. Excellent stuff, Mark, great photos.
    What's a good source of Emerkit? I take it it's cheaper than Greenstuff so good for scenery work like this?

  2. G'day Andrew. Most good hardware stores carry it and it costs around $20 for a 150g packet. It is also available in bulk packs. The best thing is that it is safe to handle with bare hands. It is too course for figure work, but great for scenery or large area. I have used it for 25 years.

  3. Very nice buildings. Please post your updates.

  4. Tremendous work and a very nice 'how to'

  5. Excellent post, the final result is amazing!!

    1. Thanks Phil. There are about six or seven buildings in this group now. I must post something with them all on show one day.