Making the Conservatory

A small note to self. Where volunteering to help build terrain for a show game for the first time START SMALL!
As an active member of the Frothers Unite forum I was well aware of the previous efforts the group had gone to in putting on games at the Salute wargame show in London. So when this years ideas were floated I rashly volunteered to take part. The premise behind the game was to make the Cluedo board game as a 3D model with an inspired by HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. The board would consist of 11 rooms in total, each room made by a individual Frother member. The logistics to assemble a game based on a high number of pieces being made independently of each other was not lost on the group.

I agreed to make the conservatory even though I had never made any terrain beyond the odd wall, fence or a few fortifications for 6mm scale games. To help with some uniform approach to the board Fenris Games agreed to create basic room kits. This helped us to keep the room dimensions correct, an essential part of this project. But the rooms would just be a shell requiring each member to set about creating a suitible interior for the game.

The first stage was to put the wooden kit together. The parts went together very well (good work Fenris!) but the amount of surface area available to glue the parts together was only 4mm.

Because the kit was wooden I went for standard PVA based wood glue. Lots of suggestions were made as to how to clamp or fix the pieces together, but in the end I opted to use my hot glue gun. I stuck the pieces together and put a blob of hot glue on the join to hold them in place. This actually worked really well and the glue was easy to remove with a sharp knife once the wood glue had set.

I started on the floor next. Looking at several victorian style tile patterns I settled on a pattern that had a mixture of squares and diamonds. From the start I intended on painting the design in black and white. Wanting to do this on the cheap I found some plastic card in an art shop. Unfortunately it was transparent so would be hard to see the pattern until painted. I cut up the card according to a life size print out of the intended pattern and begun sticking it down. You can see I also drew pencil guide lines to give me a better chance of lining up the tiles. Part of me did think I should have kept the card whole and have just scored the pattern onto it. Might have been quicker.

Once the floor was completed I turned to the walls. I looked at lots of pictures of victorian manor houses with conservatories, one clear aspect was of the inner wall of the house forming part of the conservatory and the the outer wall of glass and steel, like a greenhouse. For the interior wall I knew from the start I wanted a victorian red brick wall painted white. So I bought some DAS air drying clay. I've used the clay to make some miniature bases but because it is air drying any parts not exposed to the air take forever to dry out. So for the brick wall I made some thin flat sheets of it and let one side dry, I then turned it over to dry the other side. Next I took a ruler and one of my sculpting tools and scored along the clay in lines. It was then a case of scoring smaller lines in a brick like pattern.

Once I felt I had enough bricks to cover the interior parts of the conservatory I started to apply it to the walls like wallpaper. I needed to use a file to smooth out some of the edges where the sheets of brickwork joined together but the clay is easy to sand or file away. I stuck the clay up with the same PVA glue I used to stick the room together.

The brickwork stuck very well and really started to show the effect I was after. I wasn't worried about the bricks not looking very uniform or if there were a few gaps. Most victorian buildings I've seen were a bit slap-dash relying on plaster or wallpaper to as they say paper over the cracks!

I then added some decoration to outline the door and I filed down the tops of the brickwork so it was flush with the top of the kit wall. For the actal door. I left that for a later as it would be glass panelled and open. So would have got in the way of any painting. Next up I go through Painting the Conservatory.