Terrain Workshop: Ruined houses (part 1)

6 Jul


So I thought I’d share some stuff what I’ve been up to for my 15mm gaming, if you’ve read my other articles previous, then you’ll know I have plans for a totally ruined board for post apoc, zombie, and modern gaming purposes, and since I was in scratch building mood I’ll try and talk you through how I got from A to B.

I have decided to split this post in two, so that I can concentrate on hopefully giving a few of you out there some pointers to easily replicate the same results as me, just with minimal time and effort. There’s plenty of pics for you too, as I kept my camera close by as much as possible this time.

Since I have a regular toybox purge every few weeks just to make sure my little ones aren’t harboring any potential nasty broken toys within. With them being 3 & 4, they tend to find all sorts of junk or smashed items and stash them away, so with their best interests in mind, I get access to all sorts of great broken bits to make stuff from! This first part deals with a small trashed plastic dolls house.

Ok, the one thing I didn’t manage to capture was the original state of the smashed up dolls house, the roof was missing, sides were snapped, windows loose, along with a huge split in the centre. My girls still wanted to play with it, but like I said before, it just wasn’t safe anymore. On a side note, I got these for them from Poundland last year, scaled for about 15-20mm, I wish i had had the foresight to buy a few more of them when I had chance, I haven’t seen them available where we are, but seriously check out your local poundshops for the possibility of getting some in your locality, they are extremely nice models to use as a starting point for scenery (and you can link 2 together to form a full house, but more about that in a moment…)

The next thing I did was try and reconstruct as much of it as I could, sticking the roof back on, fixing the split etc. You might as why I was doing this considering that I was making it into ruins. Firstly it needed to be stuck down onto a suitable base to work on, and secondly the roof I felt, needed to be put back to make sense of the angular shapes atop, it just didn’t look right without at least part of it. Next, I began to deconstruct the house to my asthetics, hacking into it with knives, cutters and snips, to create more natural looking damage, not just angular splits and bends. When this was done, I began to build up extra damage, detrius and rubble, which brings us up to here:


I added such things as a damaged lamp post made from sprue, lots of broken lollypop sticks, balsa off cuts, plastic that had been hacked from the model, the blue squares are craft foam bits my daughter gave me (also from the poundshop, in a pack of kids craft bits, which I have to say, are really useful as they are self adhesive so they stick down pretty well without glue (I still glue them down though, just to make sure!))


On to the rear of the property…again I started to build up layers of damaged flooring, tiling and so forth. Split balsa was glued into position on the inside of the roof section to simulate supports. If I had had more time and inclination I could have added more layers of detail, but since these were just ruins, it didn’t matter too much.

The pictures below are to illustrate a few points, firstly you might have seen the first broken house I liberated from the kids a few months back, exactly the same size and type, just different style. You’ll notice that back to back they form a full building, so that was my plan to match the colours as best I could, to provide more options for gaming with different combinations for setup.







I know I said I wasn’t going to add too much extra stuff, but yup, I did and added more! As you can see extra bits of craft foam off cuts and trash were stuck down.












It was just about ready now to give a few undercoats with a mix of black and earth brown acrylic. A few coats were vital to make sure that all the gaps were covered especially when layering up lots of small bits, as gaps can cause annoyance, particularly when you want to get on with the subsequent steps.

DSCF2616  DSCF2617

Next, when it was dry, it was the job of drybrushing the model with shades of greyish brown, from almost black to lighter grey, as best I could to to match the other one.



Finally I highlighted it with light grey brown and a bit of white, here and there, just to make some of the edges stand out and look  weathered.



All thats left at this point was to add a bit of grey, brown, dark and mid green flock, static grass, and model railway ballast, on all the surfaces, levels and floors. Even a slight sprinkling of static grass was added to the side and roof to signify a bit of mossy growth after years of abandonment. Here’s the finished piece.



Not a bad if you consider that it was destined for the bin! Total cost for the build: £0, since I had all the extra materials in my supplies. I could have spent money on getting the needed parts, but what’s the fun in that?

Next time in part 2, I’ll be showing you how to create a matching ruin terrain piece, just using some off cuts of balsa, card and a few no cost odds and sods! (Plus there’ll be another appearance of the very useful artificial grass samples too!)

Peace out…

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