Methada—A Protectorate of Menoth Fortification
by Jim "Nobody" Cornell
Along its Eastern Border the Protectorate of Menoth has constructed a series of fortifications to protect the righteous from the denizens of the Bloodstone Marches. Methada is one of those fortifications.
This is a pretty big project but it is like eating an elephant—It can be done if you take it one bite at a time. It was posted originally as a four-part tutorial but is now here in its entirety.
1/4" Masonite (as big as you want the base to be)
1/4" x 1/16" bass wood strips
Thick card stock
Paper mache (Celluclay)
Step 1: The Base
Cut your base to the size and shape you want and bevel the edge. I used 1/4" masonite. It will be approximately 2' x 4' (1A).
Step 2: Controlled Chaos
I could see a project of this size getting out of hand in a big hurry if I didn't stay organized so after I made up the blueprints I cut and bagged each building. These are some of the bags (2A).
Step 3: Dry Fit
OK, in theory this should work. In reality if could turn into a giant pile of garbage. So, to keep myself from wasting a ton of time only to find out it wouldn't work I taped all of the parts together and put them in their places. I was relieved to learn that everything fit (3A, 3B & 3C).
Step 4: The Tower (Building A)
Now that we know everything sill work let me bring you up to speed on how I got to this point. Use the diagram (4A) to cut Building A out of foamcore.
Step 5: The Gate (Building B)
Use the diagram (5B) to cut Building B out of foamcore.
Step 6: Building C
Oh sure, like all of the buildings are supposed to have a name. Use the diagram (6A) to cut Building C out of foamcore.
Step 7: ABC Assembly
Use a hot glue gun to assemble Building A. Remember that you have two pairs of sides. The wider pair should overlap the edges of the narrow pair to form a square top and bottom. Refer to the photo (7A) if necessary.
Assemble Building B by attaching the Walkway, the End of Walkway Support, the Doorway Base, The Doorway Walls and the Arch Panels to the Gate Front. Now glue the Gate Back into place. Glue the entire structure to the side of Building A and refer to the photo (7A) if necessary.
Assemble Building C by attaching the Door Wall to the two Side Walls. Note that the Side Walls have an angled edge that fits against the angled edge of Building A. Attach Building C to Building A. Refer to the photo (7A) if necessary.
Fill all of the gaps and edges with wallboard plaster. Make sure you cover all exposed foam edges so that they won't melt later when you spray paint it. Take special care to apply a thick coat of putty to the curved top of the gate to fill all of the gaps. I used a small hobby spatula to apply putty in the small windows. Sand the assembly when the putty is dry. I used a needle file to get inside the windows and doors. I got a little ahead of myself by doing the door (7B). We'll get back to that in Step 32 (looks pretty good though doesn't it?).
Step 8: Mess and Assembly Building (Building D)
Use the diagram (8A) to cut Building D out of foamcore.
Step 9: Section E, F and G
Use the diagram (9A) to cut Building E out of foamcore.
Use the diagram (9B) to cut Building F out of foamcore.
Use the diagram (9C) to cut Building G out of foamcore.
Step 10: Service Elevator (Building H)
Use the diagram (10A) to cut Building H out of foamcore.
Step 11: Assemble the Stairs
This step could be the most miserable part of this project if you let it. My advice to anyone making this staircase would be to cut the stair supports using the diagram below and attaching them to their assigned buildings. Then I would complete Step 12 and then make the steps by measuring and attaching each riser (the vertical boards) individually, the I would do the same with the pads (the horizontal boards). For those of you who don't want to go that way I have included the dimensions for the risers and the pads. Either way you chose you should attach all of the risers first and then all of the pads. I made the risers and pads out of heavy card (illustration board) because it was easier to make precise cuts (11A).
Step 12: Assemble D, E, F, G, H and Stairway
Use a hot glue gun to assemble Building D. Start with the Main Building, then assemble the Small and Angled additions shown in the photo (12A).
Assemble Building E.
Assemble Building F by attaching Building E. Refer to the photo (12B) if necessary.
Assemble Building G by attaching to Buildings E and D. Refer to the photo (12B) if necessary.
Assemble Building H.
Attach Stair Supports to Buildings D and H (12B).
Attach the risers and pads to make your stairs as shown in the photo (12C).
Fill all of the gaps and edges with wallboard plaster as instructed at the bottom of Step 7 (12D & 12E).
Step 13: The Small Courtyard
Attach Building H to Building C to F.
When all of the buildings, to this point, have been joined you will have a small ring of structures. The next thing to do is create the floor of the Small Courtyard. The easiest way to do that would be to place the superstructure on a large piece of foamcore, trace the inner dimension and cut it out (be sure to leave a little extra 1/8" material to allow for where the floor butts up against the slope of Building A. For those of you who need a hard and fast blueprint refer to the graphic (13A).
With everything cut, assembled, puttied and sanded it should look like the photos (13B, 13C & 13D). A Scrapthrall (approx 1-1/2" tall) has been added the the pictures to show scale.
Step 14: The Warrens under the Small Courtyard
The area below the small courtyard can be handled in any number of ways. The easy way would be to forego the area under the courtyard and make it a permanent fixture by gluing it into place. The height and level of the floor can be maintained by cutting a number of 1-9/16" squares and attaching them to the sides of buildings A, B, C, E, F, G and H like was done to support the stairs. Then glue the floor to the tops of these supports.
Another way is to create small runs beneath the small courtyard using 1/4" foamcore. I chose the harder way—then again, I'm stupid. You can configure the rooms any way you want or you can do what I did and use the diagram (14A & 14B).
Step 15: The Guard House (Building I)
Use the diagram (15A) to cut Building I out of foamcore.
Step 16: Officer Quarters (Building J)
Well you didn't expect them to billet with the rank-and-file did you? Use the diagram (16A) to cut Building J out of foamcore.
Step 17: IJ Assembly
Use a hot glue gun to assemble Building I. This is an odd-shaped building. When it is assembled a bird's eye view of it will show that the side walls overlap the back wall and that they are right angles to one another. You will also see that the right-hand wall is the widest of all the walls and is the cause of the building's odd shape. The front wall overlaps the side walls.
Assemble Building J. When assembled the configuration of the walls should form a square. Be sure that the front wall is facing the front of the fort and that the right wall is on the right when looking at the building from the front, etc. Attach Building J to Building I. Refer to the photo (17A) if necessary.
Fill all of the gaps and edges with wallboard plaster. Make sure you cover all exposed foam so that it won't melt later when you spray it. I used a small hobby spatula to apply putty in the small windows. Sand the assembly when the putty is dry. I used a needle file to get inside the windows and doors (17B).
Attach the IJ structure to Building B as shown in the photo (17C).
Step 18: The Barracks (Building K)
Use the diagram (18A) to cut Building K out of foamcore.
Step 19: The Western Ramparts (Building L)
Use the diagram (19A) to cut Building L out of foamcore.
Step 20: KL Assembly
Use a hot glue gun to assemble Building K. This one is pretty straight forward, just remember that the sloped roof runs toward the back of the fort and the doors go on the inside (we forgot that on the last fort and the Skorne took that one over rather easily). Refer to the photo (20A) if necessary.
Assemble Building L by connecting Building D and K with the inside wall. Next, attach the left portion of the outside portions with the center section. Refer to the photo (20A) if necessary.
Fill all of the gaps and edges with wallboard plaster. Sand the assembly when the putty is dry.
Step 21: The Eastern Ramparts (Buildings M, N & O)
Use the diagram (21A) to cut Building M out of foamcore.
Use the diagram (21B) to cut Building N out of foamcore.
Use the diagram (21C) to cut Building O out of foamcore.
Step 22: Assemble M, N & O
Use a hot glue gun to assemble Building M. The inside and outside walls cover both side walls. Refer to the photo below if necessary.
Assemble Building N by attaching Building M to to Building K. Refer to photo (22A) if necessary.
Assemble Building O by attaching Building M to Building J. Refer to the photo (22A) if necessary.
Fill all of the gaps with wallboard plaster and sand when dry (22B & 22C).
Step 23: The Large Courtyard
The easiest way to find the dimensions of the large courtyard is to place the superstructure on a large piece of foamcore and trace the inner dimension and cut it out.
With everything cut, assembled, puttied and sanded it should look like the photos (23A & 23B).
Step 24: The Caverns Under the Large Courtyard
As with Step 14, when all of the buildings, to this point, have been joined you will have a tall ring of structures. The next thing to do is create the understructure to support the floor of the Large Courtyard. As with Step 14, the level of the floor can be maintained by cutting 1"x5-3/4" pieces of foamcore and attaching them to sides of buildings D, H, I, J, K, L, M, N and O like was done to support the stairs. Then glue the floor to the tops of these supports.
Another way is to create the caverns beneath the large courtyard using 1/4" foamcore. I chose the harder way—again, I am stupid. You can configure the caverns any way you want or you can do what I did and use the diagram (24A & 24B).
Step 25: Attach the Structure to the Base
Now it is time to attach the structure to the base. Klepto gave me a product called Better Than Nails. It comes in a caulking tube and has a stronger adhesive hold. It also takes longer to cure than hot glue takes to cool which would give me the kind of working time I needed (25A).
Step 26: The Internal Levels
This step is very labor intensive. If you don't want to have rooms in your towers and hallways in your walls you may want to skip and go directly to Step 27.
As mentioned before concerning the lower and upper courtyards, you probably want to measure each of the areas and cut each custom piece as you go. When you are finished you should have a lot of pieces like in the photo (26A).
Each building or hallway may have more than one level (besides ground level). They will be marked as Building D Level 1, Building D Level 2, etc. The floors are separated by wooden supports made of 1/4" basswood cut to various lengths (shown in each graphic below) that are glued directly to the level below it (26B, 26C, 26D, 26E, 26F, 26G & 26H).
Step 27: The Walkways
The walkways atop the walls were made using bamboo skewers. First make a small support frame using 1/4"x1/16" bass wood. Then cut lengths of bamboo and attach to the frame. Be sure that the bamboo passes about 3/16" over the side of the wall. It is not important that they all be exactly the same length. A rough appearance looks even better. Repeat this for sections E, F, G, L, M, N and O. If you skipped Step 26 the inner walls will help provide support for your walkways but you will need to make supports along the outer walls. You can use 1/4"x1/4" basswood or scraps of foamcore. The photo (27A) shows examples of both sides of the walkways.
When the glue has dried, cover the walkways with a thin coat of wall mud. Leave some of the bamboo uncovered to give the appearance that some of the mud has worn away over time and exposed the wood below. When the mud has dried, sand the walkway smooth (27B).
Step 28: The Parapets
Buildings A, C, D, I and J have parapets. The floors of each parapet were made in the same manner as the walkways, i.e., basswood frame, bamboo and wall mud (don't forget to sand them). The walls were made of foamcore using the dimensions in the graphics (28A & 28B). When cutting the 1/4" spacer in each (as shown in the graphics) to accommodate the floor, don't cut completely through the foamcore. Just cut deep enough to get through one coated layer and the foam then remove.
Use a glue gun to glue the walls together as well as the floor into the spacer. Use wall mud to putty any gaps and sand when dry.
Step 29: The Rocks
I began to worry about the final weight of this piece and began to look for a light-weight alternative for the rocks and decided to make them out of foam. Cut foam to look like rocks and attach to the outer walls with the same adhesive used to attach the structure to the base (29A).
Fill the gaps with Celluclay. When dry, give the rocks (as well as any exposed foamcore foam) two coats of white house primer. Use white glue to affix dirt to any surfaces you want to have dirt (29B & 29C).
Step 30: The Two Metal Roof
The two sloped roofs were made out of sheet styrene. The motorized wench for Building H is kluged together using parts from a popular pump kit. I primed them black and added a coat of Steel with some spotty rust. For more information on how to paint rust check out my "Tanks for the Memories" tutorial (30A).
Step 31: Painting the Structure
I used three colors of spray paint to paint the structure. I started from the base with Khaki, decreasing the amount of paint as I rose in elevation. For the second color I started from the top with Almond and decreased the amount of paint the closer I got to the base. I applied Sand randomly around the model. Note that the primer applied in Step 29 provided the spray paint from melting the foam (31A).
Step 32: The Parapets
I used bass wood to make the doors, trap doors, and floor joists. I added small styrene rivets to the doors. I painted all of the wood Flat Brown and highlighted it with a mix of Ivory and Ochre. The rivets were painted Steel. I then glued everything in place.
Step 33: The Parapets
I then highlighted all non-wood portions of the structure with a mixture of White and Ivory.
Afterthoughts: I am really happy I chose an asymmetrical design for this project. I wanted the fort to look like it had been built out of natural rock. If I had it to do again I would not have had all of those rooms and walkways. Being able to "Play inside" is horribly overrated. I was happy with the way the spray looked and that it didn't melt the foam. I also liked how easily everything sanded down after puttying.
I am looking forward to the next project. 'Till then,