by Rob "Matrix" Hawkins
It's one of the most sacred places where our leaders go to commune with the Master and where they impart His divine instructions to us. There is no way we will allow the infidel nations to desecrate it.
Craft stores can be a great source of inspiration for battlefield scenery. I discovered this gem of a birdhouse on the self of my local A.C. Moore. So many birdhouses look like, well...birdhouses. But this little chapel is the perfect scale and shape for a 28mm building. I knew I could spice it up with a little work, while all of the major construction is already done for me. (For those not living o the east coast of the US, A.C. Moore is a chain that carries craft, flora, sewing, and art supplies.)
In this tutorial, I'll focus o detailing a pre-existing building. Whether it is a birdhouse you discovered at your local craft store, or a building that you have built from scratch, these techniques will give you some sharp looking structures. I will leave basic construction for another day.
Birdhouse from local craft store
Rock textured plasticard
Warhammer Fortress door
Hollow square brass rod
Various pieces from odds and ends box
Part 1: Renovation Of An Existing Piece
Love at first site! This is the birdhouse right of the store shelf (1A). The roof, steeple and doorway are what cried out to me. (I just know that a Warhammer Fortress door will fit over the opening!)
First things first. Any "birdhouse" details need to be removed (1B). So, that cross and windows have to go! Pop the off with a hobby knife and clippers. The trick Is to avoid marring the surface of the walls, because that will mean less clean up later. I will cover those rough spots with styrene card windows.
Make a template for the windows and trace it onto your sheet styrene (1C). The important thing is to ensure that they are all the same size and shape. (Construction note—I use superglue for all gluing. It dries much faster than white PVA or wood glue, and will bond all of the materials.)
Before gluing anything on, whittle down the square base. i found that a box cutter worked pretty well, but a small belt sander will also do the trick. You want to get a rounded, natural feel tot he base without gouging the building, or worse, cutting yourself!
Once your base is the desired shape, blue a strip of textured plasticard all the way around the bottom of the chapel. Carefully bend the card around the corners to avoid having a seam at the edge. The stone-textured card will create the illusion of a stone foundation. Don't forget to leave a spot for the door, and cut notches to fit around the card windows. (You'll notice that I'm not giving any measurements. Your building will most likely be a different size and shape than mine. I just eyeball everything and go by what looks right. If your stone foundation is 1/4" thicker or thinner than mine, that's fine, as long as it looks right on your building!)
A Warhammer Fortress door does indeed fit nicely over the front opening. No more birds allowed; Acolytes of Menoth live here now! Cover the top gabled windows with styrene to fill in the gaps.
Here is a close up shot of the stonework and windows (1D).
I had to re-cut my windowpanes. The original windows were too large and did not leave enough space between them. Plus, after a bit of experimenting, I realized the the rounded tops would be impossible to frame with the material I had on hand. So, I cut them into more angular shapes. Elmer's wood putty covers the rough spots left when I tore off the first plastic windows.
For framing out the structure, use basswood strips to give the chapel a Tudor-style framework. Start with the windows and basic frame (1E). Make sure to notch the edges of the wood strips so they'll look old and worn.
Then add some interior framing (1F).
For the front detail, line the tall plastic card windows with wood strips glued onto them. Assemble the entire window separately, then glue it in place (1G).
Here is a look at the rear detail (1H). The wood stripping is now complete. Time for the roof!
Cut long strips of heavy card into small rectangles for the roof shingles. Notch some of them with clippers.
Start at the bottom and work your way up. Glue one strip at a time and overlap each new row about halfway over the one below (1I). Be sure to have the shingles extend about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch over the edge of the roof panel.
Before you get too far along with the shingles, add the top round windows. I found it difficult to cut perfect circles out of card, so I resorted to cutting the tops off of Warhammer 40K oil drums. Large round plastic shields will do the trick as well. Use putty to smooth out the seam on the oil drum tops (1J).
Take the shingles all the way to the top. You'll need to cut specific shapes to fit in the corners. For the apex of the roof, fold a longer strip of cardboard over the top and glue it in place. By angling it up at the ends, you can make the roof look like it's sagging in the middle (1K).
The finished roof (1L). Check out the sag!
Cut the Menofix out of plastic card and add it to the front of the steeple (1M).
This one's a bit trickier...I used a hollow square brass rod for the cross, and cut plastic card for the top and wrench ends. The base is a wooden bead (1N). A paper clip "pin" runs through the entire crossbar into the wrench hands. Another pin affixes the top, and another long one runs through the bottom, so it can be pinned into the steeple (1O).
Don't glue the menofix to the steeple, this will allow you to remove it to prevent damage during transport when you bring your awesome Menoth Chapel over to your buddy's house for a game!
I also made a small Menofix above the door. I made this by clipping the top off of a Choir Warpriest's staff and gluing it to a small washer.
All that's left is to add some sand to the base for texture.
Part 2: Painting
Now it's time to paint the chapel. I find it's best to paint scenery when working from a black undercoat. This ensures that your recesses are nice and dark and allows you to do most of the painting with dry brushing. The following technique will work for any tudor-style building (all of the paints used are Citadel Colors).
First, using a 1" brush, basecoat the wall sections with Snakebite leather. As you're painting, make sure no stray brush hairs stick to the wall (2A).
Next, use a fairly dry 1" brush with a stabbing motion to add a layer of Kommando Khaki. The stabbing motion will prevent streaks and will create a nice, textured look (2B).
Then use the same stabbing technique to add a layer of Bleached Bone. With each successive layer you should leave a bit of the previous color showing around the edges (2C).
Those are the three basic colors for the wall section. If done properly (or if you're in a hurry) you can leave it at that. But if you're like me (I can never keep enough of the snakebite leather showing at the edges), you can use these next steps to create a more antiqued and weathered appearance.
Using a Citadel large brush, apply a 50/50 mix of Brown Ink and water. Paint this into the recesses around the edge of each wall panel. Don't forget to paint around details like the Menofix and windows (2D & 2E).
Then, with a large brush, diffuse the brown ink with Kommando Khaki. Add more Bleached Bone into the middle of the panels. The final effect is a rich, textured-looking wall (2F & 2G).
We'll paint the framework later. First, we'll do the stone. Mask off the walls above the stonework so you can dry brush it without ruining your walls. basecoat the stones (including the door frame), with a 50/50 mix of Chaos black and Codex Grey. Don' t worry about getting it into the black spaces between the stones; the idea here is to completely cover up the white over brushing from the walls.
Then dry brush the color up with straight Codex Grey, then Fortress Grey. After this, wash the stones with 50/50 Brown ink and water. Wipe some of the ink away with your finger before it dries (2H). (Using your finger instead of a paper towel will leave some ink in the crevices: a paper towel will such up too much ink.)
Once the ink dries, dry brush the color of the stones back up with Codex Grey and Fortress Grey. Basecoat the wood of the door with Snakebite Leather and the metal bands with Boltgun Metal. Finally, wash the whole door with a 50/50 mix of Brown Ink and water (2I & 2J).
Now that all the main dry brushing is out of the way, it's time for the wooden framework. Simply basecoat all of the wooden beams, taking care to cover their sides as well (2K).
Once This is finished, dry brush all of the wood with a really dry brush of Bleached Bone (2L). This will highlight the edges and texture of the wood and any stray brush strokes will not affect the walls and stonework (you'll just be adding more highlight to them as well). That's it for the framework (it's tedious but simple!).
Basecoat the roof with 50/50 Chaos Black and Scab Red. Like the stonework, you don't need to get into every nook and cranny. Just cover up all the sloppy over brushing from the walls (2M).
Mask the walls and framework with tape (you don't want to spoil your previous brushwork), and give the roof shingles a heavy dry brush with straight Scab Red (use a 1" brush for this) (2N & 2O).
Then apply a very dry brush of straight Bleached Bone (this should be even dryer than the one used on the framework as it's very easy to get too light too fast) (2P & 2Q).
The basic building is finished! Without the fancy windows and other details, we'd be about done. But this chapel has some specific details..
First, the Menofix icons: All three are painted the same way—basecoat with Tin Bitz, and highlight up with Brazen Brass and Shining Gold. Apply a Brown Ink and water 50/50 mix, and re-apply the Shining Gold highlight. Basecoat the round rim of the icon over the door with Boltgun Metal and wash that with Brown Ink (2R).
For the large stained glass windows (didn't I mention they would be stained glass?), you'll need to draw a Menofix in the windowpane. The easiest way to ensure that they all match is to cut a piece of paper that fits inside the window frame. Draw the Menofix on the paper with a soft lead pencil, and then flip it over and rub the pencil over the back. Use this technique to transfer the graphite drawing into each window (obviously, you can use any colors or image for your stained glass, or can go with plain dark windows. I'll detail the colors I've used, but the same techniques apply to whatever you chose).
Apply a basecoat of Golden Yellow over the Menofix and blend up with Sunburst Yellow. Add a final highlight of Sunburst Yellow mixed with a little Skull White (2S).
Next, use a light pencil to draw the lines between each of the colored sections (don't make the "glass panes" too small or you'll be sorry—trust me). Paint these with a basecoat of Scab Red and Blazing Orange (2T).
Then highlight up the top portions of each of each section. For the orange panes I blended up from Blazing Orange through Fiery Orange, and added a bit of Golden Yellow into that with straight Golden Yellow for the final highlight. The red panes start with Scab Red blended up through Blood Red, with a final highlight of Blazing Orange (2U).
Apply speckled highlights with Skull White. For the leading between each pane, draw a black line between each of the colored panes (I used a .8 Rapidograph pen, but any thin permanent pen will work. Just test it on a space piece of card to see if it will smudge when applied over paint, or when it gets wet. You could also paint the lines with a brush if you are so inclined...).
Over this, paint a fine line of Boltgun Metal. Leave a bit of the black showing at the bottom of each line to create the illusion of a shadow. Add Mithril Silver highlights to the Boltgun and you're done (2V).
The round top windows are done the same way as the front windows (2W).
All that is left is the base! I've used a dry brush of Scorched Brown with Graveyard Earth and Kommando Khaki, but you'll want to paint this to match the color of your gaming table (2X, 2Y, 2Z, 2AA & 2BB).
Now you have a glorious chapel for your Menites to defend (can't let those Cygnarian devils smash out those stained glass windows you've worked so hard on!).