Sunday, 18 September 2016

Cuban Plantation Owner's House

I needed a house which was a little grander than the others in my small Cuban settlement; I wanted something that would pass as the planation owner's residence. I made the basic structure from foamboard and went for the simplest house shape that you could imagine. The technique for making nice neat joints at the corners is described in my description of building a Spanish Colonial Church here on my blog.  I have also included strengthening braces at the corners as you can see here:

I fixed this basic structure onto a baseboard before adding the roof which is plastic card  slate from the Wills range of model railway accessories. The ridge tile is simply a length of bamboo skewer. I also used skewers to make the supporting columns for the veranda roof:

Another view to give you an idea of the completed work so far:

I spray painted the whole thing in white undercoat to blend together the different textures and colours of the various materials that I had used. I sprayed about three coats to get a nice even finish, once that was done I painted the roof and the veranda roof in a terracotta colour and I added strips of plastic on the gable ends and across the front and back of the building to add interest:

Windows and doors were made very simply by painting and drawing them onto heavy duty cartridge paper. This is a technique I use a lot and I often add layers or strips of cartridge paper to give depth to the different parts. They were then glued in place and window ledges were added later using painted matchsticks.

When I had been looking at Spanish colonial buildings, and particularly those in Cuba, I noticed that there was a great liking for ornate railings on balconies and verandas. To represent this feature I bought a foot or so of lace ribbon from a haberdashery shop; I soaked it in pva glue and hung it up to dry. Once the glue had set overnight I was left with a rigid sheet:

The sheet of lace was then easily cut to size, painted and then glued into place. The effect was exactly what I had been after!

Another view of the finished building clearly showing the "lace" railings round the veranda and the window ledges that I had already added:

A final front view of the plantation owner's house ready for him to move in and ready for the Cuban forces to assault and burn down!

Building a Spanish Colonial Church

I decided that terrain for my Ten Years War in Cuba project needed a few more buildings and thought that I would add a plantation owner's house and the different parts of a sugar mill. But I decided to begin with a small Spanish colonial church. After a quick search on the internet I sketched out the sort of thing I had in mind before drawing up a more detailed plan:

Next stage was to cut out the various parts from a sheet of foamboard. I cut two gable ends and stuck one of them on the back of what was to become the front of the church so the roof later:

If you are not familiar with joining foamboard components together here is a useful technique. Draw a line down one on the edges that are to be joined, make it the same thickness as the foamboard itself. Carefully cut through the paper backing along your line and then scrape out the foam filling leaving the other side of the paper untouched as you can see in this photograph:

In this example the gable end can now be glued into place leaving a nice neat joint when viewed from the outside. I tend to use balsa cement as it sets quite quickly and I then reinforce the joints with triangular fillets made from whatever scrap pieces are lying around:

Here you can clearly see the second gable end cemented into place on the back of the church fa├žade ready to support the roof:

All four walls in place and each corner strengthened with a couple of triangular fillets as mentioned earlier:

The curve on the front wall had quite a rough finish which I thought would spoil the look of the finished model:


To disguise the rough cut I faced the edge with a strip of tough cartridge paper and topped that off with a second strip to add a little texture, then I fixed the roof in place and mounted the whole model on a base to which I could add steps where the front door was to be placed:

I used tile textured plastic card from Wills railway modelling accessories for the roof and made a ridge tile from a bamboo skewer:

The door frame and a small recess were added along with corner stones, all made from thin plastic card or cartridge paper:

Various other courses of stonework were added in a similar way just to improve the look of the whole thing and add interest:

In exactly the same way I added window frames and ledges to both sides of the building:

I added a single large window on the back wall and noticed that the joint between the roof and the front wall was quite scruffy. To rectify this I ran glue along the joint and then put strips of thin plastic rod in place to a give a neater finish - you can see these dark coloured strips in the photograph:

The next step was to spray paint the whole thing. I used a white primer since I intended that the building would be mainly white when it was finished, and I gave it several coats so that the different textures of all the materials I had used would blend together:

 Finishing touches included painting the roof, doors and windows:

I added a cross which was just a suitably shaped section from the runner in a plastic kit, glued into place and painted.

Originally I had planned to place a statue in the recess above the door but I couldn't find anything suitable. As an alternative I found a picture of an icon on the internet, reduced it in size and glued it in place where it passes quite well as a mosaic:

Final touches were the use of different washes to give a weathered effect and detailing on the door.

The windows were simply filled in with black paint, I had wanted a stained glass effect in the large window at the back but so far I have not been able to find anything suitable.

Finally I placed the finished model in its setting, a small settlement on the edge of my sugar plantation with the Cuban jungle in the background.

Overall I am fairly pleased with the result and it made such a nice change from painting figures!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Spanish Army for the Ten Years War in Cuba

My Spanish Army is made entirely of figures from the Perry Miniatures range, specifically their American Civil War boxed sets. The figures can be used straight from the box as they require no conversion work, the paint job giving them the required look.

The basic uniform of Spanish  colonial troops was made from a fabric known  as Rayadillo; this was white with fine blue stripes, roughly ten stripes per inch and therefore challenging  to paint!  I have seen figures painted in pale blues to represent the fabric but I opted to paint  a base coat of white and covered it with a very pale blue wash. I was reasonably happy with the results and went on to complete  the rest  of the uniform.  Collars and cuffs were green for infantry and red for all other units. Belts, boots, packs and so on were black or brown. Hats were mainly straw and were painted as such with the Spanish roundel  (red, yellow, red) on the right hand side.

American Civil War cavalry were used to produce lancers; apart from the paint work they just needed pennants adding:

Artillery were again taken straight from the box of Perry American Civil War artillery and given the appropriate paint job:
 I decided that some form of transport was needed and opted to build a cart pulled by oxen since this seemed to haver been particularly favoured at the time. The oxen came from a range of farmyard animals whilst the cart was based on a Perry artillery limber with the sides built up using coffee stirrers!