Foamboard and clay buildings

As discussed in our last podcast [here], my project for 2020 (yes 2020 and I need to start now to make sure I gets done in time!) is a large number of some really nice scratch built Western France WWII buildings, however this technique would work for any era historical or fantasy. Before I clear the hobby desk for more pressing projects I wanted to share with you the small amount of progress I have made so far.
All the cool kids are making really nice buildings using clay over foam core that has been sculpted for the appropriate texture and I thought I would try may hand at that with/without subsequent duplication by casting in resin. To that end I have made a small test piece and explained the steps below.

Step I:

In the image below (1) I have rolled out some Das air dry clay to about 2mm thick and then stuck it to a scrap piece of foam core board with PVA glue.

Thing I learned in step I:

  • Use Das clay not the random stuff you find at you closest art or junk store. My non branded clay all cracked within 24 hours
  • Don't use too much PVA "just in case". A thin, even smear holds a lot better then what you might think.

Step II:
I used two different methods of sculpting some rough bricks, I have heard that people use both methods. Method A (2 in the image below) was a very rough try with a wooden cooking skewer (essentially a large wooden toothpick) immediately while the clay was still wet. Method B (3 in the image below) after 24 hours the clay was very dry (it's hot here currently) and the light, somewhat pathetic, scratches were made with a light duty craft knife and metal ruler.

Things I learned in step II:

  • If you want a decently deep brick line without having to press REALLY hard then do it when its wet.
  • Consider waiting a couple of hours? (testing required)
  • If you do it when its wet it will leave some ridges. However they can easily be scraped off later

I made the brick engravings various sizes to try to work out what would look reasonable size-wise against the 28mm minis (not necessarily to scale). After thinking about final usage and working in with other configurations such as damaged walls with piles of bricks alongside I decided to purchase some precast bricks and look at what size they were. They have now arrived and a couple of sample bricks are shown in 4 and 5 below.

As a couple of final shots below show I have roughed up a design for single building frontage and compared everything to a 28mm Warlord games plastic miniature for scale.

This project is officially on the back burner now but it has been an encouraging start.

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Comments 1

Dan on Wednesday, 13 March 2019 08:07

This was really interesting, Rex. Something i have yet not attempted, but seeing your work it makes me realise i should help by trying my hand at a few too maybe...! good images for us to understand. Thanks!

This was really interesting, Rex. Something i have yet not attempted, but seeing your work it makes me realise i should help by trying my hand at a few too maybe...! good images for us to understand. Thanks!
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Thursday, 23 May 2019

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Episode 6:

In this episode Rex and Dan discuss painting work-flow we each describe how we go about the process and share any tips. Beginning miniature wargame painters will get loads out of this episode and if you're a veteran painter you might even find a gem or two. We also chat about the results of last month's "Reasonable hobby challenge".

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