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Some thoughts on building models of all types and sizes

Some thoughts on building models of all types and sizes

Welcome. If you have not visited Minature Buildings before can I suggest you begin with my Aims and Scope article or at the Home Page. If you have visited before - welcome back. I hope this article is of interest to you.

Tudor house
An abandoned project

It is time to say farewell to this part finished house. I began it a long time ago. Maybe 15 or 20 years. But it has been sitting untouched in a storage unit for too long. I could put it back on the bench but there is too much wrong with it and too much still to do. Being realistic with myself, which is hard, it is never going to be finished. Which is a shame because I'm quite proud of some aspects of it.

I built it to 1/32 scale, which is one I rather like. It seems to be a neat crossover point between a dolls house that can be played with and a scale model that allows for lots of detail. Figures and vehicles are available to complement it, though furniture may be difficult to come by. The subject of another article 'In praise of 1/32'.

The chimney was being made from a moulded sheet made and sold by Model Builders Supply of Canada. As I recall it was necessary to use a composite glue and filler to fill all the hollows at the back of the moulding - the sort of product you get in a DIY store rather than a model shop.

At the outside corners it was necessary to shape and fill quite a lot to make the stones look properly three dimensional. In retrospect I was wrong to make it so straight and vertical. Ideally it shoud have been tapered and a bit less neat.

The scale made it possible to paint every stone and I was pleased with the results I was getting. Though, looking back, it looks a bit garish and could have been done more subtely. But sometime, somewhere, some of it got broken and I don't have any new to replace it with.

One of the big negatives is the framing on the front. I sort of made it up as I was going along and it just does not look right. I think it's not structually viable and the thin strips of board I used (balsa?) are just too regular. More stockbroker tudor than historic. If I ever have another go at such a building I need to base it on an authentic prototype - or at least draw more closely on real examples for inspiration.

I am quite proud of the windows. Nothing fancy but neat small scale carpentry. Built up in layers. And of the hand crafted herringbone brickwork made of scribed card and hand painted.

The most interesting aspect is round the back. With one eye on its possible use as a toy, or as an adult dolls house, I wanted the walls and floors to come out to allow for decoration. Since the walls were built as a frame with a thin skin on either side, it was relativly simple to leave slots in the inner wall skin into which the middle floor and upstais ceiling could slide. Similarly for the front and back edges of the walls.

The photo does not really capture the system, but the floor and walls are each mounted in channels enabling any one of them to be pulled out for decoration.

An alernative technique, which I used on another bigger house from a later period was to use the ceiling cornices to let the walls slide in and out. The base of the walls went into routed channels in the floor with the skrting boards masking the join.

But, as I said, there is too much that would still need to be done and what has been done has too many issues. So farewell. In the bin you go. A hard thing for a hoarder like me. All the time and effort spent working on it has to be marked down as learning time.

As always, please e-mail Miniature Buildings if you have something to add. Comments, criticisms, extra thoughts, pictures, or even complete articles for inclusion in the Miniature Buildings site are all welcome. Or if you would like to be added to my mailing list to hear when a new article is published.

David, 1 March 2020