I thought I’d put together some instructions on how I made some simple houses for ECW wargaming. They’re built from packaging foam (largely) with odd bits of foamboard and other materials for details. I started with a drawing – hand-done the old fashioned way with ink on graph paper, I’m afraid. The footprint of the building is sized according to the 1644 rules requirements, for 28mm miniatures. The plan is here as a PDF file. Printed full size, it’s set up for 28mm, but reduced to 54% it ought to work for 15mm. The window heights placed on the plans are arbitrary, but seem to work for me. The number and position of windows and doors is determined by preference and whimsy only – houses of this type in the real world are all unique.
First, assemble the materials. I’ve got sheets of packaging foam here, plus random stone pattern plastic card, foam board, spruce and balsa sheet, matches and Wills Kits tiled roof sections (p/n SSMP206). The Wills Kits range are sold in railway modelling shops, and I find that there are a lot of really useful products in the range. Given that they are designed for railway modelling, there is quite a lot of stuff that I would struggle to find a use for (corrugated iron sheets have limited value in the ECW), but stone and tile patterns, nailed timber board sections, slated roof sheets and the like are useful and far quicker than making your own.
I cut the plan into bits in order to transfer the measurements onto the packaging foam. I find this works for me, but other people may find that they can simply work “off plan”. Whatever works for you. The packaging foam is somewhat “squashy” and has an open texture that I find makes drawing lines with anything other than a marker pen challenging.
With the measurements transferred, cut out the wall parts. I cut out the windows and back fill the openings, rather than appliqué windows directly onto the structure, but this isn’t based on anything other than preference. The honking great big knife in the picture is a Swann Morton PM8, which I find ideal for cutting foam of all sorts. A chisel is quite handy for cutting out windows – it’s just like cutting mortices in timber, except a lot easier!
I assemble the walls dry, using dressmaking pins, to check for fit, and if necessary, fettle the parts a little to ensure that they go together properly. The time to do this is now, not when you’ve got glue on them. I don’t put internal floors in my buildings, and the roofs are fixed in place. If you wanted to put in internal details, now would be the time.