Battleshed Diaries

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Too much stuff? A Victorian Warehouse could be the solution

The latest terrain piece to roll off the Battleshed production line is a Victorian warehouse from Sarissa Precision's Gaslamp Alley Victorian SF range.  See, I do sometimes apply a bit of paint!


This building will form part of my In Her Majesty's Name terrain board I plan for our campaign finale. It is a three-story warehouse with plenty of space for all sorts of experimental machinery and thingamajigs to be stored.

This kit is Laser cut using 2mm MDF and 1mm grey board and measures approximately D210xW162xH245mm. Like all Sarissa kits, it comes unpainted but it's precision cut with detailed exterior faces. In fact, these kits look elegant even without being painted.

For this project, I did follow the suggested advice on instructions to paint the various sections prior to assembling. If you are going to paint the kit, then it's a whole lot easier than doing it when assembled!

How did I paint it? I initially planned to fire up the compressor and give my airbrush an, um, 'airing'. However, once I'd laid out all the various pieces I decided to just hand paint instead - I couldn't be bothered cleaning the airbrush between colour changes! How lazy is that? Anyway, here's what I did:

Exterior sections during the 'highlighting' stage

Wall/Roof/Floor sections -

Priming: There are numerous blogs and articles on painting mdf models, which basically boil down to the fact that the mdf will naturally soak up a lot of paint for its first coat. This makes the project expensive if you are relying on your regular acrylic modelling paints.

In the past I have used cheap emulsion paint quite successfully. It does need to be applied carefully though to avoid covering up any fine detail.

However, for this project I used Humbrol Acrylic (No. 1 grey) spray model primer. It went on very quickly and gave a reasonably even coverage. Once dry, a second coat was applied. It did not obscure the detailing on the mdf exterior parts.

Base Coat: As I would be using a fair bit of paint, (it is a warehouse!), I opted to use some artists acrylic paints I purchased cheaply from my local Hobbycraft store. I used Primary Red from Daler & Rowney. Two coats were applied, slightly watered down, using a soft brush.

Interior 'grey board' window frames and doors
Mid Tone: Again using the Daler & Rowney acrylic paints, this time a single coat of Cadmium Red Hue.

Highlighting:  This was the time-consuming bit, but well worth the effort. I highlighted random bricks  with varying shades using my regular modelling paints as only small amounts would be required. 

I used Foundry Brick Red Shade, Brick Red and Brick Red Light. Some were also dry-brushed black and white. Finally, I applied both black and brown washes to add in the 'grime' effect in patches, especially under the windows.

Ground floor ready for assembling
Wood doors, floors and Window frames I primed using Humbrol Black spray paint then Flat Earth base acrylic coat, taking care not soak the Greyboard too much. Drybrushed a weak coat of Citadel Foundation Orchide Shade (old range). Highlights of old GW 'Scorched earth' on the door reinforcing bars.

Tip: Also, paint the reverse (blank) side of the Grey board as this will form the interior walls, so paint as you prefer. I just applied a mix of the base-coat Primary Red and Flat Earth Brown.

Roofing Tiles: Humbrol primer, a black wash to highlight the tile detailing and then Foundry Slate Shade and Slate Grey.

And put it together? Assembling these types of kits is usually straightforward. I've used the same method for the 4Ground kits used in my Dead Man's Hand Town. The key, as always, is in the preparation. This is how I do it:

Tools:  Standard craft PVA glue, bag of assorted rubber bands, a modelling file for removing any snagging, a slightly damp cloth and some relaxing tunes on your player of choice.

Optional: model filler (for filling the roof joins)

Carefully pop-out all the various components from their MDF sprue.  For the most part, I find the Sarissa kits very easy as the components almost fall out. However sometimes you need to apply a little pressure, especially with smaller components, at the right point using, for example, using the end of a flat-head screwdriver - taking care not to damage the surface area.

Tip: keep all the wee pop-outs and discarded sprues - they make excellent spares for modelling and miniature basing projects.

Ground floor assembled with rubber bands in place whilst the glue dries
1. I lay out all the pieces in assembly order so I know what each part is and where it goes.

I practise assemble each section to ensure that I have indeed chose the right pieces and they are the right way up! 

Yes, I have fallen for that one! It's also an opportunity to identify and gently file away any snagging from when the pieces were removed the sprue.

2. For this project, the interior and exterior wall sections need to be glued together first. Ensure the exterior MDF and grey board pieces line up, especially where the piece is to fit another section. Avoid any unevenness along the joins.

First Floor assembled
Glue using standard craft PVA glue. Use sparingly - no big globs - but ensure you cover all the areas that require joining. I apply the glue using a cheap set of plastic craft glue applicator sticks I purchased from my local supermarket. 

Have a slightly damp cloth handy to wipe away any excess that squeezes through when joining the components. Remember, PVA glue should dry clear so don't panic of you find the odd bit of glue spoilage.

3. Next its time to put the completed sections together, starting with the ground floor and working up. Glue sparing, but ensure coverage along all the joining surfaces. Wipe away any excess. I also assembled the separate roof and balcony sections.

Whilst the glue is setting on each section, it's often useful to keep the components under tension (but not too much!) for example, holding four walls in place - which is where your assorted bag of rubber bands comes in.

4. This bit is optional. I used model filler to seal the slight gap where the roof section join. Once dried, I carefully sanded away the excess and then re-painted to blend into the tile cover.

Leave to set in a dry, warm environment. I would recommend storing any MDF terrain in suitable plastic airtight containers if they are likely to be stored in a place where damp may be an issue, otherwise you may find they will warp. 

Wall posters: These were pictures of random Victorian posters I Googled, and then saved to MS Word and resized for printing. This way I ended up with a single A4 sheet of paper with a whole bunch of posters that just need cutting out and gluing (PVA) straight onto the building. 

And that's it! You can then sit back and admire your handiwork for the few minutes it takes before you start thinking on your next project. 

In my case, the three remaining Sarissa VSF buildings in the production queue - a Pump Station with Coal Bunker, a Terrace House and a Coal Hole.
Side View
Rear View

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