Monday 5 September 2011

Model Making: Quick and Easy Wargames Terrain No.1 - 15mm Scale Nissen Huts

I tend to take on huge projects that take an age to complete, sure they will look great when done, but they can take forever to finish!

So, in an effort to actually get some terrain on my wargames table I have decided to do some smaller projects, in and around the big ones. The concept is to use found objects and anything that is readily available to make quick and easy models, so that I can then concentrate on the bigger projects (oh and of course getting some figures painted too).

15mm Sci-fi Nissen Huts 4

This first project came around purely by chance. I was looking for some street funiture for a 1/32 scale diorama that I finished recently, on Ebay and came across a set of Britains 1/32 scale corrugated pig huts. As soon as I saw the photo of the huts it occurred to me that they might make reasonable buildings for my 15mm sci-fi set up. The set included three of the huts and I got it, including postage for around £5. I also picked up a single one (with it’s door missing) for £1.99. 


Clearly, it wasn't obvious from the photo just how big they would be, but as they were 1/32 scale it was a fair bet that they'd be big enough to use with 15mm figures.

When I received them I was pleased to confirm that they are a perfect size for what I had in mind.

Britains Pig Hut 1Britains Pig Hut 2Britains Pig Hut 3Britains Pig Hut 5

The single hut turned out to be one of the older versions, which is die-cast metal. Fortunately, though both the metal hut and the three plastic ones are identical in size, shape and colour. It is only the weight that gives it away…

The door hinges up and down and makes a perfect boarding ramp, for my planned prefabricated exploration base or small military outpost. The first thing I did was cut a piece of 2mm plasticard to the door shape to replace the missing one. The opposite end to the door has a rectangle set into it, in which Britains have their name painted. This will make an ideal window, and saves some time as I wont have to add any myself!

The next part of the project was to add a door to the models (this would be needed to disguise the porcine nature of their former use…). Initially, I was simply going to cut some from some plasticard and glue them in place. However I remembered that I had bought some “ 15mm building accessories” from The Scene a while ago. So I dug them out and tried some of the doors. A perfect fit (well almost). I did have to cut a slot in the ridge a one side of the door on the hut as the lock on the door interfered with it. I could have simply removed the lock from the door ( a pair of snips would of had it off in seconds), but I felt that letting the lock into the door frame would aid the blending of the two parts into the final model.

The Scene 15mm scale doors 1Nissen Hut Conversion 2

I positioned the door in place and marked where I needed to cut.

Nissen Hut Conversion 7Nissen Hut Conversion 3

It was tricky to get a saw into the door frame so instead I use the edge of a needle file. This turned out to work very well, both on the plastic and the metal huts.

Nissen Hut Conversion 4Nissen Hut Conversion 5

Once fitted I glued the doors in place and then stuck each hut to a base board.

Nissen Hut Conversion 6

I decided to add a couple of extra bits to the metal hut, to turn it into a communications centre. So again I simply glued a couple of bits from The Scene onto it. A satellite dish on top and a ventilator system on the back end.

15mm Sci-fi Nissen Huts 5

The final touch was to paint the doors and windows I didn’t bother painting the actual huts as the metal colour looked fine anyway) and then to add some sand and coloured scenics to the bases. As this is an alien planet the colour scheme has a red bias (my sci-fi terrain boards and figure bases are all red biased).

15mm Sci-fi Nissen Huts 1

15mm Sci-fi Nissen Huts 2

15mm Sci-fi Nissen Huts 3

All in all, it has taken me nearly as long to write this blog post as it did to do the actual huts! I suppose I could have done more work on them and really gone to town on the fixtures and fittings, but the whole point was that I wanted good looking scenics for my table without spending much time on it…


  1. Looks great - I love these "found" projects!

  2. I'm glad some one else has found these as I have two of the metal ones and didn't realise they did plastic ones. I really do think yours are looking brilliant.
    I have been using mine as is for general 15mm scenery when I have been running Hammers Slammers but I will now tart them up now, seeing what you have done.
    Oh and I also have those same doors so will be having a go soon when I have found all of the bits:)

    Cheers Matt

  3. This just inspired me to try to cut a tin can in half and do the same thing from scratch! Thanks for the post!

  4. Hey, someone on TMP just linked to this post, and based on how good yours look I just ordered a set of these pig houses for my Heavy Gear (10-12mm) and 15mm sci-fi gaming. Thanks for the great idea!


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