Wednesday 25 June 2014

A Quick Build!

My gaming group have been planning to run a series of games using the steampunk rules In Her Majesty’s Name.

IHMN is a small scale skirmish game using companies of around 5 – 15 miniatures in each opposing force. Shooting in the game appears to be pretty deadly and it is fairly apparent that a good amount of cover is going to be essential. As such I have been reviewing the scenery I have, and also preparing a few bits of specifically “Steampunk” styled pieces. I soon decided that I didn’t have enough buildings for the game (after all a lot of the feel of the game is set around urban Victorian scenarios).


Some time ago I picked up an Airfix Beam Engine model kit (actually, it was in a sale and I bought three of them…). I have built it and it makes perfect scenery for a steampunk game. It occurred to me that I really needed a building to go around the Beam Engine, giving the flavour of a Victorian Pump room or some other strange factory facility.

I wanted the building to be multipurpose, so I decided not the fix the Beam Engine into the model (it might be handy to leave it lying around the steampunk tables anyway.

I did a quick sketch last Wednesday. I am not great at doing extensive plans, I generally prefer to dive straight into the actual model making, and then finalise the design as I go along.The sketch was a very simple plan view of the building an then an isometric view. At this point I hadn’t even considered any stairs…


This was a very fast build. I cut all of the foamcore by hand, just using a scalpel and a steel straight edge. Due to this I don’t have any step by step photos. Basically I cut the floor of the upper storey and then cut the rest of the pieces to fit it!

Joining Foamcore

I cut the foamcore back from the edges of one side of each joint so that it would hide the edge of the other piece in the joint.


Once I had all of the pieces cut I stuck everything together using PVA wood glue.

At this point I started to look at the stairs. I was considering having a curved stair at each of the back corners. However, as this was supposed to be a quick build I went for a simple central structure, which has the added benefit of giving a nice deep tunnel underneath, that a figure can lurk in!


I kept the upper floor separate so that we could have access to move figures around on the ground floor.

Next up, I started to consider some of the finishing details. Obviously I needed a balustrade of some sort, to go around the upper floor, both inside the building and out. I decided to use 1.5mm ply and cut all the details on the laser cutter.

First up I cut back the top of the foamcore, by 1.5mm all around, so that the balustrade wouldn’t overhang.


Then I measured up what I was going to need. I designed the balustrade in Corel Draw, it only took around a half hour to do, as it was all more or less repetition… It took about the same time for them to cut in the laser.


The roof of the building was also laser cut. I found a roof tile texture on the web, and with quite a bit of tweaking I made it suitable for laser cutting, and giving a (shallow) 3D surface.

Finally I laser cut the window frames, door frames and the balustrade on the stairs.

Once these were all stuck in place The model was finished.


These two photos show the model with roof on.






Taking the roof off, you can see there is plenty of room for figures to run around both in and outside.




Finally with the upper storey removed, there is full access to the ground floor.









  1. Sorry if this is a double post, not sure if 1st try worked.

    Just wanted to say that I would buy this building if you sold it as a kit. It looks great.

    1. Unfortunately, as the main structure of the building is hand cut foamcore, it wouldn't be practical to sell it.

      I could produce the laser cut bits, and a plan for the foamcore bits to cut yourself, I suppose. I'll give it some thought...

    2. Yeah, that sounds interesting. Thanks for considering it.


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