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18th & 19th Century Finnish Buildings – Part III: Modelling buildings

The models are intended to be used with 15mm Napoleonic figures where each figure presents X men, so it makes more sense to make the buildings match the used ground scale, i.e. something between 1:150 and 1:300.

The exact scale has not been calculated for any of the buildings and in some cases the length-height ratio is distorted, because each building has to fit on one of the selected standard size bases (large house – small house – large utility building – small utility building).

Materials needed for buildings in this scale are simply balsa and card. In addition to the obvious tools, a toothpick is handy for simulating gaps between logs or panels.

Precut balsa bits

Cut balsa bits ready for assembly

The squares in the picture are 5×5 mm. Cut strips of balsa at various widths; from 1 to 5 cm, in 0,5 cm intervals. Use the toothpick to draw stripes to the balsa.

Once you have a selection of prepared balsa strips, you can cut out proper pieces for your building; end and side walls, and roof. Notice that you don’t cut any windows as they are made from printed pictures.

Also, make a narrow strip from which you can cut 1-2 mm wide short bits – reason shown in the picture below.

Modelling overlapping log ends

Modelling overlapping log ends

In the corners the logs are overlapping. To make this effect easily, first glue walls together so that the other wall goes in 1-2 mm compared to the other. Then glue a short strip of balsa to be the leftover part of the first wall. The picture above shows this method.

Assembled buildings on bases

Assembled buildings on bases

The buildings have been glued to card. I recommend selecting a few standard base sizes as this will allow alternating buildings on the yard bases.

The chimneys can be made from wood or thick card. The chimney tops are thin card rectangles from which the center has been removed. On earlier buildings I used these for windows also, but printed windows are easier to make and look better.

House and two-storey storage building

House and two-storey storage building

Here we have a simple house with a log on the roof to stop the lumber from flying away.

The other building is a more complex, two-storey storage building. Studying the real world examples on the history pages you can start experimenting on different kinds of buildings.

Roof type variations

Roof type variations

The picture above presents three types of roofs. From left to right; 1) a thatched roof, made by pressing lines in both directions, 2) vertical lumber and 3) horizontal lumber.

Vicarage in the making

Vicarage in the making

Here is the vicarage in the building phase. The real building has a log frame from which the overlapping corner logs have been sawed off before the walls were covered with vertical lumber paneling. The roof is made of vertical lumber, but as it doesn’t have strong texture, the model building doesn’t have any extra texture put on it – just whatever texture the balsa has naturally.

Vicarage and a barn

Vicarage and a barn

Vicarage with the chimneys added. The other building is an animal-barn with thatched roof and textured doors.

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