Friday, 9 April 2021

Ancients Project - Some Buildings

I decided I needed some buildings to represent a town for my Ancients project. So this past weekend I found some old wood offcuts and purchased some wooden dowel and made some simple buildings suitable for an ancient setting. With these buildings I used some moulding paste to help:

  1. Cover up the gaps in the wood from my schoolboy woodworking skills
  2. Create texture for the tiled roofs.

If you are wondering why I am using blocks of wood from the hardware store to create buildings, rather than other modelling products. It all started from when I setup an St. Nazaire game and needed a lot of buildings here. Since then I have taken a wooden block approach as the buildings are practical in the sense that they don't require bases, don't have to be stored carefully, are easy to make, and are cheap to make at a $2 per building (if that).

My test model a small temple

With the exception of the pillars (made from wooden dowel) the other materials are wooden offcuts.

A moulding paste was used to give texture (a new approach with these buildings)

I got the moulding paste from an arts shop. It has the consistency of smooth peanut butter and I both painted it on and layered it on with an old paint brush.

The moulding paste used. It is water based and remains flexible.

Here are some photos of the process of creating the buildings...

Wood offcuts are made into a building.

The moulding paste gets applied and the roof is crisscrossed with a toothpick to give the impression of tiles. This has to be left over night to dry.

A sand coloured base coat is painted on

A suitable terracotta coloured paint is applied to the roofs

A brown wash is applied to the buildings

Windows and doors are painted on in a dark grey as I find black to be too harsh a colour. Then a wash of the original base coat colour is applied to the walls to lighten them up a bit. My original brown wash had been a bit too dark.

Orange is lightly brushed onto the roofs to help pick out the texture and lighten the terracotta look.

The columns get a coat of dark blue followed by a thinned coat of light blue. A brown wash is quickly painted around the windows and doors, no precision painting here!

The buildings are given a coat of PVA glue, then once dry they are ready for the tabletop. 

Time wise this was a relatively quick job:
  • One and a half hours cutting the wooden blocks and gluing them.
  • Half an hour applying the moulding paste and leaving the buildings overnight to dry.
  • A final couple of hours one evening to paint the buildings.
I generally reduce the size of my buildings a fraction to minimise their tabletop footprint and also so they don't dominate the tabletop. From a scale perspective while my figures are 20mm the buildings are nearer 15mm.

So I now have some robust ancient period wargaming buildings which can be thrown into the terrain box container and I don't have to worry about breakages.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Jonathan, I was pleased the way the moulding paste worked out.

  2. Very effective once again Peter:). I too use smaller buildings, so go for 6mm when using my 10mm figures and they look perfectly fine.

    1. A slightly smaller scale terrain certainly seems to work well.

  3. Totally agree on downsizing buildings. Going one size down works pretty well, even with 6mm!

    1. The next scale down does seem to work in most, if not all, cases.

  4. Excellent ideas, and look very effective on table...
    I may have to steal some of these concepts Peter :)

    1. Thank you, glad the concepts can get reused or reapplied.

  5. These buildings look the part - good functional wargaming structures that go well with the old school look that 20mm plastic figure always make me think of. Nice photos too well lit and high definition thanks!
    I have copied your rules into a Word document to make them easier for me to read - there's a couple of typos in: the elephant test ( 3 or 4?); and, the rally card. The latter looks really powerful did you really intend removing 2 hits from all units? An AAR might make it all clear.

    1. Thanks for picking up the typos. The rally card is 2 hits removed across all units. I have tried up to D6 units can be rallied as an alternative.

    2. Interested in how you see the Numidian light cavalry faring, they can shoot but are in charge range when they do so and cannot evade (or break off). Is the thinking that they have to hold while the superior numbers of Carthaginian cavalry tip the balance (or they tip for the HC)?

    3. I am trying out a rule to allow light infantry and cavalry leave combat if faster than their opponent. Also increasing light cavalry move to 15".

  6. The buildings are functional and attractive, as well as cheap and tough. Perfect!

    1. Thanks, the toughness of the model is becoming increasingly important as I am getting clumsier as I get older.