An Island of Calm?I've mentioned the "Golden Hills" housing complex a few times in my ATZ campaign, starting with Episode 2, I think. Well, I finally got round to building a model, so here it is:
I'm fairly self-critical about this, as there a number of things on which I've compromised (due to lack of time) or which I only thought about after having started the build. Here are some of them:
- Real-life complexes tend to have very uniform buildings, all the same colour. I did mine in 3 different shades.
- The cottages have windows on all 4 sides. Having blank gable walls would probably have worked better.
- The sign should really be a couple of brick pillars with a board between them, rather than a large advertising hoarding. Most/all real-life examples that I've researched have much simpler signs than mine.
- I haven't made the manager/concierge's house or office.
- There are no fences, plant pots, shrubs or other smaller details.
- One of the cottages has shutters but the others do not. I can't quite make my mind up about whether I prefer them all with or all without, or a mixture.
- I'm really annoyed that the green paint I used to hide the edges of the paper tiles is the wrong shade.
The BuildSo, having got that out of my system, what can I tell you about the components?
In the past, I made one of these billboards and fixed it permanently to a 7" tile; this is one of the more awkward pieces to store in my terrain boxes. So, this time I glued the billboard to a piece of mounting board that was just big enough for it and I used strips of balsa to make a socket on the tile. When in use, the billboard will sit firmly in place on the tile, but it can be separated easily to be put away.
the cottage from Stoelzel's Structures, though I've scaled them down so that the walls are now 6" long rather than the original 7". 2 of the cottages have the same colour of outer walls as each other; the other 2 are unique. Note that the kit has been upgraded since I made these and now has other options for the walls, such as wood shingles or brick.
On to the interiors...
Now many of my readers will remember that Vampifan recently described his build of the Stoelzel's Cottage. This was, as ever, a very impressive building and I'm quite jealous of the amount of dedication that Bryan puts into such models. I think it's worth pointing out some differences in approach between me and him:
- I've made no attempt to cut out windows or to provide opening doors.
- The furniture in my builds is "representative" only. By this I mean that there is interior detail, but it isn't complete. None of the cottages has a bath (though all have a toilet); most don't have much in the way of tables or cupboards either. However, they do all have lots of room for figures.
- I cut the chimney stacks in half; the lower part is permanently fixed to the base and the upper part is fixed to the roof.
- I've made no attempt to colour the tops of the walls, so they are the original white of the foamboard. However, I did paint the exposed, cut edges with thinned-down white glue (Elmer's glue to those on the other side of the Atlantic, I believe). This is a new experiment of mine to see whether it makes the buildings better able to survive handling.
The Search for Gramps and Nanna" and grandparents of John the Photographer (the lead character in my ATZ campaign). It has different floor coverings and wallpaper; these are just blocks of patterns designed originally for doll houses, I think. This cottage also has some nicer furniture, courtesy of the WorldWorks "Shellendrake manor" kit.
I built the base for the cottages in 2 sections, dovetailed to prevent them from slipping. The car park and sign base was an afterthought, so it doesn't have anything to hold it securely in place.
Most of the textures came from Worldworks Games: the grass and paths are from Shellendrake Manor while the car park and scrub are from Streets of Mayhem (I think). However, the desert/wasteland under the billboard is from Fat Dragon's "Rio Draco" set.
Finally...With a project this size, it often seems to me like something of an anticlimax when it's finished. I'm left with a slightly empty feeling; what do I do now? I guess I'll just have to use them in my next ATZ game!
There's also a nagging feeling that I haven't really finished after all, that I've forgotten something. If you'd like to see something else in this build, if you think I've overlooked or forgotten something then I'd really like to know. You have until Tuesday, before the next meeting of the Helensburgh Games Club. Thanks.