With the ground floor more or less complete it is time to check angles, square-ness, and general alignment, along with fit of the two parts of the house.
A view of the larger slice of house with hallway through to kitchen plus a little of the landing above, the dining room and the bedroom above
What should be going on
Anyone who really can make models would be horrified by the way I use materials – usually the wrong ones for the wrong purposes – and try to defy the known uses and limitations of them. I don’t do it for the sake of ‘bloody-mindedness“, if you’ll forgive the expression. I can’t cut wood adequately and there is only so much I feel prepared to ask someone else to cut and prepare form me before I reckon it stops being my work and is really theirs. I suppose I’m not a good sharer(?) who knows.
The upshot is that I don’t go out of my way to use unsuitable materials, but use what I can handle or learn to handle.
Structural Needs – materials
- be adaptable, carve-able and easily cut and drilled
- to be light as, once more than two pieces are joined, it has to be lifted and manoeuvred around
- as rigid as possible – even if this can only be achieved by applying wood-strip or other batons at strategic places
- needs to be forgiving – ie when it goes astray it can be re-handled and adjusted and allows bodging where necessary
Problems of the Materials
I like to use foam board. Pieces of this material warp when it is used other than for small areas. There are different types of foam board and recommendations can vary but David Neat’s website has some of the best information, instruction and advice I’ve come across.
To reduce warping of the board I try to buy the Kapa-line foam board for the main structure and use wood-strip batons throughout, before adding a layer of mount-board to the sandwich. I do this for at least three reasons.
to reduce the warping by hoping that the different sandwiched materials will warp at different rates and in different ways, and thereby hold each other up(!?) – who knows
to provide a cavity walling where wiring etc can be secreted
to provide a perfectly smooth surface on which any decoration can be added (ie the mount-board) before being added into the restricted space of the room
Battens a-plenty in the almost free-standing piece of foam-board
Hogepotche Hall stands about just short of four-foot tall from the table top and has four storeys, the first two being MDF (second-hand room boxes torn apart and re-assembled, almost no cutting of wood necessary) but the top two floors and the roof are sandwiches of one sort or another. So far, with Hogepotche which was started about six or seven years ago, the only thing that has warped are single thicknesses of recycled 3 mm card with not enough wood strip on them – these are the removable covers for the big chimney stacks which conceal the wiring runs.
Both of the models of any size that I’ve tried were first built onto an MDF base. This is what I get somewhat else to cut to specifications.
MDF can be very heavy indeed. The first house, Hogepotche Hall, always sat on a small work table with wheels, and, as it grew, had further leaves added to it, finally being transferred, a bit at a time, to a purpose adapted dining table (also on wheels). So the MDF weight problem was more or less covered there, except when it needed man and woman handled on to its new home, when we needed further hands to help.
I went with MDF for the 30s – 50s build as a firm structure to as a base to build on but it’s half the thickness of the first house base – first base is about 10 mm this one 5 mm. I have to make sure this base sits flat and level everywhere I move it as it does have a slight tendency to think about bending if allowed to stand badly for long.
From there I build up.
- I was looking at the dining room with a view to go on with the bedroom above and decided that the outer wall had flared outwards and would throw the whole fit and alignment totally out.
- I figured that the hallway and sitting room party-wall could have a squarer fit to the return wall that forms the edge of the dining room
and the no longer square corner
- I wished to improve the fit of the two sections of the house across the front
— ~ —
Three days later
- removed dining room ceiling and cut to a looser fit and got the outer wall to level off and now all measurements more or less match
- lifted the party-wall and re-stuck (twice) to produce an angle closer to 90 degrees where the movable section of house snuggles in
- dressed and am still dressing the edge surfaces of the two sections of the front wall with either brick or render effect as necessary – getting closer but there’s still going to be an annoying gap
Once again it’s the waiting game while everything dries out and settles then time to check the front small bedroom and if A-OK then add its walls …