Sculpting a 15mm Building I – Tutorial

15mm WWII Building Facade

I’ve created a couple of 15mm building facades for European style 19th century buildings for war games like Flames of War. The first of which you see to the left. I’ve just completed the second after a three year gap so thought I’d document the process here for future reference.


InspirationThe first step is to find a building that you want to render in 15mm scale. There’s plenty of World War II photos on the internet and a Google image search will find you a bunch. Unfortunately these are typically either aerial reconnaissance photos taken from great height, or street level photos taken after terrible bombing has occurred. At any rate they typically lack enough detail to work from. I just wandered around my local city (Auckland, NZ) looking for buildings that were built in the early 1900’s that I thought wouldn’t look out of place in a European city, or on a WWII war gaming table. My second 15mm facade was inspired by the building to the right. The roof line in particular looked European to me.

The Basic Wall

15mm Facade Basic Wall Mold I’ve created both the facades by starting with a plain 5mm thick wall of cast Ultracal 30 (a hard plaster) with voids for the doors and windows. Once I have a basic wall I’m happy with I add details with resin cast parts and green stuff patching.

So here’s the basic wall mold for my second facade. This has been created from a piece of white plastic which you can see has been measured up for 15mm scale high floors and gridded to indicate placement of the doors and windows. The important thing to remember here is that this mold is reversed. That’s because you want the smooth, face down side to become the outer facing surface on your final basic wall. The walls of the mold are build from cut plastic card and are held in place and sealed with masking tape. You can see a piece of foam board has been cut to act as a former for the curved roof detail. Cut foam board pieces have been glued to the backing plastic where the doors and window voids need to be.

Ultracal 30 is then mixed and poured carefully into this simple mold, making sure we go no thicker than the 5mm foam card door and window inserts. Once the whole mess has set you should be able to pop the backing plastic off the basic wall, push out the foam card voids and tidy it all up with some careful filing.

15mm Second Facade Basic Wall Here’s the de-molded basic wall, which has had the foam card spacers removed. You can see a bit of the foam card left around the large bottom window. Notice this is the face down side of the mold, and you can see where the Ultracal 30 has lifted the penned in grid lines from the mold above. That’s actually kind of handy as they can also act as guides while you’re apply details.

I’ve forced in some custom resin windows I’ve sculpted as well, unfortunately breaking the basic wall in half in the process. That’s why you can see a crack running across the bottom of each window pillar. Doesn’t look like much at the moment does it? That’s because it needs some details!

The next post I’ll cover sculpting, casting and applying resin details to the master.

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