Thinking about buildingsPosted: February 26, 2014
If they are in scale with the figures, then they take up too much room (unless – of course – you are fighting a skirmish-level game). If they are not in scale with the figures, then they can look out of place alongside the figures being used. A lot of wargamers – myself included – have compromised by using buildings that are one scale down from the figures. For example, I have commonly used 15mm-scale and N-gauge buildings with 20mm-scale figures and 1:200th-scale buildings with 15mm-scale figures. Not a perfect solution … but it does not jar on the eye too much.
A model building’s footprint is also a problem. One solution that is commonly used is to make the buildings taller and thinner than they would be in real life. The resulting models are then in vertical scale with the figures, but the base area they occupy is closer to half what it should be. It is yet another compromise … and one that some wargamers prefer to the ‘one scale down’ solution outlined above.
A further problem is whether or not it should be possible to put one’s figures into the model building. If the model is solid, this is not possible … and the sight of figures placed onto of a model building just does not look right in the eyes of many wargamers. Charles Grant Senior advocated a solution that many wargamers find appealing, namely having buildings that were hollow and that could be taken off their bases so that the figures could be put inside. The buildings were built ‘one scale down’, but because they were representative rather than representational, they looked right.
Joseph Morschauser proposed a different method, and that was to make buildings skeletal rather than solid. When seen from the side, the buildings had the correct silhouette, but when seen from above they were formed from two interlocking pieces that formed a cross.
Some years ago I designed a hollow square-style of built-up area where the walls of the square was made up of photographs of suitable buildings. When seen from the side, the built-up areas looked like a town, but figures could easily be placed inside them.
This led to a triangular design, where only two sides of the triangle had walls with buildings represented on them. These were a better design because they took up less space than the square version and were easier to store.
I am giving serious thought to revisiting this idea again as I think that it will allow me to create buildings and/or built-up areas that will look all right, allow figures to be placed inside them, will have virtually no footprint, and will be easy to store.