Prototype L-shaped built-up area

This afternoon I managed to build a prototype L-shaped built-up area, as outlined in my recent blog entry entitled ‘Thinking about buildings‘.

I used a mixture of balsa and basswood to construct the model, and it took me just over thirty minutes to build it from scratch. The dimensions of the model’s footprint are approximately 6cm x 6cm (2.25″ x 2.25″).

(The 15mm and 20mm-scale figures are included to give some idea of the size of the completed model.)

I am pleased with the way the model turned out, and now that I have proved the concept to my own satisfaction I intend to build some more L-shaped built-up areas.


8 Comments on “Prototype L-shaped built-up area”

  1. neat idea this. Somewhere I have some hollow town blocks made of 1/4 balsa each face carved to represent a series of buildings the blocks were 60mm square inside measurement, the same size as my base elements. looking across the table it gave the same suggestion of buildings that yours give. I put a small 1/2 wide roof at various points on the faces. That worked quite well but yours are more solid representations.


  2. Robert De Angelis,

    I did think of building my models from a single thickness of thicker wood, but decided that they would be stronger if I used a sandwich of thinner pieces of balsa. This should make them quicker and easier to make, and to make detailing them a much simpler operation.

    All the best,


  3. Great concept! I gather that the open sides are left that way for compactness of storage? Or is to maximise the space available for the figures? If the latter were not a consideration, I'd be inclined partially to enclose the BUA with low walls. A gap might be left at one or both ends to suggest thoroughfares in and out of town.

    Of course, the other idea might be that 2 L-shapes form the BUA or at least a more substantial one than a hamlet of farmstead. Whatever, you scheme is just brilliant.

  4. Archduke Piccolo,

    I am pleased to read that you like the concept!

    The open sides are to allow for ease of storage and to ensure that there is enough space inside the model built-up area for the figures.

    I hope to use combinations of different L-shaped models to create a range of built-up areas … and may well make some U-shaped ones as well to add a bit of variety.

    All the best,


  5. arthur1815 says:

    The L-shape looks good – I wasn't expecting anything quite so sturdy.
    My one reservation is the lack of differing roof levels suggests something like La Haie Sainte – a farm house and outbuildings, rather than a BUA. In effect a 'cartoon-style' building with a very small footprint but height roughly in scale with figures. But perhaps that was your intention?
    Much may depend on how it is painted.

    Best wishes,

  6. Arthur1815,

    I wanted the models to be relatively strong, hence their sturdiness.

    I take your point about the lack of variance in the roof heights on the buildings, but it is only a prototype and was more a proof of concept than intended to be the finished article. It would – however – be very suitable for use as a large farm and associated outbuildings.

    All the best,


  7. Mike Taber says:

    I like your approach. A little different than mine, but very nice. They do indeed look sturdy, where mine are much less sturdy.

    I guess I had better carve out some more time to work on my prototypes, so I too can show them off.

    Good work, looking forward to seeing your next efforts.
    – Mike Taber

  8. Mike Taber,

    I built them with what materials I had to hand (1/8th-inch balsa wood) which partially accounts for their sturdiness. I am thinking of basing them on a triangular base as well to ensure that they will be even stronger.

    I look forward to seeing your prototypes when they are ready.

    All the best,


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