One thing I’ve discovered difficult for my Pacific Bolt Action games is finding some appropriate buildings. I simply cannot find anything in 20mm scale. There are some Quonset huts that I had gotten that will certainly be appropriate. However I wanted something a little more rustic
I opted to try my hand at building some structures myself. Using a frame of foam core board, I was able to get a simple structure assembled. I also lucked out and had gotten some thick cardboard at an angle which would work great as one piece roof sections.
One thing that stands out with these type of buildings is that they’re usually on raised platforms. Hanging onto some sticks I picked up from hitting a street food vendor (gotta love late night munchies after drinking soju in Korea), I was able to cut sections to simulate logs that a hut would stand on.
This lead me to trying to figure out a way of making bamboo walls. I had gotten some wooden food skewers that were about the thickness of a toothpick. Cutting pieces of an appropriate length, I got a pile together to make up the outer walls of the hut.
The trick of course was gluing them to the foam board. I could do this gluing them individually using PVA glue, but I figured that would be tedious. Instead I lined them up side by side using a ruler to create an even edge at the base. Slathering hot glue onto the foamboard, I could then lay the base of the hut down even with the lower portion of the wooden skewers, and carefully press the entire wall section flat onto the wood pieces. They would then be firmly affixed to the foam core walls.
I did this for all four sections of the hut. To hide some of the uneven pieces, I framed the top of the walls with a single piece and was also done on the sides of the hut. This way, I could frame the entire hut with sections of wood with relatively the same length.
For the wall sections that were peaked however, I had to glue those one by one after cutting each section individually with a slight angle. This was a little time consuming but at least I only had two small sections to work on rather than the entire walls of the hut.
After completing the outer walls, I placed the hut onto a thick cardboard base. This base would be used to create the platform for the raised hut. One section was longer to simulate bamboo flooring for the front of the structure. Cutting out larger sections and gluing them individually, I was able to make the entry flooring easily. I then used PVA to adhere the wooden supports to the hut floor.
The roofs would need a little work. I decided to go for a grass look and glued a section of cleaning cloth onto the roof piece. Being cloth however, I would need to do something to seal up the surface, otherwise it would absorb all the paint. I gave the entire surface of the roof section a coat of watered down PVA glue. After drying, this created a coating all over the roof providing a simple barrier to prevent paint from being just soaked up.
I now needed to create some windows and entryways. If I had the gumption, I would have cut our sections in the foamboard. However this would also require me to cut and glue individual wooden pieces. Instead I cut sections of popsicle sticks with very thin sections to be used for the door frame and shutter supports. Gluing them onto the sides of the hut walls, they could provide openings for troops inside to shoot out of or mark the location of the building entrance.
Some coats of paint and a basic wash, the hut was done. I opted to keep things simple with painting and gave the interior of the bamboo hut a simple black coat. I’m pretty happy with the results. The roofs fit okay and come off allowing me to place troops inside. The structure itself is pretty sturdy, however I think the real weak parts are the platform supports. Throwing the bamboo huts around in a plastic tub for storage and transportation seems like a great means to snap them off. I’ll have to be sure to keep them wrapped in some bubble wrap.
I’ll also admit the windows and doors a little lacking. It would likely be far better looking if I had cut them out. Instead I opted to go the less fiddly route but the huts turned out okay. While I would love to give a lot of attention to the buildings, I am happy just getting something together that would look decent on the table. I’d much rather spend extra time modelling and painting miniatures than dedicating a lot of time towards terrain. So while my bamboo huts won’t win any awards, they do offer fair looking structures that are flexible enough to allow troops to be put inside, and also handle your typical gaming wear and tear.