This project originally began as a competition entry On TerraGenesis, but went unfinished. The competition was one I designed and the parameters were that you had to build three structures that more or less repeated themselves side by side. There could be some variation in each structure, but the overall theme had to be one of repeating forms. Thus was born this project: 3-4 similar tudor or half-timber style buildings along a street that bordered a canal. I am currently working to finish the project as a present for my father, who as an architect, is often extremely helpful in assessing the technical details/realism of the structure I build.
I began by coming up with a layout for the street. I wanted something with a little variety, so I decided that the street would have two elevations, connected by a set of stairs. It would also turn a corner and go off into the unknown distance.
This would also give me the opportunity to design an interesting corner building to go at the junction. At this time I also sketched out the widths of each of the buildings. All of this was done right onto the piece of MDF that I would be using as a base.
Once the layout was complete, I began construction of the base. The lower section was made from two sheets of 1/2″ foam, and the higher section from a nice 2″ thick piece of foam.. I made sure to leave space for a little bit of the canal that would go in the foreground.
Then it was time to work on the canal wall and street surface itself.
The canal wall was made out of foamcore. I drew a pattern for the sewer entrance, scored the lines, then stripped the paper off of the foamcore. Once the paper cover was stripped, I drew the stones on with a pen.
The street surface also used foamcore, but this time I drew all of the stones onto the paper covering first. I then scored out each brick with a knife. The reason for this is that I wanted to give the street an uneven surface, and have found that stripping the paper first then pressing into the foam leaves impressions of whatever instrument you use to press with. If I leave the paper on, the paper blocks the imprint, and you get a nice uneven surface without seeing later what tool you used. It also allows for each brick to be bent/smashed/etc. in a more uniform manner. You can see the effect in the central gutter running down the street. It would be difficult to create the evenness of the angle of each stone without leaving the paper on.
Once the streets were sufficiently bumpy, I gave the foamcore a bath and removed the paper. Then I glued the foam onto the base, created stairs, and added more rough texture by cutting out some of the cobblestones, and roughing up others with a ball point pen.
After that it was a matter of painting the stone a series of coats of acrylic paint, beginning with black, and traveling through successively lighter shades of grey. I used watered down spackle tinted slightly off white to simulate mortar in the stones of the canal wall, while leaving no mortar in the cobblestones of the street as I wanted some variety in the look of the two surfaces.
Next up: Adding the first story walls, doors and windows. Plus construction of the half timber section of the corner building.