Chinatown for A Fistful of Kung Fu

So, our next game system of choice is to be A Fistful of Kung Fu by Andrea Sfiligoi. This of course needs some specific scenery, so I decided it was high time I got started!

Now, if you are looking for some ready made scenery, I reckon you'd be hard pressed to equal the wonderful kits produced by the Knights of Dice.  You can see what I'm talking about here: Knights of Dice  Their Chinatown range is, in my humble opinion second to none. I love the attention to detail, the hidden joins that allow you access to each floor of the buildings. They are simply stunning. And they even have a UK stockist!  You can visit them here: Shiny Games  So if you've got the money,  go and buy some. Now. You'll be very glad you did. Go on! Don't miss out on this fantastic scenery! Bye!

Right, now that the rich people are gone, I'll fess up. I can't afford a single one of their kits. And quite naturally,  that can be a bit frustrating to say the least. This of course leaves me with a choice: sit down and mumph about it, or get up and do something.   I've decided to go with the latter.  That's right. You guessed it. I've decided to scratch build my own.  I must be mad!
I'm going to be using all the usual materials.  The 'shell' of each building will be made from foamcore. Surprisingly I still have some left from a local store that used large sheets of the stuff for POS advertising.  I'm going to use card for detailing the buildings.  As always this will be from cereal packets.  I'll be using perspex for the glass windows. You know,  the stuff from toy packaging. Yes, the children get the toys, and I get to play with the boxes they come in!

Thankfully I also have a couple of tubes of Uhu glue to stick this all together. I'm blessed with a local Poundland store that sells the large tubes of the stuff for...well..a pound...!

I decided I really liked the Knights of Dice Golden dragon Inn, so decided to have a go at making one for myself.  Yes, I know it's the most expensive kit in their Chinatown range.  And yes, the level of detail is frankly insane for me to copy.  So insane that I've shied away from it these last few days for fear of realising it's beyond my ability.  However, I have decided to persevere, and so I present the story so far...
Normally, when I make my buildings, I draw out everything onto the foamcore.  Doors, windows, guide marks for weatherboarding, pretty much everything is drawn on.  However, as I need to add a lot of details and layers to mimic the style of the original buildings, this process was rendered rather superfluous.  So instead, I concentrated on drawing out the shell of the building.  This was made more difficult than usual as I did not have a single sheet of foamcore to hand.  I was needing to use up leftover sections from previous builds. This produced even more head scratching as I couldn't draw adjoining walls next to each other, a process which is really helpful when it comes to marking out the way they will join together. This caused some serious mistakes, but I'll save that joy until it happens in a bit...  
 So with all the bits (or so I thought!) drawn out, it was time to begin cutting.  Here was my first mistake.  Without having all the joints marked out, I was left following the lines I had drawn on in black pen.  This, you would think is an easy thing to do.  In most cases I'm sure you're right.  But not in this one.  You see, I normally use a red pen as well as a black one.  The black pen marks out the edges of the pieces.  The red one marks in the indents for joints and so on.  It's a basic rule.  Cut the black, leave the red! And it's worked for me on many an occasion.  But not this time.  Using red foamcore meant I couldn't use the red pen.  So guess who made a mistake and cut 5mm off the edge of one of the sides of the building?  Yup, muggins here.  And with foamcore at a premium, I decided I'll just have to make do and try to be more alert in the future.  Still, at least this wayI can demonstrate the benefits of joints rather than butting two edges of foamcore together...sigh..!

Anyhoo, with the parts cut out, I set to work figuring out how to join the sections together that make the recessed entrance to the building.  This is what they looked like when I had finished.
This of course resulted in a dry fit, just to check that everything worked. Which it did, thankfully!
 And the view from the other side...
And herein lies the problem.  This recessed area is going to need to be finished before I can get to work on the rest of the building.  If I assemble the whole shell and then try to detail it I'll just end up in a whole world of hurt.

Of course, you may have noticed that unlike the Golden Dragon Inn, I've kept the stairs inside the building.  This is because the building is going to go on boards with moveable pavement sections that will snake around the buildings rather than be islands the buildings will sit upon.

Filled with the joy of managing to do this, I set about working out, marking and cutting out the rest of the joints.  I'm sure you can easily find the side that's 5mm too short.  Hint: it's the one with the great big white line down it.
 Looks good, right?  I thought so.   Right until the point I realised I hadn't figured out the fitting of the roof!  To make it more complicated, the roof sits 2cm below the full height of the building.  I came up with the following solution.  The roof itself is on the right of the top row in the following photo.
Of course, now it was time to do the big dry fit.  This is always a worrying time, for fear of having made a mistake.  Thankfully everything went together as planned.  Here's the proof!
 Look!  Even the roof appears to work!
 This foamcore shows up the joints quite nicely...
 ...just like it shows up the side that has no joints!  Ho hum...
Of course, all this figuring out is done for you when you purchase an MDF kit.  But that takes away some of the fun to my mind!

Right, all that remains is for me to take it all apart for just now.  I'll need to work on the card for that recessed entrance before I can go any further.  And that will have to wait until the next time, I'm afraid...

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