Anglo-Saxon Buildings Part Two

365 Challenge: Day 8 Total Hours 10

My last bout of hobby time has been spent cladding my Anglo-Saxon houses and beginning the thatching.  You can see how I went about making the foam core shells here.  As always, I'm using cereal packet card to clad the buildings and hide the joints in my foam core.  Now there's nothing stopping you going out and buying some 1mm thick card to do the job if you're that way inclined, but really there's no need.  I use cereal packet card because there's always some in my house, it costs a lot less than buying the stuff from an art store, and because it does exactly the job I need it to.  Plus, I get an eco-friendly glow inside because I'm recycling.

The first thing I did was to glue the buildings together. I could do this because the buildings are of a simple box construction. It's not always easy to do this on more complicated builds.  On such occasions it is better to fix the first layer of cladding onto the building pieces before assembly.  You can see an example of this in progress in my Bavarian Buildings here.  I did my best to squeeze out what little glue was left in my old tube of UHU.  It sadly came to an end part way through constructing the second building.  My new tube was smaller than usual, but it was all Poundland had.  It's a UHU Power version.  It certainly adhered quicker than the normal UHU I use.  However, as I was about to find, it dries up very quickly when applied thinly as I was about to do with the cladding of the building.  This proved to be more frustrating than beneficial., so be warned when it comes to buying glue yourself!

With the foam core shells assembled, I turned my attention to the cladding.  Again the tricky thing is to remember to add the depth of the card stock to your calculations.  I decided I wanted to make the long sides of the building deal with the overlap, so I made them 2mm wider than the sides they would sit on.  With the two end sections remaining flush at 5cm, this would compensate for the 1mm thickness of my cereal packet card.  Of course, when you're doing this it's important to make sure your doors and windows are aligned in the right place!

There's nowhere near as much stuff out there on the old interweb for Anglo-Saxon buildings compared to the obviously more popular Viking architecture.  I've been very fortunate to find some good examples after much searching.  I must make specific mention of Regia Anglorum as their information has been invaluable.  In terms of cladding the building with timber, the easiest thing to do is to measure out 5mm wide strips and press hard with the pen when drawing them onto the sections.  This will create the illusion of planking and makes things look formal and neat as they would be in actual construction.  I was all ready to do this, when I took a close look at the following illustrations I came across. It's very revealing abut the actual method of construction used by the Anglo-Saxons.  I also find it quite fascinating.

A three-quarter view through an idealised Saxon home built using simple frame construction
 Whist it would be simple and perfectly acceptable to plank the outside of the building, it won't fully represent the way these buildings from West Stow were actually constructed.  If you have a look at the next picture you'll see what I mean.
The same building now clad and roofed with thatch
You can clearly see that planks of wood were attached to the frame construction but left some of the frame itself visible on the outside of the building.  This creates what I can only think of describing as a bumpy effect on the wall.  Level planking, this certainly isn't.  And as you know I'm rather zealous when it comes to making my models, and I wanted to replicate this effect in my houses.

How did I go about this?  Well, first I opened up my cereal packet so I could lay it flat.  I then measured out the sections I would need, and then took time to figure out how I was going to go about achieving the effect I wanted. Looking at the above illustrations, I noticed that the external planks appear to be only a little wide than the framing planks.  I settled on making the external planks 6mm wide whilst assuming the framing would be 5mm wide.  It may only be 1mm of difference, but at this scale the difference is visible without being a glaring difference.  This was the effect I wanted to achieve.

With this decision made, I began laying this out on the card. I drew the lines faintly with my ball point pen, making sue that I didn't press into the card.  I also measured out a number of 6mm wide strips.  I would glue these on top using the faint lines I had already marked out on the card as my guide.  Before cutting the pieces out my work looked like this:
And after much cutting, I was left with these:
You can see here how I attached the two end pieces first.  It's best to do this with the sections that are flush with the foam core they are attached to. I then attached the longer sections.
Next came the door.  I cut a piece of card the same size as the door space, 2cm by 3.5cm.
I then used a strip of card 5mm wide to add the door frame.  Remember to do this the same way it's done in the real world and put in the horizontal top header first.
I then began to glue on the outer planks using my 6mm wide strips of card.
You can see in the next picture the first building with the completed planking strips. In the background you can see the second building with its base layer of card applied.
And from another angle...
I then attached the roof sections.  Whilst this is much bulkier than any roof structure I'd normally make, you can see how the added depth is already giving the illusion of the thick thatch that will soon be on them.


So with one down, I turned my attention to the second building, getting it to the same stage as the first.
 Then i began working on the thatch.
 I've chosen to go with the towel method of thatching.  there's always more than one way to do this sort of thing.  I'd like to say this is my tried and tested method which I can heartily recommend to you.  But I can't.  To be frankly honest, it's the first time I've made a thatched roof.  The material of choice seems to be teddy bear fur purchased from your local haberdasher. It's the material supplied with many of the MDF kits available.  Another method is to use DAS modelling clay.  So why am I using the towel method?  I'd be lying if I didn't say that cost was a factor.  This is definitely the cheapest method of the three.  But I also like the effect. if I can get it to look like the examples I've seen on the interweb, I'll be very happy indeed! Incidentally, I paid £1.30 in Primark for a set of three face cloths as I heard they were the cheapest. I've since been proven wrong.  You can get three for a pound in Poundstretcher. Sigh.

Anyhoo, I soon took a pair of scissors to the face cloth.  I cut them in strips about an inch and a half wide and then cut them down the middle.
 I then began applying them in strips across the roof, beginning at the bottom of the roof.  By slightly overlapping successive strips we can give the impression of layers of thatch.
 I worked to complete one side of the roof before doing the other.  With both sides complete, I stuck on the top section which straddles the apex of the roof.

 I should add that I use a brush to help push the material into the places I need it.  I can only describe the action as something akin to stippling.
 With the first building completed, I turned my attention to the second building.  And as I was feeling more confident with the first one completed, I took more photos.  Hopefully they'll give you an idea how I went about applying the material.
 I have to say the cheap PVA I purchased from Poundland is a lot better than I feared it might be.  It's much thicker than the stuff I purchased a while back from Hobbycraft.  Not as good as th Evo-Stick stuff i normally use, but rather good none the less.
 And here's the second completed thatched roof.  You'll notice i cut the sections slightly wider than on the first building.
 Here's the view from the other side.
And that's where time ran out.  Which is a good thing, because the PVA needs to dry out thoroughly over night.  Before I can paint the models I need to glue down the fabric on the upper surface of the thatch.  To do that I'll use a 50/50 mix of water and PVA which I'll brush on using a downward stroke with my brush.  That will seal the material and make it solid for painting.  I suspect that the material will soak up a lot of glue and will therefore need a good 24 hours to dry out fully.  Once that's done, I'll be able to paint the model!

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