I have been intending to take on this project for sometime. I really loved the interpretation of Lake-town in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. The work and detail WETA put into their creation really captivated my attention. I decided a long time ago that it would make an excellent tabletop for wargaming. I have a passion for Mordheim (old GW specialis game) and more recently a new game Frostgrave has taken up the banner of an XP based skirmish game. As such I figured I would finally get the project under way and share the build process and detailing with anyone else who is interested. I am still waffling on the idea of recasting the finished pieces in resin and selling them, but first to finish the pieces. One side note, constructive input is always helpful. This is my own re-imagining of Lake-town for wargaming so I am not working to exactly recreate any particular buildings from the Hobbit, rather just using it as inspiration. Enjoy.
The above image is the most recent example of where the piece is at. The two boats are not fixed and can be used as scatter terrain when the board is finished or used to create bridges where there will not be docking as I am going to make a resin board creating a water looking board. Some of the features I most recently added in were starting the balcony above the lower dock, supports and you can see the window on the lower level.
This is an earlier example of the same building when it was still early in the process. As you can see I roughed out the shape of the building and base layer of the walls using paper lined Elmers foam board that can be picked up at any hobby shop or art store. Also you can see in this image the lighting on behind the window. I currently have an alpha pack from Poweredplay.net. I intend of swapping it for their programmable kit but have not yet made the investment. As you can see from this picture I slowly move through the process, generally finishing some of one section while working on another, because I try to create an overall look and balance each area. The hardest part of the front face thus far has definitely been that window, as I used a type of vellum paper that has a cloudy look to let the light shine through. Then I carefully cut each piece of polystyrene to create the ‘leaded’ window look.
The above 2 images show some of the details that are coming together, the first is a model eye view of the lower dock. Initially I was going to put a full door at this dock level, but I realized that it would be very unlikely as this dock just sits at tide, so instead I went with a half window (service access) for trading goods but is normally boarded up. You can see again the use of the steamed wood technique to create the wood arch. The front door has the insulation foam to create the rock effect. The door itself is again balsa wood, and I used some bits I found at a local hobby shop to create the straps for the door and a door handle (Grandt Line). The bauble is actually a Mantic light post for battlezones terrain that is cut and filed down to just use the rounded face. Its a little oversized as a viewport for the window but as the door flairs out on top I think it fits the aesthetic.
The first piece I actually built for this building was the dock, I started there and actually traced the outline I had created to fit the building behind it, which is perhaps a bit backwards but I liked the docking so much it helped me motivate into the next step. The dock was very easy and thats a great thing because I have a whole lot of it to create for the board. The docking is just cut and shaved balsa wood. I use waxed thread for binding around the posts and some various styrene to create bolts for the beams.
The boats were a quick build that I first made sure could accommodate miniatures standing in them and then used a steaming process to soften the balsa wood to create the prow shape. I also had to bevel the inside to create a thin face that it could connect to. Super Glue and some patience makes it all possible. If your interested in seeing how to steam balsa wood I will be posting a video soon and will provide a link when possible. I am not entirely satisfied with the boats, the lines are far from finished and I want to add details but it was a quick diversion while I was working on something else.
Last but certainly not least, a little teaser to show you the ‘backside’ of the building before any major work has been done. Also you can see me cutting notecards to play with the design of the roof panels. These will be balsa wood panels underneath with styrene tiling on top but figuring out the shape comes first. Let me know what you think of the project thus far. New updates soon to come!