Thursday, 16 January 2014

Colonial Store

Scanning the Internet for pictures of historical buildings I came across pictures and plans (!) of the Prentis Store building of 1740 in colonial Williamsburg, VA. No question I wanted to have a model of that store house in my collection, especially as the plans contained all necessary measures of the historical building. I also found a report on the archeological research made.
My first problem was that the building has got brick walls in English Bond, and there was no material to be had of the right size and structure for our 28mm figures (scale 1/56).
I started experimenting. I made a rubber mold of a brick wall, and got some sheets with a brick structure - but in Stretcher Bond, as I didn't know better at this point. Besides I realized that the plaster sheets were not practical for modelling the building with its corners and edges, especially the chimney.
So I decided to use "wall paper", sheets of paper produced on my computer printer, for covering the walls. Finally I found a picture that could serve my purpose. I printed several sheets of brick wall and slate roof.
Then I started drawing plans of my model. I had to do a bit of calculating again, converting feet and inches into meters and centimeters, and then sizing them down by dividing them by 56.
I reduced all measures a bit, to avoid making a building that would dwarf the miniatures too much. Still it became a stately building, measuring 19 to 12.5 centimeters, with a height of the chimney of 18 centimeters.
Plan of the base of the roof (as an example)
The ground structure of my model I made of 4mm plywood, partly working with several layers, ans also using cardboard (on the roof and chimney) and 2mm aeroplane plywood (on the basement and stairs). And, of course, my building had to have a detachable roof.
The front wall of basement and ground-floor (window openings still to jigsaw out)
The rear wall glued to the ground floor with its stairs to the basement.
The 3 different doors, made of plywood and balsa wood (backdoor, front-door, and attic-door)
The stairs under construction
The sub-structure of the (detachable) roof
The finished basement and ground-floor (the weight inside is for gluing the thing to the base)
Inside view of the ground floor with the interior staircase and fireplace
For the windows I bought extra parts from a German producer (, which are very neat, and allowed me to make Colonial sash windows.
Sash windows of one of the side walls
The slate roof with its dormers
The bottom of the roof section with the beams (which serve to keep it in place)
The shop sign I made of aeroplane plywood and wire. It is stuck into a small hole in the wall (and so detachable for transport).
The store sign
Finally, here are some views of the finished building.
Left side
Back side

Front side
The 2 (unfinished) civilians document the size of the building
The wallpaper method doesn't look too bad, after all. And it is cheap!


Anonymous said...

Well done.
I like your ideas and the implementation.

Der Alte Fritz said...

Superb modeling work! It looks very realistic.