Irrational Number Line Games, LLC
A Quaint Little Villa
Here is a nice little craft kit. Pretty simple to make, and pretty easy to find on sale at your FLCS. I saw a stack of them on sale for a buck a piece, but realized that the scale of the buildling wouldn't work for 28mm minis. Then I realized that it really didn't matter what the printed design was, or what the scale was intended to be. More important than what it was is what it could be. That is obivously a deep, philosophical point as it uses the past, present, and future tenst of the state of being verb all in one sentence. :)
Well, this wasn't much of a stretch. Pretty much just make it and paint it. By adding a balsa wood door, I impose a scale on the building that matches what I want. Not bad for a quick filler building. A more ambitious person might fill in the gaps and cracks with caulk or spackle before painting, to give a nicer more uniform appearance.
This is the first variant I came up with. Just pull the two pieces apart. Now you have a little cottage and a tower. The tower seemed to need a little more, so I added a ledge between the two (remember, my scale, not the piece's scale) floors. You can also see a little texturing on the roof, which I did by putting some self adhesive foam shapes on to a wood block. Again, primitive yet functional. And the roof patterns look much better from a more natural gaming angle.
This one requried a little cutting of the roof to get the tower at the other end, but all in all, it was pretty simple and makes a nice variant.
The obivous follow up to two towers on one cottage is two cottages on one tower. Especially when you have an extra cottage left over from the last one.
And, of course, anything worth doing, is worth overdoing. This one required a small piece of thin cardboard to bridge across the two towers. There's also a lot of white space you could use if you were making a more detailed building rather than a generic space filler.
Lastly, doubling up shouldn't be limited to whole pieces. here you see some additional examples of simple texturing (I have a couple other ones, too, like brick and dots). For some reason, these guys also got hardware on the doors ... just a little puff paint (that liquid latex for decorating t-shirts found in your FLCS).
So, what do you do with them? Well, here's a little Medieval village layout. Fantasy in theme because of the peanut butter jar lid/cd/miscelaneous miniature fountain in the town square. You may notice a non-villa piece in there ... a dollar birdhouse from the FLCS.
A slight change of scene and some different statuary allows this to be a mid to late 20th century Eastern European building. It's amazing how a little self adhesive foam star turns these all american green army men into dirty pinko commies. Also a couple rounded tower like birdhouses.
statues and some printed paper on 6"x6" wood blocks transforms the timbre of the
villas yet again. I suppose the imposing "my building is bigger than yours"
helps, too. Great Hall? Church? Patron's Manor? Nope. Just a "stable" birdhouse,
this time weighing in at $5.00!
So, here's the whole outlay, in a rather dense layout over a 4'x4' area. I usually use this for a 4'x6' field, or even a 4'x8' or 5'x10' with a few hedges, trees and statues thrown in for good measure. The coolest thing is if you count 'em up that's $28, ignoring glue, paint, and a couple of scraps for doors'n'such.
This article isn't to advocate against nice, detailed terrain pieces. I have many of those as well. And paper buildings. There are a couple of very nicely done series of print and fold buildings in my inventory as well. These don't look nearly as nice as those, but markedly nicer than flat paper template cut outs. And being balsa wood, they are pretty light and reasonably durable.
I keep telling myself I am going to go back and spackle the gaps or put hardware on all the doors (the stable door was just flat originally). Then someone knocks one off the table on to the floor. I swear, slap some "cow glue" on 'er and think ... maybe later.