Monday, June 13, 2011

Paper buildings everywhere!

I believe the best looking Western Europe or even Eastern Europe battle terrains for WW2 should have lots and lots of destruction. That means ripped up fields, buildings in ruins, and your basic war garbage everywhere.
Okay one thing at a time. How do I create a shelled out Normandy village with minimal cost? Why it's paper buildings of course! On the Miniature page I discovered an ad for a shelled out building you can order online and download a PDF copy. The actual site of the creator of such products is
Dave Graffam's paper models.

Now you can buy one building as a test for on the cheap but I was fascinated with his product so I bought the bundle pack that contains 17 structure kits.
Dave's instructions state that you should print off your building parts on card stock to attain a level of rigidness you'd need. There's still one problem with this. The building walls still look too thin BUT if you want a quick building then follow his instructions. I decided to take it one step further. I'd print off my building parts on regular printer paper and glue the cut out parts onto foam board. I decided to use peel and stick floor tiles for floors, bases, and roofs. The reason for this is I didn't want the building to start looking like a thick bunker and I figure the thin floor tile will be easy to fasten to the build walls by cutting slots in the foam board and still offer a level of strength needed.
For my demo here I was planning on building one of the large buildings. The shelled out church. I print off the brick type I wanted. This document comes in 3 brick pattern types.
One thing I have to comment on with these PDF documents is that Dave has taken advantage of multi layering. What this means is before you print off the page you can chose what brick type or other building attributes you want to use. You can add windows or doors or my favorite, burn marks! The other point I'd like to mention is that in the instructions a scale chart is provided so can adjust the image size to your game scale. In my case my WW2 figures are 1/72 so the 20mm or 65% of original size was I thought a little too small. I settled on 75%.
Now everything is printed off and ready for cutting.
The tools of my trade are an exacto knife, ruler, glue stick, white glue, white wood filler, and a hot glue gun. The floors and roofs as I mentioned are placed on floor tiles. These can be cut using scissors or tin snips. I found the foam board can be cut with an exacto knife. I use the hot glue gun to glue all the walls together and fasten the buildings to the bottom floor. I also use the glue gun to fasten the roofs to the buildings. One thing to take note on is when I put two walls together at a corner I will cut one of the walls the thickness of the foam board and remove only one side. This will give you a clean corner to glue together. For the exposed edges of the foam board I give it a coating of white wood filler. You can get wood filler in a squeeze tube at building centers in numerous colours but found white was the best because it will take any colour you decide to paint it with.
The artist's rendering from the instructions

My finished building

From the opposite side

So with the multi layering function in PDF the volume of different buildings is huge. In a about a months worth of construction I've put together about 13 different structures. Below are a sampling of some of them.
The Tower Ruin
From the other side.
The Wrecked House
From the opposite side
These wall sections didn't come with bases. I added some print outs of rubbled roads. Another download that can be found on at Wargame Vault wargaming site.
The Sniper's wall
The Split Ruin
I'll be doing a post later when I use these buildings in my first game with them.

So to conclude I highly recommend these building PDF's. For the amount of buildings you can create they're relatively inexpensive. The 17 document files you get in the bundle works out to $2.35 USD so with materials your building costs are below $4.00 for each structure. Finally the most important feature of these PDF's is you can change the look of the structure before you print them off. They can be adapted to numerous scales and they look great.


  1. I got myself some of these some time ago and think they're great, I also tried your foam board method too, but not as successfully; I may well give it another blast, as your results are excellent!

  2. Hi I discovered your blog and this post was just what I needed. I have many of these models and have thought about doing what you did. How did you match up both sides of the paper so accurately to the shape of the foamcore? Did you mount both sides to the board first, then cut the foamcore? It seems from the photo that you cut out all the paper first.

    When I tried it I ended up with interior and exterior walls not lining up and the foamcore center inaccurate. Yours seems pretty much perfect! I'd appreciate any tips you could offer. Thanks!

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  4. i hadnt thought of using foamcore on these. fantastic result shown on the other page