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WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale

by Paul Ward

WWII Buildings in 28mm ScaleRecently I got fed up with using my half-timbered, thatched medieval cottages for my WW11 (World War 2) games and decided to update my real estate collection to the 20th Century. I soon found that buying commercial buildings in my chosen scale (28mm) was not on, the largest I could find were in 20mm scale.

Normally this would look OK on a wargames table but I use Crossfire rules which are a company level set and the action is up-close and personal, little buildings look out of place; also, ideally, I need to fit figures inside the buildings to show they're occupying them.

The only answer? Make 'em myself.

I wanted to end up with a fairly large quantity of buildings at the end of the day so they had to be cheap and quick to make.

To conform to the Crossfire rules they had to have space to place two stands of infantry in them and a bit of extra space for officers, forward observers and other hangers-on. My infantry are based in threes on 50mm x 50mm bases while officers etc. are on 40mm x 40mm squares. I decided the ideal size for my buildings would be to have them on 100mm x 150mm bases, all measurements given from here on will assume you want to do the same. Obviously you can vary whatever bits you feel necessary to change depending on your needs.<br />


I cut the bases from standard hardboard because I had some already and I like having the textured side facing up to give, well..., texture. 2mm MDF would be as good or plywood or whatever you normally use. You can cut hardboard with a Stanley knife if you don't have a scroll saw or modelling saw and it's generally a good cheap modelling material.

I decided to make the buildings from cork tiles for several reasons. The main reason was cost, you can buy a pack of eight untreated 'bathroom' cork tiles for £4.99. You can easily get three buildings from two tiles so this works out at under 42p each (<u>Alan Beckett</u> also used this technique).

The other good points that you should consider are:

  1. They are easy to cut and thin enough so that if your cut isn't perpendicular, it doesn't show, unlike foamboard.

  2. They stick instantly with superglue or more slowly (if you need to position them carefully) with PVA.

  3. They are light and flexible and if you drop them they are not heavy enough to damage themselves by their own weight.

  4. They are completely non porous and they don't absorb any paint when you paint them so you use considerably less than you would when painting balsa wood for example.

  5. They don't warp and are unaffected by paint solvents.

OK, on to the construction part. The building I'm using to demonstrate is a generic European semi-detached pair of houses. These are the backbone of my building collection and are very simple to make.


Start by cutting out your base and the four walls. The base measures 100mm x 150mm.

The front and back walls measure 130mm long x 80mm high. The two end walls measure 80mm long x 120mm high with the top 40mm being cut to a point for the roof end.

WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale

Cut out your four sides and then cut the holes for the windows and doors.

Stick the walls together with superglue and then glue them to the base. You have time to adjust everything and make sure all the walls are square before the glue really takes.

WWII Buildings in 28mm ScaleThe interior removable floor is supported by a central wall that divides the houses and two end supports inside the short walls. In the picture I have topped the cork rectangles that I glued to the end walls as supports with matchsticks. I have since found this isn't necessary and the cork is more than strong enough to support the floor above on its own so save yourself the bother. You just need to cut three rectangles 40mm high that fit between your walls.

The centre wall has two pieces of 10mm x 5mm balsa glued to it to simulate the chimney that runs down the centre of the buildings, I've also added a couple of rectangles of off-cut cork to represent fire places. The chimney serves two purposes in this construction, it is used as a handle to lift out the loose floor and as a locator that keeps the roof in place.

The loose floor is just a rectangle of cork that fits the gap in your building and rests on the supports. It needs a central wall like the floor below, 40mm high and as wide as needed, however you should cut this from a much larger piece so you can leave a central core for the chimney which needs to be 90-100mm tall and as wide as the balsa wood you are using for the chimney, in this case 10mm.

Glue the two strips of balsa either side of this central 'core' and then pin them from underneath the floor for added security. The picture (below) shows the finished item ready to be lifted in and out of the house.

The roof is made from two rectangles of cork braced inside with triangular off-cuts and tiled with cereal packet card as normal. A gap needs to be left for the chimney.

WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale

Door frames and window sills are made with matches (the modelling kind) and I added thin card eaves to the ends of the building as a bit of detailing.

This is the only complete building like this I made, all the others are bombed out, consequently I kept the paint scheme the same as the ruined versions with a fire-damaged look. This saves deciding on wall colours etc. and makes any occupying troops stand out, a bonus when clearing away, nobody's left inside at the end of the game.

WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale

Click on the thumbnails below for larger images:

WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale
WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale
WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale
WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale
WWII Buildings in 28mm Scale

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