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Catholic Church in 28mm Scale

Catholic Church in 28mm ScaleOn this page, Sam Balmond tells us how he used a school project, intended to broaden the pupils knowledge of religious cultures, as an opportunity to make wargames terrain.

Nice one Sam!

I began by gathering inspiration from a host of different sources, including local churches, chapels and other religious structures while gathered the materials that I would need.

The church's shape is based on the standard 'cross layout' of most 20th century churches, with a long central structure flanked by auxiliary 'wings'. I could have designed removable roofs for the wings but I decided that they were of little significance to the rest of the building and would therefore remain closed. I thought that the roof would look a little more impressive with a pitched roof although a flat one would not have been out of place.

The walls were made from foamcore which was then decorated around the doors and windows, and randomly in other areas, with 'bricks' cut from cereal packet cardboard. Texture was added with a mixture of PVA, filler and sand.

Catholic Church in 28mm ScaleThe door was created from a piece of foam board with a series of channels cut into it with a knife to represent the wood panels. A small handle was then fashioned from a piece of brass rod, which was bent around a metal tube to form a perfect circle before being glued into place.

Catholic Church in 28mm ScaleWindow sills were manufactured from thin strips of balsa wood, whilst the stained glass effect was achieved thorough the use of pieces of coloured acetate. These were made little larger than the frames themselves (I traced around one of the foam board windows) to provide edges to glue to the interior walls of the church. The window designs are mostly a series of simple dot patterns with the occasional crucifix.

Catholic Church in 28mm ScaleThe roof was made from foamcore to which rectangles of cereal packet card were attached, using diluted PVA glue, to make the tiles. I started from a bottom corner and gradually worked my way up the roof in rows, alternating from side to side to give previous rows time to dry. This takes quite a while but adds a lot to the finished effect.

I'd noticed that the sizes and shapes of bell towers vary from church to church, with some including vast monolithic structures while others have little more than an arch with a couple of small bells slung underneath it. I decided to opt for a compromise - something small enough to prevent material wastage but large enough to harbour a couple of snipers!

Catholic Church in 28mm ScaleInside the church, the black and white chequered flooring was inspired by a design at St Paul's Cathedral in London. I reasoned that although it would take quite a long time to complete, it would complement the structure well. It was made by cutting a piece of white card to the same shape and size as the church's base and applying black squares in a diagonal pattern.

The Stations of the Cross (on the internal walls between the windows) are laser printed pictures that I found online.

The alter, lectern, and internal doors where constructed from foamcore while the pews were made from lengths of balsa attached to foamcore 'backs'. I also fabricated a Milliput Jesus, which was painted and attached to strips of brass that were soldered together to make a cross. The Baptismal Font was made from a couple of plastic containers.


(Click images to see larger versions)

The organ was included in order to re-enact the battle for the church in 'The Eagle Has Landed', where the German Fallschirmjager died whilst playing the organ as the British besieged the building. The organ was constructed from three equal lengths of balsa wood glued into a right angle, with a series of drinking straws attached to a piece of card (for stability) representing the resonating shafts. The keyboard was manufactured from the barcode off a cereal packet which was glued to the second horizontal 'step' on the right angle after it had been painted.

Moving outside, the grounds around religious structures vary considerably depending on their location, size and prestige. I decided that I needed an expansive, preferably walled, compound around which I could position plenty of defending soldiers.

Catholic Church in 28mm Scale

The hedges were made from plastic scourers cut into strips about 20mm high. These were secured to a base (about 25mm wide) made from thick modelling card. They were then sprayed black and flocked. The walls were made from angular stones glued together with PVA. The gate came out of my bits box and stands between cocktail stick gateposts.

Catholic Church in 28mm Scale Catholic Church in 28mm Scale

The trees are a combination of shop purchased and home made trees arranged randomly (remember to leave sufficient space between them for foot soldiers). Trees like the one in at the bottom right of the picture can be quickly fabricated from balls of horse hair (from model shops) attached to long nails.

The graveyard was built from pieces of foam board and balls of papier-mache to represent the soil displacement created by the coffins.

Sam tells us that the entire project took about 14 solid afternoons to complete. He didn't say what his teachers thought (hopefully there were no snipers in the bell tower when he submitted it) but we think he deserves a grade A.

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