Bits Of Cardboard!

Part of the community painting challenge for this month is terrain/scenery, so I’m submitting some glued-together bits of cardboard that I’m claiming fit the bill!  Painted, glued-together bits of cardboard mind you, no half measures here!


For reasons that may become clearer in a subsequent post, I needed some 20mm Italian buildings in a hurry.  I’ve known I needed them for years, and have several resin and plastic buildings in kit form stashed away, but all of a sudden I needed buildings now and was not going to have time to get any of those models finished in time.  Time for Plan B!

In the past whenever I’ve needed buildings I can’t get I have a go at scratchbuilding them, so that’s what happened this time, but only because I didn’t have much time.  I already had some separate tiled roofs I’d made from corrugated cardboard that turned some Russian buildings into Balkan ones, so I reckoned I could use them and they’d not look out of place.  This just meant I needed to make some dead simple, rectangular plan buildings to put the roofs onto.


First step was to draw a couple of buildings the old fashioned way, which would have been easier if I could have found my pad of graph paper (remember graph paper?).  I only drew two because I knew I’d struggle to get them done.  One of the buildings had the ground floor set back to form a porch supported by arches, but in the end I realised I’d never get that done so I just made two rectangular-plan buildings.


I drew out the walls and marked the window and door positions on and then stuck them together (this was all done in 1.5mm thick mounting board).  To save time, I didn’t cut out window openings, opting to paint them in later in dark brown.  I scribed in some door planking and then cut out loads of card lintels, sills and shutters and proceeded to stick ’em on with white PVA glue.  When this was done I gave the whole outside of the buildings a coat of PVA to seal them.  I added stiffeners inside the four corners and then added a larger diagonal cross brace – the latter made the structure more rigid, but its main purpose was to let me hold the building during painting.


The walls got two coats of white, the doors and shutters got Vallejo earth brown and the window openings were painted Vallejo German camouflage dark brown.  I then put on a thinned enamel black/brown coat overall and washed it off to leave a shaded/mucky effect (I had to do this quick because the paint dries very quickly on the card, even though it’s been sealed with PVA).  With hindsight I should have used more brown than black in the wash, but we are where we are!

Considering how long they took to do (about 5 hours for each building, from drawing them to finishing them, generally split into 1 hour sessions) I’m quite pleased with the results.  They could be better, they could be worse, but I got them done in the time I had.  Yay cardboard!


  1. Very nice John. These have turned out very well indeed. I like the roofs and the clever idea to brace the buildings for painting. Most of all I like the idea you drew a plan and stuck to it. A concept which has never worked for me!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Dave! At least this time I already had the roofs done, but they’re just corrugated cardboard anyway. It’s taken me years to realise that I could avoid painting my hand through the simple expedient of adding the internal bulkhead to hold while painting! And I needed the plan to make sure that a) the buildings would fit under the roofs, and b) the doors and windows would all be reasonably proportioned and positioned. And you can’t tell me there’s no planning involved in your work (despite what SWMBO says)! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Mark! They’re a bit basic, could maybe have done with a lean-to attached and some scenic bases, but time was short (and I can still do bases for them). I had a bit of a panic doing the wash, because it dries out really quickly on the card, but I’m happy with how they’ve come out. And even when I’m using PowerPoint I set the grid on the screen to keep everything nice and tidy-ish!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good job my friend ….
    Card is the scratchbuilders’ gold. I remember I used to baulk at the prospect of building something. but once I started……. I also usually have a plan & scale drawings but they never come out 100% :)…. I just build & sometimes I’m surprised & pleased with what comes out….
    So don’t be afraid .. just build

    Liked by 2 people

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