Friday, April 29, 2011

Foam Core Adobe Building Tutorial

For this project I will be building an adobe style Wizards Tower that is 2 ½” by 2” and 10” tall.  It will have a flat roof and one window on each side.  I will be mounting the tower to a polystyrene base for increased stability.

Step One – Tools and Materials

First step is to collect your materials and tools.  You will need some 3/16” foam core.  I’m using black because that is just what I had on hand but any color would do.  You will also need a ruler and two knives.  I recommend an x-acto and a retractable hobby knife.  You will also need mechanical pencil and a pen to mark out the layout and create the brick pattern.
Step two – Basic Layout

Next step is to cut out a piece of foam core (9” x 10”) and layout the wall sections.  The pencil shows up great on the foam core, plus you can erase it if you make a mistake.  Walls 1 and 3 are 2 ½” x 10”and walls 2 and 4 are 2” x 10.  Arrange the walls just as they would be when the building is constructed.  Next mark the location for your windows which are 2” down from the top and ½” wide by 1” tall.  Next mark where the stucco will be broken away to expose the brick.  Make sure this lines up where it crosses between wall sections.  This is especially important between walls 1 and 4.  Finally make sure you number your walls.  I’ve also put an “X” in areas that will either be cut away or have a portion of the foam core removed.

Step 3 – Remove Outer Layer

Next step is to remove the outer paper layer on the foam core for any sections that will have the exposed brick.  Areas on the edges are pretty straight forward.  Just run the retractable hobby knife along the edge just under the paper.  Then peel back and remove it.
Here is what your piece should look like.  For areas without an exposed edge just wait until you separate the wall sections to remove the outer paper layer as it is really hard to cleanly remove otherwise.
Step 4 – Brick Pattern 

Next step is to layout the horizontal lines that will form the brick pattern.  The bricks for this project are ½” wide and ¼” tall.  The horizontal lines should be spaced ¼” apart.  Use the pencil and a ruler to lightly scribe in the lines into the exposed foam.
Here is a close up of what the horizontal lines should look like.
Next up it’s time to add the vertical lines that will make the “running bond” brick pattern.   Again just use a pencil and a ruler to create the lines.  Make sure to alternate the joints.  
One you have the brick pattern established retrace over the entire pattern using the pen.  With the pen more clearly define the pattern and widen up the joints.

Step 5 – Separate the Walls
Next separate the walls by cutting them apart. It is important to make your cuts as vertical as possible as to avoid noticeable gaps when the building is assembled.
Step 6 – Finish the Brick 

Remove the outer paper layer and create the brick pattern on the remaining sections.  Create the brick patter on the exposed edges by running a ruler back and forth over the edge of the foam.
Add wear and tear to the bricks with the pen. 
 Here is what the finished wall sections should look like
Step 7 – Roof

Next step is to cut out the roof section. The roof is 2 ¼” by 2 ¾” which yields a slight overhang to the roof.
Next mark where each wall section will connect and where the exposed brick areas will match up with the roof. 
Next connect the marks and indicate what sections of the roof will have the exposed brick.  As an alternative you can simply have the whole roof have exposed brick.

 Next remove the outer paper layer and create the brick pattern just as before on the wall sections.
 Next remove the bottom paper layer and create the brick patter along the edge which will be visible under the overhang.
Step 8 Windows

Use the X-acto knife to cut out the windows.  Here are the finished walls and roof ready for assembly.
 Step 9 Assembly

Now it's time to glue up the building.  I'm using a product called Fusion Foam.  It seems to be a very sticky PVA type glue.  When dry it creates a very durable bond.

Run a bead of glue on the inside of wall 1 and on the edge of wall 2.

Push the walls together. Make sure to wipe up any squeeze out.

Repeat the gluing process for all the walls.  Then secure the building with painters tape.  Let dry before moving to the next step.
 Step 10 Base

Create a suitably sized polystyrene base.  I've use 1" blue insulation foam. The edges have been rounded over with sandpaper.

Trace out the bottom of the tower on the base.

Using an X-acto knife carve out a recess that tower will mount into.

Secure the base of the tower into the recess with glue.  Be sure to wipe up any squeeze out.

Step 11 Attach Roof

Glue roof to top of tower and secure with tape.  Let glue dry before moving on to next step.

Here is the tower ready for base texture and paint.

Step 12 Texture
Using PVA glue adhere sand on the base to provide some texture that can be dry brushed in the sand color scheme.
Step 13 Paint

Apply the base colors.  Use Delta Ceramcoat Golden Brown on the base and Dark Burnt Umber on the tower.  On the tower be sure to get in all the nooks and crannies.

Drybrush the base with Spice Tan followed by AC Flesh (both Delta Ceramcoat colors).  Get the tower a heavy dose of Mudstone.  Try and leave the Dark Burnt Umber showing in the brick joints.
Dry brush the tower with Sandstone followed by a light dry brush of raw linen.  Liberally brush some watered down Gryphone Sepia wash on the tower and use a paper towel to remove most of it.  Finally add some Army Painter Highland Grass clumps glued on the base with CA glue.
Here are the pictures of the final Wizards Tower, I'm very happy with how it turned out!


Spanky_100 said...

Awesome work! And a great tutorial

Domus said...

Great Tutorial Bro!

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