It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying and tabletop gaming. This week we’ll build a modular tavern storefront, because every adventure starts in the pub.
Modular Tavern Storefront
“You meet in the tavern…”
That line has probably started more roleplaying campaigns than any other, as cliched as it is. Having some tavern terrain is going to get a lot of use in fantasy tabletop games, so let’s build one. We’ll make it modular to get as much use out of this piece as possible, and we’ll use the magic of magnets!
We’re making a sandwich, with the door and window in the middle, then the walls, then the wooden beams. This will give the model depth, but allow us to keep things thin enough to game around.
I’m sorry that I don’t have any pictures of the process of making this. I did take a few, but they’ve been lost in the general chaos of my Pictures folder. If I do find any I’ll update this post, but I’ll do my best to describe what’s going on.
The Frame and Door
Cut two pieces of card into rectangles. Mine is 4″ long and 2.5″ high, enough space to incorporate the door and window. Cut a space for the door and window in both pieces of card so you’ve got two copies.
Cut a rectangle of balsa wood to make the door. This should be wider than the space you’ve cut in the cardboard.
Cut lengths of balsa wood to form the outer wooden frame, for both sides of the model. Keep any offcuts for later.
Ramblings on Balsa Wood
A lot of people use popsicle sticks or coffee stirrers for wooden features, but balsa wood is much easier to work with, lighter, and a strip of it will get you through many projects. They build remote control airplanes out of the stuff, it can take a real banging. Believe me, I’ve crashed my glider more often than I’ve flown it.
Use the back of a hobby knife to lightly gouge along the grain of the balsa wood. You can press harder to define planks, so the door is one solid piece that looks like it’s made of individual planks. This cheating saves time and glue, and keeps the model stronger.
The window is made of stiff plastic, like the type you find in toy packaging. Cut a piece of this that is larger than the space it’ll fill. Use a ruler and a permanent marker to draw the black lines to represent the lead frame on one side of the plastic. Then, use a yellow highlighter to carefully color between the lines and color the opposite side too. Let this dry, and remember that the highlighter will rub off easily. Finally, carefully stipple gloss varnish over one side, leaving it to dry before doing the other. This should cause the yellow to pool and will texture the glass.
Glue the door onto one piece of card. Then, using cutoffs, line the outer side of the card (the same side that has the door) and around the window. Fill all the gaps so you won’t see any when the second piece of card is joined.
Next, glue the outer wooden frame onto the walls.
Pro Tip: Don’t stick the second piece of card or the window on yet. Work with the two pieces until you’ve finished painting them, then glue the window in and join the walls. This way, you won’t have to worry about getting paint on the window.
The Magic of Magnets
Glue a strip of metal above the window. We’ll hide this later, and then use magnets on the signs to stick them onto the wall.
Mix up a small amount of wall grout and paint it onto the walls, between the wooden supports. Be sure to paint it over the metal strip.
Use strips of cardboard to make the slate stones of the base. As long as your wall isn’t top-heavy, the base can be quite narrow, making it easier for gaming around.
If you haven’t glued the two sides together or stuck the window in, this part will be easy enough.
Paint the walls an off white, then use a slightly darker version of the same color to paint the top of each wall section, drawing the brush down to make it look like weather damage.
Paint the wood black, making sure to fill in all the gaps. Paint over this brown, without filling the gaps. Holding the brush flat against the wood will help with this. Drybrush with a lighter brown over the edges of each beam.
Paint the stone gray, then drybrush with a lighter gray, picking out the edges again.
Finally, paint everything with a matt varnish, except for the window, then glue it all together. Done!
A Dark Night for Russia
I’m very excited to tell you about Nightscape: Red Terrors, our latest release:
In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian government decommissioned several publicly hidden research facilities devoted to ‘arcane science,’ chief among them, PERM Laboratory 37. Recently, due to several strange energy emissions, the location of the PERM 37 facility has been discovered by various parties with an interest in the lab’s inventory of eldritch artifacts.
You’re an agent of one of these factions on your way through driving sleet to the facility. Dusk is falling as you pass through the broken security gate…
“The line between magic and science disappeared in the utopianism of the early Soviet period. Hopes formerly invested in religion and magic were transferred to technology and science. Stalinist political culture utilized ideas taken from the occult elements in its attempt to influence the masses.”
— B.G. Rosenthal
In Nightscape: Red Terrors you play an agent of Integrand General — an extra-governmental non-profit established to research the arcane sciences — fighting your way through the PERM 37 facility. You will be opposed by the horrific forces at the disposal of the Director. Modern weapons have little power against the most powerful horrors you’ll face, but a host of creatures do bleed. Arm yourself well and expect the unexpected.
Nightscape: Red Terrors includes everything you need to play, except for a few 20-sided dice and a group of friends.
Journey into the world of Nightscape:
Visit nightscapeseries.com to find out more, and buy the book today:
It’s becoming a tradition that we end off product announcements with a 20% off discount code. This one is good until the 23rd of August.
The Rising Phoenix Games dude.
Rodney is a writer and editor of tabletop RPGs and a painter of Orks. He is worryingly fond of mill decks in Magic: the Gathering and a self-confessed Japanophile.