In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Samurai Village

With my last order from 4Ground I made sure I ordered a few extra of their Shogunate buildings for myself. One each of 28S-EDO-101 Village Rice Barn, 28S-EDO-102 Peasant Labourer's Dwelling, 28S-EDO-105 Peasant Smallholder's Dwelling and 28S-EDO-106 Peasant Farmer's Cottage. This long weekend I thought I'd spend some time doing something for myself and put a few of them together.
Labourer's cottage L and Smallholder's Dwelling R being inspected by two of my Perry peasant women.

Four rustic buildings should be a good start, although I'm already thinking an ox-cart, fences, rough stone walls, pig stys and wood piles are going to be needed to make it look more lived in. Some jars and baskets to sit on the porches would look good too. I'm sure I can figure out something with match sticks and craft beads.

With the Shogunate buildings, 4Ground have really taken a step forward. The walls are made with a lattice frame. Then the interior walls are glued in. Then panels of very thin MDF are inset into the lattice so the outer walls have more texture and overcome the flatness that early MDF models were accused of. The fake fur thatch roofs also hide all the roof pegs which seem to be a big sticking point for many people.

I like that I can get most of a building done in a few hours on an afternoon and they come prepainted.

The windows are all finished with a very fine grille which is tricky to remove from the frame without splitting the MDF. A sharp knife and some patience is required. Also the directions have you assemble the roofing first before adding the panels to the sides. I found that it was important to put in the upper window grilles (the cottages all have a small window up at the peak of the roof) before gluing on the roofs. Trying to just poke them in from the outside meant they sometimes went in crooked. Being able to access the inside to help straighten things out makes it easier.
Problematic upper window grille.

With careful gluing the doors swing open. The interior walls are detailed and there is a raised sleeping area in the cottages. I'm thinking some printed out bamboo matts and more baskets and jars would spruce that up as well.
Interior of Smallholder's Dwelling
Last night I did some step-by-step shots as I put the Rice Barn together. Ironically, the Rice Barn is the simplest and probably the one I should have started on.
Framing done
 The frames are just four pieces, one for each wall. Some time spent dry fitting so you understand how they join each other is a good idea before you start spreading glue.
Inner walls added, and I'm starting to glue the outer panels into place.
Building these makes me wish I had picked up another set of spring clamps when I was last in the surplus store. Having some elastic bands handy is also useful.
Window installed
I did encounter a bit of curling and a few instances of the MDF layers coming apart with the extremely thin outer panels. Paying attention to what you've just done to fix things and push them back into place is useful. I also started bending the panels slightly while I brushed the glue on and then pushed them flat when in place.
Double doors. 
The doors are tricky. The door has two pins which fit into holes in the floor and the lintel. So you have got to put glue on the lintel, avoiding the hole, then slot the door pins into both holes and slide the lintel into place. It's a very tight fit, so trying to pivot it into position can cause issues. Now do this with two doors simultaneously. You'll notice some damage on the upper left corner of the door frame, and I see I put the lintel in back wards. The two light marks where it was attached to the frame really ought to have gone inwards.
Assembling the roof

Gable end beams glued on and the panels are ready to place

Fur thatching glued on. Now it has to dry for 24 hrs before brushing with diluted glue and adding the ridge poles.
The interior of the barn really cries out to have some sacks or bales of rice stacked up in it. It would be a good objective for some bandits or raiding Samurai.

Farmer's Cottage started
Work has now begun on the fourth building, the Farmer's Cottage. This one is bigger and features two porches and a sliding door which promises to be another learning curve. Before I stopped for tea I got the major structural work done.


  1. They look terrific James. Glad you figured them out, I would hate to have learned that my dealer (oh yeah, and friend) had committed seppukku.

  2. Excellent work, and thanks for the tips. I have a few 4Ground buildings to be built & you have hi-lighted some good points to ponder.

  3. Fantastic looking buildings. I've made up a few Sarissa buildings for Ronin, but I think I might get some 4Ground buildings next. Cheers, Paul :-)

  4. Great looking building, and nice post!

  5. Thanks for this tutorial. These are on my wishlist and this guide will really help!