Sunday, 29 June 2014

Terrain Tutorial: Nissen/Quonset Huts Part 1

I need some Nissen huts for the participation game that the O'Hammerers are running at Brocon in a few weeks. I had a look around online and there are some commercially available ones around but if you need 5 or 6 of them it gets expensive very quickly. In the best spirit of Rogue Trader and Blue Peter I decided to have a go at making my own.

I did a bit of research into Nissen huts (or Quonset huts as they were also known) and there are actually a wide variety of types. I decided to go with the simplest one which is a basic half cylinder built of corrugated metal with a door at either end.



A couple of weeks ago I had a trial run and this is what I ended up with. It only got a base coat of paint on it but it works. I'm not sure I'm happy with the colour and may paint the next one blue/grey and decide which way to go with the rest of them. Either way it needs a bit of a wash and drybrush, with bits of rust added here or there.




I finally got around to starting the rest of them yesterday and thought I'd do a tutorial as I went along, in case anyone wants to have a go themselves. The basic materials needed are mounting card for the base, a thinner card for supports, a Pringle tube and some corrugated card (I'm using the ones that come with take away coffee cups). I used wood glue to stick the whole thing together as I have read that it contains less water than PVA and is less likely to warp card.


Historically the huts were 20' wide, 40' long and 10' high, which equates to about 90mm wide x 180mm long by 45mm high in 28mm terms. However the diameter of the Pringles tube is only 75mm, which is a bit short but I decided to ignore that and just build it anyhow. Start off by cutting the Pringle tube in half and then cut it to whatever length you require. Cut out a rectangular base from the card stock and glue some angled pieces of lighter card along the edges. When these have dried glue the Pringles tube to the base. The angled pieces will provide a larger contact area and the whole thing is surprisingly strong. I put a few elastic bands around the whole thing to keep it secure while the glue dried. Don't worry about any gaps, or uneven cuts as the final stages will hide any imperfections.

 The base with one angled strip of card glued in place

Gluing the Pringle tube in place 

This view illustrates how the angled strips work

Once the assembled pieces have dried I glued some folded pieces of light card along the inside of the tube, this will help to hold the front and back in place.


Then using the end as a template I cut out a semicircle of card and glued it in place at both ends. I used elastic bands to keep everything in place while the glue dried and then I kept on going until I ran out of Pringles. I now have 10 of the frames, which is more than I need but it does give me a bit of room to experiment.



That's as far as I got and then I had to take a break for the football. Hopefully I should get the corrugated card glued on today. 

7 comments:

  1. I've been planning something similar myself. I'll probably end up using whisky tubes instead though. As you say, pringles tubes are a bit too narrow.

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    1. I never thought of whiskey tubes, not that I have any mind you. I think it was healthier to eat the crisps than drink that many bottles of whiskey though.

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  2. Great work John, these will be a nice, thematic way to populate a table.

    I know very little about whiskey tubes but wonder if off licences might have some knocking around. I reckon that three tubes/six huts is pretty much all that I will require. Hmm,.

    Getting the corrugated card to stick reasonably flush strikes me as something that might require a certain knack. Make sure that you document that stage too please :)

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    1. I never thought about off-licences, although I think the tubes are part of buying expensive whiskey. Don't worry I'll cover the process for the corrugated card in the next post.

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    2. Life's too short for crap whisky or shitty wine, lads!

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  3. A simpe build that is looking good. Don't forget to show us a scale shot with those 'alflings. :)

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    1. Certainly I will, eventually. I meant to do it today but totally forgot. I'll include some little folk in the finished product photos.

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