Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Chickasaw Village WIP

I'm moving ahead toward the first playtest of my Chickasaw Bluffs game on March 17th.  Yes, St. Patrick's Day.  I'm likely to lose a lot of good gamers to the suds that day.  In any case, I'm interested in focusing on the American attack on the Chickasaw village for that game.  I need a lot of terrain bits.  Some, like the Chickasaw fort and the big cornfield are done.  I've got a bunch of trees I'm working on, but I really need some houses for the village.
I decided to do the best I could building the Chickasaw summer house.  Note the planking and the open door and eaves that kept it cool during the sweaty Mississippi and Louisiana summers.

I just didn't think I could pull off the round winter dwellings.
I have some beautiful long houses by Acheson Creations.  Unfortunately the Chickasaw didn't live in long houses.  In looking at a few pictures, they lived in a couple of different types of buildings, different for the summer and winter.  The winter houses are round with circular thatched roofs.  I thought carefully about these and gave up the idea.  I just thought they'd be a mess.  Too many circles.

During the summer they lived in plank houses with thatched roofs, the houses cooled with open eaves.  I kind of dorked around with concepts.  I thought I'd build a frame with 1/8 inch dowels and use bass wood strips to do the planking.  I tried making a fairly busy frame, but I just couldn't make it work very well.  Instead, I built a simple skeleton using the dowels and drilling them into a chunk of craft plywood.  I bought a 12 inch square by 1/8 inch piece of craft plywood at JoAnn Fabrics.  I bought my doweling there, as well as strips of 24" X 1/8" X 1/16" bass wood.  I cut the dowels into lengths of 2" and 2 1/2 "  The 2" dowels would form the frame skeleton of the outside walls, while the longer dowels became the roof supports.

I stared by drilling the holes to sink the dowels.  I had to use my big ol' cordless drill, because my Dremel tool can't sink 1/8" holes.  After drilling all the holes I glued in my dowels.

Then I took my basswood strips, measured off 2" lengths and cut them with my scroll saw.  They are quite thin and fragile so it's important to hold them carefully from both ends.

I was really at a loss as to how I might glue my planks together.  I finally began gluing them to the plywood base and to each other.  The first building actually went together quite well and the planks were very uniform with no gaps and no major leaning episodes.  I can tell you, as I assemble, the rest of the houses (there are four), that it hasn't been quite so tidy. 

After all the planking was completed, leaving a gap for the door, I used my Dremel tool to sand down the uneven plank lengths to even or pretty close. 

My last challenge was to come up with something for a thatched roof.  I was really at a loss.  I considered using Woodland Scenics Field Grass over a tagboard roof.  The Chickasaw used a fairly sharply pitched roof that would lend itself to a lot of detailing and would take a long time.  Also, with Field Grass spendy at $4.49 a bag, it would add a lot to the cost.  While I was at JoAnn's I ran across a sale item, an off season planter liner.  I thought it would be cheap, would suit the purpose and look pretty good.  I couldn't reproduce the nice pitch of the roof, however, it's easily removed and replaced, and seems to do the trick.

At this point, I've finished one of the buildings, but should be finished with the remaining three by tomorrow night.  It's really taken three days of hard work.  After I finish the buildings, I'll need to figure out how I want to finish the wood pieces and complete the landscaping.  The finishing up may not be completed in time for my March 17th game, and the houses will have to appear naked (oh my!)

1 comment:

DeanM said...

Wow, great use of that JoAnn special. Very creative, as always. Dean