Friday 26 November 2021

AWI Burcher House

 Another American Revolution-era house today, this time the all-wooden "Burcher" house. To this day I don't know whether that name indicates the style, or if the original was owned by someone called Burcher. You will see that there are actually three model houses of the same design but with green, pale blue and grey details respectively. The first was made for John Ray, but two other customers wanted the same thing for their games. 

Wood for the shingles and the clapboard was made from thin balsa sheet textured by brushing along the grain with a brass-wire suede brush. This strips off the softer grains, leaving a more deeply textured surface to be dry-brushed. You texture quite a big sheet ready to cut into strips. Don't try to texture both sides, as the flimsy material will fall apart. I find it's useful to scribble over the untextured side with a bright marker pen, so that when you end up with hundreds of little rectangles for shingles you can tell the textured side from the plain one at a glance.

There's a tool called a balsa stripper specifically for cutting identical strips quickly, although I find it fiddly to use, so you may be just as happy with a steel rule and scalpel. For shingles you cut strips first and then cut those into individual rectangles. I use a great tool called a "chopper", a kind of tiny guillotine, the original one being by a model railway firm, North West Short Line. The shingles are glued on a row at a time: apply a line of PVA or wood glue, then pick each shingle up with the point of your scalpel to position it. The trick to getting a realistic appearance with this is to apply the shingles slightly irregularly. Don't overdo this, as is commonly done with fantasy buildings. I think that looks a mess, and it wouldn't keep the rain out! 


  1. John,

    I still have these wonderful models plus at least four more that you made for me.


    1. Yep, the tavern is next and then in a day or two the brick house and church.

  2. I think it might be about a week since I last visited and you seem to have added another half dozen posts! All the buildings are fantastic work and its great to see you have started adding information on techniques you use to create this beautiful terrain!