Monday 17 July 2023

Lorraine Houses Completed

It's been a little while again but here we are with all the Lorraine houses that I've been working on since February completely built and painted. There's still two churches and a tavern 80-90% painted, and some unpainted "bits" to come. But all seventeen, count 'em, seventeen houses are finished. I think my wargaming needs would have been met with half a dozen less ordinary houses, but I convinced myself that once masters had been made and cast, it wouldn't take much longer to complete this more generous number... 

For photography purposes I have divided them into five groups of three or four houses each, and there's a front and a rear view of each group. Comments below, but I've probably missed a lot out. If you would like to know how anything was made, or why it looks the way it does, please ask away.

Lorraine villages consisted mainly of a continuous row of houses each side of the street, so I've pushed each group together acordingly. The end walls are mostly rendered stonework without doors or windows.

Although this style of architecture goes back to the Middle Ages, if not Roman times, the details did evolve. By the time of the Franco-Prussian War nearly all the woodwork was painted in soft colours. Usually it's pale greens and blues, but I've done one in a yellow ochre colour which was occasionally seen, and some barn doors are left unpainted.

Despite the unpretentious nature of the basic buildings, the more prosperous farmers of Lorraine loved to add neo-classical details to their house fronts. 

The backs lacked ornamentation. In reality there were often outhouses extending the buildings to the rear, but because of the tyranny of groundscales (as discuused before) I've had to leave them off.

Most houses included all the elements of a farm within the one building. You'll see there's a door roughly in the centre of front and rear facades. A corridor connected these front and back doors, and living accomodation was on one side of it. That's where you see glazed and shutttered windows. On the other side of the corridor there was space for animals (stable/ byre/ pigsty) and a barn, hence the large door. 

The walls were built of rubble/ field stone and rendered over for weather protection. This rough stonework was different colours to the "cut" stone used for door and window surrounds, and occasionally visible quoins, ie cornerstones.  Contemporary paintings show the render to be a variety of shades from near white to ochre or tan. I painted the walls in several colour variations and then got a "blotchy, splotchy" effect by flooding on dark washes and dabbing at the result with a tissue.

The round and oval "portholes" on some buildings are to ventilate a hayloft situated above the barn or byre.
Yes I know the figures make the doors look a bit shorter than they should. Can't be helped in the context of groundscale constraints. The Perry plastic FPW are very tall chaps indeed. 28mm my a***! 

Getting nice roofs is a lot more important on wargames buildings than in real life, because we see the models almost exclusively from above when playing a game.The roofs here are made from sheets I scupted and cast in resin. I wanted to get the proper effect of "canal" pantiles at the edge, ie with two interlocking layers of tiles. The castings came out a bit ropey here, but I've painted on the effect I wanted and I'm quite pleased with how it came out in the end.

The evidence shows the roof tiles were all of the same sort of tan/ red shade rather than the bleached, pinkish pantiles you see on Mediterranean roofs. The only variant is that some roofs were distinctly darker than others, presumably from the effects of age and smoke. I got this effect partly from painting some roofs darker than the rest and also washed thin black over the whole roof in some cases.


  1. Simply wonderful work once again John! They really do look good and given the foot constraints of games whould work a treat. The 'Z' height issue should disappear when on the table given that we look down on them, but it is always an issue when you add in the thickness of the figures base and the unit base, which could add another 4-5mm, which is quite a lot.

  2. Yet another great post and congratulations on the results of your industry,

  3. What lovely rows of domicile bliss. Your village settings will be little works of art.

  4. Yes, these really are absolutely beautiful models, once again John - fantastic work as we have all come to expect from your talented hands!

  5. Blimey John. These are rather nice! Love your attention to detail and the overall look is perfect. Thanks for sharing. Phil

  6. Fantastic work John, they look great - the roofs are very nice indeed and worth the effort to cast them up. Well done.

  7. Every aspect of the buildings is beautifully done; my favourite though are your rooves- they are perfect!

  8. Love the attention to detail in these - especially the eaves timbers and the mortar securing the ridge tiles. Thanks for sharing them. Richard

  9. Now these are painted up they really look the part. Superb work, I love how you have really imbued these buildings with a sense of geography and period.The attention to detail as others has said is magnificent.

  10. Cannot understand why I have become Anonymous again but it’s Martin Gane

  11. Thankyou very much, everyone. Such a positive response is appreciated after what has been quite a time-consuming project.

    Steve J, I totally agree about the thickness of the bases contributing to the issue of apparent figure height not quite fitting with door height. I use relatively thin unit bases by modern standards: mounting card, which is only 1.5mm thick. But the figure bases of Perry plastics are thicker than those of most figures, so the total "uplift" is about 4mm, which does account for a lot of the discrepancy. However as you also say, the problem dissapears when we look down on the wargames table from above.

    I have got several other buildings nearly complete to go with thses houses, all shown previously as WIP. Two churches will be next and are 95% complete, so I will try to post photos of them in a few days.

  12. Stunning work John. I agree that the roof is the most important feature to get right.

  13. Splendid churches and housing, a lovely project all round, excellent attention to detail as always!
    Best Iain