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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WWX Terrain: A look Inside, Part 2

Building Construction

After nailing down the concept art, all of the buildings were blocked out with foam core. You can see that the smaller houses on the outskirts were originally much taller. After the main buildings were fleshed out, the houses were just dominating too much space, so I cut them down a little.

From this foam core framework, all the buildings were covered with a combination of basswood strips and panels, popsicle stick planks, and styrene strips.


Here's a before-and-after comparison of the saloon from a few different angles:

A couple buildings like the saloon, hotel, jail, and iron horse stables were built with detailed, accessible interiors. Rare earth magnets were added to the attachment points to keep the buildings together.

The roof lifts off, for a nice view of the stairwell and balcony.

The saloon was built with a doubled floor so it could be used for miniature photography with camera angles facing either the stairs or the doors.  The way that it opens up makes me think of it as a gamer's version of a Polly Pocket dollhouse!

The neon sign is 16-gauge floral wire, bent into shape. The support is made from styrene I-beams. I plan to revisit the neon lights with a painting tutorial in a future post.

The shingles on the roof are panels that I sculpted and resin-cast.

The lights are the top halves of metal model railroad lampposts. The domes of the lights are plastic beads, super glued in place.

The bottom halves of the lamp posts were repurposed into the red lights on the porch. The milk can is made from the tip of a marker, with a plastic hole punch glued on top for the lid. The same beads used for the lights were pinned to the top of the railings.

The saloon doors are on working hinges, and swing open.

The other doors are built from basswood strips with rivet-punched styrene kick plates. The doorknobs are sculpted and resin cast. For the other buildings, I created complete doors and resin cast copies.

All of the windows are plastic model railroad windows. Each was fit into the wall, and styrene framing and sills were added to the interior. Only the open buildings got the full window treatment. The others have the windows glues over the blacked-out foam core.


You never know when a jailbreak scenario might be in order, so I build the jail with a complete interior. The walls are covered with Elmer's Wood Filler putty, and sanded smooth. This creates a nice, pockmarked surface that resembles an adobe building

There are two cells, with bars made from thick floral wire pushed through styrene strips with basswood at the top and bottom.

It might be difficult to see in the photo, but that's a tiny space heater outside the cells.


The hotel features the mass-produced doors I mentioned earlier, and some neon signs. The chimneys on the roof are resin cast, and the conical chimney top was used to make the lamp over the balcony.

The roof lifts off and the floors stack atop one another.

The floors and walls were painted before gluing the T-shaped insert into place.

Iron Horse Stables 

Most of the tech for this building is on the inside. It's an old horse stable that's been converted into a bike workshop.

The shingles are the same resin cast panels that I used on the saloon.

The shelves were made from sheet styrens and resin cast. I used them for the front of the metalsmith's shop, as well. All of the parts on the shelves were extra bits that I had left over from the generator construction. The cables on the floor are from the iron horse tethers, cast separately and glued in place prior to painting.


I hope you've enjoyed this look inside the buildings of the Wild West Exodus table. I'll be adding detail shots of all the buildings to my terrain gallery as I get them processed. Keep an eye on the gallery updates to see when they're added. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I'll be announcing the updates there, as well.

'Til next time!


  1. You make it look easy. Really interesting look into these buildings.

  2. Thanks guys! I only wish I had more time to document the process. When these projects are up against the deadline, there's no time to stop and take pictures of each step.

  3. Beautiful work. Thanks for sharing the "in progress" pics. Very inspiring and informative.

  4. Gorgeous. I'm jealous of your skills.

  5. Very nice stuff. I love the glow effect of the signs on the roof.
    I can't wait to see the shingles sculpt and resin cast tutorials some time.


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