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Spring Clean Challenge: If I build it - will they come

Spring Clean Challenge: If I build it - will they come

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Sōhei Monk's dojo

Tutoring 8
Skill 8
Idea 8
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While waiting to decide how to tackle my three skill deficits (sculptamould, tinfoil cliffs, and water) I made another building.  This time it’s a kind of dojo/temple for the Sōhei Monks I have to play Test of Honor or Ronin.

The construction will be fairly typical, I think, main walls constructed with foam core, but as I had some off-cuts of wood and some balsa wood, I thought some experimentation was in order.

The main materials were:

I started with a block of blue foam approximately 20×20 cm.  I didn’t;t measure it at the time it was an off-cut that “Looked right” for the figures. I had already some random prices of balsa and the “tongue depressors” were to be the flooring.

All the wooden pieces were brushed over with the Sepia wash to give a “natural” wood effect.  No other paining was done to the balsa except the wash.

The sticks were taped together (either across) and a steel ruler was used to draw the parallel lines across the sticks which were then cut through with a craft knife (Use a sharp one, change the blade as necessary).

These were glued down to the blue board to create an “off-set” flooring. Each alternate row being off set and the “half” board removed from one side, replaced on the other side to make the effect.  This will be clear in the pictures below.

The wooden steps were made from two off-cuts of wood strip I had used for a completely different task in the house.

The main walls were made from foam core (5mm) and glued in place with white glue.  They were held with elastic bands until the glue set.

I wanted to make a simulation of a typical Japanese wood and paper door, and to do this I made a simple frame from balsa wood and colored it black. The paper was some light “tracing” paper (or something close to it) that I have had for years. It was naturally an off-white colour.

The Kanji are taken from a book of Kanji I had and have no real significance, I just liked to look of them.  From memory they are a couple of characters for West and South winds and some numbers.

This was glued to the front of the dojo with supporting balsa uprights.


Next up was the roof.  I used card from a box as the base and cut it across the corner joint so that it formed the angle of the roof.  I had measures an approximate height for the roof, but mainly this was by eye as to what looked ‘right’.  The roof was supported by balsa inserts as I wanted to to be removable for play.

Once this was dry, I used an old hand towel to make a “thatched” roof.  The towel was cut into strips and glues down with PvA, starting from the bottom and overlapping slightly up the roof.  A final piece was glued down on the ridge f the roof.  This was left to dry completely before the next step.

Once dry, a dilution of PvA and water (approximately 50/50) was brushed onto the towel roof and I used an old stiff hair brush to give an impression of thatching.

Once THIS had dried, the roof was painted with a dark brown acrylic paint, followed by successive dry-brushing of lighter paints.  These were cheap paints for a “pound shop” I have had for a long time and purchased in the UK. I can’t remember from where anymore.

The paints I used were:

Brown – Burnt Umber

First dry brush – Raw Sienna

Final dry brush – Yellow Ochre.

Putting it all together I added two columns at the entry to the dojo to help support the roof, and finished the sides with some cut up card to simulate rocks. These were painted with black and grey acrylic paints.

The walls were also painted with artist acrylics and maybe not authentic, but the yellow and red combination felt right.

The final pictures show the addition of a cherry blossom and some flocking.  I want to find a small “Buddha” of similar statue for inside the dojo/temple and if I find one, I will probably make a small plinth for it to rest on.

The miniatures in this final picture are the Sōhei set from Test of Honor (first edition) – not sure these exact figures are still available.  I might show these in more detail later if anyone is interested.  I need to finish off the basing and final touches, but wanted to show the building in situ, as it where.

Thanks for reading.

Defend to the Death!Defend to the Death!

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