Continuing on from yesterday's post on the industrial terrain, we move onto to the intact houses. As I mentioned previously, each of these houses was initially purchased for a commission piece that fell through and I decided to re-use them for the VBCW board. Each of these are the terrace houses (with the exception of the single story portion I scratchbuilt) from Sarissa Precision's Europe at War line and are really nice base models. They are super cheap (about $10-20), assemble well, have cardboard shutters/doors/moldings, and provide just the right amount of modularity to be able to mix and match separate sections if you wish. If I had ne complaint about them, it's that the "pins" the hold each level together fit very snugly - even when unpainted - so they have to be shaved down a bit to provide easy access to the interiors during play.
To make them look a bit more realistic, I added cereal box shingle roofs and chimney stacks from metal tubing. I then mounted each on 2mm MDF with about 1.5" in the front for a sidewalk and about 4-6" in the back for a small yard. Some yards have small victory garden plots (barren; to reinforce that besieged feeling) made from basswood and filled with vinyl spackling. Others have small Anderson shelters (premade home bomb shelters made from corrugated metal, half buried in a yard and then covered in earth) made from cardboard tubes and cardboard corrugation.
I also wanted the yards to be functional on the tabletop, so each is surrounded by a linear obstacle of manicured hedges. Like those on my Normandie board, they are made from green kitchen scrubbers, cut to size, with imperfections added and edges rounded off. I then hot glued them to the board and added texture with sand. For the paths, I used Happy Seppuku's Cobblestone pattern maker and HO scale talus for the gravel paths.
I painted them (before assembly - which, pro-tip, is MUCH easier) using a Walmart branch chalk paint to give them some "tooth". Each house has it's own molding and door color, again using cheap craft paint (I rarely use hobby paints for terrain). I also picked out the nice base brickwall detail in red-browns and used a dark gray color to pick out the small cracks in each house's facade. I also airbrushed the base and used a midtone green to even out the bright tones in the scrubber hedges and provide more uniformity.
I also finally found the perfect technique for painting rustic weathering shingling. First, basecoat with the very darkest color (here, it's Pavement). Second, drybrush a midtone color using downward vertical strokes, then once dry, repeat with the midtone using upward vertical strokes. Lastly, keep adding successively lighter tones by drybrushing upward (you also want to hit the roof peak with a subtle line of lighter tone). It seems really counter-intuitive but, trust me, it works.