Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dave Graffam Buildings – Split Ruin Part 1

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?  Well I’m no John “Hannibal” Smith (Murdoch maybe) but I’m always happy to improvise.  I had intended on using 3mm MDF and a hot glue gun to put my first Dave Graffam building together but a few test runs of the hot glue gun showed that I had maybe 4-5 seconds before the glue dried too much to reposition the MDF.  This was just a little too quick for me to use it on my first build (ie I’m fit to bouts of procrastination).


First up I cut out one side of a wall section and then traced it onto the MDF.  I took care to make sure the straight edges were in fact straight but the ruined edges I took less acre with.  This is a ruined building after all and I intend to paint the edges so I can hide am edge that’s out a 1mm or two.


I went with adhesive spray to stick the artwork to the MDF because it dries fast and doesn’t tend to run or drip everywhere.

GraffamSplitRuin03 GraffamSplitRuin04

One of the reasons I couldn’t use the hot glue gun is that I wanted to “pin” the walls together.  I have a roll of 0.9mm wire and a 1mm drill bit in a hand drill and it cuts into the MDF like butter.  I drilled into the wall section about a centimetre and glue them in with super glue.


Then drill two holes into the opposing wall section, line the edge with MDF glue and press together.  I let that join dry while I cut out the rest of the artwork and MDF for the opposite wall.  It’s starting to look good even with just three walls and the floor artwork sitting in place.  Again I left it to dry while I cut the floor pieces.

GraffamSplitRuin06 GraffamSplitRuin07

Floor pieces all cut, glued and ready to put into place.  MDF glue on all joining edges and two pins on the left and right edges really give the floors strength.  Not that there will be a lot of weight on them but there’s no chance of getting any bowing that happens with some multi story cardstock buildings.  This build does come with some columns to insert which would help with a cardstock building but I won’t bother with those.  I may paint up some balsa wood pieces and stick them in but I’ll wait and see, they may just get in the way of moving the miniatures around.


Only have the roof left to build now, I was going to just make it out of card but I’m thinking I’ll get some balsa wood or try to find some 1.5mm-2mm thick card.

GraffamSplitRuin09 GraffamSplitRuin10 GraffamSplitRuin11 GraffamSplitRuin12

Once the roof goes on I’ll base the building on some 3mm MDF and add some piles to the floors to help break up the “empty box” look that it has going.  Some small off cuts, pebbles and sand should do the job.  One of the other Graffam buildings has some furniture to build so I’ll make some for this too.

About 3 hours of build time to get this far and I’m guessing maybe another hour or two to finish off.  It’s a little slower than I had hoped but things will be a lot quicker on the next ones now that I’ve worked out how to factor in the extra thickness of the MDF to allow the internal walls to match up with the external walls.

Once the construction is finished and the paint dried I’ll give it a coat of matt varnish, especially the floors and outer walls where most of the handling will be.  A great thing is that if a section does get damaged all I have to do is print that page out and glue it over top of the damaged bit, easy fixed!

The actual size of the building is surprising too, I had imagined it much smaller.  A squad could quite easily hunker down inside.  The wrecked house and ruined tower builds are going to be downright impressive!

1 comment:

  1. What tool did you use to get such accurate cuts in your MDF? I like your article so much I put a link to it on the HMGS Midsouth page (

    Thanks for the inspiration!