I’ve spent the last week working on Dave/Tommyguns Observatory model. This is a free model but it is full of character and is unique as far as I have found in papercraft terrain. I did make some slight modifications to the model as I was building it, primarily I increased the size of the model by 145%, added an inside and tried my hand at adding some extra detailing to the model. I plan on giving this model to a friend to use as part of his warmachine table layout and I think it should fit in well with the steampunky feel of the Warmachine universe. I added the extra details to the model so it can be used as an objective in a scenario and look a little more special.
Due to the extensive changes I have made to the model I can’t really give you a step by step on what to print and how to replicate what I’ve done but hopefully the below pictures of the model and the comments I’ve made will help if you do wish to try. I will say edge under absolutely everything in black before gluing things in place as this will help cover up miss alignments and small gaps.
First up the telescope it’s self , I cut the end out of the telescope and glued a glass bead into the end of the telescope, I glued the blue end I’d cut out to the bottom of the bead to give a deep blue effect otherwise when you look at the bead you would have just seen the black inside the tube. Other than the clear acetate windows this is the only part I’ve added to the model which is not paper. I did try to make several domed paper parts but they looked terrible. I also printed out the parts twice and cut out bands of wood (doubled up 2 layers of 220 gsm) and glued these around the tubes to add some extra detail, the very end one I increased in width by 100% to add a shroud effect around the glass bead lens.
Next up the base: In GIMP I split the lower walls from the upper dome on the lower side of the metal flange. I then increased the wall height by 6mm (1/4 inch) so I could insert a foam floor later on. Next I added wood texture across the entire inside base. It was a simple matter to print out the lower walls floor and pretty much assemble as normal. Although I cut a dodecagon of foamboard to insert into the floor first and glued the walls to this (triangles on the underside)then dropped in and glued the textured floor on top of this. I also cut out the windows and doors to enable me to fit them back later on. Once the outside was assembled I cut small segments of foamboard and glued these along the inside of the wall for strength and thickness. I then modified the external plaster texture to fit on the inside of the model to become the inner walls (102% height 90% width). Before gluing the inside in place I cut the window and door holes into the foam inserts then test fit the inside insert and marked were the door and windows would be and cut these out, the inside was then glued in place. I next added some flex steel (turned out to be un-needed) around the top edge and glued it in place and then covered this with a special dodecagon wall topper I made up in GIMP. Last step was to add some acetate windows, hinged door, framed star charts for the inside and window frames on the outside and the base was done.
Outer Walls and Floor in Background
Next up was the top inside and out, this was a right pain in the neck as I had to design a telescope end and eye piece inside the Observatory. In the end I got a design that fit although I did make one piece slightly to long if I make a second one I will shorten the 2nd main bend a little. Sorry getting a little ahead of myself, assembling the outside was fairly easy, once again I cut out the windows before assembly. I then glued a foamboard dodecagon piece to the inside of the base of the dome approximately matching up with the steel flange graphic on the outside and about 6mmx6mm square (1/4 of an inch). Once this was in place I glued the top together in pairs to keep it symmetrical then glued the pairs into fours and so on until it was glued into the dome shape. I next added some detailing to the top (all double thickness 220gsm card) such as the horizontal wooden beams, the window frames and a cap to the top of the roof to help finish it off. At this point I also glued the acetate windows onto the inside of the dome top.
Onto the dome inside. As I wanted the wooden dome to be thinner than the masonry walls I kept the dome as only a double card thickness. To line it I simply printed the outside again and cut these into individual triangles, reverse scored them cut the windows out and glued them into place, there is a slight bulge on the inside were they cover up the windows. Next I added 6 small (5mm square) magnets to the foam flange and then reprinted the wall topper from the base and glued this to the under side of my foam flange. I likewise duplicated the outside texture and glued this to the inside of the foam flange. I didn’t bother to detail the inside of the dome as it’s almost impossible for someone to look up into the dome while gaming without removing the top and then your focused on the bottom. I did add an inside tube and eye piece to the telescope as mentioned this was a right pain but I finally got the geometry worked out on my third test build. Unfortunately due to the small windows it’s very difficult to see from the outside but it looks nice when you pull the top of the model. To help hold the top to the bottom and cover any small miss alignments I made up a double wide metal textured piece and glued this on the bottom of the dome, this slides over the base and is a very tight fit (magnets seem to do nothing) if I was to redo the flange I’d put a thickness of card behind the card flange to give a little more play. On the plus side pulling the model apart requires some force so accidentally knocking it apart during gaming would be impossible.
Overall I’m very happy with how the model turned out, it let me try my hand at detailing in paper which although fiddly is no worse than scratch building in traditional materials except no painting and as an added bonus the model is extremely durable/strong due to the added bracing. The extra detail helps make the model pop on the table from a distance.