Sunday, November 4, 2012

How to: Scratchbuild Corrugated Roofing

Welcome to the first part of a series of "How To" posts on how to roof your scratchbuild buildings. In this first part we will take a look at the usage of corrugated cartonboard to represent the real-life equivalent known as corrugated steel. "CGI was invented in the 1820s in Britain by Henry Palmer, architect and engineer to the London Dock Company. It was originally made (as the name suggests) from wrought iron. It proved to be light, strong, corrosion-resistant, and easily transported, and particularly lent itself to prefabricated structures and improvisation by semi-skilled workers. It soon became a common construction material in rural areas in the US, New Zealand and Australia and later India, and in Australia and Chile also became (and remains) the most common roofing material even in urban areas. In Australia and New Zealand particularly it has become part of the cultural identity, and fashionable architectural use has become common." As you can see this piece of roofing can in quite useful in lots of settings and is especially easy and cheap to reproduce.


All you need for this roofing method can be obtained quite easily by roaming the kitchen and spending some time searching for an craftstore for the corrugated cartonboard. The corrugated cartonboard from the craftstore can be easily replaced by using old cartonboard boxes (more on that later). As said for this technique you exactly need the cartonboard, ruler, marker and scissors.

I have been using corrugated cartonboard for several years now during my scratchbuild ventures and I especially like the craftstore variant as it's sturdier and less vulnerable to water and paint. I have also mentionned the use of ordinary cartonboard and peeling it to remove the outer layers and reach the actual corrugated bit but this progress is slow and this material doesn't cope to well with paint and excessive water use such as washing. Here you can see a piece of my 20mm shanty town which was recently finished for this building I have used the craftstore variant and bits of corrugated packaging from food and other household items.

Examples and uses

As said previously I have used this material for years now and has used in it many scratchbuild ventures ranging from colonial huts to shanty towns. I prefer this method to others such as tiling and thatching as it's much easier to do and a lot less labour intensive. In cases I have the choice between alternative roofing methods for a structure I always mostly opt for the corrugated look.

The first time I used this material was several years ago (probaly six or seven) when starting the wargame hobby playing 20mm plastic miniatures for world war two and Vietnam. As you can see I used this roofing method for a jungle outpost/ civilsed native dwelling. Due to this piece I have used the material over and over again. the paintjob on this roof was very easy: basecoat dark grey, drybrush lighter grey and drybrush with a brown/ orange color to represent rust and weathering. After that I added some flock and ready to go!

The second time I used this material (this time the soft cartonboard variant you receive in some pacakages and which is the core of the standard cartonboard) was for building a large science fiction/ post apocalyptic airplane hangar for my 28mm collection. As you can see from the holes the corrugated cartonboard of this type is very vulnerable to water and rude painting. But in the end I really liked the look of the holes and the irregularity of the curves which was done by using a to wet paintbrush. The only reason why I would use this type of corrugated cartonboard again is for easy weathering and creating a very rough finish as for a desolate and abandoned mining complex. The paintjob on this piece was very similar as the previous one but here I used some darker greys. 

Here are some pictures of when I used the material for my shanty town project. Here I also chose for the craftstore variant as it much sturdier and easier to handle. For pictures of the unpainted shanty building please follow this link. As you can see the paintjob on these pieces is much better than the previous ones because this is the last large project I have finished when writing this tutorial. The paintjob of this terrain was easy but took me some time to master. The first step was to paint most of the corrugated cartonboard in light tones of grey and letting this dry. The second part was to use a much darker color of the intial basecoat for example a dark grey and partially cover the lighter tone to create a weathered look were the paint had flaked of the corrugated steel. This some technique was used for both the red and blue color and was even used when applying a dark blue above the dark grey. I hope this is clear as I don't have taken any pictures in between thse easy steps. Interested in the entire tutorial of the shanty town, please follow this link.

Another way of using this material is on colonial structures as seen in South Africa and other British colonies such as India. Here you can see the corrugated cartonboard used on my Fort Henry structure. The paintjob on this piece was very easy just slap some dark grey on the roof, drybrush it light grey and ad some devaln mud to weather the piece! Interested in the tutorial of this structure, please follow this link.


Michael Awdry said...

Thanks for sharing, a great tutorial.

John Lambshead said...

Great series. I have been making corrugated iron armour for my Protected Trucks, using this method.

Tony said...

Thank you for the tutorial.


Wargame News and Terrain Blog said...

No problem, you also for all the marvellous masterclass articles!

Kalimeros said...

Thanks for the tutorial. And for that extra bit of information so beloved by wargamers and modellist alike, corrugated iron is still widely in use in rural and periurban areas in Argentina, too. Not only as roofing material, but for grain silos and water reservoirs, known here as "tanques australianos" (australian tanks). The classic pool of country children (and not so children).

Wargame News and Terrain Blog said...

Glad you found the tutorial useful Kalimeros, and thanks for sharing the additionnal information as I wasn't aware of that!