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Building the Prancing Pony
Terrain Building Article
By Neldoreth
Jan 17th, 2008


This article will attempt to take you through the building and detailing of the Prancing Pony as seen in the Prancing Pony Gallery on this site. It will start with the basic construction, and go into the more interesting and not-so-obvious details. Hopefully it will be useful and enjoyable! Good luck!

Part 1: Basic Building Construction

The basic structure of the first floor.

  1. Measure and cut the floor from MDF
  2. Measure and cut the walls from foam core (black foam core preferred)
  3. Measure and cut doors and windows into walls
  4. Measure and cut walls for inside rooms
  5. Glue the walls in place and let it dry

    The basic structure of the second floor.

    Fitting and securing the top floor.

  6. Measure the second floor and cut from MDF. Make sure it will fit perfectly over the walls of the first floor.
  7. Measure and cut the inside and outside walls for the second floor, including windows and doorways.
  8. Glue them all into place and let them dry.
  9. Cut a 1cm strip of sturdy thin card to run around the bottom edge of the top floor walls
  10. Glue the strip so that it hangs down from the bottom of the second floor by about 0.5cm
  11. Make sure that the top floor fits onto the bottom floor with the card glued in place and let dry.
  12. This piece will make sure that the top floor doesn't slide off the bottom floor when it is in place.

Now the easy part is over. Building the basic structure of the building is a great way to start because you go from having some un-cut pieces of MDF and foam core to having the structure of a building in a relatively short time. Seeing such rapid progress makes the project fun and easy. One you get to the details though, things start to slow down and this is where many terrain builders lose interest... Me included of course!

Part 2: Putting timber beams on the walls

The beams...

  1. Cut long strips of thin, sturdy card about 0.5cm in width.
  2. Starting with the corners or windows, measure the lengths you need, cut them, and glue them in place one at a time.
  3. Repeat ad nausea until finished, but remember, less is more.
  4. Again, remember that less is more. The more beams, the longer it will take to make and put them in place, as well as paint the final piece.

Part 3: Shingling the roof

  1. Take a piece of thin, black card (black so it is easier to undercoat), 3cm wide and as long as it can be. Cut a thin score down the center long-wise and fold in half.
  2. Cut the tiles into the folded card. Each cut ill cut both sides of the card, so you are doing half the work to make two strips of shingles. Make it ragged, and make sure that you leave about 0.5cm at the top uncut so that the strip remains a strip. This part will be covered by the layer of shingles placed above it.
  3. Cut along the line that you scored to seperate the two strips of shingles. Blamo, two strips of shingles for the price of one!
  4. Glue the shingles in place with liberal amounts of white glue. Start from the bottom of the roof and work up. Cut the edges so that they will fit the roof perfectly. The white glue will add rigitiy to the roof as well, making it sturdier. Remember though, that you should put the roof onto the building and weight it down while the glue dries otherwise it may warp nad might not longer fit properly once dried.

Part 4: Making the bar and benches

  1. Create the structure of the bar using large, squarish pieces of balsa or similar material
  2. Round the edges of strips of balsa by running a screw driver or pen shaft along them. This will make the gaps between the boards that run along the top of the bar more obvious once they're are put in place, and make the bar top more convincing.
  3. Measure, cut and glue the strips ontp the top of the basic structure of the bar.

That was easy! To make benches, repeat the above steps, only make sure the basic structure and overall look is more benchlike in height and shape.

Part 5: Making tables

  1. Cut the bases of the tables from MDF. Shave the sharp edges for aesthetics. Copy the tile pattern that you put on the floor of the inn onto the bases.
  2. Make the tables using thin, sturdy card. Cut the table top and scratch stripes into it on one side. These scratches will define the board planks and look good when drybrushed. Cut a piece just smaller than the table top for the under side and four strips for legs. Glue the top to the under piece, and then glue the legs in place. White glue is best, but let it dry overnight before going to step three.
  3. Glue the table to the base.
  4. Paint the table your favourite wood-coloured paint, then drybrush a light brown overtop. Paint the base the same way you painted the floor of the inn. If you want cups, use thin cylinders of plasticard (sheet styrene) cut into cup heights and drill a hole in the middle to resemble cups. Paint the cups either metallic or clay colour.

Part 6: Making beds

  1. Cut a bed-sized piece of 1.5cm thick insulation foam. Cut the head and foot boards from thin, sturdy card. Note that I managed to use a single rectangle of thin, sturdy card by cutting it in half with a rounded cut.
  2. Glue the head board and foot board to the ends of the bed. Let them dry before proceeding to the next step.
  3. From an old t-shirt or piece of fabric cut a rectangle just a bit too big to cover the bed. put liberal amounts of white glue on the bed and then put the fabric on. Be careful to squish the fabric to fit the bed so that it looks ruffled like any good bed should!

Part 7: Making windows

  1. Put some super glue onto a palette. Super glue is the only glue that works well and tends not to fog or discoulour the material we will be using.
  2. Dip a very thin piece of card into the glue
  3. Spread a very thin layer of the super glue onto some plastic screen door/window material.
  4. Glue the screen door/window material to some plastic packaging material. The plastic packaging material should be clear and sturdy enough to hold its straight shape. For aesthetics align the screen material diagonally onto the clear packaging material.
  5. Trim the edges of the screen material and the packaging material into the proper size to fit your window holes.
  6. Admire your work. For basic windows, you are done, for more complex windows, continue.
  7. Cut the window frame piece of your design. Here I am cutting a cross shape.
  8. Dip your super glue spreader into the glue again.
  9. Spread a very thin layer of super glue onto the window frame piece.
  10. Glue the window frame piece onto the window.
  11. Trim the window frame to fit the window perfectly.
  12. Place the window into its window hole and put a small amount of white glue just around the edges to hold it in place.

Part 8: Making doors

  1. Use the piece of foam core you cut from your wall to make the doorway. Trim 2mm from the side and the top so that it will fit in easily.
  2. Glue strips of thin card onto the door using white glue running up and down to mimic planks.
  3. Glue two strips running side to side to mimic the iron support beams. One should be near the top and one near the bottom.
  4. Use a hole punch to make the thin card circle where the door latch will be. Glue this where you want the latch to be.
  5. Using a cured thin role of greenstuff, cut a 3mm length.
  6. Using the clear plastic tube that came with your paintbrush to protect the bristles, cut a 1.5mm length to make the door latch ring.
  7. Use super glue, glue the the ring onto the hole-punched door latch and glue the thin piece of greenstuff to the top of the ring.
  8. Glue a base onto the door (only if this is NOT going to be a hinged door) using rigid, thin card. This will allow you to open and close doorways without having to hinge them.

Part 9: Mounting the door with a hinge

  1. Drill or poke a hole along the edge of the door opposite of the latch. Use a thin paper clip that has been straightened. It doesn't have to be perfectly straight.
  2. Drill a hole through the MDF floor where the hole you poked in the door will be when it is put in place. Stick the straightened paperclip into it.
  3. Put the door in place, push the paperclip all the way up, through the door, and into the MDF wall above the door. Before you push it all the way in, first put a blob of super glue on the very bottom of the paperclip so that it will stay in place. If the paper clip isso long it comes out of the top of the wall, clip it with your hobby clippers.
  4. Swing your door open and closed and admire your work!

That's it. Now you are ready to go out and build yourself a Prancing Pony! Good luck, and most importantly, have fun!