How to make a hut

Chris first hut
His second
Miniatures are 20mm Liberation Miniatures,
rules used is Dogs of war




By Chris Harvey.


Ironically I am superbly qualified to post on this subject, since in all of 40 years of Wargaming ( I’m 56) I have NEVER once made any piece of terrain or painted anything more complex than a 1:300 tank in camouflage.
One evening this week I decided that I would try to make a basic Wargaming African hut. You can see it under “My Dogs…” in the photo section.


Here’s how I did it and what I used.


1 Material. A pencil, some heavy duty scissors, a Stanley knife (I think Americans call them X-Acto) some super glue, five 20mm miniatures, some white/ivory and grey paint that had solidified, an old paintbrush and some cardboard. (Note I did not use a ruler!)


2 Method. First of all I figured out how big I wanted it to be. I figured maybe three men deep and five wide. So I laid the men down flat end to end, and made a pencil rectangle. This I cut out of what I call “three ply cardboard”. This is the stuff that Amazon sends their books out in. It has a sandwich of corrugated cardboard with flat cardboard as the bread (on the outside) It is thickish and fairly robust. There’s no point using cheaper nicer looking cardboard as I’ll explain.


So this rectangle gave me my floor and the dimensions of the hut. I then cut out the four walls, two long and two short. I guesstimated how high I wanted these by figuring that one of my 20mm men should be about 3/5ths ish as tall as the building. I.E. it would be taller than him, but not by much. I used the figures lain on the cardboard to “measure” the sizes. Then I cut them out not paying enough attention to how straight they were.


One level (the floor edge) ought to be fairly straight, not straight line straight, but straightish.


Impatient to glue it together I nearly forgot the door and windows. Here’s a tip – don’t forget. If you do you’ll be cutting doors and that extra obvious window in three dimensions which is a major pain. Much easier in two. Door? Taller than a man. Windows? Chap ought to be able to lean his elbows on it and look out – so head and shoulders height and width (roughly). Mark them in pencil and use the Stanley knife to punch through to make a square.


I use the type of Super Glue that fixes metal to metal, simply because that’s what I had and it sticks to everything very quickly. I laid a trail of glue on the base of the rear wall area on the floor, and on the lower edge of the rear wall where it was going to join. I placed them carefully and then held them for a minute. This is where thicker cardboard beats nice thin stuff. The thin stuff doesn’t have enough area to glue. (During that time the floor stuck to the table, my fingers stuck together and I nearly choked on the fumes.) Run your fingers under a tap, swizzle the floor around and around until it comes loose from the table and hold your breath!


I had one wall up ! This was fun!!


The two side pieces are easier to glue as you will have two edges to glue. Make as sure as you can that they are at rectangles and upright. I’m sure there’s a fancy technical way to do it, but swearing did it for me. All that remained then was to glue on the front – easy.
Now, remember the “three ply” cardboard? Well if you carefully strip away with your fingers the two outer pieces of “bread” you get the corrugated cardboard. Cut out a piece a bit bigger than the floor (you can always change it later) and you have your roof.


Painting is where it all comes together. Solidified paint can be liquefied by leaving it in hot water for about an hour. (I left mine in for 20 minutes.) Grab your paint brush and swab white or ivory over the walls. I would use two coats but I was impatient and ran out of white paint. Doesn’t matter if the white isn’t whiter than white, it looks better if its scrubby and dirty. When I was cutting out the cardboard a bit of the corrugated board was attached to the outer wall. I didn’t take it off ‘cause I figured it would look better as if bolted on to the building to fix a leak or somewhere a Rhino had tried to gatecrash. (I think it looks pretty neat.) When I get back to it, I’m maybe going to add some rust somewhere.


The roof I painted grey. Now when you’re painting the corrugated board use a dry brush first to clear out the crap (that’s a technical term) from the “U” shaped curved bits. Otherwise they’ll gum up the paint.
While you’ve been doing all this painting the paint has probably dried – so you’re done.
The big test of a good hut is to put some troops around it, bung some lichen near it and see what you think. If you like it then it’s a success. If your friends don’t like it, then get some different friends. If it wasn’t fun to do then don’t do it. If you’re like me though you will NEVER part with that hut. And the next one will have a veranda with *****tail sticks to hold the extra big roof on. Don’t forget, that paint covers a multitude of sins. I used Vallejo ‘cause I had it, but next time I’ll be using Coat d’ Arms. You need your wife’s/mum’s tea cup to mix the paint in, but it will wash off easily as will the brush.


I hope that’s helped. This really honestly is a case of “if I can do it you can”. I have NO experience of doing this, very little time (it all took me 90 minutes, but I’d do the next one in half the time probably.) and no skill whatsoever. I’ve been married 30 years (May15) and we’ve never owned a spanner, I’ve only just learned how to water plants and I have never used wall paper ƒº
Give it a try and post the results. Any questions, e-mail me.
Chris. Est. 8/13/1998