makin' baseboards

here we follow the manufacture of a fairly typical 'baseboard' for an architectural model, the setting into which a given project or development might be built: it all begins with a site-plan drawing that gives details of the various land-levels surrounding the scheme, and the slab-levels of the individual buildings, that will be involved in the creation of the proposal or planning model. The first stage is to 'map out' the land-levels (the 'easy' bit) with graded depths of MDF. As you can see, tea is a must. While all this is going on, somebody a bit cleverer is usually making the buildings that'll fit into the relevant spaces on the baseboard...

things get a bit more complicated as we progress to the slab-levels of the buildings - especially if, as with this particular model - the scheme is built into a bit of a hill, since this requires a series of gradual drops in slab-level from the topmost building down to the lowest one as it meets the road that will serve the site. The holes drilled through the board at various points will facilitate the later insertion of a basic lighting system. Meanwhile, once the levels have all been established, the structure is 'skinned' with a layer of perspex that will provide the basis of the baseboard's actual surface, the work on the levels merely providing the substructure for the model proper. A veritable forest of screws ensures that everything stays where it's wanted.

lots of filler (product-placement shot for 'Galv-X', top left) makes for hiding all the screwheads and the cut-lines through the perspex: somewhere in between slapping all that on and sanding it off again, an 'offsite' block-model is constructed of the castle-like building that lies close to the proposed development, to show the scheme in context with its immediate surroundings; the block-model should fit nice and neatly on the little flat plate shown just beneath that ever-intruding tea-mug on the left of the third picture here...

once the road-level surface-finish is neat and smooth, the paving-level is applied, usually with 0.5mm thickness plasticard - the details for this are cut from a second copy of the original site plan drawings; a wooden trim is fitted around the model, which provides a support for the perspex display-case that will eventually cover it, and will also house a button for operating the light-system - sections of foam block have been added into the spaces for the buildings, into which the bulbs for the lighting system will be inserted, to illuminate the individual houses from beneath. With all of these touches in place, the model gets its first spraycoat, which will represent the road-colour.

the roads and the sides of the model are masked off, and then the spraying process is repeated for each of the surface-colours to be used in the scheme, each colour masked off in turn; once all of the colours have been applied as desired, the whole model is de-masked, and then pavement-edges and car-park markings etc. are drawn onto the surfaces where required using a good old-fashioned ruling pen. The areas not specified as road or paving are then 'grassed' with green flocking.

buildings, walls and fences, trees and planting, and cars and people (actually, the latter haven't yet been put on in these pictures) are added to create the finished product; also, the wiring for the lighting-system is rigged up in the space beneath the model, neatly housed and hidden away under a layer of pegboard attached to the underside. A veneer is applied to the wooden trim to make it look a bit more fancy, and a button for the lights is also added - which, as the last picture shows, ends up working as it should.