Safe as (Store) Houses…

In the spirit of the final post for Oriental Fantasy month, I present the topic of this week’s post in the form of a haiku;

Sweet little kura

how can you protect my grain

when you have no door?

As the initial impetus for Oriental Fantasy month was painting a Bushi Buntai to oppose my Nezumi (re-purposed Jes Goodwin Skaven, which I will get round to painting at some point), I needed a reason for them to fight. Rats eat grain and, in medieval Japan, grain (amongst other things) was stored in storehouses known as kura.

Japanese dwellings had limited storage space and were constructed mainly from wood, so to limit losses caused by fire, essential foodstuffs and important personal possessions were stored in separate buildings, built far enough away from the homestead to prevent the spread of fire. The greater your possessions, the larger your kura, so this was a good way to tell who was the most affluent in the village.

So, needing a kura, I did some research online and found Oshiro Modelterrain, who do a lovely range of 28mm Japanese buildings. However, I also found this article on the Mura Miniatures site, on how to construct 28mm Japanese buildings. As the amount of materials I had to hand far outweighed my hobby budget for the month, I decided to use the images from Oshiro and the tutorial from Mura and have a go at making my own. And this is what I came up with:


The four walls are 5mm foamboard, with mitred corners, so cut from one continuous piece with a single join. The lower parts of the walls were than clad with lengths of “hobby wood” (no idea what this stuff is – it’s not balsa) for the frames provided by a friend, which were then filled with cut lengths of coffee stirrers provided by McDonalds. The top half of the walls were then covered with a ‘sample’ of textured wallpaper kindly provided by my local DIY.

Originally the roof was going to be removable, but as I was having ‘issues’ (i.e. it wouldn’t bloody work the way I wanted it to) with the structure, I decided to glue it in place. This ridge is another length of hobby wood, the supports are more coffee stirrers and the actual roof is made from an insulated cup holder (i.e. single-sided corrugated cardboard) provided by Starbucks.

So, other than the foamboard, everything else used to construct this building was FREE!

Once I’d built it, I decided that the front of the building looked a little bare compared to the other four walls, as they had the high windows associated with this kind of structure (used for ventilation). Having squirreled away a metal tag/medallion that had been worn by a chocolate rabbit from Aldi and remembering the Japanese folk tale regarding Tsuki no usagi, the Moon Rabbit, I decided to use this as a decorative plaque above the door. Rather than leave it in its natural brassy colour, I was inspired to attempt to paint it to resemble jade, inspired by this object;


This was a gift from my mother, who I believe was trying to assuage her guilt in spending my inheritance cruising up and down the Yellow River in China with the rest of the Saga-Nauts.

The corrugated card roof was scored with a metal ruler, in attempt to resemble courses of tiles, then painted with GW Marine Dark Blue, then GW Blue Ink. This was to try to give the impression of glazed porcelain tiles.

The wood had several coats of a GW brown, whose name has been lost to the mists of time, and the walls were painted with Docrafts Linen. And this is what it looks like now:


And here’s a close-up of the plaque;


However, as the haiku above notes, it has no door, so it’s not the most secure of buildings…

To finish off Oriental Fantasy month, I thought I’d provide a group shot of the figures I’ve actually finished;


So, a male and female Oni, an Onryo, a Jorogumo, a Basan, a Kyonshi and a Ryu, which have all had the final detail added to them (including eyes! Finally managed to successfully do this. Hoorah!). The Bushi Buntai that started this all off is still waiting a few final details, as are the Kitsune  and Tengu conversions, but I’ve run out of time!

Next month I’ll be returning to Eternia, or R-Eternia as I like to call it, and will once again be joined by Roger Webb over at Rantings from Under the Wargames Table. We will be attempting, once again, to recreate iconic characters from the Masters of the Universe franchise, with varying degrees of success. If you want to see our earlier attempts, take a look at our posts from July, which was officially dubbed “He-Month”.

Thanks for visiting. Comments and feedback appreciated, as always.

9 thoughts on “Safe as (Store) Houses…

  1. That is a gorgeous building you have there Jez, it really looks the business! and a great little group of figures too. Oriental fantasy isn’t something I’ve every really been tempted by (though I did paint up a group of figures I got as samples a while back), but I could almost be cajoled into this if I didn’t have sooooo many other projects currently on the go.

    Looking forward to “He-month 2” now, I’ve sorted out which childhood memorys I’m going to “desecrate” first, so let the fun begin!!

    Cheers Roger.


    • Thanks Roger. I was quite pleased how well it came out and also how much it cost to make. As for the subject, I blame The Water Margin and Monkey initially, but any culture that has Samurai, Ninja and giant killer chickens gets my vote.
      I think I’ve tempted you enough already, so I’m putting them away for the time being.
      He-Month 2 beckons, then I think I’ll catching up on some supers for October (no zombies for me, I’m afraid), before the craziness of Frostgrave Mo’vember. Can hardly wait!!!


    • Thanks Michael. I knew it needed something extra and the tag was just a perfect fit. I do have another couple of buildings “under construction”, both of which are for superhero gaming, which will make an appearance on my blog at some point. However, as next month is another round of Eternian madness, they may have to wait until that’s over. Plus Roger wants to know how I scratch-built my fire hydrants, so I might do a month of terrain and scenics for supers, just for a change.


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