The Alternative Townhouse

The alternative townhouse

Not a house where…. alternative… things happen, but rather the Citadel Townhouse from the old modelling articles by Phil Lewis and Dave Andrews. This article appeared in White Dwarf 137 and in addition to the ordinary templates, it also featured templates for an extension to the townhouse, which was called the “alternative townhouse”. Being that I had very limited experience of building scenery, naturally I went for that option; and these are the results.

The only differences from the templates are the addition of the dormer windows and the windows under the gable on the end of the house.

Overall the construction was fairly easy. I blew the templates up to A3 size on a photocopier, and traced them for the walls. Otherwise I didn’t really measure anything, just using eyeballing to hopefully give it that slightly ramshackle Warhammer look (that’s the excuse anyway). I constructed it all from foamboard, which I found to be exceedingly easy; it was much faster to construct the basic structure than was the cardboard formers used in the barn and it weighs much less, though it is also much less sturdy.

Fantasy townhouse WIP 1
Foamboard and balsa
Fantasy Townhouse WIP 2
Blue insulation foam was carved for the chimneys

The only things that gave me any real trouble were the details. It took a while to work out how to do the windows properly; there being, of course, no explanation in the article. I also, on the spur of the moment, added dormer windows when I coincidentally had some offcuts that seemed the perfect shape to do it.

I used vinyl flyscreen to make the leaded windows….


…..following month after fruitless month searching for aluminium or steel mesh…. I know it exists; just not in Australia, and if ordered on the internet I only seemed to get mesh that was far, far too fine to use for, well for anything really.

I also think that next time I would use thick card instead of balsa wood for the timbering, as the balsa is too thick and stands proud of the plasterwork by no small amount. It makes the house look more like a modern mock-Tudor (where the timbering is purely decorative) when on a real Tudor house the timbering would be flush with the plasterwork as the timber was actually load-bearing and part of the walls (some pictures below illustrate what I mean).

Real Tudor timbering
Fake Tudor timbering

Once constructed, I covered the whole structure (apart from the windows) in gloop (a mix of PVA, sand, filler, and water) as recommended on Tony Harwood’s blog. At first I wasn’t too sure about this, but it actually worked out quite well in the end. I think I should have left the roof tiles clean though…. or perhaps use a finer grade of sand. I would definitely use a finer grade of sand or no sand at all on the roof if I was planning to paint the roof as slate (which I was for this model – to give it that 5th edition Warhammer look – but it turned out I had run out of blue paint so they became clay tiles instead).

WIP painting

Overall I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out and I learned a lot. I cannot recollect how long it all took (I don’t really want to add it up, to be honest) but I know the next one will be a breeze…. which is the idea, I guess.

I must also add, this is the only example of the “alternative townhouse” I have ever seen. The end chimney was also my addition, as were the decorative timbers; it felt too bland otherwise.

The doors are Milliput


Unfortunately I can only use flash photography at the moment….
…which has rather washed everything out….
….and made it appear far more glossy than it really is….
I also based it, which given I intend it to be a country manor seems appropriate, though future houses will not be based so that they can be used in both urban and rural settings.

These are some pictures from the articles itself… I think it turned out well all in all.

Fantasy townhouse Phil Lewis
From the article


Fantasy townhouse Phil Lewis White Dwarf 137 back cover low res
The back cover of White Dwarf 137