Monday, November 26, 2012

Brickworks Tutorial

Styrene Is Your Friend

If it wasn't for styrene - the pink sort - being available at my neighborhood 'do-it-yourself' home supplies store, I'd be out-of-luck.  I prefer the denser white styro-foam because it is easier to create shapes but two things are against my choice of it.  # 1) The really good stuff costs lots of money, and #2) The cheaper stuff is irritating to carve because it squeaks when I put a knife to it.

As a result, I went to my Home Depot (or Menard's, or Lowe's, or Orchard Supply Hardware) store and picked up a large sheet about 0.50" thick.  These housing insulation foam sheets are sold in 48" x 96" and so I have more than enough ... for now.

Brick Stamp

You'll want to create a brick stamp using the eraser end of a standard #2 pencil.  Just remove the eraser nub and reshape the eraser nub container into a rough rectangular shape.  It doesn't have to be precise. 

Brick Walls

I create my brick walls by cutting out styrene into sections that are 35 MM, 50 MM, or 65 MM tall and into 6-inch and 8-inch sections.  Anything larger than that is not useful for free-standing walls because they'll force too many gauntlet situations during game-play.  Shorter sections are useful if joined into L-shaped corners.

Use the brick stamp to apply pressure against the styrene to form offset rows ('brick pattern').  Try to keep the rows flush with the edges of the walls.  This effort will be tiring to your fingers but after many sessions it will become easier to do.


I often draw fragmentary outlines on the walls where I DO NOT stamp bricks.  These I use as guide-lines for when I paint later.  The areas within the outlines I paint a lighter flat color to simulate old mortar facades.  I also cut out long strips of cardstock or plasticard just a bit bigger than the footprint of each wall and affix them at the base in order to improve stability.


I'm informed by Aggro84 that the best way to paint styrene is to use a black primer coat which can be had using Krylon H20 spray paint.   You may want to purchase a lot of this.  For now, what I been doing is applying the primer coat manually using black or white acrylic paint.   Many of my walls are red-brick and so the pink styrene often won't need to be primed too much or at all.

Paint a base color upon the black such as a medium red.  Then, visit every brick with a different color from a fixed palette such as pink, light-red, and white.  It is quicker to take one color and dabble every third or fourth brick.  Try to avoid clusters of bricks with the same color.

Afterwards, add a thick black wash which will add strong contrast when the wall is finished.  When that drys, use the dry-brush technique on all bricks.  This gives a dusty look to the wall for the final effect.

My brick stamp is made from the end of a #2 pencil.

By creating offset rows with the brick stamp I can
generate a convincing wall out of styrene.

The bottom of this wall has an outline below which
I do not stamp. I reserve that to paint in white.

These free-standing walls are work-in-progress
and are about 50 MM tall.  They are mounted
upon plasticard to improve stability.

When painting the walls, vary the color of each
brick from a palette of pink + light-red + white.
This wall section is about 25 MM tall.