I've been mulling over some terrain pieces for the Boxer Rebellion project and focusing mainly on creating a small legation compound. My first thought was to try and track down some or all of the Old Glory legation sets that were produced in the 90s and subsequently discontinued. These would make things much easier.
Old Glory legation sets.
Unfortunately, finding any or some of these would seem to be a fruitless exercise. So, on to the interwebs for a search for images and inspiration for scratch-building. After some searching, I decided I would do something like this from the SOTCW blog:
This a smallish (!) compound with one European-style central legation building surrounded by a walled courtyard and two or three Chinese buildings. I think this type of set up could be a good start for the terrain-making. The flags could even be swapped out to represent different legations, depending on the scenario.
Then I saw the one below from the same website. It really resonated with me aesthetically and got me puttering away at my desk.
I found in my vast pile of stuff that'll some day be useful a Lionel "O" scale plastic building. This, I thought would be a good base to work from as the central European-style building of the legation compound.
Lionel Municipal Building in "O" scale, box cover photo.
Building facade, as per the instructions.
I decided I liked the flat roof of the version on the SOTCW blog and accordingly sliced off the wall peaks of the end pieces. I also have in the box o' stuff some other Lionel buildings, bought years ago for a song and patiently waiting for me ever since. I scavenged a flat roof section that fit the current model perfectly. I also added some wall decorations from balsa.
A shot of the interior, showing the second floor and interior staircase.
Roofing details added. The corner fencing pieces were designed to go over the upper story windows. The short walls between the fenced corners are made from foam board. I also dug through my bits box and came up with some sidewalk pieces re-purposed as a surrounding terrace. The short wall on the end terrace was a piece from who-knows-where but I only had one so I needed to scratch-build the shorter version next to the front steps to match (a bit fiddly but worth it). The corners of the terraces will eventually see sculptures (lions maybe?) or some shrubbery.
A better shot of the end terrace with resin wall.
Rear view. The original model came with a loading ramp. I chose to replace it with an extension of the terrace and stairs up to a small landing (made of plastic and cardboard). I stole the stairs from the interior second floor. I've realized over the years that little or no interior detail is required, since the buildings are rarely opened and when they are, it's better to have as little clutter as possible.
More roof details. The foamboard walls have been capped with card and a central chimney has been added from various wood and card pieces. I need to source out some tubing for the two chimney stacks and probably add some brick sheeting to the lower faces of the chimney structure.
Many parts of the building and the compound will have added sandbags and crates, barrels etc to add a besieged look. Must start making sandbags...sigh.