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Scratchbuilding thatched huts

The classic "hootches" of Vietnam can be made in a variety of ways. A simple method is to cut a rough shape from block balsa, then cover this with filler/plaster and comb or brush a "thatch" texture into the wet covering. When painted, these crude buildings are surprisingly effective. 

Another method is to build a balsa/cardboard building shape (possibly with separate roof section) and then cover this with tapestry/embroidery mesh (available from craft shops, etc) for the walls - it gives a nice "matted" effect, and plumbers lagging (insulating felt) for the roof. Pieces of string or cotton can be attached for detail. 

Don't forget that most Indochinese dwellings are on "stilts" - so place the main building on a balsa or other "base" and attach lengths of matchstick/cocktail stick/bamboo skewer (depending on building size) to the underside of this. Peasant dwellings would typically have various out-buildings, animal-pens, etc around them. These can either be made as the main buildings, or built as fenced enclosures (NB dried spaghetti makes good "bamboo canes" in 15mm!). A rectangle of upright poles, with cotton "lashing", and one or two model pigs inside looks quite nice! 

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