It is one of those obvious but often overlooked things about a new collection/army/"project" that we miniatures wargamers must account for is the terrain and environment within our forces must 'fight'. Foremost of these pieces are buildings, as they are the most obvious display of the era and conflict.
Thus with my growing forces of samurai and ashigaru I had to add some buildings as this is my first excursion 'east'. The local hobby store stocks 4Ground buildings. These are "prefab" MDF thin wood constructs which can be glued together. Other than a few oh-darn-I-put-that-piece-in-backwards!! moments, they went together well, with good precision. The pieces are laser cut and the lingering smell of burnt wood might last awhile. I was showing my wife my efforts and after the obligatory "That's nice, dear", she questioned if the neighbours had their fireplace on. Her good nose still noticed the smell even after days of the finished model sitting in the open.
As most of the model is "pre-painted" I did little painting other than the top of the roof design which I painted a similar color to that of the rest of the wood; and the overhang of the house which I felt a little too light a wood shade and gave it a heavy wash instead to maintain the dark planking marks.
The main alteration was with the 'thatch' roof which was supplied with the model and made from teddy-bear fur! The Japanese roof design is slightly outward at the top but the supplied fur for both models was laying in the wrong direction! However I pulled and stretched the fur backing.
Once glued firmly in place, and using painters tape to protect the roof ends of the model as I knew it would be messy work, I brought out a very large stiff haired brush to mix and apply a heavy combination of dark paint, white glue, and a bit of water, over the entire roof. This pasted down the golden tinted 'hair' to make it slightly more "thatchy" I hoped. A comb was used to slightly uplift horizontal lines to simulate the layers of thatch. A light dry-brush of a dull grey tries to replicate the weathered effects of old materials.
As it was my very first attempt at teddybear fur, I was nervous about its effectiveness but I think it looks the part (having never seen the real thing, mind you!) and looks a bit better than the original manufacturers model I feel. Nevertheless, now I have "context" for my samurai battles of the future.