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Freelance Police office – wainscot and moving the rat hole

I haven’t been able to work on Sam & Max’s office (or anything) for most of July because Geoff was putting finishing touches on my new workshop, which is now 99% finished!

It’s a little bigger than my old workshop, with a level floor and real walls and a heater and a longer desk and the built-in cabinets I wanted all along. It even has a pocket door!

I’m still moving everything back in, I’ll post some more pictures when it’s all set up. I guarantee it won’t be neat and clean for long.

Back to the roombox! Last time I finished the stucco walls.

The bottom portion of the walls will be covered with wainscot. This looks slightly different in each version of the office: Telltale’s version has beveled panels, the LucasArts 3D version has simpler paneling, and the LucasArts 2D version has vertical slats.

My initial idea was to use 3″ tall basswood with 2″ squares cut from 2″ tall basswood to simulate the raised panels in the Telltale version (but without bevels).

This would have proven challenging around the rat hole, where I would have had to cut the hole into the panel. So I decided to do a simpler style, more like LucasArts’ 3D version, by laying thin 1/4″ strips on top of the 3″ basswood. This gives me more flexibility in the width of the panels and won’t interfere with the rat hole.

I drew on the bottoms of the walls to figure out the spacing for the wainscot. I really thought I snapped a picture of this at the time (a month ago) but apparently not, so apologies for the lack of a visual. But here you can see how it looks near the door.

The panels on the diagonal wall will be 2.5″ wide, because that’s what fit on those walls. Under the window they’re 2.75″ wide to play nicely with the layout of the windows.

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Freelance Police office – stucco walls with exposed lath

The windows and doors in the Sam & Max roombox will need to be placed in the holes before the false walls are glued in. For this reason I needed to stucco and paint the false walls outside of the roombox. (Normally I like to assemble first, then decorate.)

I was concerned about the center wall not having a lot of support behind it, especially around the windows, so I added spacers around the window holes.

These will stabilize the wall and will also enable me to glue the windows to the false wall before I glue in the wall, which I think will work better than trying to glue them in the exact right position on the outer wall (potentially smearing glue all over the graphics in the process).

The bottom portion of the wall will be covered by wainscot that I’ll make out of 3″ basswood. I drew a pencil line over the top edge so I’d know how far down the wall to stucco.

I taped off where the wainscot will start and also the top 1/4″ of the wall, where the molding will go.

The stucco is watered down wood filler, spread and textured with a sponge brush. You can read more about this technique here and here.

Once the whole wall was stuccoed, I covered the windows with tape to protect the stained wood and inserted them in the holes.

Then I added more stucco around the window edges to fill in the gaps.

I let that dry for about 15 minutes, then popped the windows out while the stucco was still wet and let them dry overnight. The area around the windows looks much better than it did pre-stucco!

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Freelance Police office – bricks and a view

The next step in the Freelance Police roombox is to prepare the walls that will get covered up by the false walls. I used a fan-made program named Telltale Explorer to extract the texture that displays outside the office windows in Telltale’s games.

I started by printing it in black and white, to see how it fit. It’s not wide enough to span the whole back wall, so I had to repeat the image. It’s also not tall enough, so I clipped a sky section out of another texture to go at the top.

When the windows are in place, it all blends together.

I printed out the graphic on photo paper, sprayed it with UV-resistant matte sealer, and left it to dry for 24 hours. The paper is glossy, but the spray is matte so that took the gloss away.

Next I painted the areas behind the doors and the rat hole. Outside the office door, I used a shade of gray similar to the office window in Telltale’s version of the game. Initially I painted the closet area black, but after looking at the closet in the game I realized it should be the same color as the wall.

I also realized the brick red I used for the base looks nothing like the brick paper I bought for the back of the roombox, which is more orangey. So I repainted the base and the closet wall area with a Behr paint sample called Harvest Brown, which I’m also planning to use for the walls (pictures are farther down in the post).

Next I stained the windows and closet door.

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