The Legends of the Guard Volume 2 Hardcover was released in-stores last week, and it occured to me, that I'd never done a proper blogpost of the model of the June Alley Inn. So, at long last, here is a proper tour of the model and my thoughts on it.
I built this model before starting the first volume back in '09 when starting work on the first Legends series.
Since all of my pages were going to occur in a tavern, and I wanted to have a clear idea of what this tavern looked like. I also wanted to establish areas of the tavern that would be easily recognizable, that way, when I was introducing 12 new mice, the reader may be able to help tell them apart not only by their clothes and fur color, but also by where in the tavern they were sitting.
As is my normal custom for designing locations, I work best when building them by hand from scraps of chipboard, cardboard, basswood, and other misc stuff in the studio. I started with the staircase and the bar in the center of the tavern space and built out from there tying to be somewhat symmetrical with regard to the placement of beams and doors.
The model is modular. Each wall is free-standing and the floor splits in two with the bar-top and staircase going on one side. This was for several reasons, one it's easier to move and store, but mainly because it's more useful to study and photograph if I can remove walls and get in there at mouse-eye-level.
The benches and tables were made out of very thin basswood (used for doll house flooring & paneling) and bristol board. The seating was a key aspect to the purpose of the model. I had to arrange the furniture in a way that made room for all the guests, made sense in the environment, and left me with interesting "camera" angles when drawing a lot of panels of talking mice. For both Legends series, I made a master seating plan for where each mouse was sitting
Details about how the tavern operated came to me as I built the model. The kitchen would be in the rear, and I gave it two doors so June wouldn't need to walk all the way around the bar when brining customers stew or bread. There was a vacant space under one of the stairwells I thought perfect for firewood storage. another vacancy under the stairs, but behind the bar became cellar stair entry. And to decorate the walls of the tavern I could "hide" the covers from the series as paintings/prints.
For Legends of the Guard Volume 2, I had thought about showing (either in my tavern pages, the epilogue, or just in the extras) the 2nd floor of the June Alley Inn. I made a model which sat on top of the existing model, was also modular in 2 pieces (mainly for transport & storage) and worked with the existing exterior elevation I'd drawn of the Inn. Once I had the floors in and the stairway cut out, I placed popsicle sticks down as temporary walls until I found a floorplan I liked.
The large room (back of the photo, but front of the inn) was to be June & Alistair's chambers, while some of the other rooms were to be private & communal guest rooms. Ultimately, the plan for including a second floor in Volume 2 was scrapped...but who knows...there may be a Volume 3....