This is a model I made last weekend for book 5 of Bizenghast. It's about three feet long and two feet high and is one of my largest models.
It took about three days total to make, and was one of the more complicated models I've made. I had an idea for a treehouse temple, so I first got a large piece of thick styrofoam for the base, then hunted around outdoors for the perfect small branches to make the trees. After securing them in the foam, I put down a layer of undergrowth, using some craft reindeer moss that reminded me of bonzai trees. I then constructed cardboard platforms for the little houses and covered them in balsa wood planks. Most of the rest of the structures are made of various balsa pieces...I ended up using over 100 separate pieces of balsa, cut up with an exacto and model-glued together. The red lanterns are made of translucent red paper on small stick frames, and I used small chandelier bulbs and copper wiring to wire the whole model so that all the lanterns light up! I love wiring things to light up cuz it's cool.
The other red sections are a kind of fabric that is red on the outside and gold on the inside, stretched over tiny wooden frames and secured upright to made dividers and awnings.
The roof of the main building is made of paper and balsa, covered in sequins to represent roof tiles and painted with a metal-based paint that I then brushed a chemical paint over. The chemical layer reacts with the metal paint to create a patina, which is that greenish-rust that metal gets when it's outside for a long time. I then used model craft snow, powdered over the whole model to simulate a frost on the ground and roof.
The little rock garden on the left is made of rocks I gathered from behind my house in the parking lot, and covered in craft snow.
This model took a long time, especially gluing the sequin-tiles onto the roof one by one (over 800), but it was totally worth it and was a lot of fun to make!
This is one of three major models I'm using for reference while I work on book 5. Models save me a lot of time because they help me think of the scenery and sets in three dimensions, and help me set up more dynamic shots!