Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ruined Building #2

The original intent of the city project was to have a nice, new city to battle over. Building intact structures was taking a bit longer than I cared for, so in order to get some buildings on the table I opted for ruins. These ruins are built from Styrofoam packaging. 

Like all of the ruins, this is based on a 12"x 12" piece of double corrugated cardboard with the edges covered with masking tape to hide the corrugations.

The Styrofoam packaging was simply broken into various shapes and then arranged on the board in a pleasing fashion. Damage was inflicted upon the foam with a razor blade and my fingernails. I like the foam packaging because the outside has a fairly smooth surface, but when broken it has a very uneven look which helps it make look battered and broken.

Once the damage was done the pieces were hot glued into place. Drinking straws were glued in various locations as electrical conduit; old, electrical wires were glued into the ends of the straws to simulate old, electrical wires. Metal fencing pieces were jammed into the foam and glued into place in various areas. Other bits of debris and old keyboard keys were attached for rubble. Chunks of foam and sprue rubble are also used.

The top of a contact saline solution bottle was attached to the "roof" for an HVAC- thingy.

Once assembled the entire piece was given three coats of textured paint. the great thing about the textured paint is when applied to the flat areas of the foam buildings it fills in and helps hide the fact that it's beaded Styrofoam. When it's painted on the rough parts it takes away the "individual ball" look of the ripped foam, making it look more like crumbling concrete.

Once dry the concrete walls were drybrushed from dark grey to light grey to white; fences and HVAC-thingy were drybrushed silver, the conduit was painted dark green and drybrushed to a light green and the wires were painted red and given a very light dry brush of off- white. The keyboard keys were painted blue.

Once the base painting was complete, I stuck some weird Japanese stickers here and there. They wouldn't stay, so they were superglued into place. Light drybrushes of brown and green were applied to various parts of the piece to break up the grey and to add weathering. Burnt Sienna was drybrushed onto the metallic parts to simulate rust.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The First Ruin

This project is actually based on half of a firehouse play set I purchased at Wal Mart for $5.00. The building is a decent size and it came with a bunch of accessories; some are scaled well and some aren't (like the fire trucks.)

The play set was modified slightly. The ladder running up the front was removed, as were the window frames. A handle also had to be cut from the center of the building, as well as the hinge and snap that held the play set closed when not being used (it also doubled as a carrying case for the accessories.)

Foam core walls were cut out and notched to fit into the sides of the front half of the play set, and a foam core floor was also cut and installed. The rebar- type pieces coming out of the walls are the rails from model railroad train tracks.

Squares of card were cut out and glued into place to create the sidewalk around the building.

Various pieces were glued around and in the building to complete the ruined effect. Sprue rubble was also used. Sprue rubble is simply model sprues cut into bits and glued into piles to create a rubble effect.

The entire piece was sprayed black, and a heavy coat of textured paint was applied. The building was drybrushed dark grey up to a white, as was the sidewalk. The various bits of rubble and accessories were painted various colors.

The Cemetary

At Games Day 2003 I bought a bunch of headstones and grave markers for no apparent reason. I used them to create a graveyard for my modern city layout. It's a fairly open and dangerous place to hang out in, but with the open grave it can be a creepy location for a mission objective...

The cemetery is located on a hill. The hill was made by carving and sanding a nice slope into a 12" x 12" piece of insulation foam. The open grave was also cut out of the foam. The hill was then glued to the cardboard base, with the edges covered in masking tape to cover the corrugations.

The headstones were then added to the hill. The large ones were simply hot glued to the top of the hill. For the others I used a screwdriver to press a flat spot on the slope of the hill and then hot glued the headstones into place.

The fence was built by pinning decorative toothpicks to a sheet of foam core 1/2" apart, then laying floral wires along the toothpicks. The wires were then superglued to the toothpicks. Once the glue had dried to everything (including the foam core) the fence was cut free and pressed into the foam hill. Some sections of fence had broken free. These were not repaired; they were pressed into the hill and give the cemetery a dilapidated and unkempt look.

The mound of dirt was made by gluing a pile of sand near the open grave, then following this technique from the Hirst Arts webpage.

Once the piece was assembled the hill was brush primed black and then everything else was spray painted black. The fence was lightly drybrushed silver. The headstones were drybrushed from pewter grey to white. The dirt pile was drybrushed dark brown up to a tan.

After the paint was dry, the base was flocked with the typical grass. Green static grass was added along the fence and around the tombstones.

Chemical Storage Tank

This terrain piece was created for games that take place in industrial settings. It's a simple tank with an upper walkway. The materials used to make this piece are listed below:

Shampoo bottle
3.5" floppy disk drive part
Plastic bendy straws
Electrical components and odds and ends for junk
Double corrugated cardboard for the base
Glue (hot, PVA and super)
Metal fence material for ladder

I started out by cutting the base out of double corrugated cardboard, and covering the edges with masking tape to hide the corrugations. I then cut the cap end of the shampoo bottle off and dripped leftover shampoo all over the place. Make sure to rinse your containers out. I then dug through my box o' junk to build stuff out of and found a piece from an old floppy disk drive to use as the upper floor. The hole was already cut into it, so I just slid the bottle through. The upper floor was superglued into place and the bottle was superglued to the base.

Bendy straws were used for pipes coming out of the tower. They were routed through the upper floor via existing holes. One straw was placed toward the bottom and cut off to appear broken. An old gear was glued to another pipe to act as a valve handle.

Other off cut bits and electronic pieces were glued here and there on the base to provide cover for anyone on the ground level.

The ladder was made by cutting out a strip of metal fence material and then cutting out sections from the strip to make the rungs. The ladder was hot glued into place, promptly broke off, then superglued.
To make the slime pool in the top, I mixed some PVA glue with green paint and water and poured it onto the top of the tower. I then added some superglue to make a strange bubbly mess. That didn't work. The superglue instantly coagulated, so I pulled it out with a stick. It fell off the stick and landed on the board and dried almost instantly, so I left it on the piece (it’s the purple glob at the base of the tank.) Hot glue was dripped out of the end of the broken pipe to look like chemical dripping out.

After all the glues had dried, I spray primed the piece black and painted it. I then gave the entire thing a black wash and then a rust wash. After the washes were dried, I gave the various components a shade lighter dry brush than their base color.

After the paint was dry, I sprayed the piece with a sealant.

Chemical Pumping Station

Here is yet another terrain piece based off of a cheap toy. The main building is made from a Battlebots remote controlled combat car. The base is the bottom to an old modem. The rest is:

Plastic bendy straws      Floral Wire
Beads for rivets             Cardboard Tube
Thin Card                     Copper pipe fittings
Cross Stitching Plastic Grating

The Battlebot body was full of all kinds of interesting holes. I used the Cross Stitching material to cover up these holes from the inside, except for 4 on the top. The four on the top had bendy drinking straws pushed into them and one end of the bendy straw was pushed into the other. A thin strip of cereal box card was used to cover this joint. A square of card was also used to create a plate at one end of the pumping station for the large pipe to mount to.

The large pipe is cut from a tube used to hold fluorescent lights. I used a coping saw and razor blade to get the broken effect.

Rivets were created by gluing very small beads around the card strips on the bendy straws and around the edges of the plate under the large pipe.

A handle for the top hatch was created by bending a piece of floral wire into a U shape, drilling two very small holes in the hatch, and gluing the U handle into place.

The station was then superglued to the bottom side of an old modem case.

Copper pipe fittings were used to create barrels around the station. The circumference of the fittings was traced onto card, cut out and fit into the ends of the fittings. A leather punch was used to create small caps on the lids from pieces of card.

Hot glue was used to create the drips of chemical coming from the tipped over barrel, one of the bendy straw joints and the broken pipe.

The painting was very typical; sprayed black, base coated, washed black and rust, and highlighted. The piece was sprayed with a sealant and a gloss varnish was applied to the chemical drips.

Cardboard Ruins Dress Up Kit

I picked up some old Games Workshop cardboard ruins on eBay, mistaking these 28mm ruins for 1:300. They look pretty pathetic alone so I dressed them up a bit. They are basically done the same way I created the Overgrown Ruin piece. Some pieces were done with different color floor tiles to change the look.

This ruin was based on thin cardboard with the edges covered with masking tape to hide the corrugations. Sprue rubble piles were added here and there. The ruins below are all based on foam core with the edges smoothed for a better transition from tabletop to base. The edges are taped to conceal the exposed foam.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blood Bowl Counters

And to finish off the Blood Bowl stuff, the counters for the board:

After the pitch and dugouts were complete, there was only one thing left to do before the board could be used: Create counters so you could actually tell what turn it was and who was winning!

All of the counters are mounted on standard 1" round slotted bases. A piece of masking tape covers the slot and a hole was punched in the center of the tape to allow a long Games Workshop flight stand to be inserted into it.

The bases were painted blue and red so there would be a set for each team. The bases were then flocked with the same mixture used on the pitch and dugouts.

The tops of the bases are different, depending on what the counter represents. The counters are as follows:

Re- Roll Counters

The re- roll counters allow you throw a die again after an undesirable result has been rolled. These counters were made simply by drilling out the pip on the "1" side of a small d6 and super gluing to the peg on the top of the flight stand.  16 of these were made; 8 for each team.

Touchdown Counters

The touchdown counter is used to note how many touchdowns you have scored this game. These were made from flat, plastic footballs which originally had a spike at the bottom. They were purchased at a party supply store and were originally for holding sandwiches together, like a toothpick or skewer. The spike was cut off and then they were carefully drilled out to accommodate the peg on the flight stand. The ball was then superglued to the flight stand. Two of these were made; one for each team.

Turn Counters

The turn counters are used to keep track of which turn it is in which half of the game. The original game uses cardboard chips with a skull on it.

I cast two skulls from the Hirst Arts fieldstone wall mold, primed them black and drybrushed them from dark grey to white. I then drilled a hole in the bottom for the peg on the flight stand and superglued it to the stand. Two of these were made; one for each team.

Blood Bowl Dugouts

To continue on with the Blood Bowl pitch theme, here are the dugouts!

The dugouts are mounting on the same cardboard/ foam base that the pitch is built on. The locations of the walls were first marked off on the base to make sure that the dugout would be centered.

The walls were cut out of 3/4" Styrofoam to the desired lengths using a hot foam cutter. They were then glued into place and then pinned together and to the base with toothpicks.

Once the glue was dry wall filler was used to cover the Styrofoam walls. A brush was stippled into the filler to create some texture. Once the wall filler was dry it was sanded down to remove any pointy edges that may have formed.

The floor inside the dugout, as well as a trail leading out of the dugout, was covered in the typical PVA glue mix and sand was sprinkled over it.

Once the glue was dry, the exposed foam was brush- painted black and then the piece was spray painted black.

The walls of the dugout were drybrushed from a dark grey color to a white, and the dirt floors were drybrushed from a dark brown to a tan.

After painting the base was flocked with the same mixture as the pitch using my standard method: Two layers of flock and a layer of glue to seal it. Small signs were created in Microsoft Word and glued to the tops of the walls.

Blood Bowl Pitch

This piece was created for use with Games Workshop’s excellent Blood Bowl game.

The basis of the board is expanded Styrofoam (the kind made of little beads) mounted on corrugated cardboard. The edges were covered with masking tape to hide the foam and corrugations in the cardboard.

Next the playing grid was carefully measured out and drawn onto the Styrofoam. I have 1/4" between the lower board edge and the playing pitch and 1/4" between the side board edge and the playing pitch. A 26 x 15 grid was then marked off in 1 1/16" squares (the size of the squares on a standard pitch.)

After the grid was laid out 1/16" tile spacers were glued onto the intersections of the grid lines with tack glue thicker PVA glue.) These define the squares that the field is divided into.

After the glue on the tile spacers had dried sand was glued down in various places to simulate exposed dirt. The whole piece was brush- primed black once the sand was dry. The exposed dirt areas were drybrushed from dark brown to tan.

The turn, re- roll and touchdown tracks were created in Microsoft Word, printed onto heavy paper, cut out and glued into position.

Once the glue was dried a quarter of the board was covered in watered down PVA glue and covered in a flock mixture: Dark green flock, light brown flock, and ground tea leaves from tea bags. Once the board was dry the glue mix and flock were applied again. Once the second layer was dry the piece was covered in a coat of glue mix to prevent the flock from coming off during game play.

The lines were made by cutting a notch out of foam core, them measuring 1/8" increments and taping off sections to get the dashed lines. The only way I could get an absolutely straight line was with my foam core cutter with two blades in it. This resulted in the lines being wider than I wanted them to be, but it still works well.

Tamiya 1/48 Brick Wall, Sand Bag & Barricade Set

There are a lot of products on the market that simply don't picture or describe the contents exactly on the packaging.  I cannot stand this, and have always hesitate to purchase these items in the past.

 I'm assuming others feel the same, and so in an effort to aleviate some of the mystery surrounding these products I've decided to review them here as I pick them up.

Tamiya has several sets of 1/48 accessories.  I have purchased all of them, but today we'll start with the 1/48 Brick Wall, Sand Bag & Barricade Set.  This box retails for $13.50.

1/48 scale is about 33mm.  This may make these items too big for true 25mm figures.  For modern "28mm" figures, that range anywhere from 28mm- 32mm and are on a thickish base as well, this kit appears to work fine.

The cover of the box shows two brick walls, 6 tank obstacles and a sandbag position.  Not pictured on the cover, but on the side of the box, are wooden posts that can be used as fenceposts or used to create pylons for barbed wire.  So how much of this stuff do we actually get?  Let's take a look:

This is the full contents of the box.  There are three total frames; one of tank obstacles and wooden posts, and two of sandbags and brick walls.  Also included are single page, double printed instructions and an advertisement for other Tamiya 1/48 kits. 

There are enough tank obstacle components to construct eight of them.  That's two more than on the box cover!  Score! 

There are 24 wooden posts, which will allow you to build four of the barbed wire pylons.  They can also be used for regular posts, or anything else you'd need a log for.  Four doesn't seem like very many obstacles for wargaming.  Also, there is no barbed wire included in the kit.  There are instructions on how to make very decorative wire, or Pegasus Hobbies sells some too.  A review of that will come soon.

Looking at the other sprues we get 58 sandbags.  These are flat and hollow, and look like they stack up quite nicely.  It's too bad one can't buy just the sprues of sandbags.  It looks like there's enough sandbags to make two emplacements similar to the one pictured on the box cover.

The walls are excellent as well.  They are completely modular, so the half walls can be put together to make full walls, and they all interlock.  There is significantly more wall here than pictured on the box cover.  One could make a good size ruined building with one kit.

So that's all of it.  I think it's an excellent deal for $13.50, and will be picking up more.  The pieces are generic enough to be used in any modern setting from WWII to the future.  My only complaint is that they come in this "variety pack."  It would be nice if one could buy just brick walls, or sandbags, etc. 

If I didn't answer any questions, please ask!


People had asked for pictures of the pieces next to models for scale reference, so here we go!

Here is a 25/28mm Amazon Miniatures Secrets of the Shadow Reich figure, along with a Confrontation AT-43 walker and a Lindberg 1:48 Tiger model set up with an assembled wall section.

Here is a close- up of the wall.  This ruined corner was made by stacking 3 wall sections on top of each other.  The wall appears brown because I used a sand blasting gun to weather and distress the piece.

Here we see the three models again in front of the tank obstacles.

And finally, a close up of the sandbags around the Amazon Miniature.  I tried to stack them, but they are slippery and did not want to stay in place for this shot.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Epic 40K Ruins

These ruins are made from the Games Workshop Epic 40,000 plastic ruins.  They are all based on cardboard with the edges covered with masking tape to hide the corrugations. Random pieces from my bits box have been added, as well as a bunch of sprue rubble. The bases were coated in textured paint, and the pieces were primed black. Painting was a very basic drybrush of dark gray, to gray to white.


These Middle Eastern buildings consist of several mud huts and what was called "Saddam's Palace" on the packaging. All the pieces were cast in an orange, high density plaster.

Each piece was covered in brown ink, then drybrushed brown, tan, Bleached Bone, and finally white.

The water in the palace courtyard was inked blue and given a coat of brush on gloss. The domes were painted gold and given a black ink wash to pick out the details. The window lattice was painted silver.

The white building is the American White House. It was primed black, then drybrushed gray, light gray and then white. The roof was drybrushed a dark gray. The windows were painted using a jeweled effect.

The bunker is a resin piece based on a hex. It was primed black. I first drybrushed the turret GW Boltgun Metal. I then drybrushed the bunker dark gray to a light gray, with a final drybrush of white. I then blacked out the doors and windows. The ground was then drybrushed a dark brown, brown and then a light coat of tan. Small bits of ground cover were glued in low traffic areas, like the edges of the bunkers.

The beacon/ pillar things and the hab- dome were primed black. They were then drybrushed dark gray, light gray and a light coat of white. Various waterslide transfers were added to the beacons, and the windows and door of the dome were painted with the same type of jeweled effect.

If anyone knows who the manufacturer of any of these pieces is, please let me know!  Thanks!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Battletech Repair Bay

This piece is based on a Three- Mile Island nuclear power plant model. This kit is also "N" scale like the Factory. The main building of the kit is as it came, but the dome was cut nearly in half to accommodate a repair gantry. Most of the other parts were left out and added to the (at that time) tiny bits box.

The main building and rear platform were assembled per the instructions. The dome was cut in half and glued to the center of the rear platform. A piece of card had to be glued into the floor to cover the hole inside the floor of the dome. Though difficult to see in the pictures, thin wire was laid into the grooves of the dome and glued into place to give a tube frame- like look. The smokestack was also glued through a hole in the dome.

A hill was cut out of 3/4" foam and made to fit snugly against the side of the building and platform. I was trying to make it look like it was built on the side of a hill. A ramp was also made out of foam leading up to the repair bay dome.

The repair bay was built from some pieces of sprue, toothpicks and card. Some microchips and electrical connectors are also lying inside the bay. LEDs were glued to the roof of the main building to allow the roof to be easily removed. Course sand was glued to the roof of the building as well as on the ramp and platform.

The piece was primed white. The stone and asphalt areas were painted black and drybrushed to white. The bay interior was drybrushed silver. The bay and building were then given a rusty colored wash and a purplish wash (which turned out very purple in these pictures.) The dome exterior was painted an olive drab green and highlighted with a lighter green. The floor of the bay was painted gray with a spotty white highlight applied. Wash was added to the floor to look like oil and chemical spills.
The hills and ground were flocked and some lichen was used as bushes.

All in all I think this piece turned out fairly well. The hills don't fit the buildings as well as they should and the bay is just a bit too small for anything but the light 'mechs.

Battletech Factory

This factory was built from an inexpensive model kit purchased in the local model supply shop. I don't know the manufacturer's name, but I do know that it came in a simple plastic bag with instructions. The kit is surprisingly well made; with all of the pieces fitting together very well. It is an "N" scale building, which is too large for Battletech normally, but I wanted my buildings to be large enough to place Battlemechs inside.

The model was assembled per the instructions and based on a piece of double- corrugated cardboard. Masking tape was used to hide the corrugations. The original roof was thin plastic card which was replaced with a much heavier card.

Some capacitors and LEDs were glued to the loading dock to represent cargo. Plastic tubes were attached to the roof as chimneys. They also act as a handle to remove the roof.
The piece was primed black, base coated, washed in black and given various shades of drybrushing. The base was also flocked with green ground cover and some lichen was used for bushes. Railroad ballast was glued to the roof and to the base as walkways and driveways.