Seemed like a good time for a quick run through of terrain construction.
I have had these tubes lying around the workshop for some time, and I have been looking for a good project to use them in. As a useful piece of PA terrain, a fuel storage tank seems idea, it'll offer plenty of play potential, giving several locations to put figures in, as well as being a possible objective. So that is the plan then.
For the base, I used a piece of 6mm MDF. I sanded the edges down to meet the surrounding terrain.
Next up I cut (using the laser cutter) a walkway to go half way up and plates for the top of the three tubes.
I didn't want the top of the main tank to be flat as I felt that would be a little boring. SO I made a quick visit to the local Hobbycraft store and found a polystyrene sphere.
I sliced the top off, making sure that this dome would allow enough room to get a 30mm base all around the top of the tank.
I also laser cut a couple of dozen steps.
Dry fitting the pieces you can start to see the basic layout. I needed to cut a section out of the walkway, to allow for the steps to get through it. So I did it at this stage.
At this point I glued the three tubes to the base, glued the tops and the walkway on and then gave the whole thing a coat of MDF sealer, to stop moisture absorption later on. Then I glued the steps in place. Now as the tube is just (very) thick cardboard I found that the steps would pull away from the tube, and also tended to droop (I could have pinned them, but I was in a bit of a hurry at this stage and I thought I could get away with it, oh well lesson learned).
I didn't want to pull all the steps off again, so instead I laser cut some supports to go underneath them. Along with this I also cut some piece to take a handrail, or rope.
Next up, gluing these pieces in place. I should have measured the spacing, but to be honest i just did it by, and I don't think that it looks too bad.
This got me thinking about the "railings", I was considering using a fine cord, but with a little investigation I found I could get two metres of 2mm beading chain for around £2, which I promptly ordered. Hopefully it would fit though the holes on the uprights...
I wanted to have some pipes connecting the three tubes . So first I found a piece of plastic girder and cut it at 90degrees, to act as a support for the pipes. Next I cut and bent various pieces of plastic tube and rod. I bent by holding it over a lighter for a couple of seconds. This works well for rod, but the tube tends to fold rather than bending. Still with a bit of filling and filing I got it to look reasonably good. Please remember, this build is going to be dirtied down and made to look abandoned, so will be quite a lot of room to hide imperfections.
I glued the pipes in place and added a pipe running directly between the two small tanks, and also a waste run-off pipe on one of them...
That worked well and I felt it looked fairly "industrial" without getting it too bogged down with detail that could get damaged on the gaming table. I wanted to keep the tops of the two small tanks fairly flat so that an intrepid sniper, or watchman could get up there if he wanted to, still they do look a bit plain at this stage, maybe I will have to add a little more to them.
On to the top of the main tank. I glued the polystyrene dome in the middle and then painted it with a nice thick coat of emulsion. This protects the polystyrene from more aggressive substances that may dissolve it, such as some types of spray paint. I wasn't happy with the finish, as it was still clearly a piece of polystyrene, so smoothed some air drying woodfiller over it, allowed that to dry and then sanded it down. Much better!
Another coat of emulsion and a bit more sanding and I was finally satisfied with the finish. The dome was still a bit boring, so I decided to add a hatch at the top of the dome.
As I had the laser cut hatch design sitting on my computer this seemed like a good way to add a bit of interest to one of the smaller tubes, and as they match, it also ties the design together...
The base needed a bit more detail too, so I decided to add some kind of control panel to one of the tanks.
I engraved the screen keyboard and other detail and cut the piece with the laser cutter again. Simple but effective.
Now, the hatch on the smaller tube really needed a ladder to give access, so this finished off most of the structure of the model.
In the next article I will move on to the painting.