Friday 23 January 2015

Post Apocalyptic Terrain Modelling Part 2

In my last post I ran through the development and construction of the Fuel Storage Tank terrain piece.

This time I am going to go through the painting and finishing process.

I mentioned in the previous article that I had already given the model a coat of MDF sealer. This is brushed on and soaks into the porous materials very quickly. It works well to stop moisture getting in to the model over time and also stiffens up the finish a little, it does however raise a little texture (on MDF in particular), so for fine models I would advise a light sandting afterwards. It wasn't necessary in this case though...

I started the painting, by giving the whole model a spray coat of grey primer. This is a great way to spot problems that you might have missed during construction. The even colour makes it a lot easier to spot things that you may have missed earlier in the process.

I want the finished to appear abandoned and left to decay, so there is going to be a lot of rust! Hunting around on Youtube I found several different techniques for producing a reasonably realistic rust effect. I also purchased a digital copy of The Weathering Magazine issue No.1 which concentrated on rust effects (I got this through the magazines Android Play App). From all this research I discovered the "Rock Salt" technique. The first thing to do is to paint the model with a rusty colour, I settled on a red-ish brown and gave it a brushed on coat all over. Next up I used a wet brush and sprinkled rock salt over the model. Unfortunately the only rock salt we had in the house was in very course granules. I tried to crush some down, which did work, but my advice would be to get a finer grade, if you are using this technique on more detailed or smaller scale models.

I now had to leave the model to dry, The rock salt sticks to the model, but make sure it is left in a very dry, and reasonably warm environment, as any moisture in the air will cause problems with the salt drying.

The next stage is to spray paint the model with the main colour. Keeping with a straight forward industrial feel I wanted a simple steel structure. I had a can of Chrome/Silver paint lying around so I used that. My first reaction at this point was, "what have I done, that is far to bright and shiny!" However, I knew I would be doing quite a lot of work on ageing the model so I wasn't to concerned at this point.

Also note, at this point the chain for the railing finally arrived and I spent over an hour threading it through the uprights...

Once the silver spray paint has dried, you simply take a stiff brush to the model and brush off as much of the salt as possible. This made a great difference to the finish, and left the whole model covered in blotches of rust. The pattern looked really naturalistic and I was very pleased with the result. I will certainly be trying this again on future projects.

 I wanted to brand my oil tank, to give it a bit more character, so I laser cut a fairly simple stencil.

I masked off the side of the tank and used a couple of spray cans (Red and Gold) to add the company logo to the side.

I could have spent a lot more time and effort getting all this detail spot on, but again, I know i would be ageing it down again afterwards, so this was perfectly acceptable.

I must admit, that at this point I was moving at quite a pace, and I forgot to photograph the final stages. So you will have to settle for the written description of the process.

Next I applied some rust coloured weathering powders (there are several companies that make these, MIG, Humbrol, AK Interactive, even GW Forgeworld). I mixed some of the powder with water, then brushed it on to the areas that I wanted to have rust marks on. Once this has dried the powder can actually be brushed off if you are not careful. However, I used a mix of Humbrol Decalfix and water, to spread the rust a little further, and also give it some extra adhesion.

I decided to add a few warning signs, dotted around the model. I search Google for a few photos of signs, or graphic images. Took them in to a photo editing software (my software of choice is Serif Photoplus, a much cheaper alternative to Photoshop, but with an excellent range of features), I aged them and resized them, then simply printed them on normal printer paper. I used PVA to stick the signs around the model.

 Time for some scenics. I used PVA to stick sand all around the base and also added a little on the top and on the walkway, then painted it brown.

Then I added various plants to the scene. I laser cut some green paper Ivy like vines. I also added several plastic plants that had come from artificial house plants, and finally some tuts of long grass that I got from a railway modelling company. This was all finished off with some scatter materials that were spread around the base and on various places on the model.

Please excuse the half finished figures in the photos, The Hasslefree Miniatures Hazmat Team seems most appropriate for the subject matter!


 For the waste pipe I glued a piece of wire into it, and then allowed some glue to run down it. I did this with the glue a couple of times to build the bulk up and then painted it with a glow in the dark paint. It's a very small area, so the paint doesn't glow much, however, for the following photo I found a UV light I had for curing resin and used that to help with the photos.

I'm very please with the final result. I think the finished piece works really well. The only real downside is that I feel that I will have to get the rest of the scenery up to this standard now...

Thursday 22 January 2015

Post Apocalyptic Terrain Modelling - The next big project...

I have started to put together a new collection of scenery for our new Post Apocalyptic (PA) campaign (we will be using the Across The Dead Earth rules).

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.

Part 2
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