Thursday, February 20, 2014

Desert Outpost (Part 1) - 15mm SciFi WIP

I've been working on some buildings for a desert outpost.  I started these when I began this project in early January, but I haven't worked on them since.  At the beginning, I thought I could completely scratch-build them with doors and other details.  I was wrong.  15mm is too small for me to get the kind of detail I wanted.  So, in frustration, I set them aside.  A few weeks later I came across some scratch-built buildings that included bits from Ground Zero Games.  That very evening I went to their online store and ordered one pack each of the following sets:

V15-BLD02 Large Doors
V15-BLD03 Civilian Building Doors
V15-BLD06 Roof Fittings A
V15-BLD07 Roof Fittings B
V15-BLD09 Solar Arrays
V15-BLD12 Circuit Panels and Junction Boxes

It came to about US$62.00 with shipping.  That is more than I wanted to spend on these buildings, but I figure all these bits will come in handy on other projects I have in mind.  My shipment arrived within two weeks of placing the order.  I'm very pleased with them!  They are just the thing to help these scratch-built creations come to life.
Three buildings made from plastic, single-serve cereal boxes mounted on CDs.
You can see my failed attempts at doors, etc. on these.
Here's a closeup of the power station, with a figure for scale...and a poorly built door.
This closeup shows the crap door and the texture gel stuff I used to texture the bases.
Here are the same buildings with the GZG doors being installed.
Looks MUCH better! 
I cut away some of the slope of the walls in order to recess the doors.  It looks a lot more realistic than just sticking the doors to the wall.  You can also see here that I've mounted some roof bits.
Since the cuts left gaps, I needed to fill them, so I broke this stuff out.  It is good stuff but I don't know if they sell it any longer.  This tube is older than I care to think about.
Here I've gooped some stuff around the door.  Once I've finished filling the gaps I will go back and sand/file the goop down to make it all blend.  I'm calling this piece a power station.  I like it so far!
Liam approves!
I'm not sure how I want to paint these for my desert table.  I was originally thinking of using shades of ivory/off white, but I don't want them to look like buildings on Tatooine.  Since they are supposed to be Earth Force, maybe I will go with some khaki and dark green combination to match the minis I'm painting.  We'll see.  I also want to experiment with some spray primers. Maybe I can come up with a quick and easy way to paint them.

That's all I've had time for this week.  Until next time, carry on!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Desert Hills - 15mm SciFi WIP

The final "natural" terrain features I am making for this project are some basic hills.  These are dead simple.  All you need is some scrap cardboard, some styrofoam, some texture paint and other scenic material.  The tools I'm using are scissors (to cut out the cardboard), my hot wire foam cutter, 220 grit sandpaper and a hot glue gun.  This will round out a good collection of terrain for my desert table.
Some simple shapes cut from pieces of a cardboard box.
I used hot glue to attach pieces of styrofoam to the cardboard.
I used a hot wire cutter, holding it at an angle, to cut out the rough hill shape.
I used 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the styrofoam and "erase" the cut lines left by the hot wire cutter.  Sanding also helps reduce the transition from the slope to the flat top, adding realism.
Each piece received a generous coat of Desert Yellow texture paint.
You can see how the texture paint fills in some of the smaller holes and cracks in the foam.
When that dried, I gave them a quick highlight with Desert Yellow mixed with Ivory, then pure Ivory.  I got a little heavy handed here but it worked out fine.
Finally, I added some scenery flock and gray ballast sprayed with a 50/50 mix of white glue and water.  I spilled a big bit of gray ballast on the one but I'm not worried about it.
Here they are on the table. They blend reasonably well.
Closeup "model's eye view" of the larger hill.
All of the desert terrain I've built for this project so far.  I don't need any more "natural" features but I will do some buildings for some outposts.   Eventually I might make an oasis, just to add some trees, but that won't be for a while.
Monoliths and rough patches.
Hill/dune and monoliths.
Hill/dune, monoliths and rough patches.
More or less straight down, overhead view.
That's it for now.  I hope you've enjoyed my documenting this project so far.  I'm still working on making some buildings and painting figures.  I hope to post my completed Earth Force platoon next week.  Until then, carry on!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Desert Rough Ground - 15mm SciFi WIP

In addition to the monoliths, I want some patches of rough ground for my troops to battle over.  On a whim I bought some scraps of sheet styrene from Monday Knight Productions.  They were only $1 for 12.  MKP calls them "tree bases" but I thought they'd work well for 15mm rough patches.  You could use card or most any thin material for these bases, and cut out your own shapes, but  these were simple.  Plus, I like that the styrene won't warp when it gets wet.  I decided to make 4.
4 bases laid out.  Each is about 3" to a side.
To make the rough/broken ground I used some old aquarium gravel I've had for years.
I painted a thick layer of "Desert Yellow" texture paint onto each base and sprinkled with gravel.
When that dried, I painted on another layer of texture paint to help hold the gravel in place.
Next I used the Liquitex texture gel to make "sand drifts" over the rocks and on the edges of the bases.
I thinned the gel a bit with water and swirled it over the models with a paint brush.
When that dried I added a final coat of texture paint.
This was more involved than it needed to be.  I should have just glued the gravel to the bases, coated with texture gel and then painted.  I was experimenting (playing!) though so not a big deal.
Next I used the same shade of brown wash that I used on the monoliths.
Again, I just dribbled it around, not covering the whole model.
Then I drybrushed highlights.
1st Desert Yellow, then two layers of Desert Yellow mixed with increasing amounts of Ivory.
Finally some flock, ballast and "scrubby plants."
This was applied with white glue thinned with water.
And here they are on my desert table! 
In situ with a few monoliths.
Grunt's eye view.
These were very simple to make and should serve well.  That's it for now.  Until next time, carry on!