Monday, 13 February 2012

Found 15mm Terrain

This weekend has been remarkably productive for me. In the last couple of weeks I've managed to snag a whole bunch of cheap die-cast toys to be converted into 15mm Scifi goodies. Amongst these were two unexpected pieces of terrain that were both by-products of something else.

The first of these are these habitat domes made from heavy duty casting plaster:

The habitats are plaster casts of the inside of the piece of packaging in the centre, the blister pack for one of the diecast toys i snagged, a robot from the Androidz line (more on which in another post). WHilst unboxing the little fellas I noticed the blister had a nice dome with annex look to it. I was originally going to simply base up the blister packs and paint them, but was worried about them getting crushed, paint not adhering to them and so on. So, instead I used the blister pack as a mould. I picked up some extra strong plaster from Hobbycraft and read the slightly baffling instructions ("fill the mould to the brim with water and pour into a measuring cup, discard half the water and add 2.5 times the missing volume of plaster" - I figured it out in the end). After a slightly shaky start I managed to get four perfect reproductions out of my four blisters. Two of the blister packs tore whilst trying to remove the castings, but considering they've been manufactured in china, heat sealed to a piece of cardboard, been shipped half way round the globe, pawed at by kids and then torn off the cardboard and filled with plaster, I think they've done a bang up job.

I'm going to tech them up them with various accessory pieces from The Scene and Ground Zero Games after they've fully dried and I've sealed them, as I know plaster will just suck the moisture right out of paint.

The second of my chance finds was this building from a Really Useful Box collapsible crate, seen here in both before and after the scifi makeover:

These crates were on a shelf in Hobbycraft with all the other Really Useful Box stuff as I was picking up a couple of 9 litre boxes to store various bits of terrain making stuff in. I'm going through a process of throwing out all the old, tatty cardboard boxes that I have full of rattlecans, parts of Airfix of model kit, Polyfilla, glue, flock and bits of balsa wood (or crap, as AGG occasionally calls it) and replacing them with nice new Really Useful Boxes, as they are really usefull. They stack nicely, they fit just right on my shelves and they don't look horrible and tatty. Of course, they are still full of rattlecans, parts of Airfix of model kit, Polyfilla, glue, flock and bits of balsa wood, but at least they stack well....

Anyway, I'd seen a couple of examples of other types of crates being used for 28mm gaming, as post apocalyptic ruins, Gothic buildings and so on, but never seen any that I thought could be used for 15mm without looking like they were just crates turned upside down. I bought a couple to try out the theory (at 99p each, at the worst I'd end up with a cheap storage crate) and some plasticard sheeting to blank off the "windows".

Initially I was going to just blank over the inside, then add another blanking piece to the outside to add a door to, but as I looked at the crate, I realised that the handle could make a nice arched porch to put the door into. I cut back the plastic and stuck a plasticard blanking plate over the interior, plus a couple of smaller pieces a side pillars to tidy up the edges and hold the cut pieces together. I stuck on a few GZG building add-ons and a pair of The Scene air conditioners at each end and began the painting.

I first gave the whole thing a coat of GW Chaos Black. As undercoats go, GW Chaos Black is my standard at the moment. It covers pretty much anything. This was followed up with Plasticoat Grey Primer and a dusting of Plasticoat Beige. I then painted the windows with GW Necron Abyss (or Prussian Blue to everybody without paint name aphasia)  add blended in a highlight towards one corner with a lighter blue - an old put of lightning bolt blue, I think - the label has come off. The doors and tech nits were picked out with Boltgun and various other shades and a few light washed of Badab Black and Devlan Mud gave the building a more weathered appearance.

And they stack - the sky is the limit! 
I'm very, very pleased with the outcome on both of these. Both of them were conceived totally by chance when looking at or for something else. The blister pack habitats were especially rewarding, as I hadn't done any plaster casting for years, since I tried to make Helms Deep out of Linka (I calculated it'd take me about 200 castings to get the pieces I wanted - my teenage brain did not have the commitment for that). I bought some dark blue mounting board which I'm going to use instead of Plasticard to blank off the windows on some more crates, as painting all the individual windows without getting it over the frames is a real chore. I'll let you know how it goes.


Jay said...

Great vision!! I am working at looking at "junk" and trying to see it as a "jewel" for modeling. Great idea for sci-fi habitats!

Spacejacker said...

This all came out really nice. I need to get some more GZG bits!

PapaSpanky said...

Great minds think alike with those crates!