Saturday, 18 May 2013

Montana Space Port Part 1

A recent post on TMP about adapting the Hannah Montana Mall Madness game to various zombie rule sets inspired me to pick one up off ebay. I've been travelling for work quite a bit recently and whilst passing through various airports have been thinking about them as a venue for skirmish games. Upon seeing the game, shown below, I thought was that the central area and the raised perimeter reminded me of the jet ways for an airport, and the lower deck the apron. It also slightly reminded me of Docking Bay 94 from Star Wars.

£1.99 plus £4.00 P&P got me the ultimate evolution of the consumer culture - a board game aimed at young girls training them to enjoy shopping. I'm mildly disgusted by the premise, and I've never seen AGG so keen for me to start a conversion project as she shared my loathing for the sentiment behind the game.

I stripped the components down, and removed all the electronics from the central module. I lightly sanded the glossy cardboard game board with coarse sandpaper to key the surface and then painted the cardboard with a mix of 50/50 water and PVA to strengthen it and help stop it warping once I painted it. It didn't help. The cardboard almost immediately began to warp. I let the first coat dry and then pressed it between two MBF boards with piles of books on to straighten it out. This helped, but eventually I had to glue it down to MDF just to stop it curling up. Once glued I painted it with several coats of cream coloured exterior, textured masonry paint and left to dry.

Meanwhile, the nasty purple shop sections got two coats of Halfords Rust Red primer. This has excellent coverage and leaves a nice finish. I may try the white and black as an alternative to my usual GW sprays.

The central module was then lightly converted with the addition of a cargo arm made from bits of clicky Mechwwarrior construction mechs and some "granny grating" for a safety fence. I also added a blanking plate over the speaker with an upturned bottle lid in the centre as a planter. I'll add various greenry to it later.

The cardboard upper and the modified central part then got several coats of Plasticoat grey primer. I've had variable results with Plasticoat paints in the past, and this grey primer did nothing to swing me for or against. It covered well and the cardboard upper didn't warp at all, but it took AGES to dry, even though I mixed well and sprayed in good conditions. The finish now is excellent, though. Smooth and scratch resistant.

Whilst that was drying I cut some 1mm plasticard to size to replace the card entrances at each of the corners. I'm going to add some bunker doors I picked up from Antenoceti's workshop to these to make entrances. At the same time I cut a few blanking plates to go over the protruding middle sections of the purple shops, but I cut them too large, so they need trimming. I may leave them off all together.

Here's how it looks at the moment:
Overview. Missile turrets are Old Crow, Rebel Miniatures Sabre Dropship at the top and figures are GZG OUDF. Hexen transport at the bottom, kitbash by me.

Central unit with scratchbuilt arm and empty planter.
These are the insides of asthma inhalers that I'm considering using as fuel tanks.
The upper level still has a few burrs on it that I should have trimmed off before I painted it.
Bunker doors not yet fixed to the plasticard inserts.

I'm considering two options for the lower deck. Firstly it'll get a coat of black paint with some grey and brown highlights to make it look a bit more like it's a well used, concrete surface. I'm then considering adding some aluminium car mesh to make an actual landing pad, either directly onto the cardboard or as a "wrap around" on some foamcore, plasticard or MDF. I'll have to experiment and see what I can come up with. 

The other addition will be a few blast shields, something like this:

A simple rectangle of cardboard with a couple of supports behind it, maybe with some detailing on the face, painted with nice warning stripes, that can be used as scatter terrain in the two landing pits.

Overall, I'm really please with progress, and am looking forward to finishing it off. I just have to work out how to store it now...


Mr. Harold said...

Really looks great... I must get one now.

Raymond Ford said...

Clever conversion! Never would have thought of it. Really like the cargo arm and inhalers. I might get one... if I can figure out how to store it.

Fred Jackson said...

Good job. What Mr Harold said.

Barks said...

This looks awesome!

Finnian Beazlie said...

It makes a great firebase, too, with the outer walks working as ramparts. Awesome re-purposing!

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

Woo-hoo! Have been looking for a copy of Mall Madness for several months since reading this post and I just got one for £5.95 in the local charity shop! Now to prepare it for zombies (Last Night on Earth rules add-on) and spaceships!