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Another scenery project

wargame scenery inspiration

At the moment, I’m on a bit of a hobby hiatus. Family issues and what not, but I’ve left the blog in good hands with Maria, Josh and Rick.

Time in the Mancave is pretty limited, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve been able to put together a scenery project. It’s part of my ongoing infinity scenery. Grabbing the occasional hour here and there is a little different from how I work. Short sporadic blasts of activity is more my style.

Also, it makes things more difficult to remember what you were planning and the result you were aiming for.

To start with comes the inspiration. I found the following from adeptuswindycity.com, and feel that it fits in well with the theme of the scenery that I have made so far.

wargame scenery inspiration

via empireofghosts, adeptuswindycity.com and pinterest

It’s concrete slabs supporting a ramshackle construct on top. I am still trying to keep it fitting with Infinity and various other sci-fi type games. One of the other main attributes that I am looking for is that the scenery blocks line of sight and/or offers cover.

infinity war game scenery
As with most of my projects, the planning phase only gets a precursory glance. A piece of foam core was cut into (roughly) 15cm lengths and shaped into the concrete slab base. The benefit of using foam core (remains) that it is so easy to work with, and can be glued together using PVA glue.
infinity war game scenery

Post construction, a door and window was cut out of the foam core. To add a bit of interest, the window is covered in wire mesh that was lying around (possibly from a fly screen) and some, ever faithful, corrugated cardboard.
infinity war game scenery

At this point, we start with the secret ingredient, Selley’s SpakFilla!
infinity war game scenery
Following some advice from Owen at Terrain For Hippos, I found a better alternative for creating a surface for buildings than toilet paper and PVA glue. It turns out that Selley’s SpakFilla is water soluble and if you get some on a palette and add a fair amount of water, it will eventually turn into a textured paint.
My advice is get an old paintbrush that you won’t miss and use that to apply the “paint”. The vigorous application of the paint and the paint itself will degrade the quality of the paint brush rapidly! On the plus side, the SpakFilla and water mix is water soluble, so clean up is easy, and at least extends the life of the paint brush a little bit more.

infinity war game scenery
You can be as liberal or sparse applying the textured paint. I chose to mix it up a bit, also playing with the consistency of the SpakFilla and water mix to see what the end result is.
The intention is to create more line of sight blocking terrain, the lonely fella standing in front of the building shows that it should be big enough to hide most tanks, TAGs and big monsters behind.

infinity war game scenery
You should stop applying the textured paint until the roof is complete. Using skills learnt here, I constructed a wall section from icy pole sticks, PVA glue and corrugated cardboard. Again, precise measurements were not in the from of my mind.
The fence is made of balsa wood cut to length, fly wire cut to size is glued in place using Super Glue.
infinity war game scenery
The last thing to do is create some rubble to glue down on the ground of the concrete structure. I smashed up a bit of foam, but you could easily use foam core or any suitable material. Keep in mind, foam and spray paint do not play well together! If you use spray undercoat, I would highly recommend sealing the “rubble” with PVA glue or some more of our textured paint after it is stuck down to stop it dissolving.
infinity war game scenery
At the end, you have a pretty satisfactory, line of sight blocking, piece of terrain. The addition of ladders and ways to climb to the top would be cool too. I am thinking that more concrete slabs smashed into the back or sides would be cool to make stairs.
infinity war game scenery
Just to add some stability, I have also mounted the whole thing on a piece of spare foam core. Once it’s textured with dirt and coated in PVA, the whole piece should be more resilient. Further iterations of this piece could be built smaller for sticking on CDs or larger as you see fit. And you can mess around with the design of the shack on top too.

On the table: Imperial Knight

cameron auty imperial knight painted arm

Imperial Knights are the latest thing in big guys in Warhammer 40000 along with Tau Riptides and Eldar Wraithknights.

Via the Hoarder Facebook group, I was privileged to talk to Cam Auty about his pretty spectacular Imperial Knight as seen below.

Cam is a mainstay of the Melbourne Warhammer 40000 community. For many years has raised the bar with the modelling projects and armies that have appeared at tournaments. Check out his Adeptus Mechanicus and Sons of Horus that the Imperial Knight will be used for.

This Imperial Knight is a traitor house for his Sons of Horus army.

cameron auty imperial knight painted leg

When asked, Cam says of the paint job:

No airbrush, all spray cans. It’s a basecoat of Army Painter yellow, then masking tape for the patterns, then Tamiya grey primer and Tamiya matt white sprays for the other colours, then peel off the tape.

All the shading is done with oil paints over a coat of Humbrol clear varnish.

cameron auty imperial knight painted

Just make sure you use acrylic varnish under any oil/turps work, and leave it to set fully, otherwise you’ll melt off the under layers. I recommend Humbrol Clear, can just brush it on.

cameron auty imperial knight painted arm

On technique he has this to say,

you can’t go wrong reading the Forgeworld Master Class books and then just google searching for tips, check out military model blogs rather than Warhammer. It’s pretty simple though – just paint all your base colours, do 2-3 coats of clear acrylic (important!) gloss varnish, do your decals, 2-3 more coats of clear and then you can put on the oils. Just paint with them like normal except thinned with turps. Takes some getting used to, but you’ve got hours of drying time so can experiment.

Cam’s Imperial Knight Gallery is full of other amazing work.

From a rookie’s point of view, I think the most important point from Cam is time, patience and practice. It’s not going to be something that will happen immediately, and these techniques should probably be tested on something smaller than a big, expensive Imperial Knight!

DIY Lightbox tutorial in 10 easy steps

Easy DIY lightbox

I am revisiting my previous tutorial of a DIY lightbox; this time with a bit more detail.

The light box that I have made is designed with single miniatures in mind. Bigger stuff, like tanks, may fit in but would more likely be a very tight squeeze. The goal of the lightbox is to create a box with diffusing material on it’s side and top to allow photography of the subject with minimal, but ideally, no shadows.

The other goal of this model is to do it on the cheap!

On with the tutorial:
Easy DIY lightbox
There is definitely no specialist equipment needed, as you can see. I resurrected an old washing powder box from the recycling. One thing to note here; make sure the box is empty! Spraying dregs of old washing powder all over the place is NOT going to make you friends.

One advantage of this box is the flip top lid and the ability to cut out a fold down front panel.
Easy DIY lightbox
This particular box has a “lining” box inside of it. Use masking tape to help keep it together. You may want to run a strip of masking tape all around the top just to be sure.
Easy DIY lightbox
You will want to mark out lines, no more than 10mm deep to create a lip that the diffusing material will stick to (in this case, common Kleenex tissues). Ideally, tissue paper is more robust. However, the house of Spruegrey apparently is all out. Ahem.
Easy DIY lightbox
“I shall now make the first incision”. Use the steel ruler as a guide and with a SHARP blade, cut out the marked panels on the top and sides. The box is made from fairly durable cardboard, but don’t press too hard with the bade or the box will crush. A number of light cuts is better than one heavy cut that destroys you box (see below!).
Easy DIY lightbox
And you’re about half way there. The top panel has been removed along with both side panels.
Easy DIY lightbox
Next you’ll cut out the front folding panel. Only cut down two sides of the front to leave a hinge along the bottom that the front panel will move up and down on. It helps to maintain the shape of the box when not in use.
Easy DIY lightbox
NOTE: At this point, hindsight kicks in. Once the front hinged section is done, the lightbox becomes a lot less stable. Leaving a strip (cutting both sides and a thin strip) across the top would improve the resilience of the lightbox in the long run. Or, stick a 10mm strip of rigid card to support the top.
Easy DIY lightbox
Once the fold down front panel is cut, the lightbox structure is finished. You might want to go over the lightbox structure with masking tape to hold together or reinforce some parts that may have been weakened in the cutting phase.
Easy DIY lightbox
Now you add the light diffusing material. In this case, 2-ply tissue. Ideally, the material should be as thin as possible. Therefore, it’s a good idea to separate the 2-ply into 1-ply (and then it goes twice as far!). Sparingly apply PVA glue to the strips that you left bordering the panels and CAREFULLY place one piece of the 1-ply tissue paper over the glued area. The PVA glue, being mostly water and adhesive, will hold the tissue in place while it dries.
Easy DIY lightbox
The danger to watch out for is the high water content of the PVA glue weakening the cardboard. Thankfully, the people at the washing powder company make your lightbox from sturdy stuff.

Now you repeat the process on the other side panel and finally the top panel.
Easy DIY lightbox
PVA glue will dry quickly, so the drying process should be ABOUT twenty to twenty-five minutes at room temperature. As with any PVA glue based process, increasing the heat will reduce the drying time.

Once the glue is dried, trim the excess tissue paper, fold down the front flap and you’re ready to start taking some shots of miniatures with no pesky shadows.

At this point, you’ll notice that the cardboard backdrop doesn’t make for high quality photographs. Backdrop colour can depend on the subject and an A4 sheet of white card, black card, or my favourite, light blue card can be slid inside the finished light box for a professional looking background.

Lighting is another consideration and there are a few schools of thought on how much light is needed. A setup like the following can be easily achieved by a few cheap desk lamps with daylight globes in them placed at the side and above the lightbox.
One final reminder. Tissues are not strong. You will put fingers and toy soldiers and brushes through it without trying. One way to fix a tear is to cut the tissue out and re-glue another piece on. For small tears, a small blob of PVA on the tear will hold a small piece of tissue on as a patch!

Good luck!

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