Archive for the Terrain Category

Lord of the XII Legion – A Triptych, pt. 4

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, paintjob, Terrain, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2016 by krautscientist

Another look at Angron this week, as we finally put the big red daemon-monster on its own base. Don’t worry, it won’t be nearly as boring as you might think 😉

“But wait! Wasn’t this supposed to be a triptych? Then why are we already on part four of this series?”, I hear you asking. Now I know how to count to three, of course — it’s just that the whole triptych idea refers to the three different forms of Angron I will be working on, while there can (and will) be many more posts than three. There, glad to have that out of the way 😉

So anyway, here’s where we left off last time:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (1)
So far, so good, but Angron needed a proper base, indeed. And this is where things got a bit out of hand. Allow me to explain:

Possibly the biggest challenge was that I had already basically given it my all with the base for my Bloodthirster model, pulling out all the stops and ending up with something pretty ostentatious:

Bloodthirster Ghor'Lash'Kharganath (9)
At the same time, it was perfectly clear that I would need to come up with something even better for Angron, because…well, it’s ANGRON we are talking about here, right?

So I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and then it suddenly hit me: What if I were to base Angron on the big aquila terrain piece from the Honoured Imperium boxed set?

Honoured Imperium
I bought the kit a while ago – mostly for the Space Marine statue – so I still had the aquila piece. I also really liked the allegoric nature of the idea: What better way to base a Daemon-Primarch than on the shattered remains of the Imperium’s most iconic symbol?

The problem was the size of the aquila, because it was considerably larger than the oval base that came with the Bloodthirster kit. This would make gaming a whole lot more complicated, but that wasn’t really that much of a concern to me, mostly because I don’t exactly consider my Daemon-Primarch conversion a playing piece. However, the whole ensemble ended up looking and feeling a bit too clunky, so I wasn’t perfectly happy yet.

When I posted my idea on The Bolter & Chainsword, people were quick to suggest a modular display base resembling the ensembles released as part of Forgeworld’s Horus Heresy Character Series, such as the display base showing the duel between Garviel Loken and First Captain Abaddon:

Abaddon & LokenHaving the bigger part of the aquila as an optional addition that the actual gaming base could be slotted into? That actually sounded absolutely awesome! However, after taking a closer look at the aquila piece and trying to decide where to possibly make the cuts, I was just about prepared to discount the idea as unfeasible…

…and then my buddy Biohazard posted a few ideas about how to make it work after all, and down the rabbit hole I went, eagerly sawing through the thick plastic with my cheap-o hobby knife from the DIY superstore — at the cost of several blisters on my right hand, I might add. But here’s what I ended up with:

Angron's base WIP (1)
Angron's base WIP (2)
That’s the complete aquila, and yet you can already make out the line where I cut a smaller part from the ensemble. Now let’s take the two apart:

Angron's base WIP (4)
And as you can see, the entire left wing and the left head make up a piece that fits fairly neatly onto the stock oval base. Which gave me this basic shape for Angron’s base:

Angron's base WIP (5)
Angron's base WIP (6)
Not bad, not bad at all! Especially since the part still clearly read as a symbol of the Imperium of Man, even though the biggest part of the aquila was actually missing. The part I had cut out also seemed to fit the base almost perfectly, right?

But let’s take a look at another perspective:

Angron's base WIP (7)
Here you can see the huge hole left underneath the (hollow) aquila piece that I needed to fill up with something — and whatever that something would be, it was clear that I would need to pay attention to make sure both parts of the aquila would still line up correctly afterwards.

Even so, I was still energised by this small success. I also made a quick and dirty Photoshop mockup to get an idea about how Angron would fit on the finished base:

Angron's base WIP (8)
The basic idea was to have him charging towards the centre of the aquila — and, by extension, whatever would be added to the other side of the base.

But first, I needed to fill in those huge holes! Thankfully, my good friend Annie provided me with some Milliput for the task, and so when we met for a little hobby session recently, she kept painting away at her crazy-awesome pirate-themed Blood Bowl team (to be featured here on the blog in a future post, scout’s honour!), while I plugged all the holes in the base using Milliput, and added some structure by pressing some cork into the putty after it had begun to dry, stamping a rocky texture onto the surface.

Angron's base WIP (13)
Angron's base WIP (14)
As you can see in the above pictures, some additional detail work also took place during this step. My usual mix of cork, slate and sand was added to the empty parts of the base and sealed with PVA glue and plastic glue. The effect was also used to blend the seams between the different areas and materials together. I also added some skulls to the front of the base, both to make the area look more interesting and also because, well, Khorne! (DUH!). Two spiky poles were used to add even more of a chaos feel to the base.

Angron's base WIP (15)
Possibly the longest time was spent on the missing half of that poor Ultramarine officer clutched by Angron: I used a pair of plastic Mk IV legs and made quite a few tweaks to them to ensure that their position on the base seemed suitably natural and organic:

Angron's base WIP (17)
And with that, the basic setup of the base was more or less complete:

Angron's base WIP (18)
So all that was left before I could break out the paints was a final round of touchups and additional texture. Augustus b’Raass very helpfully suggested applying some Liquid GS to the stony parts of the aquila, in order to create a slightly more believably texture and make the whole thig look less like smooth plastic, so that’s what I did:

Angron's base WIP (19)
And I used some regular GS to tidy up all the rough parts of the Marine legs, filling gaps in the legs, adding flex fitting and a profile to the sole of the right foot and scultping all the gribbly bitz pouring out of the body…ewww!

Angron's base WIP (20)
Angron's base WIP (21)
Angron's base WIP (22)
Angron's base WIP (23)
And with those final details out of the way, Angron’s base was finally ready for painting!

Angron's base WIP (24)
So everything was covered with a nice and even Coat of Chaos Black spray,  which once again did wonders for pulling all of the different elements together:

Angron's base WIP (26)

Now at this point I spent a fair bit of time detailing the other, bigger side of the eventual display base, but I’ll be focusing on that part in a dedicated post. From a purely logical standpoint, it would surely have made much more sense to paint both parts of the base at the same time before adding Angron to the smaller part of the base, but seeing how this whole project had already expanded into something far more involved than I had usually planned, I knew I needed a milestone achievement somewhere in there and decided to focus on finishing Angron his “gaming base” first.

So for now, you’ll have to content yourselves with a teaser picture of the two parts of the aquila in all its basecoated glory:

Angron's base WIP (40)
I added a slightly more controlled spray of Army Painter Uniform Grey on top of the Chaos Black. Now at first glance it might seem as though we were back to square one (the unpainted plastic), but upon closer examination, the grey works really well with the Liquid GS-based texture to create a slightly sandy, stony look on the aquila parts. There’s also a slight shading effect on the areas that aren’t part of the shattered aquila, as a consequence of focusing the grey spray on the actual stone.

Angron's base WIP (43)
So from here on out, I basically used my usual recipe of painting the earth dark grey, then washing and drybrushing the entire thing to bring out lots of texture. I also painted the extra bits, such as the skulls, spiky poles and the legs of the fallen Ultramarine, of course. Here’s what it looked like after this step:

Angron's base WIP (46)
The legs also received some serious weathering to tie them together with the Astartes’ upper half: Charadon Granite was carefully sponged on with a bit of blister sponge, and metal scratches were created with a detail brush and some Leadbelcher. The best part about this kind of weathering is that you can keep repeating the various steps to achieve a more and more battered look, until you’re happy.

Angron's base WIP (44)
And then, finally, the blood came out 😉

I will say that I am probably really, really careful with adding blood effects, especially for a World Eaters player: There’s almost no other effect that is so easy to overdo and that can ruin a model so thoroughly: With too much blood, every model ends up looking cartoony and overly-edgy in a “bad 90s’ video game” kind of way. Only very few models warrant massive amounts of blood, so when in doubt, less is more.

With that in mind, I thought about where the blood on the base would probably come from (hint: the Ultramarine’s maimed remains) and how the blood would behave, given the slightly angled surface. I also remembered that, according to the lore, Astartes blood starts to clot super-fast, so that was yet another reason to go easy on the gore. Then again, there was no getting around the fact that the guy had been torn in half. So with all these factors in mind, here’s the solution that I came up with:

Angron's base WIP (48)
Angron's base WIP (49)
Angron's base WIP (51)
Ultimately, I tried to use as much blood as was necessary and as little as I could get away with. I also mixed a tiny drop of black into the Tamiya Clear Red to create the centre of the various pools of blood, than added pure Clear Red on top and around the darker areas in order to add some depth and tonal variety to the puddles.

One part where I tried to achieve a fairly realistic look was the blood running along the crevices in the stone, with the aquila statue’s features basically acting like small drain channels:

Angron's base WIP (52)

I also think I’ve done a fairly good job of blending in my Milliput additions with the rest of the base:

Angron's base WIP (50)
Granted, the finish could probably have been even smoother, but let’s not forget that it all needed to line up with the other half of the base!

And finally, Auggie’s suggestion about creating extra stone texture with a thin layer of Liquid GS turned out to be golden, as the aquila really looks like it’s made of stone, rather than plastic, now 😉

So all in all, I was really happy with the finished gaming base:

Angron's base WIP (53)
No more excuses, it was time for the Lord of the XII Legion to put his foot on the ground!

Now actually gluing Angron to the base was actually an exercise in frustration, seeing how the point of attachment between the model and its base was so small. And it definitely took a lot of super glue and swearing. But I persevered. And I triumphed. And thus I give you…


Angron, The Red Angel, Daemon-Primarch of the World Eaters and the Blod God’s Favoured Son

Daemon-Primarch Angron (16)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (22)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (29)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (26)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (21)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (30)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (31)
Now here’s a closer look at the base:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (32)
As you can see, I have added two more “special effects”: One is an additional spot of blood directly below the Ultramarine’s torso (for obvious reasons). The other effect is something I had never tried before, and I am rather happy with the outcome: I wanted the stone in the direct vincinity of Angron’s right foot (and the flames below it) to look as though it were heating up due to the Primarch’s daemonic presence. The effect was achieved by carefully building up several layers of Bloodletter glaze:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (25)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (27)
And with the model and base now combined, our brave little smurf finally gets reunited with his lower half. Well, after a fashion, at least…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (33)

Daemon-Primarch Angron (24)
I know I am probably boring you to tears by saying this, but I am still so incredibly happy with Angron’s head and face…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (18)
Daemon-Primarch Angron (20)
Here’s a comparison shot showing Angron next to my “regular” Bloodthirster model:

Daemon-Primarch Angron (17)
Both models’ skin tones actually differ far more in real life than is obvious from looking at the picture. However, I do think I’ve done a pretty good job of surpassing the base on the Bloodthirster and of making both models look pretty different, in spite of being built from the same stock model.

And here’s a hint of things to come…

Daemon-Primarch Angron (19)
For now, this has been an incredible ride! I think Angron is easily one of my best models – if not the best model – so far, and while this has project has certainly veered outside of my comfort zone more than once, it has been a blast! Thank you so much to everyone who provided ideas, suggestions and critical feedback! Thanks to those who provided bitz and materials for this project! And thanks to thosw responsible for my main inspirations, Reg’s fabulous, Bloodthirster-based Angron conversion, Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s hugely evocative descriptions of Daemon-Primarch Angron — and, of course, Alex Boyd’s illustration that probably served as the most important reference piece!

Speaking of which, here’s a little something that I made using Photoshop and Pixlr, to celebrate the occasion:

The Red Angel

“It turned its eyes to us. The skeletal landscape of its face turned with a slowness I could only describe as bestial, but it most definitely saw us. The coal pits of its eyes steamed as blood bubbled and boiled in the thing’s swollen tear ducts. Slowly – still so very slowly – its jaws opened to reveal a quivering tongue the colour of spoiled meat, with pinkish saliva roping and stretching between rows of sharkish teeth.“


Aaron Dembski-Bowden, The Emperor’s Gift


And here’s Alex Boyd’s illustration again:

illustration by Alex Boyd

illustration by Alex Boyd

While my Angron is far from a perfect match (Reg and Rumplemaster score far higher marks on that account!), I do believe he looks like a plausible interpretation of the same character, wouldn’t you agree?

Anyway, I am super-proud of this guy! One down, two versions to go 😉 Until then, however, I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Daemon-Primarch Angron (23)

Making bigger things out of foamcore, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by krautscientist

So what about that monument temple made from foamcore I talked about last week? Let’s find out!

Here’s where we left off last time: The basic assembly is complete and the building has been undercoated in black:

Monument Temple (19)
While everything was drying, I decided to work a bit on the actual monument that was to go inside the temple. For ease of assembly and added flexibility, I wanted the monument to be removable. Here’s the early construction I did for the monument:

Monument Temple (3)
As you can see, it consists of a column that sits in a small basin (later to be filled with water). The basic construction was, once again, done using foamcore. A cardboard loo roll would have worked as well to make up a column, but I wanted a different look this time, so I went for a rectangular faomcore construction instead. Two square WFB base was used for the abacus atop the column. That way, I could be sure it would be easy enough to attach the actual statue to the column later.

The statue itself consists of bitz from the Cadian Command Squad. I decided that I wanted the monument to have been erected in honour of the brave Imperial Guard, so I built a guard standard bearer in parade uniform for the monument — a very straigthforward affair. The model was kept separate from the rest of the monument for now.

Afterwards, the column and basin were undercoated, using the same texture paint I had used for the rest of the building. Here’s the monument after undercoating:

Monument Temple (13)
I then used cheap grey spraypaint (picked up at the DIY superstore) to make the monument look like it was actually made of stone. Take care not to apply too much colour during this step, because some of the darker undercoat showing through in places will actually make the piece look more believable.

Then I thought about how to best represent muddy water in the shallow basin at the bottom of the column. Since this was only a one-off project, I didn’t want to spend money on a huge bottle of water effect, so I had to develop a plan B. In the end, feeling slightly adventurous, I mixed PVA glue with a bit of water that I had in turn couloured using a mix of brown and green hues (mainly GW Gretchin Green, GW Scorched Brown, and some GW Rakarth Flesh). The resulting mix was then poured into the basin — if you’re trying something similar, make sure the basin’s actually waterproof and the stuff doesn’t come out at the seams! The mix also has to be thick enough, so use quite a lot of glue! The water’s mainly there to add the colour and to make everything slightly more fluid.

Here’s the monument after that step: As you can see, the water ended up suitably brackish and dirty — just as planned. I also added some plastic plants that I spraypainted brown to make them look dried and withered.

Guard Monument (1)
The monument was then set aside to allow for the “water” to dry. This took about 24 hours for this relatively shallow basin, so resist poking it to see whether is has managed to set yet! I actually couldn’t wait and made a (very small) indetation into the surface that way. Trust me: You need to be patient for this!

In the end, the “water” ended up looking nicely brackish and with a glossy surface, making it look reasonably realistic. I would have loved the mix to retain some of the glue’s usual transparence, but alas, it was not to be. Still, definitely better than getting some expensive water effect for a simple one shot!

I then painted the actual statue, which was really very easy: The model was undercoated with GW Chaos Black spray, then basecoated with a 60/40 mix of GW Chaos Black and Vallejo Halcon Turquoise. Then I drybrushed the model with a 50/50 mix of GW Skull White and Halcon Turquoise. The raised detail on the regimental flag lent itself especially well to this technique.

Here’s the result:

Guard Monument (7)
Guard Monument (6)
Monument Temple (40)
As you can see, the statue’s surface looks like heavily oxidised metal, just like you might see on a real-life statues you might see in your vincinity. All in all, I was very pleased with the effect. The statue was glued to the column using superglue. And with that, the monument was finished.

Here it is, placed in its eventual spot in the yet unfinished building:

Monument Temple (21)
While I had worked on the statue, the rest of the building had had ample time to dry. So the next step was to add slightly thinned down PVA glue to the nooks and crannies of the building. Then a mix of sand and smaller stones was added on top to represent rubble:

Monument Temple (22)
You can really add lots and lots of the stuff for added realism, plus segments of fallen walls and ceilings. Personally, I tend to go for a less realistic result simply because it’s pretty hard to add multiple layers of rubble and make sure they stay in place. And too much rubble and uneven surface texture can also mean it will be hard to actually place your models in the building during games.

Anyway, a second coat of thinned-down glue was added on top to seal the rubble. Then the rubble areas were sprayed once again with black.

After everything was dry, the building was sprayed with the same grey paint I had used on the monument. Again, go for a slightly uneven approach to create plausible shades and a more realistic looking surface.

Almost done now:

Monument Temple (23)
I also painted the inscription, using one of my regular GW brushes. The letters were undercoated in chaos black, then painted with Vallejo Tinny Tin, then washed with GW Agrax Earthshade. Then I added some light accents, using GW Dwarf Bronze.  And finally, I added a thinned-down mix of Vallejo Halcon Turquoise and GW Skull White on top to represent verdigris:

Monument Temple (28)
And with that, the building was basically finished. Here’s a view from the side:

Monument Temple (30)
I used the grey spraypaint to add some additional accents where necessary. This only took a couple of minutes, though. Here’s the finished monument temple:

Monument Temple (33)
Monument Temple (34)
Monument Temple (35)
Monument Temple (36)
And some additional detail shots of the statue:

Monument Temple (32)
Monument Temple (31)
Looking back now, there’s quite a bit that could still be added: It might look cool to drybrush the tiled floor with white to pick out the contours. Posters and propaganda proclamations could be added to the building, as well as blood splatters, additional damage etc. I am still free to do all of this, however, as the finished build should be easy enough to modify.

Anyway, as you can see, building and painting this monument temple was almost as easy as constructing one of the easier ruined buildings. The scope of the project may be different, sure, but in the end, the techniques are the same. If anything, a larger buildings will give you far more options for adding details and little setpieces- Just make sure you don’t add so much stuff that the terrain piece no longer works during games 😉

To wind up this post, here are some impressions of Inquisitor Antrecht’s warband moving through the ruin, to give you an idea of the scale:

Monument Temple (38)
Monument Temple (39)
In any case, I hope I was succesful in showing you how easy it can be to come up with a centre piece for your gaming table. All C&C are welcome, of course: Just let me know what you think in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Monument Temple (41)

Making bigger things out of foamcore, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by krautscientist

It’s been quite a while since I last posted about building terrain, but since the weather has picked up considerably in the meantime, it is now time once more to go outside, hit the tool shed or garage and build some wargaming terrain!

The funny thing is that I am pretty spoiled when it comes to terrain nowadays: There’s some exquisite terrain over at the FLGS, and stuff like Neil101’s stellar Arrke board, most of the stuff used during this years Inqvitational or Chelnov’s unbelievable Sisyphus Complex have taught me that my own meagre efforts at building terrain are already outdated by a pretty huge margin. I am also pretty convinced that I could do better nowadays, but some of my early recipes should still have some merit, especially to those of you who have been putting off building their own terrain for one reason or another.

I already discussed quite a while ago how easy it is to make some reasonably convincing ruined buildings out of foamcore. Buildings like those will also allow you to fill up quite a huge gaming table. But you probably don’t want your entire terrain collection to consist of simple, bombed out hab blocks, do you? Well, here’s the good news: Building bigger and more sophisticated structures can be almost as easy. This two-part post will take a closer look at that!

Everything started with my desire to build a larger building that was to serve as some kind of centrepiece on the table: I wanted something decidedly bigger than one of my ruined hab blocks, but maybe not quite as gigantic as a cathedral. So I decided to try my hand at a temple-like building housing a monument to some glorious achievement or other of the Imperium of Man.

The great thing about this project was that the building’s basic construction was still very much a rectangular box with four walls meeting at a 90 degrees angle. Still, the building ended up looking pretty imposing nonetheless. Take a look:

Monument Temple (2)
The most impressive part of the building is its façade, but this part was actually pretty easy to get right: I just drew a suitably impressive design on a piece of 3mm strong foamcore, then cut out all the arches and recesses with an exacto knife. Pieces of the same thin foamcore were then used to add projections to the wall and give it some depth. And I also added an inscription using alphabet noodles.

Here’s a view that shows the rest of the building:

Monument Temple (1)
The side walls are a very easy construction, with just a number of archways cut out of the foamcore I used. And a thicker kind of foamcore was used as a base for the whole building. The whole construction was very easy to put together, using PVA glue.

The dome you can see on the roof of the building was a readymade styrofoam shape I bought for a song at the DIY superstore. I placed it to be exactly above the monument inside the temple, a mockup of which you can see here:

Monument Temple (3)
In order to make the building look suitably damaged from artillery fire and the ravages of war, I cut sections out of the side walls and dome. Pieces of the dome were then glued onto the floor of the building, to make it look like they had fallen when the dome was partly destroyed.

The most fiddly part of the basic construction was the floor: I cut a lot of identical square shapes from the cardboard of a cereal box and used them as stone tiles to make up the temple’s floor. Glueing them down took a while:

Monument Temple (5)
As you can see, I drew some lines around the damaged wall sections to mark the areas where the floor had been damaged as well. On these areas, I didn’t use any of the floor tiles or at least made sure they looked damaged enough.

Monument Temple (4)
I also made sure the roof would be removable, in order to facilitate access to the building’s interior. This was achieved by adding a very simple foamcore construction underneath the roof that was stable enough to carry the roof when it was placed on top.

Here’s the interior with the floor tiles in place. The empty area in the middle marks the spot where the removable monument is supposed to go:

Monument Temple (6)

You can also see a part of the construction holding the roof in place at the bottom of the picture.

And here’s the same space with the monument’s basic construction in place:

Monument Temple (7)
So the next step was to get the whole building undercoated — definitely the hardest part of the whole exercise! I prepared a suitable undercoat by mixing black and white acrylic paint, some PVA glue and some fine bird sand (to add some texture to the paint and make the building look less like it’s made of foamcore). This kind of paint is really easy to mix and very cheap too. It also works as a sealant, making sure the foamcore’s foam interior doesn’t melt away, once you start using spray paint at a later point.

I won’t lie to you: Getting a building this size undercoated takes some doing (and a pretty large brush). And, please, don’t go using your expensive Citadel brushes for this, you hear!

Here’s the building, partly undercoated:

Monument Temple (8)

Monument Temple (9)
Oh, and another important thing: Make sure to mix enough paint, because there’s nothing worse than having to make some more just for the last corner of the model — I am speaking from experience here… 😉

Anyway, this is what the building looked like after undercoating:

Monument Temple (15)
Monument Temple (14)
Monument Temple (16)
Monument Temple (17)
As you can see, I didn’t paint the areas with the inscription or the empty spot for the monument. This was due to a number of reasons, actually:
I was afraid to damage the inscription with the brush, for one, plus you don’t want any grains of bird sand on those letters: They will have to look like metal later on, so any residue from the texture paint would destroy the illusion. The empty space was left unpainted because the monument should be easy to place, and that wouldn’t work with the floor all roughened up and uneven from the texture paint.

So the final step was to use black spray paint to touch up the unpainted areas as well as any places where the white foamcore was still showing through. This only took a couple of minutes. Afterwards, the whole building was nice and black:

Monument Temple (18)
Monument Temple (19)
And with that, the basic construction was completed. In the next installment, we’ll look at the additional details, the construction of the monument itself and the rest of the paintjob.

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Ruined buildings — quick & easy

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by krautscientist

Another quick and easy tutorial of sorts: This time we’ll deal with how to easily build a couple of ruined buildings in very short time.

Ruined buildings and crumbling hab-blocks are a staple of cityfight tables in particular and 40k terrain in general. It’s no surprise that GW has released lots and lots of easily assembled and nicely detailed cityfight ruins, and those kits are great! But sometimes you’ll want to fill up a lot of table space in a short amount of time, and maybe you also don’t want to spend a lot of money. And then, maybe you’re a bit like me and get a kick out of building terrain with readily and cheaply available materials? If you can subscribe to any (or all) of the conditions listed above, this post is definitely for you!

There are lots of useful materials when building your own ruined buildings: Cardboard, plywood, styrofoam and many others. Personally, I tend to go for foamcore, though, since it’s usually readily available and easy enough to handle. I usually work with foamcore of two different thicknesses: 2.5 mm and 4 mm. While the former is easier to cut, the latter is great for jobs that require more stability (outer walls, bases).

When I built my first ruined buildings, I prepared a very crude template that I simply drew on an A4 sheet of paper. This is pretty much what it looked like:

I used a 40k model for reference to get the proportions right. Since I needed some space to attach the template to the foamcore (using paperclips), the actual template is slightly smaller in size than A4. There also wasn’t enough space to add a full story at the top, as you can see. I found an easy way around that, though: Just cutting off half of the uppermost story, making it look like it had been partly destroyed. In addition to my rather crude sketch, there are also all kinds of great templates floating around the net, by the way. For a while, even GW offered a set of templates for hab-blocks, although I always found these a little off in scale. Anyway, it’s very easy to come up with a fitting template yourself or find one online.

After that, it’s really as easy as just cutting the foamcore to resemble the template. Be sure to use a very sharp exacto-knife for this, though, to make sure you get smooth edges when cutting: Foamcore tends to wear out blades pretty fast, so take care!

Once you have a finished wall, you can either just glue it together with other pieces of foamcore to make a building, or you can add some damage. If you cut the wall roughly in half, both halves can then be used to form different walls of the building, leading to a bombed-out look. Actually constructing buildings is really easy: Just glue your wall to a base (made of plywood or thicker foamcore), attach other pieces of foamcore at a 90 degrees angle, and you’re good! Foamcore is easy to glue together using wood- or PVA glue.

The great thing is how fast you’ll be able to build ruins this way. Let’s take a look at two buildings I built using just the one template you see above:

As you can see, you can achieve a very different look by just changing around the configuration of the walls. I also added in the remains of the buildings’ different floors, using leftover pieces of foamcore. Leftover sprue can be used to add broken and bent support beams. And you can use small stones, cork and slate to add some rubble to the corners of the building. The thing to keep in mind when adding rubble is that the building should still be useful in games, so it can make sense to actually use less rubble than would be realistic (given the damage on the building) for the simple reason that you may still want to be able to place a squad of models inside. Oh, and one small thing: Definitely take the time to add some windowsills, cut from leftover foamcore! It doesn’t take long, but that small detail really goes a long way towards making your ruined buildings look more realistic!

Granted, these buildings look far less detailed than the ones released by GW. But they’re very easy to build and come at very little extra cost. They can also really be as simple or as sophisticated as you want them to be. Here’s a more complex building I built with games of Necromunda or Inquisitor 28 in mind:

As you can see, I added a number of walkways as well as a central column. Still, the building was constructed using the exact same template as shown above.

You can also really go to town on these buildings, adding all kinds of propaganda posters, additional bitz and what have you.  You could conceivably even combine your foamcore parts with parts of the GW cityfight buildings to spice things up a bit!

In my case, I wanted these buildings to be quickly usable, so I basically just undercoated them with texture paint, sprayed them with cheap grey paint from the DIY superstore and they were ready to go on the table.

Seeing how easy it is to build these, you’ll quickly want to try your hand at building more sophisticated structures as well:

Foamcore_ruins (1)

Foamcore_ruins (2)
Foamcore_ruins (3)
Most of these were built about one and a half years ago, and I am actually a little embarrassed by how crude some of them are. I believe that I could probably do much better today. Still, the point in showing these to you is to demonstrate how your own imagination is really the only limit here. And you’ll quickly have a table full of terrain: Get together with some people at your FLGS or wargaming club, and you can easily churn out a table’s worth of cool stuff in a couple of afternoons! Here’s the cityfight terrain I managed to build over the span of one summer in 2011:

Foamcore_ruins (4)
I already explained at some length that there are many great reasons for building your own terrain! And today’s post demonstrates that it’s really quite easy to do so. So get building!

Any questions or remarks? Or any buildings or terrain projects of your own that you would like to show off? I’d be glad to hear from you in the comments section!

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Barricades – quick and easy

Posted in 40k, DIY, Inq28, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2012 by krautscientist

In between all the painting and kitbashing, let’s take time for a quick and easy recipe for building your own scatter terrain for games of 40k, Necromunda, Inquisitor 28 (or any other skirmisher, for that matter). This is something for slow days, when you want to get something done on the hobby front, but don’t feel like breaking out all the colours and really going to town on a model. Let’s take a look at barricades.

For me, everything started when I saw this picture on DRommel’s Savlar Chem-Dog plog (very much worth visiting, by the way!) over at Throne of Skulls. There I saw this:

Image appears courtesy of DRommel

This barricade looked quite excellent and fairly easy to duplicate at the same time to me. So, full of inspiration, I sat down to reverse-engineer DRommel’s recipe and build my own barricades in very short time with nothing but leftover stuff. Here’s how:

I. What we need:

Here are all the ingredients. The good news is that you will probably have most of this lying around anyway 😉

Some pieces of foamcore. For this you can basically use all the leftovers from other projects. You’ll need a couple of longer cuts, though, to make the bases for the brarricades.

Some corrugated cardboard. This comes in all shapes and measurements. Be sure to use cardboard that’s easy enough to cut. This will make for very convincing corrugated metal and help to break up all the otherwise smooth foamcore surfaces.

A couple of bitz. Anything goes here. Choose whatever you find at the bottom of your bitz box. Vaguely technical looking parts are best. I used some parts from an old model truck and some stuff from an old military terrain kit. Oh, and pieces of leftover sprue make for great sharpened stakes! And we all have tons of that stuff lying around, don’t we?

If you want to follow this recipe, you’ll also need some basing materials. Sand, cork, whatever you like.

Right, let’s get started, shall we?

II. What to do:

I started by drawing the outlines for the bases on some bigger pieces of foamcore, using a 40k bike base as a template. You can make all of the bases the same lenght, although it may be a good idea to make some longer and some shorter ones for added flexibility. I cut out the bases using a craft knife.

Then I beveled the edges of the bases with my knife. I did this so they would look more natural on the tabletop. Don’t worry if your bases – like mine – do look rather messy at this point: We’ll be able to fix that shortly!

I cut smaller pieces from the leftover foamcore and corrugated cardboard. These pieces form the main body of the barricade, so make sure to have a nice selection of different lenghts. The less rectangular the shape, the better.

I then glued the smaller pieces onto the bases using wood glue. I tried to make this basic construction look pretty haphazard, like random pieces had been collected and thrown together.

Then I added the corrugated cardboard to add some additional variety…

..and repeated the same step with the leftover bitz, sharpened pieces of sprue etc. At this point, the basic construction was finished.

Then I added my basing materials to the bases, using wood glue to glue them down. In this particular case, I used a mix of GW modelling sand and small pieces of cork. I also used the glue to seal all open areas of foam, so the foam wouldn’t disintegrate during the next step.

Then everything was painted using cheap spray paint from the craft store. I chose brown as a basecoat because I wanted the barricades to have a rusty, dilapidated look.

As you can see, the unified paint did a great job of tying together all the disparate parts. I then stippled GW Vermin Brown onto the barricades, creating patches of rust. Then I drybrushed the edges of the barricades with GW Boltgun (also stippling on some more Boltgun Metal). Then I painted thinned down Vermin Brown into the recesses — especially on the corrugated cardboard! The sand and cork on the bases were drybrushed with GW Bleached Bone. And lastly, I used GW Nuln Oil to paint on patches of oil, grime etc.

Here are the finished barricades:

This was the easiest recipe I could think of. These barricades come at basically no cost, and you’ll be able to churn out a ton of them in no time at all! Of course you can add some more variety by adding different colours, propaganda posters and all kinds of bitz. Ultimately, this may be the easiest terrain project I have ever done (and probably the one with the most bang for the – nonexistent – buck!).

Let’s wind up this post wit some shots of the barricades and some models. These photos also show you how flexible the barricades are:

Some twists behind a single barricade

A gang of twists defending their ramshackle fortifications

Scatter terrain like this will come in handy during games of Inquisitor or Necromunda. And, as I have tried to show you in this post, it’s ridiculously easy to built, at basically no extra cost!

Thanks to DRommel for the inspiration, and as always, thanks to you for looking! Stay tuned for more!

Modular industrial terrain – quick & easy

Posted in 40k, DIY, Inq28, Inquisitor, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2012 by krautscientist

I’ve been looking at different options of building some modular terrain for use in games of 40k and Inquisitor for quite some time now. After building a silly amount of cityfight terrain (that eats up an equally silly amount of storage space), I was a little hesitant to undertake the next terrain building spree: I felt that any new terrain had best be very versatile and modular for maximum usefulness. It would also have to be easily storable, so no more cathedrals for the time being…

Then, while shopping for boring stuff at the DIY-superstore, I came across these:

Now I couldn’t even tell you what these things are normally used for – especially not in English. They are used by electricians when working on electrical outlets or something — pardon my spotty knowledge when it comes to electrical installations.

But I instantly realised that these could be really useful for a terrain project: The smaller part seems immediately useful, and you may call me crazy, but the longer piece gave me an almost art deco vibe. Does that make sense?

Anyway, those were super cheap, so I picked them up and got to work:

What I wanted to try with these was to create some simple, highly versatile and modular industrial terrain that could be used for 40k but would be even more useful in games of Necromunda or Inquisitor 28. So I put each of the pieces on a base cut from foamcore and added a couple of bits:

To the small piece, I added a couple of small brass tubes I had lying around as well as some corrugated cardboard, cork chaff and one or two pieces from an old model truck. And behold, the thing was instantly transformed into something looking very …industrial.

I did something similar to the longer piece, adding some bits to give an idea of scale to the whole thing and to make it more interesting visually. Here’s the result:

All of this was really quick and easy work, and I only needed some leftover materials and a couple of bits. I then spraypainted both pieces with brown paint, since I would probably end up going for a rather dusty and dilapidated look amyway.

As usual, the uniform paint helped to tie everything toegther. I think it’s immediately obvious how this could work as a piece of terrain. Here’s a scale shot with an 28mm model:

The other piece got the same treatment. Lo and behold:

And again, with a model:

Granted, one of these alone is fairly unimpressive. But imagine several of those pieces that can be freely rearranged to create all kinds of different setups: You could simulate corridors or a kind of labyrinth. And the fun doesn’t end there: Just build a number of modular walkways to connect the different pieces and add some verticality. Or add some taller buildings for even more variety. These pieces could even be combined with my regular cityfight terrain! And the fact that they are fairly small and robust also makes them rather easy to store — what a relief!

Of course, these pieces will yet have to be properly painted, probably with huge amounts of weathering and rust. I could also add all kinds of security warnings and/or propaganda posters for more authenticity and that particular underhive look.

It probaly won’t surprise you when I tell you that I went back to the store the next day and got a whole bag of those pieces. About 8 Euros gave me enough stuff to fill up quite a lot of space on a normally sized Necromunda/INQ28 table. I’ll keep you updated on the progress!

Sometimes it’s lucky finds like these that makes building your own terrain that much fun! But then, maybe it’s just Karma’s way of paying us back for all the hours we spend sitting hunched over little plastic men. Who knows? In any case, whenever you’re at an DIY-superstore, keep your eyes open for useful stuff like this. It may make your visit to the store just that much more enjoyable 😉

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Reasons why you should build your own terrain, pt.5

Posted in 40k, DIY, Pointless ramblings, Terrain with tags , , , , , on August 8, 2012 by krautscientist

By now, you should know the drill: Building your own terrain is fun and cheap, terrain you built yourself is truly your own, and building your own terrain also makes for a nice change of pace whenever you’re frustrated by another part of the hobby. If you have followed me this far, let me present you with my final – and maybe most important – reason for submerging under heaps of foamcore, cereal boxes and spray paint in order to make your own terrain pieces:

5.) Building terrain is a great outlet for creativity!

I realised a long time ago that creativity and its expression are really crucial to me as a person. Towards thit end, most of the things I do in the tabletop hobby really follow the goal of doing something creative, whether it’s converting models, inventing background stories for them or building suitable pieces of terrain. And it’s true that building terrain lends itself very well to expressing creativity, simply because there are very few boundaries.

I have tried to show you that even your most basic household materials can be used to build your own wargaming terrain, so your own imagination is really the limit here. It’s all about coming up with an idea and seeing it through to its conclusion.

If that sounds a little too sketchy for you, I have an example of course. And a couple of pretty pictures to go with it.

I already mentioned that, some time ago, I had gotten it into my head to build a cathedral as an enormous centrepiece for my 40k battlefields. But before undertaking such a huge project, I wanted to come up with a number of ideas first. I wanted to find some visual elements that would be used to make the building more interesting and would help in actually “selling” the piece of terrain as believable. So I sat down and thought of a number of things I wanted to try out:

  • I wanted to use some kind of statue of a lost heroe of the Imperium, covered in verdigris or patina
  • I wanted to find a way of doing inscriptions to decorate my building will all the gothic and crazy mottoes we all know from the 40k background
  • I wanted to find a recipe for building devotional candles, to be placed around an icon of worship for example

So I gathered a few pieces of leftover foamcore and sat down to build a little test piece, a small devotional shrine. Here it is:

I wanted this to be usable as a piece of terrain in its own right, but it was also a way to try implementing all of the different elements I outlined above. Once again, the main construction was done with foamcore and a leftover cardboard roll.

The statue of a nameless Space Marine hero formed the center of the piece. I used an old 2nd edition Sergeant and added a few bits to make the model look more impressive. Then I experimented with a couple of paints until I found a nice way of representing patina: The model was basecoated with GW Tin Bitz (or Vallejo Tinny Tinn) and then lightly drybrushed with a lighter Bronze Tone. Afterwards, a mix of Vallejo Halcon Turquoise (or GW Hawk Turquoise) and Skull White was liberally dabbed onto the model.

Then I tried to do my own inscriptions, using alphabet noodles as a cheap and readily available resource (an idea I took from Oldschool’s very nice German terrain blog).

I used the noodles to represent one of 40k’s most iconic insriptions. Take a look:

The noodles were very easy to use and just as easily painted. I used the same recipe as for the statue. I also painted some rust stains around the different letters. Oh, and it seems a part of the inscription actually fell off. What a coincidence…

And finally I tried my hand at building some candles. I used small glass beads with a bit of wire in the middle to represent the candlewick. All I had to do was paint them:

I added some splashes of colour to represent the candles slowly melting. Again, this was very easy (if somewhat fiddly) to do and yet made for a pretty convincing result.

Building this concept piece really helped me to nail a look for my bigger buildings (like the cathedral). I learned a lot of useful techniques, even beyond the things I had wanted to try. For example, I used cardboard from a cereal package to make the flagstones – a recipe I have since used on many pieces of terrain.

But that was not really the most important thing. The most important thing was to see this whole project as an outlet for creativity: Thinking of things I wanted to do and then coming up with a cheap and easy way of doing them. And thinking up little elements that would help make my terrain more believable.

It’s true, building twenty identical ruins isn’t a great outlet for creativity — although it’s sometimes just the thing you have to do to get the necessary amount of terrain together. But you can still be creative: Think of a little something that will make each of those ruins stand out. Then think of how to make it work. Then you will truly have made something!

Of course this also goes for assembling terrain kits you buy. You could assemble them to look just like they do on the package. Or you could go the extra mile and use your creativity!

Ans while we’re at it: The actual building of terrain is not the only way to be creative. There are also many things you can do in other mediums to support your terrain. For instance, designing some Imperial propaganda posters for your terrain pieces is a quick and creative way of making your buildings look even more believable. Here’s a couple of posters I did using 40k artwork (It goes without saying that most of this artwork is courtesy of Games Workshop — I own none of it):

This one is based on an old propaganda poster from World War I. I kept the slogan and just added it on top of a picture of the Steel Legion in mid-fight. I used some Photoshop filters to make the image look more stylised and desaturated. There’s also some graffitti, probably added by cultists in order to deface this symbol of the Imperium.

And while we are on the subject of the Imperial Guard: Your terrain just won’t be the same without a generous helping of recruitment posters.

Well, sucks to be them, I guess 😉

Again, this poster was defaced by followers of the ruinous powers (I actually did pristine versions of both posters, too). This one is playing with the fact that most Imperial citizens are probably unaware of the fact that their Emperor is now little more than a corpse…

Ahh, a true classic, this one. Oceanian propaganda appearing courtesy of Mr. George Orwell, ladies and gentlemen.

Posters like these are easily designed using Photoshop, Gimp or similar software. Then you can print them out at different sizes and use them on your terrain for some extra oomph. You can even use this to add some narrative touches, to tie your terrain into an ongoing campaign or your existing 40k force!

Here’s a propaganda poster used by Chaos Cultists I did a while ago:

It’s using the symbol of the Word Bearers’ Piercing Gaze Chapter (my Word Bearers force then. Alas, I have since turned my attention to the World Eaters, as you all know…). The idea was that the Word Bearers had managed to infiltrate a world and begun to announce the planet’s salvation (i.e. their arrival).

Here’s the same design, used as a leaflet to deface an Administratum poster:

It’s little things like these that will not only help in making your terrain better, but will also be a tremendous outlet for your creativity! Just get going, you can start small! And it won’t be long before you’re doing stuff you didn’t even realise you were capable of!

And while my own mediocre attempts may not be enough to convince you, let me just relay you to a true master of the craft: Just take a look at thenickeninja’s blog to see how using propaganda posters adds just the last bit of plausibility to your pieces (and how random pieces of junk can end up as truly spectacular wargaming terrain).

And with that, my small treatise on the joys of building your own wargaming terrain is at an end. I hope that I managed to point out the merits of this increasingly lost art to you. Of course I’ll be posting more of my own terrain projects on this blog over time. And without a doubt, most of them won’t look nearly as spectacular as the stuff published in WD. But I can assure you that all of my stuff will have been fun to build, cheap, a nice change of pace and a great outlet for creativity. And all of it will be my own (except for the original GW artwork of course, I still don’t own any of that stuff 😉 ).

If you want to share your own experiences with building terrain, drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!