Tuesday, August 30, 2011

African Shanty

Here is an small terrain piece I worked on for the 3" Base Competition over at TerraGenesis.  As the title of the competition suggests, the base is 3" on each side.  The tin is from a pop can and was all corrugated with a paper crimper.  Before corrugation, however, I sanded it with an orbital sander to make some holes worn through.  The armature of the tree is twisted wire covered partially in Sculpey and sawdust/glue.  I'll do a proper tree tutorial sometime in the future, but I need to give credit to 'grove den' and his great tree making thread.  The foliage for the tree is similar to that of making bushes - just apply the static grass to the small tree branches rather than the steel wool.

 The figure is made by Eureka Miniatures.  They are based in Australia and they have a US distributor as well.  I sculpted the tires from Sculpey. 

The competition was tough, but this project came out in 1st place.  I also have an entry in the Defensible Position Competition featuring a lot of the recent details that I've posted recently.  The competition ends soon so if you like it, please feel free to visit the site and vote for it!  Even if you don't vote, you should definitely check out the other great terrain related material on TerraGenesis.

Portable Generator

The radio needed some power so I created this portable generator.  I'm not sure where I came up with the design...  The goal was to have a diesel operated unit with a hinged lid on one side to allow for easy maintenance.  I thought I needed an exhaust pipe, but the result looked like either a big grill/smoker or a barn with silo (as one of my good friends pointed out). ;)  In any case, I found some reference photos and none of them had pronounced exhaust pipes so off it went!

This was my second go at the hairspray method described in the Tables post.  This time I used an airbrush to spray on the hairspray.  Unfortunately the added control over how much got sprayed left me with a layer of hairspray that was too thin resulting it a very difficult process to get the top layer scraped off when the time came.

Here are some WIP photos:
Except for the tires which I scavenged from an airplane model I built with 'gear up', this piece is scratch built from polystyrene sheets, rods, and tube.
 Undercoat of rust colors before sealing:
 The 'Communist star' was painted using a stencil I cut from paper and sprayed over with an airbrush. (Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the Communist Party and included it only for game flavor.)

Fruit & Vegetables

I made this table of food for my Crescent Moon Inn & Songhouse kitchen earlier this year.  The table is balsa wood and everything else is Sculpey.  These are all in approximate 28mm scale with the table being about 3/4" high.


Here is a quick tutorial on how I started making shrubs for my terrain.  The idea has been around for quite some time and there are several mentions of it around the web.  I learned from 'grove den' over at the Model Railroad Forums.  His trees are simply spectacular as well, but that is for a different posting. ;)

First, pick up a package of steel wool from a hardware store such as Lowes or Home Depot.  It comes in several grades and I picked a couple - the one below is one of the middle grades.  Try to unfold it and keep the strands going in the same direction.  Cut a section apart and tightly twist it in the middle.  Put a drop of super glue in the center of the twist (thicker stuff works better than thin).  After dry, you can cut it in the middle and end up with two sections that look like the one below:
Now, secure the shrub with a cloths pin and tease it apart with a tweezers to give it the shape you desire.
After the shape has been created, use a dark gray spray primer to prevent the steel wool from rusting and falling apart.  It is best to get a couple dozen shrubs together on a tray and spray them all at once to reduce waste and speed up the process.

Now, spray the shrub with hairspray (I use Aqua Net unscented) and then using a kitchen sieve, shake static grass on to the branches.  These will hold the 'leaves' applied in the next step.  Using the sieve gives a lot more control and prevents huge clumps of static grass being deposited on the branches.

After dry, spray with hairspray again and with a bit larger holed sieve, apply flock.  It is best to stay away from the flock intended for 'grass' and instead screen out the smaller bits from a canister of coarse turf from Woodland Scenics.  The flock used for the shrub below I created myself using a blender and old foam padding.

Now you can plant them on your terrain piece (or train layout) and they look pretty decent with relatively little work:


A simple, yet effective radio.  I started with a .5"x.5"x.25" smooth block from HirstArts and added some styrene 'knobs'.  For the wire I stripped apart a worn out PC fan's wire to reveal the tiny wires within.  After twisting two of them together, I coiled them around a larger wire and panted it black.

The chairs are made from 1/4" wire fencing.  Nine squares were cut out in a long strip and bent to form the legs, back, and seat so no gluing is necessary for the frames.  The pads are Sclupey painted green,  given a coat of Future Floor Finish to produce a 'vinyl' shine, and then a sepia wash to age them a bit.  Weathering of the chairs followed the same pattern as the tables.


My first experience with the 'hairspray method' of weathering.

Unfortunately, I'm not exactly sure how I ended up with the crackling effect.  My theory is that the hairspray layer was too thick, my final coat was too thick, or a combination of both.  More experimentation will be required to know for sure... 

Here is a quick summary of the "Hairspray Method":
  1. Paint basecoat of rust colors (spray or brush, acrylic or enamel)
  2. Seal with a non-water based clear sealer
  3. Spray with hairspray
  4. Spray acrylic overcoat (with an airbrush so the hairspray doesn't melt away prematurely) the color the piece would be when 'new'
  5. Using a stiff bristled brush, wet the areas you want to have worn and brush away the overcoat to reveal the rust
 Here is the tutorial I tried to follow:  http://www.the-waaagh.com/forums/?showtopic=48166