Thursday, November 27, 2008

Handwavium Crystals

Ahh... the fabled handwavium crystals of Mars... such beauty and power...

How do I make some?

Basically, the handwavium crystals are nothing but pink foamboard insulation glued to a thin (1/16" or 1.5mm) plywood base, painted and flocked. I made them in a way that is essentially scale-neutral, like most landforms. In 25/28mm, they are big rocks. In 15mm, they are huge crystals.

Anyway, step-by-step (and yes, I should have taken photos. It was late and I wasn't thinking about the blog. Sorry.):
  1. Make the crystals. I took some scrap pieces of foamboard, and cut them into basically crystalline looking shapes, making sure I kept at least one side as flat as possible. I used a hotwire foam cutter to cut the foam. To make the thicker crystal, I glued two pieces of foam together after cutting them into shape.
  2. Make the bases. I took bits of scrap plywood from my River project, and cut them into irregular shapes with a hand-held fret saw. If you had a thin blade for a small bandsaw, that would work brilliantly as well, but I don't have a bandsaw yet.
  3. Glue the foam to the plywood using Tacky Glue (a thickened PVA, like Elmer's White Glue, available at craft stores in the US). Let that dry.
  4. Paint the plywood base. I painted mine with Burnt Sienna craft paints, as they are destined for Mars' red soil. You may want to try a different color for other planetary surfaces.
  5. Paint the crystals. I chose green shades, to stand out better against the reddish soil of Mars. Again, you may choose your own colors. I painted the whole crystal in Vallejo Deep Green, then painted ridges and edges in Vallejo Intermediate Green, and finally did a thin line of Vallejo Light Green along the edges and drybrushed a bit in the center of the facets for a light effect.
  6. Flock the base. Last, I painted some thinned down PVA glue on the bases and covered the bases with the reddish-brown sand I am using for Martian terrain. At this point, I also added a few small details around the crystals, like gravel and undergrowth.
I am going to use a similar technique, but different colors and shapes, for some "unobtainite ore" on Venus soon. I'll post photos when I am done.

If you want to see more photos, check the photobucket link in the margin for wargames terrain.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Battlefield Architects

This fellow does some really nice work. I have bought from him on eBay more than once, and I recommend his stuff. It looks nice and is quite sturdy.

That's the eBay store link.

Rivers Project

[Carried over from my defunct Napoleonics blog]

[Originally posted Saturday, September 27, 2008]

I started a new terrain project last night, one that has been sitting in the Closet for more than a year. I bought some styrene sheets last year at Historicon from a company called Precision Products []. These sheets are 16"square, 0.025" thick, with vacuum-formed terrain impressed into the sheets. The two sheets I bought are 1" Straight Rivers [SKU 16091] and 1" River bends [SKU 16092]. The Straight Rivers has four lengths of straight river, each approximately 15" in length. The River Bends includes:

2 x 45 degree bends
2 x 90 degree bends
3 x Y-Junctions, and
1 x Wooden Bridge

I have cut out two pieces so far, the bridge and one 90 degree bend. Yesterday I filled the styrene hollows with DAP Water Putty to prevent it from crushing or flexing, and then glued each piece to a 1/16" plywood base. Late last night I primed the two pieces with flat white spray paint, the cheap stuff from WalMart. Today, I applied basecoat colors, using cheap craft paints. Sorry about the blurry picture, I was hurrying.

So far, I am pretty pleased with the results. The water putty has added some heft and rigidity, as has the plywood base. It is taking the paint really well, too.

I will be adding a link to all the photos to the margin tonight. I'll post more when I make some more progress.

Still to come:
Drybrushing for detail
Add flock and ballast
Pour scenic water into riverbanks
Build a hand rail. The only drawback is that the piece will lose its scale-neutrality if I do that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

First Post!

Hello, and welcome to my new blog.

I'm going to talk about my projects for making wargaming terrain on this blog. I'm not going to bother to be 'in character' like I do on my other blog, Victoria's Boys in Red. This blog will be leaner. Meaner. Greener!

I will start off by crossposting or importing some of the older posts I have done about terrain on a blog I will be deleting soon. Look for it either later tonight or more likely tomorrow.

A little more about what I do:

I push little painted lead soldiers around on the table for fun. My friends do too. Part of the fun is creating a table that looks great. That's where the terrain comes in to play.

Technically, "terrain" falls into two categories: terrain and scenics. Terrain consists of landforms, trees, rivers, fields - all the stuff nature puts out there, plus roads and, I suppose, canals as well. Scenics is the man-made stuff: buildings, fortifications, obelisks, and so on.

Well, enough for now. She Who Must Be Obeyed wants to be tucked in for the night.