Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

A forum to show off terrain, painted miniatures, works in progress and similar.
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Nodri
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Nodri » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:29 pm

Originally posted Aug. 2, 2016

Lava Table Construction Part 2


It's been a few weeks since my last update, but I haven't been idle. Work on the lava table is progressing. I've managed to get the table base coated, the ends have been designed and the rough construction is done. Additionally, a fun little side project has just been completed and a full tutorial is included below.

First off, the ends have been designed and built. My original plan was to include a dice tower & turn counter. When I actually worked it out, it became much too complicated and fiddly. The point of this table is to be modular and adaptable for any purpose, so I decided to stay true to that theme.

The edges are finished with 7/16 in. x 11/16 in. MDF shoe moulding on edge. It's cheap and just high enough to ensure a deck of cards doesn't fall off the table. The height also gives me a little room to play with permanent features while still allowing the table to be stored flat.

In the center of each end piece there is a 6" wide piece of 3/16" acrylic that's finished with the shoe moulding on face. I then used construction adhesive to attach some scrap pieces of 20 gauge steel. One of the acrylic sheets has a large square cut out of it for use as a turn counter; I'll cover the details of that feature a little later in this post. The steel will allow any magnetized feature to be attached at some later date. I figured that only one turn counter would be needed for any game, and adding the acrylic sheet to the second end piece (the one with no cut-out) will allow it to be used either as a dice-rolling area in 3 or 4 person games, or as a space to hold common items (like objective tokens in focal point missions) in 2 person games.

The acrylic was covered in PVA glue and textured in the same way as the main part of the table. It will also receive the same hot lava paint job. The tops and bottoms of the end pieces were sealed in watered-down PVA glue applied with a small paint roller (the same as the bottoms of the main parts of the table). Once the hot lava areas are painted, the tops of the end pieces will be finished in self-adhesive faux leather.

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I then primed all hot lava areas with white spray primer. The edges and trim were finished with a black gloss enamel spray paint.

Here's the end pieces.
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And here's the entire table. 4'x8' doesn't sound too big, but it's huge when you're actually standing in front of it. I did a little bit of math and it comes out to 3,456 square inches of play space and and roughly an additional 1,152 square inches of storage space at the ends (575 square inches for each end). The large dice on the end marks the location of the turn counter.

I'll paint the hot lava once I get an order of paint in. It's on back order, so I expect it to take some time. There's no rush, however, as there's still lots of construction to complete. In addition, I'll be painting it in the same way as the display board, so I think the biggest expenditure on this project will be the paint. It may be a hit to the wallet, but it also wasn't unexpected and I've managed to keep costs down on other parts of the project, so it'll still be in budget.

This covers the main construction updates so far.
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At this point, I'm going to wander a little off track to take care of a small, fun, side project. During games at the FLGS, my opponents and I have noticed that we have a mutual tendency to have shockingly bad dice rolls. This is not a matter of perception. We've done the math and we're definitely at the wrong end of the law of averages by a wide margin.

In order to help alleviate the situation, I decided to convert my turn counter (the large blue die in the image above) into a sacrificial altar. It is my hope that excessive and bloody human sacrifice (in miniature effigy of course) will appease the dark and unholy dice gods so that we can have rolls that are at least average.

While the reason for building the altar is, admittedly, a bit tongue-in-cheek, this project does have a practical side. Since the paint order will take awhile, my focus is about to move on to making the terrain. I will be scratchbuilding all of the terrain on this table and I've learned that looking at things from the perspective of a terrain scratchbuilder is its own unique skill. The altar is made entirely from found bits for a cost of $0. Designing & building it was a good way to get the creative juices flowing.

So without further ado, here is


How to Build an Altar to the Dark and Unholy Dice Gods
(That is also a turn counter)


Before beginning this tutorial, it's worth pointing out that my altar is built directly onto one of the end pieces of my gaming table. A standalone version would require making your own base to suit your particular needs and style. 1/8" MDF or plywood edged with trim will work fine. Both are readily and cheaply available at bigbox hardware stores (HomeDepot, Lowes, or your local equivalent).

The turn counter portion is a 50mm die that I have been using as a turn counter for ages. They're readily available online for about $20 and come in a huge range of colors. The fact that mine is blue is a happy accident, as it happens to be the accent color of my PHR army.

The altar is based on three pieces of cork, each of which has a magnet in the bottom. I then added a few old dice. The figure in the center is a Reaper mini on a Miniwargaming resin base (both of these were freebies at a convention some years ago and have been sitting in my bits box ever since). The additional skulls on the spear are from GW. Here's the basic layout. At this point, nothing is glued.

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Pumice stones were glued onto the side pieces with construction adhesive. I then filled the gaps between the stones with small bits of cork soaked in watered down PVA glue. Finally, a light coat of texture gel was brushed over the stones to unify the texture. This was the same process I used to create the rocky areas in the display board tutorial.

To create the dark altar at the font, I grabbed some old GW sprues (40k chaos & fantasy skeletons) and cut out an ample supply of skulls and bones. They were then individually sanded and prepped, which was time consuming but work the effort IMO.

With regards to the Reaper mini, the arm was pinned to make it more resistant to handling. I also attached it with construction adhesive instead of CA glue to it's more flexible and durable. A groove was cut out of the base so that the mini could stand flush with the surface once it was glued in. Once glued, everything was allowed to dry overnight.

Here you can see a closeup of the built altar and an area shot that shows how big it is relative to the table end. The dice rolling area inside the trim measures 6" x 12" to allow room to roll dice before the altar. It will be painted in the same hot lava colors as the rest of the table.

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The altar was the primed black.
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1/4" x 1/16" magnets were then glued in.
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Minitaire Muddy Brown was airbrushed over the dice, statue, and bones.
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Minitaire Mummy was zenithally airbrushed onto the bones.
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Minitaire Skull White was airbrushed directly over the top of the bones for the final highlight.
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Diluted matte medium was then airbrushed over the bones to protect the airbrush work.
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VGC Bright Bronze was brushed on to the statue and dice.
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The bronze areas were then washed with VGC smoke (1 smoke : 2 water). A first highlight of VMA Gold was then brushed on. I forgot to take a pic after applying the smoke, so this image covers both steps.
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VMA Bright Brass was then brushed on for the final highlight
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The lava areas were then touched up with VMC Black.
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The entire altar was again sealed with diluted matte medium applied with an airbrush.
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Vallejo Black Lava texture gel was brushed on to the dark lava areas. It was applied undiluted to the cork, but was thinned heavily with water before washing over the pumice stones in order to preserve the existing texture.
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Vallejo Black Lava texture gel was also brushed onto the table end where the turn counter will sit.
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Two coats of Testors Glosscote were then sprayed over the entire altar and allowed to dry.
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I then made gore using black ink and Tamiya Clear Red. One drop of ink was added to about 10-20 drops of clear red and then diluted with water until it flowed easily. The mix was then brushed on and I stippled the drying gore to add texture.

Once the first layer was dry, I diluted Clear Red with water (no ink) and brushed it over the first layer. I think I may have gone a bit overboard, but that's okay. The dice gods are definitely angry with me and more gore can only be a good thing.

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Two coats of Testors Dullcote were sprayed over the entire altar and allowed to dry.
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Testors ModelMaster Acryl Gloss was brushed over the gore to return the shine.
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Testors ModelMaster Acryl Matte was brushed over the black lava for a final layer of protection and because it's just a bit shinier than the Dullcote which works well with the lava. At this point, the altar is complete.
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Here's the completed altar / turn counter. The hot lava will be painted at a later time. I'm not sure that it'll help with our dice rolls, but it was a fun project to build and will add a unique flavor to the table.
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Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

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Nodri
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Nodri » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:32 pm

Originally posted Oct. 20, 2016


As seems to be my usual pattern, it's been a few months since the last update and this will be a very long post. All of the buildings for the city have been built (but not primed) and I figured that was is a good milestone to stop, take photos, and to document the progress so far. There will, of course, be lots of pics and a few tutorials. You should expect nothing less from me by now.

I never would've anticipated that just building a city would require three months, but it was a lot more work than I imagined. Not only that, but I was very fortunate that Phase 2 was released before I started any major construction. The additional fluff warranted some major changes to the direction of the project. Most notably, this table will not be a PHR forgeworld but rather Odin's Foundry on Eden Prime. As per the fluff, the PHR machinations will be in the background and the primary design was therefore altered for a more universal sci-fi aesthetic so that it won't look out of place with the UCM (In case you're wondering, I will not be painting my UCM in a lava theme. Once this is done and the new PHR models painted, I'll be done with fire for awhile). The other impact from Phase 2 that delayed construction was the need for additional terrain pieces that work for the new scenarios.

Another thing that delayed construction was the design phase. I wholly appreciate Hawk releasing paper terrain to get people playing at an affordable price in a hurry. That said, I've also found that playing games with rectangle buildings on square tiles gets boring after awhile. So in addition to making terrain that is visually appealing and durable, I have also been obsessed with the idea of pushing the boundaries how terrain can impact the game in unexpected ways.

For example, how does door placement affect troop movement between structures? What if some doors can only be accessed via jump units or dropships? What happens if there are gaps in the building that create unexpected lines of sight for non-troop units? What if there are bits sticking off of the building that can be used as cover for vehicles? How do varying heights change line of site? How can I make the selection and placement of terrain at the beginning of the game every bit as tactical as moving units during the game? Moreover, how can I create terrain that will increase the overall level of interest and enjoyment in the game for both me and my opponent? These are simple questions, but the impact they have on the design are substantial.

These last few months I've been digging through thrift stores, yard sales, hardware stores, and my own home for bits and parts. I've run some crazy stuff through my band saw, jig saw, power drill, Dremel, and other tools with a mixture of successes and failures. There have been moments of frustration when a particular adhesive bonded exceptionally well to one surface and not at all to another or when I just finished a cut only to realize it would've worked better if done differently. Hobby horizons have been expanded to include materials that are normally used only for construction, home repairs, or crafts. Time has been spent learning how to create vector graphics so that I can cut out custom details from card stock and cereal boxes. The most challenging and rewarding accomplishment was learning how to look an any object and to see within it a potential for use on the tabletop.

This is my first ever terrain project. I can tell you that for all the reasons listed above and more, scratchbuilding terrain is the most creatively liberating experience I've had in this hobby. I now get why some people who make terrain do nothing else. It's a whole new level of expressive freedom and an enormous amount of fun. If you haven't done it, I strongly encourage you to give it a try.

While I certainly want to paint the new PHR releases and at least one Dropfleet faction (probably Shaltari first, just for something different), there's no rush. I'm enjoying this project for what it is and intend to get the absolute most out of it before moving on. You can expect a number of posts on the table construction before I move on to something different and I see no way that I'll be done before the end of the year. Before painting can even begin, I need to build additional terrain features including hills, forests, destroyed building markers, etc.

I've also been inspired by the tables created other artisans (like Steve's DZC Table and ED-209b's DownTown Terrain Project) to include bridges or overpasses in order to add an additional layer to the board. I've not yet begun to design these yet but will begin work as soon as the other components are made.

So now that you've been brought up to speed on where the project is and where it's headed, I'll take a moment to detail what I'll cover in this post. For a variety of reasons, it isn't practical for me to document how I made every structure. I did complete a photo diary of a typical build and will use that as the primary tutorial in this post. I'll also discuss how I made the doors, since they're absolutely necessary for DzC and scratchbuilding a few hundred doors in a reasonable time frame was no mean feat. I'll then post pics of each building and possibly some notes regarding any unique aspects to that particular build.

It's expected there will be important details left out. Please post any questions you may have and, as always, I will be happy to answer them. I will be checking back regularly at least until construction is complete and I get lost again figuring out how I'm gonna paint all this stuff.

So without further ado, here's



How to Scratchbuild Odin's Foundry on Eden Prime


The first thing I did was to consult my Ruinscape box to figure out how many small, normal, and large structures I would need. I figured that by creating the same number as were in the box, I'd be good for awhile. The next step was to consult the rulebook to see how big each structure was in game terms. With regards to measurements, I only included the actual size of the building itself with no regard for the base or any bits that stick out. As a result, my buildings tend to be a bit on the big side, but not by too much. I also intentionally violated some rules by making individual buildings taller or shorter than detailed in the rulebook as a way of making things more interesting. A few extra buildings were added later due to inspiration during the building phase, scenario requirements in Phase 2, and because there are no tiny structures in the Ruinscape box and I wanted a few.

Here's a breakdown of what I ended up making:
Objective - 1. I made a custom underground hangar with four communications stations for use in Phase 2.
Micro - 0. These are shed-sized and just too small for practical use. If I discover a need later, I'll make some.
Tiny - 6.
Small - 9.
Normal - 9.
Large - 9. Two of these are much larger than the Hawk standard and could be classified as Huge. They will be used as centerpieces.

All that will easily cover a 4' x 6' table and I've yet to build hills, forests, etc. For this reason I'm considering making an additional table at some point in the future. Whether or not this actually happens will directly depend on how many regular players join my gaming group and if any of them make their own table. For now at least, 4' x 6' is plenty.


The first step in construction was to lay out the component parts, including the base. In essence, I made my own model kit. Note that I did change my mind regarding some of the parts during construction, so not everything in the photo below appears on the final model. That's just part of the creative process.

For an example, here is how I built a large factory. While the component parts vary from building to building, they're all pretty much made the same way.

The factory body is made from a plastic electrical box that I picked up at Home Depot. The mounting brackets have been removed with a band saw. The base is made from 1/8" acrylic (I was lucky enough to get my hands on a fair amount of scrap acrylic some time ago and have used almost all of it to make bases for this city). The pipe sticking out the back is a PVA pipe bend.

It is important that all parts are sanded and washed before construction begins to give your adhesives the best possible chance of working. I settled on Loctite GO2 Glue and Liquid Nails construction adhesive for major structural bonds, and good old-fashioned Tacky Glue, CA Glue, and PVA glue for detail parts.

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Next I traced out the position of the factory and PVA pipe onto the base. The circles in the middle are holes for the later addition of gap-filling construction foam (Great Stuff). These later proved to be woefully insufficient, but more on that later.
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The base was then cut out on a band saw and holes drilled. Go slow or you will break blades, trust me (wear your safety glasses!). The hole in the back of the factory allows the foam to fill both the pipe and the main body, which will improve durability.
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I then glued the main body and PVA pipe to the base with one of my chosen structural adhesives.
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For flavor purposes, every building has something unique about it. In this case, I decided to attach old sample bottles I picked up someplace. Holes were drilled out of the top of the factory and the caps were glued in with a structural adhesive. This allows me to remove the bottles even after construction is complete, which is useful since I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to finish them. :lol:
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Next I used structural adhesive for the major details. The part opposite the bottle is a King from a chess set that I picked up at a thrift store for a few dollars. You'll see the other pieces throughout this project because it was definitely most important find of the entire build. The other bits are from old 40k kits.
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I then added flavor details. The hex pattern on the roof is a scratch-drawn vector graphic that I cut out of card stock with a Silhouette Portrait. If there's any interest in knowing how that part was done, let me now. It's such a niche tool that I don't see the need to go into any details here without a request.

The other panels were cut out of food packaging to cover up the cut marks caused by removing the mounting brackets with a band saw. Nothing special here, just a pen, scissors, and Tacky Glue. Acrylic rod was then used to finish off around the doors.

I will detail door construction immediately following this part of the post. Doing so here would just derail my own tutorial.
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I then used spray foam (Great Stuff) to make an internal skeleton for the factory. This stuff is incredibly sticky and very strong when dry, so it's perfect for making sure the building will stand up to many games. I do have a few words of warning, first, though.

To begin, I started by using the Window and Door variety (pictured below) and found that was not ideal because it remains flexible when dry and I wanted a hard internal skeleton. I settled on the Big Gap Filler and that seemed to work very well. Keep in mind that will get everywhere, so do it outside with gloves on.

The big thing to remember is that construction foam needs air to cure. It is not designed for use inside of confined spaces (like inside terrain). The foam will dry at the holes first and will remain uncured inside the terrain for days or even week afterwords. This is why my few holes were not enough. I ended up ruining a few drill bits by constantly drilling into the foam as the terrain pieces were curing in front of a fan. The process was tedious and messy. It would've been much smarter to cut away as much of the acrylic base as possible and then just spray the foam in. Even when not confined to the interior of a structure, it takes a good day or so to expand completely and dry. The dry foam that's proud of the base is easily removed with a knife or saw and sands flat with coarse grit sandpaper pretty easily.

I thought I could do the foam in weekend, but it proved to be one of the post challenging parts of the build and it was over a week before I worked out all the kinks in the project. I also used it to fill some food packaging (clear, thin plastic) and because the vent holes dried first, the terrain literally exploded overnight. Gaps in the construction allowed air into inner parts which caused the foam to expand as it dried when it had nowhere to go. Thankfully they were outside, but I did have to redo the buildings which cost me two days' extra work by the time everything was remade and the glues dried.

The hassle was worth it because my terrain is now so strong enough that it could probably be used to bludgeon a burglar to death (explain that one to the cops...). The learning curve, however, was very steep.

This image shows the first can of spray foam that I used. The straws were attached to the nozzle to allow the foam to get into deep recesses of some of the terrain pieces (yes, a tube that long was needed - I told you that this has been a fun project :mrgreen:). It worked very well, but I would suggest that you apply a small amount of foam, wait a few hours for it to dry in front of a fan, and then apply another layer. It will cure much better. The second photo is a stock image of the spray foam that I settled on using.
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Here the foam has been cleaned off the bottom and a magnet has been added to the bottom. The piece is heavy enough that the magnet probably isn't necessary (remember that the top of my table is made of sheet metal) but I like magnets so in it goes. You can see that despite the hassles with the foam, it cleaned up very well.
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I then glued some pumice stones to the base (just like in the display board) and glued a bit of scrap spray foam to the pipe at the back. For the record, I saved all of the dried spray foam that came out of the drying holes for use on hills later.
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Acrylic painter's caulk was then applied around all of the stones to fill in gaps. It was also stippled over the acrylic base to add texture and to improve adhesion of later materials. This was one of the big wins of this experiment. Painter's caulk is about $3/tube, has good adhesion properties to a variety of materials, dries fairly quickly, and it's acrylic so it works with all hobby paints. There's lots of potential in this stuff and I will definitely be experimenting further.
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Ground up sheet cork was then soaked in watered down PVA glue and applied to the bases with an old brush. I found an old coffee bean grinder at a thrift store and it's great for grinding cork. Just make sure that the pieces are broken down into about finger-tip sized beforehand or the motor will overheat.
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Coarse Texture Gel was then applied liberally to the bases and drybrushed over the cork & rocks for texture. Two coats over flat areas may be necessary.

The model is now ready for primer. While there are variances between models, this has been the basic construction process for all of my terrain.
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How to Scratchbuild Doors for Dropzone Commander



Making doors was one of the more intimidating aspects of this project simply due to the quantity needed. While it ended up being fairly easy in the end, it took a lot of thought and planning to make something that would look good, stick out enough to be visible, and could be replicated a couple hundred times without wanting to scoop out my eyeballs with a spoon. Here's what I came up with.

First off, get a bag of zip ties, some 1/16" acrylic rod, a sharp hobby knife, and a sanding block (or sandpaper). I also used a hobby mitre box, but you could make something custom pretty easily.

It is not necessary to cut through the zip ties or the rod. All you need to do is press firmly and then snap them off. Using this method the process will go pretty quickly.
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I then made the jig by clamping the mitre box to my workbench. Scraps of 1/8" acrylic were clamped in place to serve as the end of the jig. I wanted to make the pieces about 10mm long that so they were in scale. The idea is to slide the zip tie into the mitre, press down with the hobby knife to score it, pull it out, snap off the piece, and repeat as quickly as possible. You need two zip tie pieces for each door.

Here's an overview of the setup.
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And here's a detail of the jig with a zip tie inserted.
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Here's a cut zip tie.
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And the pile of them I made. Probably about half an hour's work.
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Once all of the zip ties were cut, I need to make a header to finish off the look. I moved the scrap acrylic around in the jig so that it was now exactly two zip ties' length between the hobby knife and the end of the jig. With this in place, I can mass produce the headers out of 1/16" acrylic rod just as fast as I made the doors. Only one is needed per door.
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Here's a complete door in the jig to show you just how everything should be placed.
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The acrylic rod in the jig ready for cutting..
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And a pile of cut headers.
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Here's a complete door. I attached them to the buildings with Tacky Glue and left them in front of a fan to dry. Note that the pieces do have a top and bottom due to the pattern of the ridges. If you hold them up to a light, you can see it pretty clearly and I made sure that each piece was correctly oriented before gluing it in place. I know this is incredibly nitpicky, but after all this work I don't want any surprises later.

Once dry, I smoothed a bead of undiluted PVA around each door to make sure they were secure and to smooth out any rough edges.
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And now what a reward for sticking with me while I ramble on. Seriously, if you've made it this far, you deserve a medal. Thank you.



Photo Gallery of Odin's Foundry (Unpainted)



Objective Marker


Underground Hangar with Communications Stations
Hangar was made with three layers of card stock cut on the Silhouette and glued to a piece of hardboard.
Communications stations are 40k bits glued to shelf-mounting hardware that's attached to 40k bases.
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Tiny Buildings



Laboratories
Made out of computer chip boxes with 40k bits and pins from locks (IC format core) with acrylic tube chimneys.
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Gardens Under Forcefields
A clear acrylic Christmas ornament currently sitting on a 1/16" acrylic sheet base. The inside will be finished with turf/flock. I imagined that the forcefield is semi-permeable, so no doors were needed. A fun little side project done purely for flavor and visual interest.
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Small Buildings



Cooling Stations
A small Tupperware container cut into three pieces on the band saw. Acrylic rods across the tops connect curtain rings. The disks in the middle of the curtain rings are game pieces for checkers that came with the chess set I mentioned earlier. The sides were finished with card stock cut by hand.
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Made from electrical wiring hardware with PVA pipes attached the the ends and checkers on top. The roofs are finished with finished with card stock cut by hand.
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Terrestrial Communications Buildings
Electrical boxes with the mounting brackets cut off. Clear acrylic rod antennae finished with a modified rook on the roof. Panels are card stock cut by hand.
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IT/AI Building
Electric box topped with a disposable mount used to hold paper towels in a commercial dispenser. The center is a small sample bottle with a cone-shaped interior (I have no idea what it's for, but it looks neat). The large door is a 40k bit and the panels are card stock cut by hand.
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Executive Hab Unit
A very old electrical box flipped upside down. The hole at the top was covered in foam core and half of a clear acrylic Christmas ornament was mounted on top. Like the gardens, the inside will be finished with foam/flock. The panels are sheet acrylic. The windows are two layers of card stock that was created on the Silhouette (lots of buildings will have these). The roof around the dome is finished the same as the bases, which I figured would make it look like a garden from the air (reasonable camo in a Dropfleet era). This natural roof texture is also a recurring (but not universal) theme. Acrylic tubing was used in the deep recesses on the side. Other bits are from 40k.
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Normal Buildings



Worker Hab Units
Clear grocery packaging reinforced with spray foam. The tops were covered acrylic sheet and the edges caulked and finished in the same way as the base. A clear acrylic Christmas ornament was used for the dome that will be finished with (you guessed it) foam and flock in a garden theme. Windows are two layers of card stock cut with the Silhouette.
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Water Treatment Facilities
Assuming you've been with me this whole time and aren't just skimming (which is okay!), you may remember I mentioned having to redo two buildings that exploded when they filled with foam. These are those buildings. For reasons I can't explain, they're some of my favorites and I was not going to have a table without them.

They're made from a single clear grocery package that was cut in half, which is why they mirror each other. The side was created with cardboard from a food package, a clear bottle that was cut in half on the band saw, and some plastic tubing. The roof details are knights from the chess set with freehand card stock panels.
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Orbital Communications Center
Definitely one of the more unusual pieces. It is an old hairdryer that had its guts removed and met its demise on my band saw. The vent on one side was filled in with Milliput rolled into a sheet. It will be painted as windows. The antenna in the middle is an old Dremel collet with an acrylic rod glued in the middle. The orange ball is a dog toy. Part of a small product container was used as the water tank at the end. Another one of my favorites.
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Power Plants
Powdered drink containers glued to a base opposite a small Tupperware. This format was experimental because I imagined that the two parts are connected underground which allowed for lines of site & cover between them. The drink container has pawns from the chess set on the sides and is topped with piece of PVA & acrylic pipe. It's been finished to look like the base. The window is two layers of card stock cut on the Silhouette. It's been finished to look like the base. PVA pipe also sticks out the side and is ringed with dried spray foam. The green Tupperware is topped with a checker with a 40k bit on the side.
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Factories
Two electrical power boxes glued to the same base with bits from 40k, the knights from the chess set, dispensing tubes from glue bottles (the blue things on the roofs), various acrylic rods, PVA pipes coming out of the back and card stock panels cut by hand. I like them because the remind me of steam engines, which seems appropriate.
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Large Buildings



Large Factories
No real need to go into much detail here, since I used these as the tutorial sample earlier. I could, however, use some ideas on how to finish off the bottles on the roofs.
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Large Power Stations
Another fun experiment with line of sight. Similar to the regular power plants, but the green Tupperware was replaced with a small electrical box finished off with 40k bits, tubing & piping, card stock cut on the Silhouette, and the queens from the chess set (with clear acrylic rods drilled into them so that they look like small kings).
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Solar Arrays
Another one of my favorites and directly inspired by the impressive base work of L. Sabia Byrne's Tron PHR. Thank you for the inspiration! The clear acrylic panels will be used as large canvasses to experiment with the technique on whole new scale.

The arrays are held up with the bishops from the chess set which are connected underground to a Tupperware container that's topped with a checker and finished with 40k bits and a PVA pipe. The hatch in the corner will be used as door to access the underground area. As with the power plants, this is another design that plays with the idea of vehicles & infantry sharing the same space.
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Centerpiece Buildings



Mega Factory
An electrical box with the mounting hardware removed with a band saw. Topped with a checker and two modified rooks from the chess set. It's connected to a now-familiar tower in the back via tubing and finished off with 40 bits and PVA pipe. Side panels are food packaging cut by hand. This thing is a monster!
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PHR Headquarters
This is the one piece that had been designed in full before Phase 2 was released and was set to be something of a template for everything else. Elements have been shared, but I obviously didn't use certain features like the three dots elsewhere.

It's made from an inverted electrical box, topped with a scrap of 1/8" acrylic sheet, topped with a plastic drinking cup, topped with the lid from an iced tea bottle, topped with the metal grate from the now-dismembered hairdryer that was filled in with Milliput to look like windows. The ends are an insert from a Keurig coffee maker that was cut in half. Finished with all manner of card stock panels and 40k and other scale model bits. The prominent architectural detail overlooking the landing pad is the handle to a disposable razor that's finished on the end with a PHR walker waist, machine gun, and flamer. The PHR flourish details on the side of the glass are made from scrap wood and swear words.
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Remember seeing two feet of drinking straws attached to can of spray foam and wondering "what did that clown build"? Me either. Anyways, here it is.

Standing in at over 29 inches tall, it's an

Orbital Defense Gun
This thing is just crazy big and was a direct result of a comment in the Phase 2 book where somebody with Hawk found it necessary to say something to the effect that guns measuring feet high could be made and it was just the sort of thing that 10mm gaming was good for. I had nothing taller than the model above at the time and that comment made me feel understandably inadequate, so I did something about it and decided to be the first person crazy enough (that I know of) to make something this big.

It's made out of various forms of food packaging, the tube from a roll of aluminum foil reinforced with bamboo skewers, some Tupperware containers, customized 40k bits, card stock cut on the Silhouette for panels & windows, various electrical bits, and just an incredible amount of spray foam and expletives. The hardest part by far was keeping the thing straight during construction. This one piece is took an entire weekend to build not counting foam and basing, which was another weekend. Despite the time, hassle, and frustration, three words describe the result: Effing worth it :D

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Thanks for taking the time to get through all this. I hope you had as much fun reading it as I have had building it.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

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Nodri
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Nodri » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:35 pm

Originally posted April 21, 2017


In my last post back in October, I estimated another month or so for construction to be completed. That turned out to be way off. Almost six months to the day later and the building phase of this project if finally done!

As you'll see below, things definitely got way out of hand and maybe even a little weird. Buying raw materials in hardware store quantities meant that I was free to experiment and I therefore created a lot more pieces than had been planned on initially. I came up with a basic technique for making a terrain feature and then modified it over and over just to see what would happen. Some of it may work out well and some of it may not. As always, your feedback is appreciated.

Everything is based on the idea of using a refrigerator door for a gaming surface and treating the terrain features & buildings as fridge magnets. There are magnets in every base and every flat surface (including ramps) has an underlay of sheet metal. The different pieces are designed to be stacked on top of one another to make the play surface as modular as possible.

As per usual, this wouldn't be a proper update without some new tutorials. I will follow them up with a bunch of photos detailing the process so far (over 80 photos in total). Also as per usual, this will be a long post. Not just sorta long, but really really long, even by my standards.

Before we begin, I ask you to read these tutorials with your own designs in mind. While I'm building a lava table, it would be very easy to paint the hills brown instead of black and to add a few patches of flock (or snow!) for a completely different look. These tutorials are written with the intent of being a springboard for your own creations.


Enjoy.


How to Make Modular Wargaming Terrain


I think the best place to start is with the humble hill. To begin, I cut a rough hill shape out of a piece of 1" insulation foam and then made two copies. They were then stacked on top of a base made from 1/8" hardboard (or similar).

The position of the ramp was then measured out. Hawk allows for a maximum incline of 45°, but I found 25°- 35° to be ideal. If the angle is steeper, models may fall over. If it's shallower, too much of the hill is taken up by the ramp.

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I then glued all three pieces of foam together using Loctite Foamboard Construction Adhesive (photos later in this tutorial). I used regular liquid nails in the pic below and later settled on the foamboard adhesive because it's water based and cleanup is infinitely easier.

Once glued, I filled an old 1 gallon jug with water and set it on top of the foam to press the foam pieces together. The foam was allowed to dry overnight.

I then carved the rough shape of the ramp with a serrated knife and smoothed it with an old rasp. Carving foam is insanely messy and you will get bits of foam everywhere. Keep a vacuum cleaner handy.

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Now things start to get interesting. One of the things that drives me nuts about the paper urban terrain is that everyone just hides behind buildings and things can get repetitive or worse, boring. I therefore wanted to break up terrain features so that there would be lots more opportunities for lines of sight and for cover.

I decided to carve out the inside of the hill and add a hole in the top that will be covered in granny grate. Models can now travel through or engage in combat on top of and inside the hill. Definitely not boring :D

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I then used tin snips to cut out sheet metal in the shape of the top of the hill and of the ramp.

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A piece of granny grate was then cut to fit the hole in the foam. I made a frame out of card stock to finish the border.

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I then cut out the base. I decided to hollow out the center to allow the hot lava of the tabletop to show through.

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I then glued the foam to the base with foamboard adhesive.

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The sheet metal & granny grate were given a final dry fit. While not pictured here, I also drilled out holes for 1/2" x 1/4" craft magnets (There is a photo later - I found them at Home Depot for less than $6 for 40. They're a lifesaver for magnetizing terrain!).

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The sheet metal & granny grate were then glued in place with liquid nails and clamped. I used liquid nails because it's rated for use with metal. Painters caulk was applied around the edges.

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When the glue dried, painters caulk was stippled to the sheet metal with an old brush. Water was added to thin it a bit. Caulking will allow future layers of texture paste to better adhere to the metal.

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Pumice stones from the local garden center were washed and glued to the base with foamboard adhesive. Foamboard adhesive was also applied to any remaining cracks in the foam and the entire surface was given a generous coat of painters caulk slightly thinned with water. Again, this will improve adhesion of the later texture paste.

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I then used an old coffee grinder ($10 at a local thrift store) to grind up chunks of cork sheet. I then mixed the ground cork with diluted PVA glue and applied it around the edges of the model to begin to add texture.

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Nodri's DIY Texture Paste Recipe

Texture paste is expensive. Here's how to make it on the cheap.
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
3 Tbs. PVA Glue
2 Tbs. Acrylic or Latex Paint
3 Tbs. Water
10-15 Total Tbs. Fine/Medium/Coarse Ballast/Sand/Gritty Stuff

Mix everything together in a bowl and stir until you get a smooth texture. When you think you're done mixing, mix more and then keep mixing. If the mixture seems too thick, add water. If it's not sticking to the surface, add PVA. If you want a creamier paste, add a little extra baking soda. Everything is flexible.

I used only medium & fine grits on the tops of hills to minimize the distance between magnets and sheet metal. Coarse ballast was mixed in to the fine and medium to be used on the sides. On some of the hot lava features, I only used about 10 tbs. of fine ballast (it comes out like Vallejo Sandy Paste) with 3 extra tbs. of baking soda. The best part of this recipe is that it's as cheap as it is flexible.

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Here's the hill with texture paste applied.

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The texture paste was then sealed with two coats of diluted PVA glue. In this photo, you can see the position of the magnets. Once dried, the bottom of the base was sanded with a power sander using coarse grit sandpaper. This was done to remove any drips from the bottom of the base.

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The hill was then given a coat of black spray primer. The final result is a fairly lightweight, durable, and versatile piece of terrain.

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Here's the same technique applied to a bridge support. I added doors to the bridge support (and two large bridges, more on that later) to give infantry more movement options. Here's the same process as above (but abbreviated a bit) on a smaller piece of terrain.

First the foam is cut, stacked, glued with foamboard adhesive, and allowed to dry while being pressed beneath a gallon of water. A sheet of metal was then attached with liquid nails and also allowed do dry overnight beneath a gallon of water. The resulting brick was then carved into shape.

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A door and pumice stones were added. The cracks were then sealed with foamboard adhesive.

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The entire piece was then given a generous coat of painters caulk. After the caulk was dry, it was finished with cork and texture paste, sealed with PVA glue, and then painted as above.

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The same basic process was used to create boulder fields. In this case, sheet cork was glued directly to a base with foamboard glue. Pumice stones were then added and the cork was topped with sheet metal. The boulder fields were then finished as above.

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For craters and hot lava features, I first glued foam and pumice stones to a base with foamboard adhesive.

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I then covered the piece with drywall compound. Don't worry about making it perfect, just make sure that the gaps get filled. Apply in thin layers to minimize cracking while drying. You can always add more (or remove it) if needed.

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I then use a sanding block and damp towel to smooth out the joint compound and give the final texture. The crater was then finished with texture paste, PVA glue, and painted as above.

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The same method was used to make arches and spires. The landing areas on the larger arch were made with 1/8" foam core, covered in sheet metal, and finished as above.

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To add hot lava drips or pools, apply undiluted PVA glue to a sealed (but not primed) terrain feature. Allow the terrain piece to dry and add additional layers as needed. On average, 3-5 layers are needed to build up a decent pool or drip of hot lava.

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Then apply texture paste around the hot lava drips. This will help to push them into the terrain feature to make it look more natural.

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Then seal the whole thing with diluted PVA glue as before.

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As you may have guessed by now, I've also made bridges. Combined with the hollow hills, bridges will allow for a "sinking city" sort of terrain board with lots of different levels. Three sizes were constructed, and all are basically just sheet metal glued directly to a hard base.

The small footpaths were covered in texture paste to look like pieces of cooled lava.

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Medium bridges were covered in granny grate and edged with 1/4" tubing.

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Large bridges were covered in granny grate, edged in 1/2" tubing, and had doors installed at the middle and end pieces (not pictured here, but can be seen in the painted images later). The doors allow the bridge to be treated as a building (meaning it can contain infantry / objectives and can also be destroyed without using house rules).

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I made smoke markers out of scraps of spray foam (I sprayed out the remnants of cans while filling buildings). The foam was glued to bases made of craft magnets glued into bits of a paint stirring stick. Foamboard adhesive was then stippled all over with a damp brush.

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Since I ran out of PVA glue (there's a shortage around here for some reason), I diluted wood glue with water to apply coarse model railroad foam to the bases. I allowed the glue to dry and applied a few additional layers to secure the foam in place. Once painted, the smoke plumes can be placed on any surface to denote soft cover.

As a side note, DO NOT use wood glue in place of PVA in the texture paste recipe. I tried it and the wood glue reacted with the baking soda. The solids and liquid separated into an unusable mess and all of the ingredients I used were completely wasted. :cry:

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Larger pieces of scrap spray foam were cut into 1" high pieces and glued to hardboard bases for use as destroyed markers. Centerpiece destroyed markers (for the PHR Headquarters, Mega Factory, and Orbital Defense Gun) were magnetized for use as regular terrain features when the centerpiece buildings aren't in play. I plan to paint the foam as hot lava so it looks like the lava bubbles left over from when the structure has collapsed into the surface of the planet.

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Texture paste was then applied and the foam was given a generous stippling of painters caulk diluted slightly with water.

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Everything was then sealed with diluted PVA glue. The bases were sanded smooth with coarse sandpaper mounted on a power sander. If you don't have a power sander, be extra careful to clean the bases as you go. Once the glue & ballast mix dries, it's very tough and it will wear out sandpaper (and your arms) very quickly. It takes some elbow grease to clean up the bases with a pad sander. I can't imagine doing it by hand.

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The destroyed markers were then primed black and a code written on the bottom that corresponds to a specific building. The letter notes the size (T=Tiny, S=Small, M=Medium, L=Large., C=Centerpiece, Etc.= Miscellaneous) and the number is tied to a specific building.

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I also made some very straight pieces out of hardboard, magnets, and texture paste. They're designed to mark lines (like when you start a game in the corner or mark a defensive perimeter). The could also be used as very small bridges.

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One of the more unique additions are door tokens. The idea came about after putting doors on arches and bridge supports. With door tokens, players can turn any terrain feature into a building or mark out an underground passage. They were made by gluing doors (see previous tutorial) to old Warhammer Fantasy bases and covering them in texture paste.

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Regular game tokens (objective, intel, focal point, etc.) were made out of old Warhammer Fantasy & 40k bases. There will also be some "Underground" tokens to allow units to move through hills without having to actually place them beneath the terrain feature.

The bases were sanded smooth, filled with drywall compound, sanded smooth again, and then sealed with dilute PVA glue (at least two coats over the drywall compound), and primed black. I then traced the bases over adhesive felt to make a nice a nice finishing touch to the bottoms. I'll peel and stick the felt after the tokens are painted.

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Bunkers were made out of prescription bottles glued to hardboard bases. Pumice stones were then glued on and the whole piece was covered in painter's caulk and then texture paste. The headquarters bunker has an antenna and some 40k bits on top. The other bunkers have a magnetized PHR Taranis misssle pod (they're now included with the Bombards, so I had spares) and have a small piece of sheet metal glued to the roof.

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I made large flat pieces out of sheet steel glued directly to hardboard. Three 1/2" craft magnets have been installed in each piece. They're designed to be used as bases for smaller terrain features.

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That's it for the tutorial portion of this post. What follows is the gallery of completed pieces.



2-Part Centerpiece Hill
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Big Hills
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Medium Hills
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Boulder Fields
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Arches
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Cool Craters
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Small Hills
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Dripping Lava Tables
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Hot Lava Features
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Cool Lava Features
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Bridge Supports
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Bridges
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Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

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Nodri
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Nodri » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:36 pm

Originally posted April 30, 2017


And now for something completely different: A short update!

With the experimental frenzy of construction complete, I find this project moving back into the more familiar and comfortable territory of painting. With that change in mind, it makes sense to try to post updates in smaller and more manageable pieces. I think it'll be easier both for me to write and hopefully for you to read.

In this first painting post we'll look at something that I very rarely do: drybrushing. It's not my preferred technique for picking out details on models due to the chalky look, but it's perfect for highlighting terrain. I start by drybrushing dark blue all over the model, leaving black in the deepest crevices. It's best to apply several layers while building up the most paint on the natural highlights. I then lightly drybrush grey on only the topmost highlights (less is definitely more!).

For paints, I'm using Apple Barrel Pewter Grey, True Navy, and Black. The 8 oz bottles are $2.50 each at Walmart and they're perfect for drybrushing because they're so thick. This is my recipe for Dark Blue: 4 drops Pewter Grey, 3 drops True Navy, 1 drop Black.

Here's some comparison photos of the drybrushing process.
From left to right: Primed Black, Base Drybrush Dark Blue, Highlight Drybrush Grey
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Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

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Nodri
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Nodri » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:41 pm

Originally posted May 19, 2017


Drybrushing is done and I've managed to make some additional progress. The decking for the large and medium bridges is base coated. I've also base coated the metal grating on all of the hills. Photos are below.

Metal surfaces were all base coated with silver craft paint. I then liberally applied a black wash that was made using Lester Bursley's Wash Recipe. Once dry, I lightly drybrushed with silver craft paint.

On the high-traffic areas of the bridges, I applied a 50/50 mix of GW Gryphonne Sepia (I had an old pot that was still good) diluted with water. And additional drybrush of silver craft paint was lightly applied on top. The undersides of the bridges were painted with silver craft paint stippled with black wash.

There will be additional weathering later on which will be completed after I paint the pipe sections.

Here's the progress on the bridges.
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Grates base coated.
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Grates finished.
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That's all from the old forum. All future posts will be current.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

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Sikil
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Sikil » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:54 pm

This, good Sir, is enough material for a hobby-book!!

Love it all!!
"I should warn you. This is hardly a fair fight..." - Lucifer Morningstar

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Nodri
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Nodri » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:55 am

Thank you! Forum tutorials are how I started learning how to hobby. I figure it's only fair to return the favor.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

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Thunderboy
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Thunderboy » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:48 pm

I was in love with your paintwork, thank you for taking the time to bring it over!
“We're like the Forums little pitbull. You'll beat it, mistreat it, and once in a while we'll escape to attack somebody.” ;)

Location: The Netherlands, Europe

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Nodri
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Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Nodri » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:46 am

You're welcome!
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

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Nodri
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Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:32 pm

Re: Nodri's Project Log - Painting, Magnets, Terrain, & Tutorials

Post by Nodri » Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:43 am

PHR - New Additions


As promised, here are the latest additions to my PHR army. I didn't take any WIP photos because I was following my own tutorials and using the same colors as before. It wasn't until half way though that I noticed my style had evolved since the last batch was painted. The colors are more vibrant - especially in the darker reds. All in all, I'm happy with how they turned out. The next time I paint PHR, I'll be sure to post an updated tutorial

Next on the workbench are three EAA Columbus Battlewalkers. After that, there are two Titania Pattern Condors and four Crossbows that need to be built & magnetized. Once those are done, I'll start painting the entire UCM army.

C&C are always welcome.


Aegaeon Dropships (Show-Only Neptune Variant)
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Hera
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Aether Jetskimmer
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Angelos A2 Jetskimmer
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Thor Bombards
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Menchit A2 (Magnetized missile pods added to existing model).
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Njord Assault Dropship (Magnetized Helios missile pods added to existing model).
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Tiamat (Magnetized guns added to existing model).
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Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.

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