Friday, March 16, 2018

Tutorial: Information/Propaganda Kiosks

A unique and visually-appealing piece of scatter terrain is an information or propaganda kiosk. These were common in European cities in the late 19th and early 20th century, being covered in advertisements, news, and propaganda posters, and sometimes housed telephones or informative guides. They ran the gamut in terms of shape and size from squares, hexagons, or cylinders; from the size of a single person to large structures that were buildings in their own right. 

Kiosks are quick and easy to make, provide a nice piece of LOS-blocking hard cover, and can be customized for use in games as diverse as historicals, moderns, post-apocalypse, or grimdark 40K/Necromunda. In trying to get terrain finished for Adepticon, for this tutorial I'll be making four for the latter.

  • Wood dowel/PVC piping (I'm using 1 3/4" wood dowel cut @ ~2" tall)
  • Metal washers (2 per kiosk, slightly larger than the dowel/pipe. I'm using 2" washers)
  • Plastic bases (2 per kiosk, one about the same size as the washers and another smaller diameter. I'm using 40mm rounded lip and small flying bases)
  • Cereal cardboard, cut into strips
  • Plasticard rod (for rivets. Not really necessary unless you want a gothic-industrial look)
  • Bitz 
  • Super glue
  • X-acto knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Advertising/Propaganda posters (sized appropriately for scale, do some internet searches and simply resize your printer output)

1. Cut the pipe or dowel to whatever size you want. I prefer somewhere between 1.5-2" tall to provide cover from elevated positions and for enough surface space to place lots of posters. You want to cut these pieces out at perfect 90 degree angles, so use a miter box or table saw. Rough up the metal washer with a piece of sandpaper for between adhesion and glue the dowel to the washer, looking at it from the top down to make sure it's centered correctly.

2. Repeat the process with the other washer at the top of the dowel, being sure to rough up both sides of the washer, since you'll be gluing bases to the top of it. Again, do you best to center the dowel properly.

3. Glue the larger base to the top of the washer to build up the "roof".

4. Glue the smaller base to the top of the large base (small flying bases fit almost perfectly inside a 40mm base, with just a little sanding around the outside of the flying base)

5. Glue the cereal cardboard strips around the top and bottom of the dowel. To get a proper fit, glue one end of the strip down, pull the strip around so it covers the glued end, then use a sharp X-acto to make a cut just before the glued end, and then proceed to glue the rest down.

For decoration, I used the winged skulls from the Cities of Death kits for the roof and plasticard rod in slices for rivets. You can you whatever bitz you'd like. Obviously, I'm going for a design suitable for the grimdark universe of 40K but you can easily change the design up to fit any period. Most historical examples before WW2 incorporate faux gothic or, more commonly, Art Deco features.

6. Prime and paint. Once dry, seal with flat clear varnish and then cut and apply the posters. It's up to you how you apply the posters, though I use white glue. If you'd like a more weathered look, you can "age" the posters by washing them with diluted black tea.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Tutorial: Quick and Easy Bronze Statues

It's Adepticon crunch time and that means repainting old terrain - one of which is this Deathwatch Marine I made years ago from an Inquisitor-scale Artemis and a plinth from an old Tamiya figure. I've done a lot of bronze statues over the years and people keep asking me about my methods so, along with the repaint comes a tutorial. I'll start out by saying that this statue is going to get the works, including heavy weathering. You can skip certain steps to make the statue look newer or less oxidized and I've denoted these steps by placing an asterisk before the number.

Materials needed:

  • A statue (if this is your first time, I recommend a scrap mini. If it turns out great, you've got a statue. If it doesn't, you didn't waste a great mini!)
  • A plinth (this is the stone or cement base the statue sits on. It can be anything from wood to plastic to old bitz. It should just look reasonably big enough to anchor your statue)
  • Black primer
  • 2 shades of Bronze paints (I use Tin Bitz for my dark base and Vallejo Bronze for my highlight)
  • Verdigris paint (I mix my own using mid-tones of green, blue and white but there are ready mixed colors on the market)
  • Vallejo Glaze Medium
  • Secret Weapon Cool Grey Wash
  • Off-White paint (for bird poop)
  • Black or VERY Dark Brown paint (for engraving text)
  • Colors for the plinth (I use Pewter Grey and Pure White)
  • Brushes (one for detail painting, one for washing, one for drybrushing)
  • Sponge

1. Prime your model black. Be sure to cover the model completely. All bronze statues have a black base color, so any bare metal or plastic will stick out if missed.

2. Heavily drybrush your dark Bronze color, covering all raised areas equally. It's OK to leave deep recesses a black color, for the reason I mentioned above.

3. Using your lighter Bronze color, lightly dryrush the higher areas and edges. It seems redundant but it will show through slightly, even with fairly heavy weathering.

4. Mix together your verdigris color and some of the glaze medium and cover the entire statue using the wash brush. You can vary the amount of weathering by varying the wetness of your brush - if the brush is fairly dry, weathering will be heavy; if it's wet, weathering will be lighter. Focus more weathering on the upper surfaces than lower, as rain causes more oxidation on upper surfaces.

5. Once the verdigris is thoroughly dry, wash the entire statue with SW Cool Grey Wash. 

6. While the wash dries, paint your plinth. Cover the entire plinth in your base color.

7. Using the sponge, stipple successively lighter shades unto the plinth. This is a quick and easy way to fool the viewer's eye into thinking its a stone effect. When finished, use a detail brush to highlight the edges with pure white.

*8. For a more heavy weathering effect, apply a second coat of verdigris glaze, applying it solely on upper surfaces. You can simulate drip stains by using the detail brush and applying the verdigris in vertical strokes, applying heavy pressure at the top of the "drip" and lightening the pressure towards the bottom "end".

*9. To simulate engraved text, apply horizontal squiggles of black paint for the text shadow. For the text highlight, apply horizontal squiggles of verdigris mixed with white immediately below the text shadow.

*10. To simulate bird (or other xenos avian) poop, dab off-white color in spots on the uppermost surfaces, applying drips in the same way as Step 8. You may add small lines of solid poop in some spots, but do so sparingly. Apply a glaze of off-white around each spot, especially in areas where spots are grouped together.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Necromunda Freight Hub Board

After about a month's worth of work, here is the completed Freight Hub board. This is (just about) how it will look when it debuts at this years' Adepticon Necromunda events (though I'll likely shift a few of the crate piles into the blank spot in the center right of the first picture). The crate stacks themselves were made using the wooden ones I had done a few years ago as a base, I drybrushed them in tans and bieges to bring out the texture a bit more, and then I glued some Dust Tactics crates and GW Munitorium crates. The walkways are also ones I had painted up several years ago. This is the only section where there's heavy graffiti because the Guilder patrolmen hate heights and are too busy keeping the hub floor secure. Munitorium containers were done just really quickly by priming, then basecoating in Rustoleum Camo Khaki, given number stencils from the old IG transfer sheet, and finally given chipped rust with various shades of red and orange.

And, yes, the train DOES run.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Necromunda Freight Hub: Structures

Following up on yesterday's post, here are the completed structures for the Freight Hub. Due to the volume of the train, container lifter, and the various cargo piles; I really didn't need to make very many of them. In keeping with the aesthetics of the board itself, I mixed and matched various pieces from the Sector Mechanicus kits, IMEX Platformer, and old O-gauge Lionel train buildings.
Previously, the O-gauge buildings were ever so slightly too tall in proportion to 28mm minis however, with the change to 32mm and the tall proportions of the newer GW terrain, they fit in much better.The bases are all 3mm MDF, glued together to provide more rigidity and resistance to warping. I also made a full sheet of Necromunda-specific propaganda posters to apply throughout the board, since we want our workers to stay safe and report any threats to the Guilders. Time is Credits!

First up is the Pump Station/Generatorium. The main structure was an O-Gauge brick watertower base, to which I added Platformer walls, SM bits, and some cheap chinese toy pipes. The nice thing about Lionel kits is that the parts are molded in different colors, so you usually don't have to paint them beyond simple weathering. I also found a quick and easy way to replicate GW Boltgun Metal/Leadbelcher for terrain - prime in black, then lightly spray a misting of Krylon Metallic Aluminum, then spray it thoroughly with flat clear coat, and paint and weather accordingly! 

Next structure is a Promethium Fueling Station for locomotives. I wanted this structure to stretch across the tracks like a gantry crane and the SM arches are the perfect height to allow the train to run underneath. While I do like the SM floors, I think the combination of both floors and arches are a bit too busy for my taste, so for these larger structures, I used 2mm plasticard with black granny grating applied on top. The tank itself is an old vitamin bottle, with some plasticard added, and the cap from an orange juice bottle (I think the brand was Dole, which has both large and small sizes).

I needed a small, tall structure to serve as another support for walkways between the other two so I came up with this small loading bay.

The last and largest structure is the Control Tower. The tower itself was a Lionel switching tower with its windows replaced with black granny grating mesh, some Imperial Eagle supports, and another chinese toy pipe piece. This piece spans two tracks.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Necromunda Freight Hub: Freight Train

All aboard! I forgot to share pictures of the completed freight train for the freight hub table. As many of you know, most of my Necromunda terrain was inspired by Ironhands' work and, ever since he posted his excellent converted train, I wanted my own.

This is made (almost) entirely of old O-gauge Lionel cars that I received via Facebook train sale groups or Ebay lots. In addition to gaming, I'm also a model railroad fan, so I've amassed a pretty good selection of O-gauge trains over the years. As more model railroad fans upgrade their tracks to the more realistic tracks with plastic ballast bases, these old 3-rail tracks continue to drop in price, usually about $10-15 for a 6' oval, and the lack of ballast actually makes them fit in better with the futuristic look of science fiction games. To make them look even better, I sprayed them all over with Krylon Rust Red primer and then used sandpaper on the top of the tracks for a worn look (and to provide better electrical contact between the transformer and engine).

I held off doing any type of graffiti on these trains because I wanted this to look like the Guilders put some energy into security and didn't let taggers run amok in the freight yard.

The locomotive itself is a Ready Made Trains' "BEEP" engine, which is a super-deformed version of the eponymous GP-7 locomotive. This is an excellent engine for 28mm gaming because it's less than half the size of most realistically-proportioned O-gauge locomotives without looking diminutive next to the cars themselves. It also has an easily removable body shell that just clips on and off, so it allows you to switch between weathered, painted bodies for gaming and nice bodies for railroading (mine has a spare Chicago and Northwestern body). I painted this body using salt weathering (actually old toothpaste!) and spray paint, with decals from the old Imperial Guard transfer sheet, and weathering done in acrylics.

There was some possibility that RMT would end production last year, but it appears that they are back in business.

This was originally a Lionel gondola car with covered coil hoppers. I had it for years but never used it since I pretty much only run trains and cars consisting of midwestern US lines (it's a model railroad fan thing, you wouldn't understand). I don't use the coil covers since it makes the car look too big and then figures can't be placed inside the car, which provides a great deal of hard cover.

I painted this body using salt weathering (actually old toothpaste!) and spray paint, with decals from some old 1/48 aircraft transfer sheets, and weathering done in acrylics.

This is an old Lionel plastic flat car. This (and the tank car) are SUPER cheap because they're from the late 70s when Lionel switched most of the materials over to plastic to save on production costs. You want to search for "MPC" or "MPC-era" lots on Ebay, as these usually go for ~$3 per car.  I painted this body using Krylon Red primer spray paint, painting the wooden deck in tans and greys, with decals from some old Imperial Guard transfer sheets, and weathering done in acrylics. I added crates from the Munitorium Containers set, leaving just enough room on each side to position 2 figures with partial cover.

Another Lionel MPC "three-dome" tank car. These are actually really rare cars in reality but I love the look of them so much, I have about 4 for my model railroad. Since they were rare, they actually look much better in fictional settings. This one actually came to me missing the hatches (really common because they're just separate plastic pieces that weren't glued in well during production), so I made new ones using 25mm washes, 20mm washes, and plastic hex nut covers from IKEA. I painted this body using Krylon Red primer spray paint, with decals from some old 1/48 aircraft transfer sheets and old Imperial Guard transfer sheets, and weathering done in acrylics.