Well this week I thought I’d take a break from painting figures and have a go at making some scenery instead (This I hasten to add has absolutely nothing to do with Myles hounding me for weeks about making some islands to add to the table during our Dystopian Wars naval battles!!). While we were at Salute a few weeks back now, we came across these rather nice “Republique of France towers” that were being sold off for £7.00 because the packaging was damaged (as opposed to £18.00 Retail) now I know neither of us has French forces, but at that price I wasn’t going to argue, and I thought they would make nice scenic items perched on top of a couple of said islands.
So I spent a few hours pondering exactly how I was going to do this, and then a few more doing the same lying in bed at three in the morning!! (Are all wargamers this sad! I hope so), Anyway eventually I had a plan (subject to change of course) and I dragged out the MDF sheets that I had lying about in the garage (these were originally bought to form a playpen type affair for when the kittens were first born, nearly three years ago (hence the small holes that you can see on some of the pieces, as this is where they were tie-wrapped together). I cut out five irregular pieces, of about 1 foot square are wise, two of which had straight edges so they could go on the corner edge of our table. If you look carefully at the picture you can see where I have marked (scribbled in) the position the buildings.
scribbled Next a while ago I bought these pieces of bark from the local florists wholesalers when they were selling them off (I think they cost me about £2.00), now I don’t know what florists do with them but the minute I saw them I thought “cliff faces”, but I didn’t want them too tall so I cut all the pieces in have, making them about 20mm tall (a few snapped while I did this, but that won’t matter in the end), however there was now two slight problems,
- They were a bit too curved to do the longer straighter sides of the islands and…
- There weren’t enough of the darn things to go right round the islands.
So anther pondering session ensued, and I remembered a couple of rubber moulds I’d picked up a few years back to make rocky out cropping’s for model railways, from a local model shop that was closing down. Now my plan was to cast a couple of these up and then cut them into 20mm strips, that could then be laid down sideways to form the longer straight sides of our islands, the edge of one piece ended up being an awkward size. Too wide to use on its own but too narrow to cut again, so this was laid down in its proper orientation and I think it’s works rather well as this is where one of the “jetties” I plan to add later to this island with the building on, will attach to the cliff face and turn into a path that will run to the building itself. Next job was to decide what pieces were going where, and then they were all glued in place using liberal amounts of PVA. After this I added some blocks of wood where the buildings will attach (as I plan to sink dowels into these and have holes in the base of the buildings so they can be stored separately and possibly changed for some other building if need be at a future date. The two corner/edge pieces also had 20mm MDF edges added along the straight edges for neatness and to protect the polystyrene that was going to fill the middle of the islands. And this then was the next (rather messy) job, I’d picked up the sheets of polystyrene from the same florists shop that the bark pieces came from as they had a “help yourself” box full of it at the front of the store (it would have been rude not to take some wouldn’t it) and this was then roughly cut to shape using the bread knife (Don’t tell my wife but this is the best thing I’ve found for this job) and then the pieces were glued into the middle apertures of the islands. As the polystyrene was about 12mm thick obviously one layer was far to thin and two was a bit thick but that was okay as after I’d added two layers I roughly trimmed off the top (I didn’t want the tops of my islands snooker table flat anyway! After these were good and dry (a good twenty four hours later. That is what has taken all the time up, waiting for glue to dry!!), I mixed up some PVA with water, about 50/50 and using this to soak some tissue paper with a brush, applied this over the top of the polystyrene in several layers. This took even longer to dry! And that is pretty much where I’m up to now, still a lot left to do on them, but they are at least starting to look a bit like islands. Now there are a few bits I need to buy before I can finish these off so it’ll probably be a couple of weeks before I return to these so….
Till then, Cheers Roger.
P.S. sorry no more cowboy this week as I haven’t had the “Quickshade” out. I will get to them though I promise.