“And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky”, well actually they’re all made out of MDF, but you get the idea. Anyway, it’s been a while since my last post as work and life returns to normal and so sucks up more of my time, but I did mention a while back that we needed some more scenery for our “Dead Zone” games but the cost of the “official” Mantic plastic pieces was more than I felt they were worth (though this is only my opinion of course), so the search was on to find an alternative (a cheaper one would be nice!), so much trawling of the “net” was commenced, and in the end I settled on “Tabletop Scenics”, “Industrial Hive” in MDF, now though these looked about right size wise, and even with the dimensions given on the web-site, it was still a bit of a guess as to whether these would fit the 80x80mm squares on the play-mat. But even so I thought they were worth a “punt”, so I ordered the “Slum Blocks” set of five MDF “boxes” really, with a view to buying a larger set if they fitted the mat OK. My son also threw a few other items of scatter scenery into the cart as well which I’ll have to paint up too at some point (kids eh?).
Well they arrived pretty quickly, and after downloading the instructions from the web-page (you don’t really need these as they are pretty self-explanatory, but better safe than sorry), they were put together and measured…and they could have been made for the game to be honest, the building bases are about 75x75mm, and the ridges around the tops are just a “gnats willy” under 80x80mm, so more will be ordered at some point.
I used PVA (wood glue), to fix them together, but left the rooves un-fixed so you can lift them off and add figures to their interiors. Now, they do look OK as is, but my main problem with MDF buildings has always been the fact you can see the “dovetails” at the corners, so I had to cover these with some lengths of the obligatory coffee stirrers, and while I was at it I also ran a length along the bottoms too to hide the slot to located one block to the next when you stack them up. I always worry with MDF scenery that I’ll obliterate all the detail etched into the sides with paint so thought, next I’d add some more pieces of detail (well crap, to be honest), to try and break up the “boxy’ness” of them a bit, so my box of model bits (again, crap), was raided and stuff was stuck here and there, including pieces of card, parts from a MK1 GW Rhino, various bits and pieces, and even an old plastic “Draught’s playing piece! Then the madness set in as I thought the “doors” weren’t obvious enough so the remains of the sheets of MDF were vandalized to make frames to go round the door’s, and Matty suggested that a bridge would be good between some of the upper blocks (again kids!), so I set about making one of these too. Now there was no obvious way to hook this on, so in the end I decided the best way to secure this was to start with a thin piece of card and “tuck” this between the top of the lower building and the bottom of the upper, making it long enough to reach snugly between the two buildings once they are positioned on their play-mat squares (obviously this wouldn’t be glued in place to allow for different configurations). Once I was happy with this I stuck some coffee stirrers along the bottom for strength, and four of scrap MDF pieces along the top as slats (these are actually the window pieces pushed out of some MDF tower blocks I bought years ago and have yet to assemble and paint (the shame!). Anyway to finish off the bridge I added a couple more lengths of coffee stirrer, and a couple of railings that were actually part of the scenery that came with the box game itself.
Next it was out for a spraying with some matt black and I could get on with painting them. Now being the “tight arse” that I am I didn’t want to go wasting my good paint on these, but I obviously couldn’t really nip down to B&Q (DIY store) to get some sample pots either, luckily I still had some left over from when I painted up the helmet and shield for the brother-in-law’s cosplay costume, so I took some “Warm Pewter” (sorry for the silly names but this is wall paint, and they tend not to use sensible names like “Snot Green” etc…), anyway as I said I took some “Warm Pewter” and added a little black to darken it a bit and slapped this all over the pieces, this was followed by dry-brushes of “Chic Shadow” and “Frosted Steel”, a few places I also painted in light blue or pink burgundy, and the doors, window bars, tread-plate rooves, and awnings I just dry-brushed chainmail over the black. I also added some “chevrons” here and there in orange mixed with citrus orange, with just citrus orange highlights.
I then found some old GW transfers so stuck a few of these on as well (I really just threw everything at these!), before I attacked the edges with some chestnut brown (the closest thing I still have to rust!), and gave everything a coat of thinned matt black in the form of a wash. Once dry I picked out the odd light here and there along with a couple of dots on the door frames as controls, in light green (day-glow), before going back over the rusty areas this time with orange to signify fresh rust, I might have got a little carried away with this as they now look more decrepit than I’d planned (just like me!). Lastly I lightly flicked a little khaki and coffee up the bottom and top edges for a bit of weathering, and they were done. I could have carried on adding the odd patch of static grass or moss here and there, but I think they look good enough for what we want then for, which at the end of the day is just some “little boxes” for our fellow’s to use as cover.
As said I do think I’ll be investing the lager set at some point (and that one has stairs!!). Anyway Keith is running another round of “Monster May(hem)” in May so if you can, please do join in, I’ll add a link at the bottom of the post. So next time it’ll be “What’s that coming over the hill?”.
Oh and thanks for everyone who was concerned by my absence the last few weeks, I’m pleased to report that I haven’t expired (not just yet anyway), though please don’t be surprised if my appearances are a little sporadic over the next few weeks.
So for now, stay safe, and cheers Roger.