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  1. Okay, so I'm going through the local Goodwill, and I see this toy (image grabbed from a Google image search) on the shelf: (EDIT: This is the Fisher Price Lil Zoomers Rockin' Roll Truck. Picture is linked off-site and might not load for some -- sorry!) Because I'm me, the first thing I think is, "Wow, the front of that truck looks sort of like one of the cab-over-engine rusted hulks in Fallout." And, thus armed with a weird idea, I picked it up and converted it into THIS: Steps involved: * Flip over, unscrew every screw that can be unscrewed. * Snip wires going to battery compartment for internal electronics. Save speaker, circuit boards, lights, just in case that might ever be useful for something. (Probably not, but who knows?) * Remove googly-eye "headlight" insert and annoying rattle-ball atop roof of cab. (Save rattle ball -- it's a sphere, after all, with two halves, and might be useful for building something else ... maybe.) * Use Dremel to cut away plastic parts holding rod for central tilt-bed. (It looks like the rod was jammed in there forcibly and meant to STAY there, but I haven't the tools to worry it out properly -- so just cutting away the plastic innards until I can remove it seemed the fastest solution.) Remove handle, rear "trailer" area, wheels, smokestack/button, rear gate, and tilt-bed. * Use epoxy putty to fill "smile" on front bumper. No smiles belong on rusted trucks in the Fallout universe, I'm pretty sure. * Use piece of mat board and some putty to cover up the roof hole. I couldn't really smoothly match the contours of the curved top, so I just added a panel up there, curved it a bit, and hoped it might plausibly pass for an original structure. * Use Dremel cutting disc to cut out hard, opaque "window" recessed areas, to make broken-open windows, and clean up some of the plastic "crumbs" resulting from this operation. * Use Tehnolog Robogear/Platformer panels to make interior dash and seat frames, plus some plastic to cover up a hole in the back of the cab. * Use a piece of scrap plastic to make a new flat "bed" on the back of the truck, to cover up holes and internal workings. * Use a HeroClix base with a slot cut out of it, propped on a bit of putty at an angle, to make a "fifth wheel." * Use some Warhammer 40K scenery pipe "bitz" to make a replacement smokestack, with some putty to gap-fill the area it nests into. * Spray-paint the whole thing black on interiors and bottom, grey on the outside and top. * Splash "burnt orange" (rusty) paint all over, then stipple with "golden yellow" here and there. * Messily stipple with multiple applications of "Caribbean Blue" paint on upper body, and "Sandstone" for lower bumper / frame areas. Leave headlight and taillight rims bare "rust" color, along with anything else that might have once been shiny and chrome (such as the front grill). Indicator lights are painted the dingiest yellow-tan and barn-red colors I have. (I'm deliberately avoiding bright, solid, primary colors.) * Splash everything with some black and grey washes. Splash it some more. Spatter it with some brush-flicking until some of the splash-on is thick enough to run in rivulets. Yay, grunge! ... I would like to have added some rusted-out axles, but the wheels on the original toy are solid plastic (tire and axle alike), with big Fisher Price logos on them, and any use of them for such a purpose would require a whole lot of cutting and covering with putty, to the point where it might be questionable why I used the plastic part in the first place. I might later on try to make rusted, tire-free hubs out of HeroClix bases and metal rods, but for now just leaving the wheel-wells totally empty seems to work well enough for purposes of making this look like a rusted-out, long-abandoned roadside hulk. As Wendy notes, it looks to her more convincing as a rusted-out old 1950s TOY rather than an actual truck, partly because of the ridiculously large headlights and generally round and friendly shapes incorporated into the design ... but a lot of Fallout vehicles look closer to old toys than they do to anything from real life, so I'll roll with it. I've not bothered to replace the screws to hold the thing together. In the Fallout game, if you hit one of the various rusted nuclear-powered cars or trucks littering the landscape, eventually the thing would go KABLOOIE with force and area of effect comparable to a mini-nuke -- and then you'd leave behind an even worse-off wreck in the aftermath. I need to add some "torn-up scraps" to the interior for such a purpose, but I'm thinking I might go with the idea of having the cab be deliberately removable so I have an "even-more-damaged" blown-up version to leave on the table. I suppose it might make a firefight all the more interesting if there's a chance of stray shots setting off unstable reactors littering the street (in the form of junked nuclear cars). I'll just have to be sure and warn the players of this, so we don't have the PCs getting the bright idea of climbing INTO the truck wreck to use it for cover in a firefight, and then ending the session with a nuclear TPK.
  2. I'm happy to say that I was able to get spray paint AND brush-on to work as primers for my shipping containers. The top-most red shipping container in the picture was painted using a can of red spray paint (Wal-Mart store brand). I started by spraying the underside of the lid and the inside of the container to see how the plastic would hold up. The lid underside dried reasonably quickly, though the interior of the container remained tacky for longer than it usually takes for base-coats on my miniatures to dry (so for a bit I was concerned that this wouldn't work). However, when I let it sit overnight, both pieces were perfectly dry, so I went ahead and painted the whole thing. I had a little trouble with getting coverage in some of the overhang areas (I didn't want to hover around missed spots too much and risk running paint, or melting plastic with the medium), but I could touch that sort of thing up with brushes anyway. For the other boxes, I painted them up by hand, choosing fairly opaque base colors. One coat won't suffice for even coverage. I have found that the spray-painted box is much more resistant to paint getting scraped off; the spray base coat definitely helps, even with the plastic, as the plastic is just too smooth to provide a very good anchor on its own. For the box labels, I searched online for images (Google search for "iso container door"), pasted them into a Word document, cropped, and scaled them to height (about 1.75" high, based on an approximation of the height of the model between the bottom and upper "lips"), printed four copies of each door, and then cut out the various label elements to glue onto the boxes. E.g. (I think this is a picture of a model): For the double doors, I pretty much used my pictures as a guide for where to paste the labels. The mechanism doesn't correspond perfectly to the structure on the doors of the Reaper Shipping Containers (in fact, the mechanism on the actual model is apparently nonsensical), but it at least gives the basic idea at a glance. Similarly, I know nothing about the meaning behind the various codes printed on the containers; I'm treating it pretty much like text-filler "Greek" -- all that matters is that there's some sort of print so the surface doesn't look conspicuously blank. (Still, I can't help but think about what a real train enthusiast might think of my boxes. "Why, that's NONSENSE!" Kind of like when I would get some imported Japanese toys with weird pseudo-English stamped on the vehicles. If you couldn't read English, it'd look just fine. And I suspect the reverse would be true for that craze back in the 1980s where random Kanji would be printed on T-shirts and head-bands, and for all I know the characters might spell out, "I Am An Idiot!" rather than the "Super Awesome Ninja Warrior!" message I might have hoped for it to say. :) ) Just about every ISO container reference I could find has flat panel areas for these codes and stats to be printed on, but Reaper's model has every side corrugated. This is a bit problematic, but I just glued down my cut-out paper labels (trying to color-match them as best I could manage), and used my thumbnail to push down the paper into the troughs of the corrugated surface so it might follow the surface a little better. For "distress," I dry-brushed the corners and underside with the rustiest paint I had (burnt orange), and splattered the whole thing with a bit of black acrylic wash (making puddles on the roof, and doing wash-spatter on the sides by wetting the brush, holding it back with my thumb, and then flicking the surface -- and trying to make sure nothing of importance was also caught in the spatter-range, as that's a very MESSY way of painting). I roughly painted the locking bars a dark "graphite grey," then went back over with a lighter "granite grey" to make the bars stand out. I plan on using these for a construction site for a "Fearsome Critters" (Savage Worlds) RPG scenario -- modern day -- but I may also use them as tabletop terrain for a Fallout-themed scenario, so I've tried to keep the boxes somewhat generic by NOT putting big shipping company logos on the sides. (If I ever do that, I'm going to make some stencils, and paint them on, rather than trying to do it with paper. The paper labels are passable for the really small details, but if I'm covering whole sides of the model, at some point I might as well just be making papercraft.)
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