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By Dan S
Dan's Build Journal #4
The Ranger's Camp
Latest WIP pics:
My Other Build Journals:
Well its been almost two weeks since I finished my last project, and that itch start a new build has flared up again. This time I am going to attempt some type of Ranger/Woodsman's Camp, which compared to my last couple of projects should be quite a straight forward and relatively simple build.
Laying the Foundation.
To build the foundation of this project, I cut out a piece of XPS foam to serve as the base and then used blocks of polystyrene which I'd cut with a hot wire tool to form the very basic shape and contours of the landscape. I want give to the illusion that the camp is quite secluded and well hidden and so it is going to be set up in a small clearing at the base of a wooded hill. I'm going to build the hill so that it sweeps around the camp, shielding it from three sides.
During my recent Ruined Keep build, I'd started working on an LED campfire, but got cold feet and ended up abandoning the idea scared that I'd mess up and spoil the project. This time I am going to go for it. I removed the outer casing from a cheap flickering LED tealight, cut a small hole in the XPS foam base, and then hot glued the tealight into the hole so that only the LED was protruding above the surface. I'll come back to this at a later stage.
The next stage was to get nice and messy with some Sculptamold, which I used to reshape the contours of the hill into something a little more organic and natural looking. I also added several plaster of paris rocks that I had left over from a previous project to add a bit of visual interest. The rocks were originally created using Woodland Scenic's Rock Moulds.
The Sculptamold is applied quite thickly in places, and so it may need an extra day to fully dry. In the mean time I have a bunch of accessories to paint up and prepare, including a woodsman's lean-to, a roasting spit and a sitting log which I will likely start work on over the weekend.
By Dan S
Dan's Build Journal #3
Sewers - Abandoned Smugglers Tunnel
Ged took a deep breath to calm his nerves and then instantly regretted it, as the stench rising up from the old sewer entrance made him retch involuntarily. Reaching into his side pouch the young rogue pulled out a small vial of purple oil, uncorked it and then dabbed a copious amount in the space between his nose and upper lip. Lavender Oil, thats what the old drunkard had recommended, though truth be told the solution only made the stench slightly more bearable. The rogue carefully descended an old and very rotten wooden ladder into the underground sewer complex, the air was still and heavy and the only noises, the scuttling of nearby rats and the occasional sound of dripping water. Ged ignited his torch and pulled out a crumpled old map.
It was common knowledge that in his youth the old drunkard had served as a smuggler for the local thieves guild, and after several weeks of plying the man with drink and trying to befriend the old retch he had finally revealed his secret. Decades earlier, the old man and his crew had used the sewer tunnels to smuggle contraband and stolen goods in and out of the city, that was until they had allegedly disturbed some ancient horror sleeping beneath the water and were forced to flee, abandoning their camp and their treasures. Ged couldn't help but smile to himself, he knew the old smuggler to be an honest man, and there was no doubt in his mind that the smugglers cache would be exactly where he had been told, however Ged didn't believe in monsters, the old smuggler was a notorious drunkard and he probably got spooked by his own shadow after a few too many ales. Having now gained his bearings the rogue carefully refolded the old map, and set off towards his prize confident that this was going to be an easy and profitable payday.
Navigating the old tunnels proved an arduous task, the floor was slick with slime and it would have been easy to get lost within the complex labyrinth, but the smugglers map proved true and after about 30 minutes Ged arrived at the tunnel that had been marked on his map. The tunnel was long and Ged's torch did little to penetrate the darkness more than a few feet in front of him, unperturbed the rogue slowly started down the eerily quiet passageway, until.... SPLASH!
Startled the young rogue spun about, hand reaching instinctively for his dagger and eyes straining to see in the darkness. Ged momentarily caught sight of several circular ripples radiating outward from the centre of the sewage canal, before the disturbed water settled back down to its prior stillness. Ged, crouched low and and holding his breath in order to better hear his surroundings continued to scan the surface of the water. After several moments of silence, he sheathed his dagger and stood up straight, it was probably just a rat he thought to himself. The next few minutes passed without incident until young Ged neared the end of the tunnel and finally came upon his prize. Stacked high were dusty old chests and coffers, caked in a decades accumulation of spiderwebs but still full of valuables, there were piles of gold and jewels, paintings, rare books and other works of art. Most of the books and artworks were ruined, rotten from years sitting in a damp environment, but the gold, this would set up a man for life. Trembling from excitement, Ged unfastened his backpack and eagerly began filling it with anything that looked valuable. So engrossed in the task at hand, Ged didn't hear the disturbance in the water, he was blissfully unaware of his encroaching doom until he felt it tighten around his leg. Looking down in surprise the young rogue had no time to time react before the long green tentacle yanked him violently into the water and complete darkness, terrified the young man tried to to scream but only succeeded in flooding his lungs with the rank sewage water, his desperate thrashing lasted but a few moments and then complete silence, the only evidence of the rogues passing, his torch slowly burning out next to the smugglers cache.
Completed Project Pictures:
My Other Build Journals:
First off the elephant in the room. I appreciate I have literally just started 'Build Journal #2 - Ancient Ruins' which has only had one post so far, unfortunately that's had to go on temporary hold. My last piece of foamboard isn't quite big enough to support the planned build and I do not have anything else strong enough to hold it and so I've had to order some.
Rather than waste my last weekend off work, I figured I'd start work on one of my smaller quicker builds which should keep me occupied until the foamboard arrives. This ones going to be a photo backdrop of a dark, dirty, fantasy sewer system.
Preparing the Masonry
For this build I am going to be using 'Hirst Arts Mold #343 - Underground Brick' and casting the blocks from Dental Stone which is a lot more durable than plaster. Luckily I had prepared a large batch of these blocks at the same time I was making blocks for my Ancient Ruins build and so I was ready to go straight away. The first job was creating a back wall for the project, which took around an hour to both experiment and dry-fit something I was happy with and then glue it all together. At present the wall has some pretty obvious and unsightly 'seam lines' where you can tell it is just a bunch of blocks glued together, that will be fixed later.
Laying the Foundation
For the foundation I used a sheet of 6mm foamcore, which I then cut to the length of the wall. I then measured and cut a block of polystyrene using a hotwire tool which will serve as the walkway above the sewage water. I glued a second piece of foamcore (this was the offcut from the first piece I had cut to size) and glued that to the back, this is to give the wall a bit more support once glued to the base. I quickly tested the fit (but didn't yet glue the wall to the base)
Preparing the Walkway
The walkway was made out of Sculpy, a modelling clay that needs baking to harden. I used a Greenstuff World texture roller to imprint a stone brick floor pattern into the clay, test fitted it to the polystyrene and then cut it to the right size. The flooring was then baked and glued to the polystyrene once cooled (This shrunk slightly in the oven, if you look at the next picture the wall slightly overhands the path now). I added a brick wall against the the polystyrene where the water will eventually flow, but the height was just off, to fix this I glued some old foam bricks I had laying around to the edge. These are a lot bigger than the bricks of the wall and floor, however as edging pieces they seem to work well, I textured these with a scumpled up ball of tinfoil. Finally I attempted to fill the gaps and seamlines where the blocks meet with some home made spackle. I rubbed dry powdered plaster into all the gaps and then used a soft haired makeup brush to gently dust away the excess which had gathered and filled in the detail of the brick work, once cleaned up I spritzed the entire thing with water to soak into the cracks and dried plaster. I may need to do this a second time, but its already looking a lot better.
Creating the Waterway.
To finish up the waterway, I built another wall section and placed it a few inches out from the first, I then cut away the excess foamboard to keep the build neat and compact. As the clay floor I'd made ended up a little uneven in places, the back wall no longer sat flat and there were gaps as a result, especially under the final buttress (not that obvious at the angle I photographed it above, but it was quite a large gap). I ended up filing all these gaps with some sculptamold, I also made some small debris piles around a few of the buttresses. To finish off the whole model was primed white ready for painting.
By Dan S
Dan's Build Journal #2
Ruined Keep Edition
Finished Project Photos:
My Other Build Journals:
For those who followed my Halfling/Hobbit home build journal (Link here), you will know that I recently set myself the goal of building a series of display pieces throughout the year, to serve as scenic backdrops when photographing my miniatures. Maintaining a build journal is my way of holding myself to account (I have a bad habit of starting and not finishing things). I took a short break following my last build to catch up on some unpainted miniatures, but I am now ready to get cracking on my next large project, an ancient ruin.
Future planned projects include:
Sewers Dungeon Adventurers Camp Industrial Complex Spaceship Graveyard Urban Trenches
With the Ancient Ruined Keep project looking to be the most complicated of bunch I have chosen to start that now, as I will be returning to work in a week or so and will no longer have a lot of free time, however after this project I have no set order planned, so if anyone has a preference as to what I should start next then I am happy to accommodate.
Stage 1 - Casting the stonework.
For this project I am going to be using 'Hirst Arts' blocks. For those unfamiliar with Bruce Hirst he produces silicone molds that can be used to cast a wide range of highly detailed modular terrain blocks which can be glued together in endless configurations and designs. The molds I will be using in this project are #704 and #708 (ignore the 3rd mould in the picture, I mixed up too much stone and so filled another none related mould to set aside for a future project as to not waste it). In my last build journal I used Plaster of Paris to cast the small rockface, this time because of the size and potential weight of the build I opted for Dental Stone which is similar to Plaster but sets harder and is much more durable.
I suspect given the size of the project, it is going to take me at least a day or two to finish casting enough blocks, so here are a few screen shots of the blocks to give you an idea of what I will be working with (its basically glorified stone lego for diorama builders ).
By Dan S
Dan's Build Journal #1
Completed Project Photos:
My Other Build Journals:
I recently undertook the task of creating several display pieces to serve as scenic backdrops when photographing my miniatures, however being the procrastinator that I am, I have instead found myself with an ever growing pile of unfinished projects. In an effort to break this cycle I am no longer allowing myself to start new projects until my current one is complete. I figure a progress journal would be a great way to hold myself accountable, and hopefully by sharing my build process even inspire others into giving diorama building a try.
Anyway, without further ado here is my current work in progress, a good old fashioned hobbit hole. I managed to pick up a cheap and incomplete resin kit (front wall and chimney) on Ebay a while back. I painted it about a month ago, and it has sat on my desk gathering dust ever since. Today I finally started to put in some real work on the build.
29/05/20 - Laying the foundation.
The first job was to lay the foundations of the build. I hot glued thick polystyrene sheets to an old photo frame and then cut them to shape using a hot wire cutter. The challenging part was then getting the front wall to fit convincingly into the hill, being an incomplete kit, the front wall was completely rectangular and just didn't look right no matter how I positioned it. To fix this, I measured out and then cut some thick card stock in to triangular sections, and then cut some thinner strips to match the wooden beams on the front of the house. I then glued these to the house so that the walls now followed the contours of the hill more organically. I also made some curtains using some old fabric (The original kit has holes for windows and I needed to hide the polystyrene behind them).
Next I mixed up some Sculptamold and started to cover the polystyrene and base of the picture frame before adding some rocks that I had cast previously with Plaster of Paris (They are probably hard to make out in the photo, as they blend in with the white sculptamold, but once painted they should stand out nicely). With that done I decided to call it a day, and give the sculptamold the night to fully dry before adding any paint. And that is pretty much how I spent my Friday afternoon.
Apologies for the poor picture quality, I took the photo during the evening in poor lighting with my ancient phone camera. I'll get some better pictures up once I have something more substantial to share.
Here is my vignette featuring the Blacksting Wyvern hunting down a 500MD helicopter.
This is a little project I had fun with recently.
i painted the Blacksting Wyvern from Bones a bit more than a year back and was quite happy with it collecting dust on my shelf (original post: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/86236-blacksting-wyvern-speed-paint).
Then, I stumbled across a 1/48 helicopter model I had almost forgotten about. 1/48th scale does fit nicely with 28mm heroic scale.
The creatives juice started flowing and I decided to make a surprise encounter between the modern warfare machine and the legendary beast.
I experimented as well with epoxy resin + food coloring for water, tree bark (for rocks), a couple of random 3D-printed broken statues/rubbles and toilet paper plaster for the terrain. I didn't have a clear acrylic rod for the flight stand, but wooden dowel painted black blends OK.
I also forgot how much fun it is to build and paint plastic models. It is both similar and very different from miniatures painting.
I'm quite happy with the result even though I could have been neater on a few places and it is a bit big for my light box.
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