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2020 ReaperCon Diorama WIP: Leave the Little One to Me

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Yes, a 2020 ReaperCon WIP! And a massive undertaking at that. I'm trying very hard not to nerd out and put this whole project into, er, Project. There's just so many pieces to keep track of, that maybe I'll just use this first post to keep track of things.


Some background stuff, starting with a quote from the "Paint a giant robot! Group WIP" where I wrote some of what's planned:


I've had a bit of a dio/vignette planned for two years. Might as well jump in and get it done. I've got a bit of a home-brew stompy-robot fleet in work, notionally placed within the CAV universe. So, this time the "enemy" is going to be a Wight. But, I can't just paint it. No, no. Things must be done.


Back up a bit. This round's home brew robot is a Gremlin. Human piloted, generally a utility walker. I'll have lots of options, such as tankage, cargo, rockets, guns, winches, radars, etc. all put upon one base vehicle. The home brew world is a bit of a human refugee situation, with some friendly exos that don't typically like several of the biomes humans are able to live in, thus have opened those up to human refugee settlement. The Gremlin is used everywhere, so when invasion happens, those are pressed into service (it's also one of the backstories in the CAV:SO if I'm not mistaken; else it's an older story).


You can read the rest of that post here: Paint a giant robot post and a second one to see where I'm going with this: PLA print post in same topic


Biggest takeaway is that, while useful, my PLA printer can only do so much. I have a resin printer backed on Kickstarter, but considering it's now 3 years late, I don't think I should hold my breath on it ever showing up. Especially when I can get a new Elegoo Mars resin printer with more capability for relatively cheap (<$300). The PLA machine was bought with both hobby and household goals in mind, and it's served well. But the resolution just ain't there! More on that down the posts.


I also had the chance to gain some experience on  paper plants at ReaperCon (Main post for that in the Terrain section post here: Vellum Paper Plants - Alien Jungle (WIP)


Basically, I have the scrap booking machine to make my own alien plants:


I took the opportunity to take Greg Zuniga's "Paper, Plants, and brass etch. Oh My!" class specifically to learn how to work these model train standards. We played with some paper plants, brass etched, and some of his own creations on vellum (plugging his Wicked Elf Miniatures store front if you want to see the offerings; not a link and least I could do). I'm especially proud of the lily pad with lotus flower. From that class, I got a list of companies that make paper plants and brass etch. Looked at all of them, and nothing really stood out as alien enough to me. Plus, being CAV/N-Scale, things weren't the right size. Oh, I could have probably worked something out, but the overall number of plants weren't that different. Sure, three companies may make paper ivy plants, but they're all ivy. Or wheat. I need different!


So afterwards, my mind started plotting. I probably have the tools to make my own vellum plants! I've got a really good artist store (Guiry's) and picked up a packet of #90 vellum sheer trace paper which feels very much like what we used in class, but possibly a little thinner (55 lb, 9x11.5, medium weight, translucent). I've got a crafty wife with a Silhouette Cameo, a machine that can cut shapes out of paper, that she wasn't using any more. I've got several CAD programs (decided on FreeCAD since I'm designing the mechs in there), both a PLA and a resin 3D printer, and a lot of imagination. All I need now is some tests to see if what I'm doing is even possible, and then open up a full blown WIP in the terrain section of the forums (funny how that has now happened, huh?).


Which now leads me to this WIP. This is going to tie all those pieces together. The robot WIP will still be to get a good camo scheme, but that print job is not going to be used for the final diorama. Instead, that will be the resin printer's job. So, let's break down the WIP work that I can see so far, and will be edited later to add things and mark completions.


Tasks to be completed:


Figures Needed

  • Wight (being pulled down backwards, caught by hidden lines)
  • Gremlin Unit 01 (stole a supply crate and ran; actually just bait to get the larger CAV to follow)
  • Gremlin Units 02 and 03 (trip line pair, successfully snagging Wight across the chest)
  • Gremlin Units 04 and 05 (trip line pair, successful across another part of the chest)
  • Gremlin Unit 06 (burner unit, cut Wight's left gun in two)
  • Gremlin Units 07 and 08 (trap door unit, hiding entrance to jungle path with camo doors strapped to them)
  • Gremlin Units 09 and 10 (trip line pair, successful across right thigh)
  • Gremlin Units 11 and 12 (trip line pair, broken cable across chest, possibly falling over from sudden jolt)
  • Gremlin Unit 13 (ECM unit, some large radar dish looking thing)
  • Gremlin Units 14, 15 and 16 (cargo units, loaded up with stolen supplies and headed out)
  • Gremlin Units 17, 18, 19, and 20 (gun units)
  • Gremlin Units 21, 22, and 23 (missile units)
  • Gremlin Unit 24 (large gun unit)
  • Gremlin Unit 25 and 26 (junked units; scavenged for parts?)
  • Gremlin Unit 27 (2nd style missile unit)
  • Gremlin Unit 28 (personnel carrier unit)


Wight Conversion

  • Right Leg: cut from pelvis; reposition
  • Feet: cut off both feet and swap positions since the tread is only on one foot
  • Base: cut away from right foot, possibly keeping full base around left foot
  • Left arm (maybe): cut gun into two pieces, having one falling to the ground after being cut by a heat lance/chainsaw rope


Details to be included

  • Camo doors at front leaving marks on the dirt path, but hiding the ambush from the main trail
  • Pieces of old broken larger CAV units around
  • Wight gun cut in two, maybe showing inner details. May have to 3D print an add-on piece
  • Dust being kicked up by the stolen crate (going to try using dyed cotton) IN WORK
  • One cable snapping dynamically, with several bends and twists (superglue on thread?)
  • Multiple vehicle tracks around camp
  • Campfire and tents for people
  • A latrine
  • Other camp details (laundry, chairs, sports equipment, bored carvings, etc)


Jungle Plants (V=Vellum cuts, B=bought, S=Sculpted, F=Found, P=Printed)

  • Large lotus flower like plants, but dry land and maybe odd colors with a large conifer cone growing from the middle (V)
  • Jester hat plant (balls on stems around a central point) (V) COMPLETED
  • Spiky yucca like plant (V)
  • Jagged leaf plant (V)
  • Tentacle plant (V)
  • Tripod trees (three spoke trunks) (V)
  • Large palm fronds (S)
  • Coral like trees (P)
  • Horn tree (lots of horn shaped leaves from a central trunk) (P, V)
  • Ball vine (like ivy but with odd leaf shapes) (V)
  • Cabbage-like jungle plants with large wrinkled leaves (V)
  • Fuzzy vines (thin wire coated with static grass) (S)
  • Anything I can buy from N/HO scale train setups and painted alien-ish (B)
  • Reaper figures that can be clipped and painted to be plants (B)
  • Odd trees with strange leaf shapes (onion shaped) (V) IN WORK
  • Random grass-like jungle plants (V) IN WORK
  • Stem ends from mandarin oranges (seriously, pull one off and look at it, stem towards the ground) (F)
  • Anything and everything else (VBSFP)


Base mounting system

  • Design and print modular tiles with bristles on top (basically, Bristle Block toys)
  • Allows mounting of all the above jungle plants
  • Fill in around plants with thinned plaster via a syringe to create the ground surfaces
Edited by Pegazus
Adding links to specific posts
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So, to start with, here's the difference between a design for the PLA printer versus what I've got for the resin printer.





Edited by Pegazus
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Continued the onion leaf terrain WIP: LINK


But I also did a bit on one of the details. I want some dust being kicked up by the crate being dragged behind Unit 01, but don't really know how to do that realistically at that scale. Time for some experiments with cotton!


First step was to glue some cotton down. I used PVA (white) glue, some superglue, and gel type superglue. Maybe they do a different shape.




Next day I pulled off the cotton with tweezers, shaping things a bit by doing that and getting rid of most of the cotton. I only show the gel-style below, as it looked the best, but all three glues really did exactly what I wanted.




But that's quite large for what I really wanted, so I redid the card, this time with soaking the cotton in some diluted light brown paint. I messed up the lower right hand side, as I was trying to get a small dot or line, but the toothpick spread the glue too much. Thinking I can maybe use the edge of an old knife blade to get the exact sharp edged streak I want. That's why the top left cotton is there. This time I put just a small dot on the card with the toothpick dipping into the glue.




Doing the same pulling of the cotton after things dried over dinner resulted in the below.




It actually looks very light brown in real life, but doesn't look that much different here. I think what I might do is try some brown ink instead, possibly letting the cotton dry first before gluing to the card. May get a better result. But, that little tiny spot did work a lot better, so I'm hopeful I can get this work.

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Worked a bit on the vegetation front today. LINK HERE.


I tried working up a bit of a bristle base, something with a lot of little cylinders that I can use to stuff pieces into, and then cover up with a slurry of ground material. FreeCAD does NOT like round objects, and I'm contemplating just going with squares. I figure it will be nearly the same result as they'll only be about 0.6mm wide. That, or I can just use my full blown work machine and give up any pretense of having it available (anything I make on the company's software technically belongs to them, unless I fill out some forms and get approval and that's just not worth the time). So there's that.

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I've fully pressed all the leaves from the onion shaped sheet I cut out. You can see the post HERE. But what intrigues me is the UV curing light with the 3D printer resin. That's going to come in super handy. I'm also pondering what I can sculpt with it as well. Maybe some spikes, little flat shapes, squiggles, etc. I'll let my unconscious self dream up some ideas tonight and work them out over this weekend.

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