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Dan's Build Journal #5 - Abandoned Cabin (COMPLETE)


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Well done so far and you did not overdo the roof, it is spot on.  What are you going to do for the mess on the porch?  Some suggestions depending on your budget.  TT combat terrain has a camping accessories pack with a BBQ Grill and an ice chest.  Black cat bases has a street litter pack with takeaway boxes and cups.  There are also several manufactures that do various bottles in clear resin.  Green stuff world also has a mould for cinderblocks. 

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22 hours ago, snitchythedog said:

Well done so far and you did not overdo the roof, it is spot on.  What are you going to do for the mess on the porch?  Some suggestions depending on your budget.  TT combat terrain has a camping accessories pack with a BBQ Grill and an ice chest.  Black cat bases has a street litter pack with takeaway boxes and cups.  There are also several manufactures that do various bottles in clear resin.  Green stuff world also has a mould for cinderblocks. 

 

Thanks for the tip, all good suggestions that sound right up my alley,  I'll have to take a look.   I've just finished up a small rocking chair, I'd planned to add a bunch of empty cans, bottles and maybe an old newspaper.  Finally a bit of leaf litter as I am working on a big tree that I would like to slightly over hang the building.

 

Right now I'm in two minds about going a little halloweeny and abandoning the suburban theme in preference of a more horror movie isolated cabin vibe.  I'm not sure yet.

Edited by Dan S
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Apologies for the long hiatus (has it really been 9 months since the last update?), a change in work commitments and long hours burned me out and killed my motivation for building and painting, but fortunately I now have a little more free time on my hands and I'm excited to finally dust off this old project!

 

First off nine months is quite a long time and my original vision for this build (Post-Apocalyptic Suburia) isn't quite as fresh in my mind as it was, and to be honest I've kind of gone off the idea.  After a little deliberation, I've decided to go for more of a horror movie vibe, with the classic horror stereotype of the decrepit, spooky cabin in the woods.

 

After a little time browsing through old cabins in Pinterest, I decided to try something new and attempt a overgrown bayou like, swampy woodland aesthetic. Not sure if I will pull it off but I'm sure I will have fun trying!  

 

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The Base -  Initial prep work.

 

The base was put together using XPS foam, I hot glued 3 sheets of 6mm foam on top of one another to create some height, and then used a hotwire to cut the base to shape. I then used a lighter to melt random holes into the surface which will be filled with water at a later stage to give the impression of marshy boggy ground.

 

Next I went over the whole base with a thin layer of sculptamold, being careful to leave a space in the centre where the house with snuggly fit.  Whilst the sculptamold was still wet, I also pressed some Plaster of Paris rocks into the side of the base, as I am eventually going to paint the sides up to look like the ground below the surface.  The final step was to seal the base and add some texture, I did this by mixing sand, small gravel and modpodge and then brushing it over the surface which once dried was painted an earthy brown (Which was probably a redundant step as I intend to go over with some Vallejo wet mud in the near future.

 

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Illuminating the House

I decided that I wasn't quite done with the house and wanted to take it a final step further by adding some lighting.  I drilled a hole into the base of the house and fed through some flickering LEDs to give the illusion of candle light (I figure they are not going to have electricity in the middle of a swamp!).  I tinted the LEDs yellow with a little thinned down paint to look more like candle light.  I have not decided yet but I may add another coat or two to the bulbs to tone down the brightness a little more, they still look a little to bright to me.  

 

 

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Edited by Dan S
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Trees - Step 1

 

I sat down for an hour today and started to work on a few trees.  These are Woodland Scenic's plastic armatures, which are soft and malleable and easily twisted and shaped into position.  I wanted a fairly large tree that would overhang over the house and porch, and as such shaped it so that the lower and back half of the tree was flat an would fit flush against the side of the house.

 

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To take them a step further and give them a more authentic tree like shape, I took some Seafoam cuttings (a dried out, miniature tree like plant popular amongst model railroaders) and glued them to the tips of each of the armature's branches using a high tac white glue.  It is quite a slow, fiddly step but the end results are worth the extra time taken. 

 

The glue is very slow drying and so the trees will now be put aside for a day or so before painting them and adding the foliage.

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Trees - Step 2

 

With the glue dry, I painted the trees an earthy brown colour and then went over them with a dark brown wash to accentuate the natural bark texture of the armatures.  Finally I used an airbrush from a distance to gently mist the trees with an off white bone colour, just lightly enough tone down and help to blend together the dark brown paint and the wash, whilst creating a subtle speckling, similar to how I did the roof of the house.

 

The foliage was added using static grass.  I know there are better products out there for this, but I have an abundance of grasses and to be honest I like how they come out.  I started off using a 2mm green summer grass which was applied after using a spray adhesive on the branches.  After a second application of spray adhesive I went over with a yellowed 2mm winter grass.    All that was left to do after this was to remove any grass that had stuck to the trunk and main branches with a wet brush.

 

I will likely be adding more trees, but because the base is small, they are going to be mainly small saplings, and tall thin sickly looking things like in the photos I uploaded a couple of posts back.

 

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Base - Foundation Work

 

I have added a few rough holes to the base so that I will be able to reach up and switch the lights of the house on and off.  On top of that I have started  muddying the base up, I have used one of Vallejo's Thick Mud effect pastes, which are mainly used for adding thick muddy build ups and spatter into the treads of tanks and other scale model kits, but it is ideal for my purposes.  The paste has bits of stone, dead leaves, twigs and other natural detritus mixed in with it, and you could probably make your own fairly easily, but I used it because it keeps its 'wet look' after it has dried, which is the look I am going for.

 

I am planning to add lots of moss cover and patches of grass to the base, with muddy patches and puddles dotted around, but as I've not yet decided on my placements I have covered the entire base with mud for now as I can easily work over it at a later date.

 

It is going to take a while to dry so I am going to start work on a few little details, I have some small scale wooden palettes and other junk, and I don't think an outhouse would look out of place,

 

 

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A lot of progress today, things are finally starting to take shape.

 

Base - Flocking and Details

 

With my base being quite flat and one dimensional, I wanted to create some height variation with the grasses to both add some visual interest and to give the area a wild unkempt look.  Where I am from a lot of our boggy marshland tends to be in very tussocky moorland so that was the look I went for. 

 

I applied the static grass in multiple layers using a layering spray, starting with a bottom layer of fresh green 2mm summer grass.  On top of this layer of slightly yellowed 2mm autumn grass.  To create the tussocks, I added some patches of brown 6mm winter grass, which layered on top of one another several times to build height around the areas that will be submerged in water.  

 

Apologies for the poor picture quality, they were taken on an ancient camera phone in poor lighting and a lot of the colour variation has been lost.  I will get some more accurate photos up once the project in finished.

 

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With the grass applied, I spent a little time working on the sides of the base.  I took a number of dried roots I'd removed from weeds in the garden, and using a a small drill and some tacky glue, started stick them into the sides of the base, concentrated mainly near to where the trees are going to be planted to give the impression of tree roots growing under ground.  The roots were blended into the base using more of the Vallejo Thick Mud, and once that is dry I will likely go in with some pigment powders to finish it off.

 

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Plants and Foliage

 

The first job was to add some climbing ivy to the house.  I started by gluing some very fine and twisted looking twigs to the walls of the house, and then over this I glued my ivy.  I am still in two minds about how I feel about the ivy, I cannot put my finger on it but something looks off (the scale maybe), regardless it is too late to remove now.

 

I used the bristles from the head of a sweeping brush to create some reeds for my swampy sections, as well as a selection of miniature dried grasses from DioramaPresepe to create long grasses and weeds.  I placed down several small shrubs and bushes using clump foliage, and added some small weeds and plants to the porch.

 

I've not taken a photo of the whole thing, as I am about 95% finished now and figured I would save it for the final reveal.

 

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Edited by Dan S
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53 minutes ago, MoonglowMinis said:

This is really coming to life.  And now the Evil Dead: The Musical soundtrack is playing in my head.

"Cabin in the woods (oooh)
A cabin in the woods (yeah)
We're five college students on
our way to an old abandoned

cabin in the woods (oooh yeah)"

 

Evil Dead: The Musical!?  How did I not know this was even a thing.

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3 hours ago, Dan S said:

Evil Dead: The Musical!?  How did I not know this was even a thing.

It's a treat!  It's notorious for having a "splatter zone" and they often sell ponchos. There's some recorded productions on YouTube, but I recommend keeping an eye out for a local production.  Local Theaters tend to do it around the fall season.

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Resin - Wetting the Wetlands.

 

Probably the most transformative and visually impactive stage so far.  I have to admit I had a few apprehensions about attempting a boggy, marsh like base, but it came out a lot better than I'd initially expected.

 

I used a 2-part epoxy resin, which I coloured with Woodland Scenic's Murky Water Tint.  I had a couple of minor issues with the resin, firstly I poured slightly too high into a few of the holes, and resin ended up being absorbed into the static grass which sucked it up like a sponge.  Fortunately it created a green slimy, algae looking effect along the edge of the pools that doesn't look all that out of place, as Bob Ross would probably say....

 

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My second issue was with the dead leaves that I added to the resin.  I wanted them all to be submerged, with maybe one or two floating on the surface.  I used a toothpick to press them to the bottom of the water and figured that the resin was so thick and viscous that they would stay put, but no luck, within a minute they had slowly risen to the surface.  In hindsight I should have glued the leaves down first, but I didn't expect it to be a problem.  I didn't fancy spending the next 12 hours pressing the leaves back down whilst the resin slowly cured, so I just left them, they don't look too bad as they are.

 

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The Final Details

I've started to assemble, paint and weather a few little laser cut wooden details that I've had knocking around. The porch just wouldn't be complete with out an old rocking chair, the wooden pallets will be place around by the back door (I've ordered a few scale gas bottles/canisters which are due on Monday, which I am going to paint, weather and put them out back with the pallets).  The dog house will be placed under the boughs of the main tree, against the side of the house.  They were painted and weathered using the same process as the house, to keep everything looking uniform (Chipping fluid, washes, slime, moss etc)

 

I also have a small, tall thin wooden shed that I am in two minds about painting up as an outhouse.  As I am quickly running out of space on the base, I will decide later once I have gotten all of the trees fixed down into place.

 

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Edited by Dan S
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