Thursday, March 26, 2009

What better time to work on terrain pieces...

...than when your significant other is out all day. Today I started on texturing the Collino della Formica, and I know from past experience that this kind of work generally goes much faster, better, and with fewer tears when I can just go ahead and make a mess (just so long as I have it cleared up by the time she gets back!).

And it
IS messy!

The problem with the soft white styrofoam is, of course, that it crumbles easier than old stale panecotta.  So I set about soaking lengths of paper towel in a mash of wall filler, PVA, and acrylic paint, and plastering it over the whole model. While wet it can be sculpted with a small artists' trowel, so that the first rough exterior layer can start to take shape.

Here is the view from the rear, with the path leading up to the top. I haven't yet done the top surface, this will be built up later once the trench interiors have been added.

Attacker's eye view. The cut out will be a defensive position for a machine gun, and will be backed by a pair of heavy iron doors leading into the heart of the position. This "Pit of Perdition" will no doubt end up being manned by defaulters and will attract a lot of unwanted attention from enemy mortars and grenades.

Another view of the path, this time from the side. The soaked paper towels dry rock hard, and can be used to mould natural contours where the seperate pieces of the hill were glued together.

I'll leave this to dry out thoroughly for two days, and then I'll take a tub of my favorite acrylic-based filler and add it liberally to the surface. I can then fill in any unnatural looking join lines, add more contours, and generally texture the whole model. I'll be referring to some web piccies of the Dolomites as a guide to sculpting the surface to make it look as close to a granite rockface as I can.

Top view of the beast, showing the trench and weapon bay layout. 

Having learned from past experience (ahem...), I've made the trenches wider than they need be so that I will be able to fit in the trench sub-assemblies more easily. Each trench will have a width of at least 30mm. Even though a real trench was considerably narrower historically, mine have to allow the 28mm minis to fit, and I will be adding some decorative "bits and pieces" to the trench walls.  I need enough space for the figures to be moved around without difficulty.

The trenches themselves will be of a modular construction, and when completed will be glued in place. Any gaps between the trenches and walls will be filled with off-cuts of foam and a parapet added. I'll then make some detachable roofs for the observation area and (of course!) the mortar ammo store. Finally, should everything go to plan, all will be coated with a final layer of gritty filler "goo" for texture and the whole thing painted.

Right now I need more minis! I have a trench mortar and Schwarzlose MMG from
Brigade Games on the way, and will need to get the observation team from Scarab next time I order from them.

1 comment:

  1. It is starting to look real good. I can't wait to see the finished product.