Looking for Flexible Dirt Roads / Rivers

I’ve heard a few whispered rumors of people making roads and rivers out of silicone or caulking, but am having trouble finding examples of them done in a 28mm scale.  From what I hear, these roads are all super durable, can be painted (assuming you purchase “paintable” caulk), and look great.  The problem is that my Google foo doesn’t seem to come up with any examples at the scale I play at.

I can find a bunch of examples from other mini-wargamers that play 6mm or 15mm games.  Some of the more likely prospects include:

They all follow fairly similar methods.  Most of them use some sort of base because they claim that the roads like to “curl up” on them.  I’m guessing that this would only be more prevalent when scaled up to 28mm.

Right now, I use some felt cut out into road-like shapes, and it’s pretty ghetto.  I also went out and purchased two sets of GW’s “urban road” sets a while back.  They do look pretty perfect, but the problem is that they don’t seem to be at all uniform.  I would expect that they would come out with standardized lengths for each section of road, but from what I can tell it all seems to be almost random in length.  So, you can’t just cut them to 1′ or 2′ sections, because they won’t all line up.

I also happened into a bunch of molds for the FW road set that my friend went nutty making.  The problem with those is two fold though:  I don’t care to go through the effort to make them, and I would really need to make them out of rubber or something similar to ensure they would be flexible.

I want roads that are fairly uniform in length and width and can be repositioned in a variety of ways.  I also like to use hills and such, so it would be nice if the roads could adapt to the terrain.  For that reason, I think silicon roads are the way to go, so I figured I’d seek out advice before I just jump in and try to figure it out on my own.

Thanks in advance…



Forgotten Stormbolters

WH39kStormBolters (2)Doh!  Just when you thought there weren’t going to be any more posts about my Munitorum Armored Containers, I find a way to dredge them up one last time (or so you hope).

Actually, there isn’t enough content here to justify a post on it’s own, but I found it humorous that despite the fact that I don’t like to aggrandize things with a series of work in progress posts, I managed to take something as trivial as a piece of terrain and stretch it out into five or six posts on the subject.  Heck, even when I took the time to paint up all of my buildings, I barely got that many posts out of them–and that took far longer and was considerably more impressive.

WH39kStormBolters (6)But then I discovered a handful of guns laying in the bottom of the box and remembered that I didn’t paint them up.  Ironically, this post doesn’t show a single painted storm bolter (though trust me, they’re painted and I won’t be dedicated a post to them again).  I did wind up shaving off the bottom pegs of each and inserting a magnet in each so that they can be easily removed.  They look like the sort of persnickety parts that would break off easily, so magnets to the rescue!

I also had to sink magnets into the top of the containers.  They fit almost perfectly with the magnets I had on hand (presumably the 1/8th inch variety) so I had to do a minimal amount of boring out holes to make them fit.  While I had the drill handy, of course, I drilled out the bolter barrels and filed down the mold lines wherever I could.

WH39kStormBolters (4)I didn’t bother to paint them all up though–instead I just did eight of the 12, figuring that I would be able to use the others for other purposes should the need arise (perhaps for drop pods or space marine tanks?).

I guess time will tell…



OSL: Let There Be Light!

WH39kLetThereBeLight (1)After “finishing” both my Prometheum Relay Network and my Munitorium Armored Containers, I realized that they both had a series of lights on them that might look better “lit up.”  Frankly, any chance I have to spray lights on my terrain is something I jump at the chance to work on (so I can get better at the technique).  Oddly enough, I don’t ever do that same effect on my Ultramarines, but maybe that’s just because I don’t feel like I’m good enough with it to push it out to my figures?

Rather than delve deeper into my subconscious though, I figure I’ll just continue to let it fester while I continue this post…

So yeah, I was originally going to leave the lights dark on both terrain features, and was happy with how it looked on the relay network, but I didn’t like how they looked on the armored containers.  I had painted the trim on all of the light fixtures in silver, but the inside was just whatever the underlying base color was.  I tried painting in yellow dabs with a brush, but it seemed out of place, so that lead me to the airbrush.

WH39kLetThereBeLight (3)That, coupled with the fact that I don’t like to reload the airbrush lead me to paint all of the lights in yellow.

I actually like the way the effect turned out, but I’ve had at least one friend comment to me in such a way that it was pretty clear that he didn’t think it was as successful as I did.  In my opinion though, the airbrush did a good job of making it look as if the lights are truly glowing, and I tried my best to position it so that the lights from the top shined down and the ones from below shined upwards, with just a little bit of seepage around the edges.

Honestly, I was a little saddened by my friends comment.  Granted, he didn’t say anything mean–but it was more the curious absence of any response.  I distinctly got the feeling that he was adhering to the “If you don’t have anything nice to say” adage.  It makes sense though, because he’s the friend of mine that uses this effect more often than any other (and to great success, mind you), so he does have a great breadth of knowledge on the technique.

Come to think of it, maybe he’s right.  Even when I look at the photos now, they look fine to me, but if he’s that good at the effect and hesitated to find anything nice to say, perhaps it’s a failure after all?

IWH39kLetThereBeLight (4)
n hindsight, I probably would’ve been better varying things up a bit: perhaps not making all of the lights yellow, or even not painting all of the lights as functional  (with dilapidated containers like this, it seems only natural to assume at least some of the lights wouldn’t work at all).  It also would’ve made sense to have the lights on the keypads glow–perhaps in a different color (green certainly comes to mind).

But the basic effect seems to work for my purposes.  Though they’re distinctly yellow in color, it at least adds a little variance when you consider that the object source lighting I used on all of my other buildings used blue light.  It’s not a huge variety, but it’s at least a little something, right?

The good news is that it’s terrain, so it doesn’t matter all that much how great it looks.  I do know that it looks good on the table-top, and that it doesn’t seem to show up the surrounding models.  What else can I ask for?


Painting Prometheum

WH39kPipesinProgress (2)So, a few weeks ago I started priming up some terrain for an upcoming Apoc game.  Truth be told, all of that terrain has since been painted, but I’m woefully behind on my blog status updates, so I’m going to try to hammer out a few posts in an attempt to catch up.  One of the pieces I was working on was my Prometheum Relay Network, which is basically a pipeline (though I haven’t for sure figured out if promethium is a gas or a liquid when it travels through that pipe).

After thoroughly priming and salting it (in an attempt to pull of a rust-like effect), I wound up spraying them with a hammered silver finish from Krylon.  The plus side is that it has kind of a neat texture, and I didn’t have to worry about mixing up a color or sullying my airbrush.  The downside here is that it also sticks to the plastic a whole lot better than anything that comes out of the airbrush.  The end result is that it was far harder to scrape the salt off later in the process–and I’m pretty sure that I shouldn’t be eating anywhere near as much of that paint as I wound up consuming during the painting/cleaning process.

By the way, for anyone who is wondering at all what that process is when it comes to salting, I talk more about it in an earlier post.

WH39kPipesinProgress (3)There was some debate about what color I would paint the pipeline.  My natural inclination is to paint them silver because the only pipeline that I have really seen in the wild was painted silver (plus, that’s a great color for a generic piece of metal).  Zzzzz from Devos IV pointed out in a comment that “IRL, Gas pipelines on that scale tend to be painted in a colour, with the colour changed every few years or so, in order to tell if it needs repainting or not.”  I’ve never heard that, but then again, I don’t know anything about gas pipelines myself and he seems to know what he’s talking about.

I do happen to work with some folks that have experience with oil & gas though, so I pinged them on the matter.  They said that they hadn’t heard of that particular quirk.  They knew that the pipelines had to be coated on a regular basis, but they had always believed them to be coated in the same colors because specific colors denote specific kinds of pipelines.  Perhaps there’s a difference between the standards in our locations–which is likely to be true because it looks like Zzzzz is from Europe.

WH39kPipesinProgress (1)Whatever the case, I decided to go with silver as the base color for my pipeline, and then put in a little bit of black and blue accents to make it fit with my Ultramarine army.  I tried to make the accents subtle enough that they wouldn’t look out of place as mere terrain, but also prominent enough so that it could be associated with my army without stretching the imagination too much.

I also was sure to put a little splash of color here and there (such as the red–umm.. what do you call those things?  “Frame” around the skeleton?) and, of course, painted the skulls in bone as per my standard.

This eventually got an armor wash, plus a little splash of brown and green washes to demonstrate areas where the pipeline has leaked over time.  Eventually, I would also put a little yellow into the mixture with some OSL courtesy of the airbrush, but that will be for another post…


Ammo Boxes & Oil Drums

WH39kAmmoContainers (2)If I was working on my Munitorum Containers posts in the order that I actually had painted them, I would’ve started with the ammo boxes, moved to the drums, and then finished up with the containers themselves.  Ammo boxes are a great starting point because they’re basically just green boxes that don’t need much more embellishments than that.

Of course, I took it a step farther and added some metallic trim and rust effects–partially because it looked a little too drab with just green, and partially to make it blend in with the rest of the terrain I have.

The barrels, on the other hand, left me with some decisions to make.  Historically I’ve painted barrels in that same drab army green that I’ve painted the ammo boxes (for those that are wondering, it’s always been some flavor of Dark Angels green in the past, though this time I couldn’t seem to find my pot, so I mixed up a slightly lighter concoction using various badger airbrush paints I had laying around).  WH39kAmmoContainers (1)That aside, I wanted to look into potentially painting these new oil drums a different color.

I really liked the scheme of red/white that they used on the box lid, and also considered options of orange/white (to match traditional construction drums you’d see on the side of the road) or green/yellow (I suppose to keep the green theme and then have an accent color).  I eventually settled on green/white, but I don’t exactly recall just why that was.

The end effect worked out alright though–but I suspect that likely has more to do with the rust and washes than with the green/white scheme of the barrels.

WH3kAmmoContainers (3)Oh, for some reason I wound up taking the pictures of the ammo boxes after they were painted but before they were washed, while the photo of the barrels includes all of their weathering (in effect, that’s a finished product photo, while the other boxes are still a work in progress picture).  I wasn’t originally going to wash the ammo boxes, because I figured they looked good enough, but after I had washed the oil drums (which may or may not have come after washing the Munitorum Containers) it seemed only appropriate to go back and wash these as well.

And that basically finished up my new terrain for the upcoming Apoc game.