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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Imperial Bridge Display Board

A lot of my customers have a clear idea what they want. Other give me an idea and we work together to come up with a completed idea. This is one of those collaborations. What started as "something Imperial" turned out to be something really cool for Texas Games Con. The basic idea was an Imperial City overlooking a large bridge, where the army would parade across the bridge. I apologize in advance I do not have as many "in progress" pictures as I was on a tight deadline to get this done.
For large projects like this, save come cash by using the cheaper foam for support and use the good stuff for visible areas
I put the bridge on a steep angle so to maximize usable space for the models, since all the wood area would be water

The stone work in the arches is all done with an etching tool. The Gothic look of buttresses helps with constructing the back building. Each of the those walls is a slot the slides together so the whole back building is collapsible for travel. I noticed the floor was still crooked and could not support even plastic models so I added supports underneath. For scale, that is Deathwing Terminator Model on the bridge

Here is your big tip: see all those fancy pillars between the arches & the railings? That is all molding from Home Depot. Instant detail at low prices. Base coat everything with Behr Deep Space, even the bottom of the bridge arches. I then dry brush with a lighter grey color. The foam has enough texture to simulate stone. 

Add some weathering

Time to add the water. If I use the usual water effects, I would need to wall off the entire board. No Thank You. Instead, I used Gloss Medium, a crappy brush, and applied using a stippling technique (ie dabbing up and down perpendicular to the board instead of wide strokes). This creates these cool waves. I used a grey gravel to create a beach to show a barrier between the building & the water. Dries in about 24 hours!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ork Junkyard Display Board

It would only be appropriate to do something ork-related with the new codex release. Here is a display board I did for Texas Games Con using a Mek Junkyard theme
To get a the ork look, I needed some reference material. I found a technical drawing of an Ork Kroozer, which I blew up and printed out to use as floor for our riser

Getting this design onto the foam is not as tricky as it seems. First I position the template on the foam. I then use a ball point pen and trace each and every line.

This leaves a light indentation
I then use an etching tool on each of the lines to give the detail needed to stand out

Assembling the parts: I used an electrical junction box for the taller shed. The black lower shed is packing from a Fried Chicken dinner at WalMart. The ramp is a roller attachment found at Home Depot. Pipes on the right are submerged into the foam to serve as a guardrail to keep models from falling off

Base Coats

Weathering and flocking. To create the scrap piles in the corners, I used a mixture of chopped up sprues and a rust colored gravel

Add Backdrop and we are complete! Waaaagh!

Swamp Display Board

It is not often I dabble in the Warhammer Fantasy Battles, I haven't played since 6th edition and have sold by Lizardmen, Dark Elves, & mishmash of Chaos and Beastmen. That said I have always had a soft spot for Skaven, which I use as my Hrud infantry (counts as Kroot). I have also been itching to take another shot a swamp terrain after doing a segment on a swampy Zone Mortalis boards. So when I had a request to do a Skaven Swamp themed display board. I was ready to go.
The riser section was cut from 1/2" insulation. I cut out a series puddles to add to the swamp feel

The lower section was a challenge. If I used foam again, it would be too deep, but I need some edge to show that this area is raised above the water. I found cork board sold in large sheets which worked great. In hindsight, I would have cut them up into several small pieces as large pieces like this curl when painted

Skaven armies tend to be large in model count. Whenever 2' by 2' if not enough for your army, adding a second level to a display board is both practical and cinematic way to get more space. To keep in theme of our swamp, I used insulation again to make a worn down boardwalk that would go over the swamp. I used an etching tool to simulate wood planks & nail holes 

Base coats done with Behr Deep Space

Time to add some green. First I did the actually board.It was real easy to practice wet blending when you 4 square feet to work with. Then repeated the technique on the foam & cork. Foam unsanded has a fair amount of texture, so don't be afraid to dry brush for effect. Lastly I painted the middle of each puddle darker to give the illusion of depth once we add the water effects later

Rotten wood is often grey with black & green mold. I should know from staining my deck for 14 years. I later added green flock for a more texture look to the decaying wood. The holes were cut with my plunge tool. This is a great trick. It gives a place to put my fingers during assembly. The holes are small enough so a figure won't fall through, but big enough so people can see the models underneath

Using some scraps of foam I constructed the pillar for the boardwalk. The key was to get the height correct so models could easily fit underneath but still have a enough support to hold models (even metal ones) on top

This may come as a shock: I am not a fan of the water effects. The old school mixing of two resins was always messy. The newer solutions still require a flat, level surface and to dam the areas to prevent overflow. With the small lip in the foreground, this was a recipe for disaster. Instead I used Glossy Medium that you apply with a brush. It worked great except for one thing: swamp water doesn't have waves. So I used a spackling knife to create flat water. Later I added my favorite Dead Fall Flock to make our swamp a little less neat.

Added a swampy backdrop and we are complete