Terrain building – 15mm bunkers admin September 20, 2011 Terrain 2 Comments Hi, thanks for reading. I’m currently making some terrain pieces for Flames of war, a 15mm world war 2 tabletop war game. Unlike some lucky people, I’m limited for space, so all of the terrain I make is “modular” which means I can pack everything up into boxes for storage. Modular terrain never looks as good as a static layout, which will always look more natural, and will flow a lot better. This does however give the advantage that it can be repositioned into limitless layouts, which can be really handy for war games as every game is different, and playing on the same board would just get boring. So, I never actually intended to make these guys. But while in hobbycraft a couple of weeks ago I spotted these hornby bunkers. Usually, Hornby suff is far too big for 15mm wargaming, which is a shame as a lot of their stuff is really nice quality, and I could easily find a home for it on my gaming table! But these little guys looked at just the right scale, for a small bunker on a hornby set this will make a very nice medium sized bunker on a 15mm table. As you can see its a nice little bunker from the front, comes fully painted and is textured to look like concrete. This little fella cost £5. I couldnt let a bargain like that go, so I bought two. I know I could probably have made one cheaper, or shopped aroudn and found an alternative or even the same one cheaper, but it was there, and it was quite cheap. so I picked it up. I decided that this was a little bland, so I would take the bunker as a starting point, and add it to a base. To make the base I used Plasticard (bought from modelzone), ready mix filler (from the £1 shop), matches, modelling sand from Games workshop, static grass from Games workshop and brown “Java Bean” tester pot paints from Wilkinsons. I started out with a sheet of plasticard and placed the bunker on top, and thought about how big I would tank the entire piece to be, The bunker on its own is maybe a little too high to be right on a 15mm table (position of the windows), so the polly filler will be quite deep compared to how much I would put on a base for a normal figure. You cant tell very well from the picture,but after I cut the plasticard to size, I scored the surface with my knife, this gives the pollyfiller and the glue something extra to bond to, greater surface area to stick to means more likelyhood what you stick down will stay put! I also scored the bottom of the bunker too. once its scored, I glued the bunker down. Usually I would probably use a hot glue gun, but as this is a small project, I couldn’t be bothred to get the glue gun out, its very messy. Super glue worked just fine here, as the surfaces have quite a lot of good contact points. either would be fine for this project. As you can see there I haven’t stuck this square” on the base, I did this by design rather than accident, as there is a door at the back of the bunker, so I wanted to make a walkway to get in, which will obviously take up some room on the base. This is what the matchsticks are for later on! After this was stuck down, I measured out roughly how big the area was I was working with and started to cut some match sticks. You can buy craft match sticks, which are not expensive, but at the £1 shop, a packet of about 12 boxes of matches was (you guessed it) £1. I don’t mind cutting the heads of matches for the sake of £1. So, after I cut the heads off a few I laid them out to make a floor section, and then a mounting section for the steps (as I want them raised above the floor) I must point out at this point, that pretty much everything was done over two nights. I only left the pollyfiller to dry overnight, then did the rest in a couple of hours after the pollyfiller was dry. I’m quite impatient sometimes, last night was one of those nights. My usual workflow is to put the TV on with something I’m half interested in, then when I get to a stage that requires some drying time I put the model under a hot desk lamp, to quicken the drying, leave it for a few minutes while I focus on the TV, then go back to the model. Other than the polly filler, every stage of this mini was done in this style, its not the best way to work, but I haven’t modelled anything for a couple of months, so I wanted to kick start myself again and get something finished in a short space of time. Considering I was doing each stage on top of each other I think the project turned out pretty well. Also, the thing to take into consideration here is that with terrain you don’t need to be mega careful with a lot of this stuff, its messy, and random. I would never work like this on an actual model, like a tank or anything, the techniques are totally different. But when it comes to waiting for a coat of brown undercoat to completely dry before covering it in PVA and then throwing static grass at it, you can be a bit impatient, and get away with it quite successfully! As you can see I cut the steps from offcuts of plasticard, and stuck them onto a couple of matches to raise them up a bit. After this I built a wall around the steps and the matchstick floor, which would act as the enclosure to keep the stairwell in. Then after that I went mad with the polly filler! This was the first wall I built with matchsticks, and to be honest, its rather terrible. My granddad will be turning in his grave its so bad (he was a builder), the second one was much better, promise! As you can see here I have added the pollyfiller around the model, this has the effect of sinking the whole thing into the ground, it looks very wet here, as I usually add a VERY SMALL amount of water to the filler as I use it, it just makes it flow a little better, and after all, its proper cheap stuff, I probably wouldnt use this on my walls, but for wargaming purposes its brilliant. I would have put something underneath this big mound to help reduce the weight a little, but unfortuntly, this time my room is pretty “crap free”, so with nothing to hand, I just slapped on the polly filler. Its a small model, so I don’t have to worry about adding too much weight. You don’t have to be too neat with the polly filler either, as its going to be covered with sand, static grass and paint. As long as it isnt too thick then it will most likely look just fine. Just get it to a shape that you like. As I am using this on a modular board, I like to taper the edges off each side to get them as low as possible, that way there isn’t any harsh sharp edges jutting out into nothingness. Although its up to you how you do it. After I put the polly filler on, I had to leave it to dry overnight as the filler was done really thick. If this was a base for an infantry stand or something, it would be really thin, so by the time you’ve finished the last stand of a platoon, the rest will be pretty much dry. After the Filler was dry the next stage is to put modelling sand onto the base. At the moment I am using Games Workshop modelling sand. This is some of their older stuff so its more like ground up really fine cork than sand, and I really like it, their new stuff however is very coarse sand, which im not too keen on. This stuff was applied by simply painting watered down PVA glue (about 10 parts glue to 3 parts water, so still quite thick), directly onto the model, then dropping the sand onto the model, then tipping the excess off back into the pot. Like I said earlier, I did this whole project in a couple of sittings, so I only left the PVA and sand to dry for a few minutes under a hot lamp before painting the model brown. I left it again under the hot lamp for about 10 minutes before taking this photo, as you can see its pretty much dry over about 60% of the model, this is fine for the next step, which is applying the static grass. If this were a proper tank or something though I would leave it to dry fully before moving from step to step. The brown paint I use for terrain building is a wilkinsons emulsion called “Java Bean”, its really nice for terrain building, it dries about the same colour as scorched brown by Games workshop. This pot of paint is pretty thick, so it needs watered down even for terrain use, but at £1 a tester pot, it goes a heck of a lot furthur than a pot of Games workshop scorched brown, which costs about £2.25! I would NEVER put this onto a proper mini though, this paint is used for terrain use only. most of the brown will probably never be seen, so using expensive paint would be a waste. even if applied via an airbrush for better coverage it would still be more cost effective to use the wilkinsons stuff. (oh, and NEVER put emulsion through an airbrush. thats just daft.) After I left the brown paint to dry under the hot lamp for a while (about the length of time it takes to watch an episode of the big bang theory, to be vaugely precise). drybrushed the base with Games workshop’s graveyard earth, then a lighter drybrush with dheneb stone. The light in this photo makes it look a little brighter than it actually comes out. Once the static grass is applied this will look really nice, instead of just a flat shade of dark brown, you have a few nice shades of brown to make it stand out a bit. As yout can see here, I have applied the static grass to the model, so its pretty much finished! the grass dulls down a little, as it was fresh on when I took this, so you can still see the PVA glue through the grass, once its dry you’ll only see a faint brown through the grass. As you can see, I also painted the stairs, these were simply painted blak, then a very heavy drybrush of games workshop codex grey, this was the closest colour paint I had to the colour of the bunker. I also added a little black paint to gyphonne sepia wash and gave the match sticks a heavy wash, to dull them down a little. the match sticks I used were rubbish, so they were quite shiny, and didn’t take the paint very well, but they look OK. Here are a few more photos of the finished model. I hope you like it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and like the terrain I’ve been making, please feel free to leave your comments, or send me an email via the form on my site. I’m going to be making more terrain over the next couple of weeks, so hopefully I will find the time to document it and blo about it as and when it happens. My next project is some trees, and a river! Thanks for reading. Chris 2 Responses braxen September 25th, 2011 I think your review is enthusiastically biased… The PSC models do have their shortcomings and the computerized design may feel a bit impersonal and less characterized than BF. However, I agree, PSC wins big time on price as the difference on quality (slightly leaning towards BF IMHO) is only marginal. Good blog Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.