40K Gothic Ruins

Blogger Krautscientist toonde op zijn blog Eternal Hunt hoe je uit schuimkarton een goedkope kathedraal kunt maken. Hier een repost.

Making bigger things out of foamcore, pt. 1

It’s been quite a while since I last posted about building terrain, but since the weather has picked up considerably in the meantime, it is now time once more to go outside, hit the tool shed or garage and build some wargaming terrain!

The funny thing is that I am pretty spoiled when it comes to terrain nowadays: There’s some exquisite terrain over at the FLGS, and stuff like Neil101’s stellar Arrke board, most of the stuff used during this years Inqvitational or Chelnov’s unbelievable Sisyphus Complex have taught me that my own meagre efforts at building terrain are already outdated by a pretty huge margin. I am also pretty convinced that I could do better nowadays, but some of my early recipes should still have some merit, especially to those of you who have been putting off building their own terrain for one reason or another.

I already discussed quite a while ago how easy it is to make some reasonably convincing ruined buildings out of foamcore. Buildings like those will also allow you to fill up quite a huge gaming table. But you probably don’t want your entire terrain collection to consist of simple, bombed out hab blocks, do you? Well, here’s the good news: Building bigger and more sophisticated structures can be almost as easy. This two-part post will take a closer look at that!

Everything started with my desire to build a larger building that was to serve as some kind of centrepiece on the table: I wanted something decidedly bigger than one of my ruined hab blocks, but maybe not quite as gigantic as a cathedral. So I decided to try my hand at a temple-like building housing a monument to some glorious achievement or other of the Imperium of Man.

The great thing about this project was that the building’s basic construction was still very much a rectangular box with four walls meeting at a 90 degrees angle. Still, the building ended up looking pretty imposing nonetheless. Take a look:

Monument Temple (2)
The most impressive part of the building is its façade, but this part was actually pretty easy to get right: I just drew a suitably impressive design on a piece of 3mm strong foamcore, then cut out all the arches and recesses with an exacto knife. Pieces of the same thin foamcore were then used to add projections to the wall and give it some depth. And I also added an inscription using alphabet noodles.

Here’s a view that shows the rest of the building:

Monument Temple (1)
The side walls are a very easy construction, with just a number of archways cut out of the foamcore I used. And a thicker kind of foamcore was used as a base for the whole building. The whole construction was very easy to put together, using PVA glue.

The dome you can see on the roof of the building was a readymade styrofoam shape I bought for a song at the DIY superstore. I placed it to be exactly above the monument inside the temple, a mockup of which you can see here:

Monument Temple (3)
In order to make the building look suitably damaged from artillery fire and the ravages of war, I cut sections out of the side walls and dome. Pieces of the dome were then glued onto the floor of the building, to make it look like they had fallen when the dome was partly destroyed.

The most fiddly part of the basic construction was the floor: I cut a lot of identical square shapes from the cardboard of a cereal box and used them as stone tiles to make up the temple’s floor. Glueing them down took a while:

Monument Temple (5)
As you can see, I drew some lines around the damaged wall sections to mark the areas where the floor had been damaged as well. On these areas, I didn’t use any of the floor tiles or at least made sure they looked damaged enough.

Monument Temple (4)
I also made sure the roof would be removable, in order to facilitate access to the building’s interior. This was achieved by adding a very simple foamcore construction underneath the roof that was stable enough to carry the roof when it was placed on top.

Here’s the interior with the floor tiles in place. The empty area in the middle marks the spot where the removable monument is supposed to go:

Monument Temple (6)

You can also see a part of the construction holding the roof in place at the bottom of the picture.

And here’s the same space with the monument’s basic construction in place:

Monument Temple (7)
So the next step was to get the whole building undercoated — definitely the hardest part of the whole exercise! I prepared a suitable undercoat by mixing black and white acrylic paint, some PVA glue and some fine bird sand (to add some texture to the paint and make the building look less like it’s made of foamcore). This kind of paint is really easy to mix and very cheap too. It also works as a sealant, making sure the foamcore’s foam interior doesn’t melt away, once you start using spray paint at a later point.

I won’t lie to you: Getting a building this size undercoated takes some doing (and a pretty large brush). And, please, don’t go using your expensive Citadel brushes for this, you hear!

Here’s the building, partly undercoated:

Monument Temple (8)

Monument Temple (9)
Oh, and another important thing: Make sure to mix enough paint, because there’s nothing worse than having to make some more just for the last corner of the model — I am speaking from experience here… ;-)

Anyway, this is what the building looked like after undercoating:

Monument Temple (15)
Monument Temple (14)
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Monument Temple (17)
As you can see, I didn’t paint the areas with the inscription or the empty spot for the monument. This was due to a number of reasons, actually:
I was afraid to damage the inscription with the brush, for one, plus you don’t want any grains of bird sand on those letters: They will have to look like metal later on, so any residue from the texture paint would destroy the illusion. The empty space was left unpainted because the monument should be easy to place, and that wouldn’t work with the floor all roughened up and uneven from the texture paint.

So the final step was to use black spray paint to touch up the unpainted areas as well as any places where the white foamcore was still showing through. This only took a couple of minutes. Afterwards, the whole building was nice and black:

Monument Temple (18)
Monument Temple (19)
And with that, the basic construction was completed.

Here’s where we left off last time: The basic assembly is complete and the building has been undercoated in black:

Monument Temple (19)
While everything was drying, I decided to work a bit on the actual monument that was to go inside the temple. For ease of assembly and added flexibility, I wanted the monument to be removable. Here’s the early construction I did for the monument:

Monument Temple (3)
As you can see, it consists of a column that sits in a small basin (later to be filled with water). The basic construction was, once again, done using foamcore. A cardboard loo roll would have worked as well to make up a column, but I wanted a different look this time, so I went for a rectangular faomcore construction instead. Two square WFB base was used for the abacus atop the column. That way, I could be sure it would be easy enough to attach the actual statue to the column later.

The statue itself consists of bitz from the Cadian Command Squad. I decided that I wanted the monument to have been erected in honour of the brave Imperial Guard, so I built a guard standard bearer in parade uniform for the monument — a very straigthforward affair. The model was kept separate from the rest of the monument for now.

Afterwards, the column and basin were undercoated, using the same texture paint I had used for the rest of the building. Here’s the monument after undercoating:

Monument Temple (13)
I then used cheap grey spraypaint (picked up at the DIY superstore) to make the monument look like it was actually made of stone. Take care not to apply too much colour during this step, because some of the darker undercoat showing through in places will actually make the piece look more believable.

Then I thought about how to best represent muddy water in the shallow basin at the bottom of the column. Since this was only a one-off project, I didn’t want to spend money on a huge bottle of water effect, so I had to develop a plan B. In the end, feeling slightly adventurous, I mixed PVA glue with a bit of water that I had in turn couloured using a mix of brown and green hues (mainly GW Gretchin GreenGW Scorched Brown, and some GW Rakarth Flesh). The resulting mix was then poured into the basin — if you’re trying something similar, make sure the basin’s actually waterproof and the stuff doesn’t come out at the seams! The mix also has to be thick enough, so use quite a lot of glue! The water’s mainly there to add the colour and to make everything slightly more fluid.

Here’s the monument after that step: As you can see, the water ended up suitably brackish and dirty — just as planned. I also added some plastic plants that I spraypainted brown to make them look dried and withered.

Guard Monument (1)
The monument was then set aside to allow for the “water” to dry. This took about 24 hours for this relatively shallow basin, so resist poking it to see whether is has managed to set yet! I actually couldn’t wait and made a (very small) indetation into the surface that way. Trust me: You need to be patient for this!

In the end, the “water” ended up looking nicely brackish and with a glossy surface, making it look reasonably realistic. I would have loved the mix to retain some of the glue’s usual transparence, but alas, it was not to be. Still, definitely better than getting some expensive water effect for a simple one shot!

I then painted the actual statue, which was really very easy: The model was undercoated with GW Chaos Black spray, then basecoated with a 60/40 mix of GW Chaos Black and Vallejo Halcon Turquoise. Then I drybrushed the model with a 50/50 mix of GW Skull White and Halcon Turquoise. The raised detail on the regimental flag lent itself especially well to this technique.

Here’s the result:

Guard Monument (7)
Guard Monument (6)
Monument Temple (40)
As you can see, the statue’s surface looks like heavily oxidised metal, just like you might see on a real-life statues you might see in your vincinity. All in all, I was very pleased with the effect. The statue was glued to the column using superglue. And with that, the monument was finished.

Here it is, placed in its eventual spot in the yet unfinished building:

Monument Temple (21)
While I had worked on the statue, the rest of the building had had ample time to dry. So the next step was to add slightly thinned down PVA glue to the nooks and crannies of the building. Then a mix of sand and smaller stones was added on top to represent rubble:

Monument Temple (22)
You can really add lots and lots of the stuff for added realism, plus segments of fallen walls and ceilings. Personally, I tend to go for a less realistic result simply because it’s pretty hard to add multiple layers of rubble and make sure they stay in place. And too much rubble and uneven surface texture can also mean it will be hard to actually place your models in the building during games.

Anyway, a second coat of thinned-down glue was added on top to seal the rubble. Then the rubble areas were sprayed once again with black.

After everything was dry, the building was sprayed with the same grey paint I had used on the monument. Again, go for a slightly uneven approach to create plausible shades and a more realistic looking surface.

Almost done now:

Monument Temple (23)
I also painted the inscription, using one of my regular GW brushes. The letters were undercoated in chaos black, then painted with Vallejo Tinny Tin, then washed withGW Agrax Earthshade. Then I added some light accents, using GW Dwarf Bronze.  And finally, I added a thinned-down mix of Vallejo Halcon Turquoise and GW Skull White on top to represent verdigris:

Monument Temple (28)
And with that, the building was basically finished. Here’s a view from the side:

Monument Temple (30)
I used the grey spraypaint to add some additional accents where necessary. This only took a couple of minutes, though. Here’s the finished monument temple:

Monument Temple (33)
Monument Temple (34)
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Monument Temple (36)
And some additional detail shots of the statue:

Monument Temple (32)
Monument Temple (31)
Looking back now, there’s quite a bit that could still be added: It might look cool to drybrush the tiled floor with white to pick out the contours. Posters and propaganda proclamations could be added to the building, as well as blood splatters, additional damage etc. I am still free to do all of this, however, as the finished build should be easy enough to modify.

Anyway, as you can see, building and painting this monument temple was almost as easy as constructing one of the easier ruined buildings. The scope of the project may be different, sure, but in the end, the techniques are the same. If anything, a larger buildings will give you far more options for adding details and little setpieces- Just make sure you don’t add so much stuff that the terrain piece no longer works during games ;-)

To wind up this post, here are some impressions of Inquisitor Antrecht’s warband moving through the ruin, to give you an idea of the scale:

Monument Temple (38)
Monument Temple (39)
In any case, I hope I was succesful in showing you how easy it can be to come up with a centre piece for your gaming table. All C&C are welcome, of course: Just let me know what you think in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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Zie ook zijn aanvullende post met nog meer voorbeelden