Making Scenery With Character: Part 2

Tonight we will jump in to Part 2 of the Making Scenery With Character Editorial

If you have not done so already, please review our prior entry in the series to get up to speed on where we are in the process…Making Scenery With Character: Part 1

Lets begin…

Now that you have done your research and found some reference photos, it is a good idea to start planning out your project on paper before getting started. You don’t really need any artistic skills to do this-the point is not to draw in detail, but to give you some idea of what the object would look like, some idea of scale and some simple design aspects. If you have ever seen storyboards for film, think along the same lines.

After going over my photos and research I came up with this rough idea…


Once you have a something on paper of what you would like to make it will help you in the next step which is hunting for suitable shapes of objects that you can work with. You can get as simple or as complex with this as you want. You could order a solid block of polystyrene and us a hot knife and cut exactly the shape you want-or-you can do what I do and try to find some thing that is close and that you MAKE work. To me there is nothing more satisfying than this. Great sources for finding polystyrene for free is in the backs of hardware and appliance stores as well as office supply stores. The foam that secures desktop printers is especially useful for making building like structures and that is exactly what I used!

The initial build was for a two tiered structure that basically had three playing levels: the main bunker ground floor, the second floor gallery/gun house and the roof. This is what I had come up with…


Pretty dang close to the initial drawings. Now if you remember, I had started this project in 2009. After having relocated a few times, the top half of the structure was damaged and discarded. In hindsight it would have been too large for transport (another thing to keep in mind)

Small hobby saws work fine for cutting straight lines. If you need some detail work you can make your own hot knife with a hobby knife and lighter. Be very careful any be aware of where your fingers are as to not poke through unexpectedly. After cutting some portions that would get in the way of models, and opening up the ports for the embrasures, we have this…


Looking a lot like the drawing now. We are going to forget about the top half now and move on to the embrasures. These were fairly easy to make with a few simple tools. Hobby saws, hobby miter box and wood glue. Use the same angle in the miter box and they will fit correctly and line up. Here you can the construction from both sides…

Seeing the center section as an area of weakness, I used a thin flat piece of balsa as a support…I eneded up running it length wise in the center recess.


Normally I recommend as did GW in the past to use watered down wood filler as the out covering. You can make it look like plaster, you can make it look like concrete, you can make cuts in it, its sand-able, paint-able, glue-able-its pretty much pure awesomeness! Now…I tried to use a different material for this project. Actual plaster in a tube. I can say with all certainty-stick to the wood filler…HOWEVER all is not lost. You can make anything work with dedication. The plaster required more time to dry, more sanding and was more difficult to handle but it still works. Here we are coated and prior to sanding…

For the actual base of the display I opted to use foam core project board. I could have used wood, but I wanted this to be a more portable item-this would prove to both be a blessing and a curse. The foam core while easy to work with will start to curl when it gets damp from glue so just keep that in mind. I used a traditional stepped structure, layering layer upon layer creating the elevation I needed.

You can see how the model as a whole is coming together and should be able to look at your reference photos and initial plans and feel good about where you are headed.

In the next installment we will go over designing some of the key details that we had mentioned in part one, giving it the character it needs as well as Grim-Darking it up a bit!

Thank you for joining and remember to follow and share us with anyone you may think will enjoy this work!

Aquila Of The Ninth



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