Monday 9 July 2012

This Week, I 'ave Been Mostly Makin'...

Hi, All!

Lieutenant Boddington and troopers explore the ruins of an ancient temple.

It's been a productive week for me, model-making-wise.

My Lost Continent terrain is taking shape fast, with a ruined temple, giant boulders and the beginnings of a lost city completed in the last few days.

First up: boulders.

Boulders are carved from green foam, sanded and glued to blank DVDs.

Any wargaming table should start out with a few basic pieces - trees, hills, rocks, whatever. I'm going for giant boulders.

The boulders are painted, highlighted, then sand is added to the DVDs.

These are based on blank DVDs - I have started using DVDs and old vinyl records as bases, as they are thin, yet guaranteed not to warp when you glue stuff to them. I've picked up a few records from second-hand stores for just this reason - being careful only to buy the kind of music I don't mind improving with copious amounts PVA, sand and paint.

Seductive Belgian adventuress Stella Artois and the infamous Professor Heineken liaise amongst the finished boulders.

Anyway, what more can you say about a bunch of rocks? They were quick to produce, although it is worth mentioning that PVA dries really slowly when trapped between chunks of insulating foam - Hob-e-Tac is much better...

American explorer Bud Weiser and his Nemesis, the wily Frenchman, Phillippe Le Glasse.

On to the next bit:

The Lost City of Ah-Pul-Sh'Napps.

Major Glenlivet leads sikh soldiers of the 4th Imperial Indian Exploratory Force into the unknown...

The Lost City will be made up of a number of set pieces of various sizes. In order to speed things up a little, I started by making up a sheet of walls which can be cut up and used as required...

The sheet of walls (left) and a single strip, showing interior and exterior detailing (right).

This will enable me to quickly produce a few pieces along the lines of this first one - a ruined house. It sits upon pavement next to a stone-flagged road complete with drains. Clearly, this was once a mighty civilisation.
I plan to create several houses, crumbling city walls, a watch tower and a few more big pieces too (more about those later...) The techniques are the same, regardless of the complexity of the design.

Black foam core forms the street, glued to a 10" record. At this point, I have not yet added theupper storey of the house.

Music connoiseurs might like to know that this piece was built upon a 10" recording of Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians - 'Piano Magic'...

Plenty of ground cover, moss and weeds break up the outlines of the ruins and add to the feeling of age.

I opted for a very simple colour scheme, using just one base colour and one highlight colour, so that the more important characters and machines stand out well against the terrain. Having painted the walls and street, the rest of the ground was built up with modelling clay, grit, static grass and clump flock. the same colour scheme and technique was used for the temple...

The house, viewed from above.

The Ruined Temple of Jinaan T'Onnik...

Pieces are carved from green and white foam and inscribed with a pencil to create stonework.

The temple is a 12" piece. I opted for a sandstone colour for the project because I wanted a nice bright table, and so that the various ruinsstand out against my grey cliffs. (Yes - this means the stone was not locally quarried...)

The unpainted walls and painted obelisk.

The centrepiece of the temple is a giant black obelisk, inscribed with strange characters and capped with a golden point. Again, this contrasts with its surroundings and stands out nicely.

Grit is added after painting the walls. The obelisk is glued in place.

The unfinished temple from various angles.
The finished article.

The mosses on the tops of the ruins were built up with various tones of flock, static grass and tea leaves, then gently dabbed with red paint here and there.

The Ruined Temple of Jinaan-T'Onnik, viewed from above.

Anyway, I can't stay here, blogging away all day! There are more cliffs awaiting my attention and I want to bury Rolf Harris' Two Little Boys...

All The Best!


  1. Excellent work! And you could spin dry your work on a turntable, or carve perfectly circular lines on things as they spin away. In fact, come to think of it, you could use this technique as a gigantic lathe to make rockets out of green foam!

    Though I thought you had learned your lesson about using tea leaves on a previous scenery building venture that was - let us say - consumed ...

  2. Thanks, Roly. Thinking outside the circle as usual, I see...

    I remain convinced that the dreaded Tunnelling Mice were attracted not by tea leaves but by the dried sage and basil... Time will tell.

  3. Hi,

    your scenery looks very very good. I especially like your color combination. Could you tell me how you paint your sandstone?


    1. Hi Mika. Welcome to my blog and thanks very much!

      For the sandstone I used only two colours - a base yellow/brown colour (Resene's "Tussock") and a fairly heavily drybrushed highlight of a yellow/off-white (Resene's "Splash"). Resene are a housepaint retailer here in New Zealand.

      (Hmmm... "Tussock and Splash" - sounds like a bad eighties detective duo...)

      I use testpots of housepaint acrylics for all my terrain work. Only my metallics are expensive 'hobby' acrylics.

      These two colours appear very different in the pots, but compliment each other beautifully.

      An important factor when selecting colour combinations which is often overlooked is the issue of contrast. Your colours can appear to change significantly when you add background factors like rocks, vegetation, etc. Colours which appear at first gaudy and garish suddenly change and look great. It's a question of experimenting - which is just one reason why cheap test pots are a good investment. I'm sure we've all noticed how much better our painted figures look when we add a bit of grass to their bases - this is the same effect.

      Oh, I do go on sometimes...

      Hope this helps.

  4. Ingenius my good man! I love the way that the buildings all tie together but I have to say that the naming of the various characters and structures is making me rather thirsty - what time does that pub open?

    1. Thank you, Sir!

      I'm sure I don't know to what yo are referring, Old Bean. Pub? Me? Never touch the stuff!

      Well... medicinal purposes aside...

      Come to think of it, I'm feeling a little woozy...

  5. They are blooming marvellous and very well painted and based.

    1. Thanks, PanzerKaput!

      Very glad you like 'em. Keep watching!

  6. Thank you for such an entertaining, detailed and useful account! There are indeed some brilliant tips that I'd like to try but I'm sure questions will follow!
    I love the stone-work on the buildings! At first it seems that it's all quite linear and perfect as you draw out whole sheets, but the finished articles look authentically rough-hewn and irregular complete with cracks. Do you go back and "rough up" the edges, once you've got your basic lay-out?
    Tea leaves: I'd never have thought of using that for vegetation (being a Brit - I just want to drink the stuff!).
    And as for the music choices...very good. Best place for 'em!
    Looks fantastic. Very impressed, Colonel!

    1. Thanks, Genna.

      Once the basic linear designs are drawn, I add random squiggly lines here and there to imitate cracks. I also add notches on corners with a knife - this is especially effective on large features such as the columns in the temple.

      Tea leaves - ahh, yes... Tea leaves are great for twiggy crap of various descriptions. Being British myself, I know exactly what you mean... But... Only use the cheapest, most terrible stuff you can find. Good tea is far too well filtered. I buy those big bags of supermarket brand tea where you get about a million teabags for the price of a decent cuppa in a proper cafe. These are guaranteed to be full of bits of tea-flavoured stick masquerading as tea. Rip 'em all open and dump the contents into a big jar labelled, "undrinkable twiggy stuff"... or whatever. You get the idea. Combined with flock or static grass, the results can be brilliant.

      Music (and I use the term in its broadest sense) will continue to be a key component of this project. Please feel free to make requests. If you have a favourite track you'd like me to cover with paint, I'm all ears.

      Hmmm... going on again...

    2. Lady in Red! Absolutely! Please! Ah the satisfaction I would gain...
      A fellow Brit? Ah! Didn't realise! From where do you hail, Sir?
      And thanks for the tips on the tea. Off I go to Asda then. Shan't be using my Earl Grey.

    3. Oh, yes indeed! However, I fear I may not have what it takes to go into a charity shop, walk up to the counter, and boldly ask the daffy old ladies behind the counter, "Do you have anything by Chris De Burgh?"

      I fear even daffy old ladies would be brutal in their disdain.

      Since you ask, I am originally from Sheffield. I now reside on the other side of the world, where it is grim down south instead.

    4. Oh dear. I understand your dilemma. I, on the other hand, as a regular visitor to charity shops, have no such qualms, have no respect for the "Daffy old ladies" and would relish asking them for Lady in Red, informing them proudly of exactly what I would do with it! I fear this task may fall to me then but at least I'll be able to try out your techniques.
      The Birdie Song? Orville's Song? The list is indeed endless and I salute you for your service to mankind!
      Sheffield? I don't know that city at all well, I'm afraid. But it surely cannot be grim down in New Zealand. I went there once and found it beautiful! Anyway, we digress. Keep it up Colonel!

  7. Oh, and I see you've been very clever and scribed the wall pieces to work upside-down as well as the right way up, so that when you cut them into bits, they'll work no matter what way up they are. Ingenious!

    I never took the Colonel for being so environmentally friendly, eliminating wastage so.

    1. Aha! Fooled you again, my friend!

      The walls work the same either way up, not because I'm particularly clever, but because I lost all sense of direction, coordination and reality a long time ago... Up is down these days. Didn't you get the memo?

  8. Ah! More masterworks by the maestro! I love the colour combinations. And another aficionado for recycled tealeaves! I use it for all flocking purposes now (excuse my French!) CDs are always useful, but I never thought to use old vinyl. To paraphrase Python "I WILL buy this record, it is scccratched!" ;)

  9. Hello again, AJ, my friend! And thanks.

    Just to keep one step ahead, I can also reveal that I am experimenting with building entire scenic dioramas on the coggy bits in old "NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC..." cassettes.

    Not much success so far.

  10. This is wonderful. So detailed and clever - just love it.
    And a master at coming up with booze-related names. I wonder why? Great work!

    1. Thanks, Mr, Miss, Ms, Whoever You Are!


      What's that??

  11. Good work ! Nice and pleasant blog

  12. "I like it, Mr Mainwairing, I like it, I like it!" As dear old "Jones-ey" might say (from BBC TV comedy 'Dad's Army' series)
    Like another commentor, I'd never thought of using old vinyl records - what a great idea! Good photos and 'how-to' info, make this a blog I keep coming back to for inspiration! Excellent work, Colonel!!

    1. Why thank you, Richard - high praise!

      I'm only too happy to keep doing this stuff, as long as I know people are enjoying it!

  13. Splendid blog and terrain old chap...keep up the good work...

    A name for your list

    American Adventurer - Bud Weiser

    Have fun


    1. Thanks, Eric! I've never been complimented by a shed before. I'm honoured!

      Nice try with "Bud Weiser" - but I already beat you to it! Check out the caption under the fifth photo on this post...

      Great minds think alike, my friend!

  14. Fantastic Looking Terrain. I also have a collection of CD's courtesy of AOL that I use for terrain also. Keep up the good work. Just a question of the colour scheme your using on the buildings...I am assuming some sort of tan, hi-lit with cream?

    1. Hi Terry. And thank you!

      Isn't it nice to think that even though some 'artists' have the temerity to churn out tasteless rubbish, we can still find a creative use for their product?!

      Re: colour scheme, yes... you're pretty close. Refer to the reponse I gave to Mika's question (above) for a more waffle-filled jibber-jabber type answer!

  15. Luvly terrain and Bravo for destroying that classic masterpiece of banality and sugary sentimentality by that horrid Colonial chappie Rolf Harris...the man who added a whole new and unspeakably horrid dimension to Stairway to Heaven!

    Whilst on the subject of raiding the larder for modelling purposes I have a friend who is getting good results with macaroni...I can't beleive I said that.

    1. Thank you and hello again, Sir!

      I haven't yet destroyed the work of Mr Harris - I've been concentrating on Guy Lombardo and Roger Whittaker... However, "Two Little Boys" is about to become a watch tower. Hope this is a fitting end...

      Macaroni? Wasn't he that Italian Architect?

      Pasta is a great building material, as it happens. PVA sticks to it like... um... well, glue, actually.