Friday, December 23, 2011

Craters in 40K: Part 2

Last time, I talked about craters in 40K. If you happened to have read that post and there wasn't much there or it didn't seem like it was finished that's because it wasn't. Apparently I hit the publish button when I just started writing it. I didn't notice until I posted and realized it wasn't showing up on From the Warp or any of my other feeds. Turns out the date was wrong because it was published a couple days sooner! Doh. So make sure you go back and read Part 1 before continuing.

Today we're going to finish off our trimmed craters. The goal of this tutorial is to create a crater that is roughly the size of a Rhino or Razorback. Here is what you need to get started:
  • Vacuum formed crater. I'm using the Pegasus Hobbies Crater Set, but Games Workshop's Moonscape will work too. My wife prefers the Moonscape because they have sharper detail and paint up easier.
  • A base for your crater. I use MDF.
  • Cat Litter. I use Tidy Cats Non-clumping for Multiple Cats. I guess you can't use this stuff if you only have one cat (shrugs).
  • Wood Filler. I use Carpenter's Wood Filler Interior/Exterior.
  • Razor Knife
  • Glue Gun. You could just use PVA glue, but that takes long to dry and I'm pretty impatient.
  • PVA Glue
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Eye Dropper
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint. I use craft paints for terrain. You can buy them at AC Moore or Michaels. Wal-Mart even has a decent selection by the school supplies.
  • Blue Foam
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Sand Paper
Step 1: Cut out the crater you want to use with a pair of scissors. I used the triple crater that came with the Pegasus Hobbies Crater Set as it was the perfect size and I got three craters for the price of one!

Step 2: Trace your crater onto a base with a sharpie and leave about 1/4 to 1/2 inch all the way around. We don't want the base to be too big. Once your base is traced, cut it out. I use MDF which requires a jig saw. If you can't use power tools you can always just use foam board or card board. Once the base is cut, I shave the sides at an angle with a razor knife and I use sand paper to sand it smooth. In the pic below, I stuck a piece of foam under the crater to keep it upright and I attached the crater to the base with a glue gun.

Step 3: Here we need to build up the sides of the crater where we made the cut with the scissors. You can use various materials for this such as foam, modeling clay, green stuff, or even paper mache. I used blue foam and shoved it under the crater and affixed it with the glue gun. Once the glue dried, I cut into the foam to make it look like rock and match the rest of the crater.

Step 4: In this step we cover the sides of the crater with wood filler. There is no way to be neat about this step so just use your fingers from the beginning and save yourself time as opposed to trying to be neat. What we want to do is make sure that we are covering the seam where the crater meets the base or it will stick out like a sore thumb when we dry brush it later on. I love working with wood filler because it doesn't crack, it dries really quick, and you can sand it smooth.

Step 5: If there is anything I want you to take away from this tutorial it's the next few steps and how to make piles of rock and rubble. I got this tip from some dude on TerraGenesis and it's really easy to do and the results look great. If I made a list of my top 10 killer tips when making terrain, this would definitely make the cut.

Now that I have your attention, take out your cat litter and make random piles of rubble on the crater. Don't be afraid to stack it into large piles, because when we're done it will dry just like you place it. I'm adding in some other rocks too for variety. You'll want to do this on a piece of newspaper because once the rocks are in place, we can't move it and we'll be adding glue in the next step.

Step 6: Once we have all of our rock piles in place, you'll want to take your eye dropper and the isopropyl alcohol and get all of the cat litter wet. You don't want to go over board with this step, but you want to make sure that the cat litter and any other rocks you put on the base are well covered in alcohol.

Step 7: Now that the cat litter is wet with the alcohol, you'll want to again use the eye dropper and drop on diluted PVA glue. I dilute mine about 3:1 water to glue and I have a Tang container filled with the mix because I use it so much. The glue should be thin enough that when you drop it on, it flows through the cracks in the cat litter. If it doesn't flow and just sits on top, you can hit it with a couple drops of alcohol and that will do the job. Try not to get it all over like I did on the pics below. I ended up gluing the crater to the newspaper. Oops! Nothing a little sand paper and a spackling knife can't fix.

Step 8: Wait for the glue to dry. You should wait at least a few hours. I let mine dry overnight and work on it again the next day when I come home from work. In the pic below, you can see the cat litter stayed firmly in place just how I wanted it. A few pieces may flake off, but nothing too major. 

Step 9: Now that the cat litter is dry, we need to cover the rest of the base with sand. I just use straight glue from the jug without any thinning for this step and I use a cheap brush to apply it. Dip your crater in the sand, shake off the excess and allow it to dry. Sorry, forgot to take a picture of this step, but I'm sure you get the idea.

Step 10: This step was the easiest (at least for me). Paint the craters black and start dry brushing the different colors on. My wife is excellent at painting terrain, so I let her do it. We use craft paint for painting terrain because it's so cheap. She used black, gray, and white. For the browns, I had gallons mixed up years ago at Lowes. I believe I had them match scorched brown and vomit brown, but I'm not 100% sure.

Step 11: Marvel at your craters' greatness! And if you are me, you thank your wife for taking some time out before Christmas to paint terrain. Thanks babe! This doesn't solve wobbly model syndrome entirely, but it certainly helps and gives you a good looking piece of terrain that's also functional in the game. The craters are big enough to fit a full Tactical Squad and you can probably fit a few more models in there if you had to.

Below are some pics of the finished craters as well as a sneak peak at some of the desert terrain I've been working on. I'll have some pics of my desert terrain up in a future post as well as a sort fix I came up with for dealing with wobbly model syndrome.

Till then, have a Merry Christmas and may your dice always roll sixes.
–The Harrower

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