Thursday, April 27, 2017

WIP: Scorpions in the Grass

Actually that's a Scimitar CVR.

Two separate projects that are both halfway done. I've completed the assembly of a pair each of Scorpion and Scimitar tanks for my Recce troop. I've also been prepping some tall grasses to add to my rough terrain bases. So I decided to combine the two posts.

First up the tanks. These are the Flames of War box set for Team Yankee and they're very nice kits. Since these are reconnaissance vehicles I wanted to model the camo tarps and foliage that they always seem to be covered in as in the picture below.

I put them together as standard and used some 1mm x 5mm rare earth magnets to magnetize the turrets. The kits are designed especially for this so it was really easy. I really wasn't sure where all the stowage should go on them. I couldn't find any reference pictures showing much of any stowage at all on the vehicles. So in the end I kept it fairly minimal.

The magntized turrets. I haven't glued the tracks on to make them easier to paint.

After reading some tutorials both on the Team Yankee website and scale armor modelling pages I formulated my plan. First step was to use some gauze soaked in glue for the base of the tarp. Once dry I glued a mix of marjoram and used tea leaves onto it. The marjoram was a little out of scale and probably would have worked better on a 28mm vehicle. I touched up parts with just tea leaves again (Earl Grey if you want to be specific.) Next up for these will be painting. I'm hoping to break out my airbrush for this so I'm going to have to wait for a day I can take them outside to work on them.

I've tried several different ways to make tall grasses before. While I've used deer hair and other fibers ( usually only on dioramas or miniatures bases) I generally use sisal twine. Previously I've made it with clumps of twine and while it's quite durable and looks OK I wanted to try to up the realism.
I already had some pieces of sisal that had been glued into clumps for a long abandoned previous project.

Some tall grass growing near my work. 

Actually the taller grass is probably some feral decorative grass. The shorterish grass is what I ended up seeing all over in overgrown fields. 
I cut up the clumps into much smaller ones usually just a handful of strands. This helped to solve the problem of the twine clumps tending to be twisted together. Next they all got a wash of thin brown ink.

A progression of the steps I took left to right

Next they were roughly dry-brushed with a bleached yellow color. It might seem like extra work to repaint the grasses back to pretty much the natural color of sisal fibers but I've always fond that using natural materials right next to painted ones makes them stand out. The final step was painting glue on the top parts of each grass clump and dipping them in some yellow turf to give the look of the seeds at the end of the grasses.

I just wedged some of my clumps in amongst the rocks to see how they look.
I made several different heights of grasses and stored them away to add to the rough terrain pieces. I'm planning on gluing them together in mixed clumps once I have everything else I need ready.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Rough Ground Ahead Part 1

These pieces are my first experiments with making a set of modular, flexible terrain pieces. The idea is to have terrain bases with magnets embedded in them. These bases are kept relatively simple and can be used as areas of rough terrain or just to visually break things up on the board.

Bases laid out with the most important bit: the magnet template on the left to keep the polarities correct. 

The bases caulked and textured.

Separately I'm making smaller pieces again with embedded magnets that can be put on top of these bases. These pieces will have more specific terrain pieces such as trees, rocks, brush etc. Combining the two will let me have woods, rocky areas, brush or whatever. The smaller pieces could also be used by themselves alongside the bigger ones.

Smaller bases. I should have actually made them slightly smaller in hindsight. 
In order to try to get things vaguely standardized I'm using a 40mm base as a guide for how big the removable parts should be. So I marked out the "holes" where the removable parts would go and tried to keep them clear of any bigger material.

I'm also experimenting with using cork bark for my rocks. Normally I like to carve rocks out of styrofoam but having seen people use cork to good effect I thought I'd give it a try. It's a little harder to get free standing rock formations to look the way I want but I figure the inherent texture will make them much easier to look like sedimentary stone.

I forgot to take a picture before I primed everything. Recce troop under construction in the back. 

Painting was pretty straight forward to keep with the style of the rest of terrain and most importantly the mat.

The bases

And the smaller toppers.

In the second part I'll add all of the flock and vegetation that will really bring the pieces together. I'm still collecting everything I want to use for this stage. The plan is to take my flocking up a step from what I normally do and add a bit more character to the pieces.

A sample of how they could be put together with Merlin hanging out.

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