Five Parsecs – More Scratchbuilding

Probably the last of this series, at least for a bit, but here’s some more stuff I made a little while ago.

A bit of height is always good to add to the table, especially for 1:1 skirmish games. These are a couple of random industrial units I put together from some metal offcuts, mesh sheet, bottle caps, card and cork.

A new mobile phone is always something to be happy about – mostly because the boxes are very sturdy and great to create scratchbuilt buildings from…

Brigade Games resin Sci-fi doors provided a useful upgrade to the card I was otherwise relying on.

On the table:

Brigade Models’ Research Base buildings, like the 2 on the left, are nice pieces, and I decided to add a couple of scratchbuilt sort-of-copies using cork sanding blocks, more door bits, and strips of thin card to match the style.

Five Parsecs – Scratchbuilding

I do enjoy a bit of scratchbuilding so long as it’s not too challenging, and getting into Five Parsecs was a good opportunity to make a few bits and pieces. I tend to use simple materials like cork (tiles and those liberated from wine bottles), card and mdf and I don’t really do much careful planning or designing – I generally just start with an idea and get cutting and gluing.

Some work in progress. These are generic fuel/energy tanks or towers, made from wine corks, pre-cut MDF bases and ladders, and bits of card. I wanted them to basically look like big industrial batteries.

Small Shuttles – useful for all sorts of scenarios, or just as clutter/cover. These are made from thin card and are loosely based on an old resin model my mate has.

Cargo Haulers – More general scenery, good for spaceports, etc. These started from a thin piece of styrofoam, the rest is thin card as per the shuttles.

Raised Platform – varying heights work well and look good for skirmish games. This is simply a block of polystyrene clad in styrofoam that’s been rolled with an ‘industrial’ texture roller from Green Stuff World, with a cork top. This re-uses materials and textures (floor tiles and walls) from my existing Bug Hunt game.

Home-made decals. These are just knocked out in MS Excel using clipart and text boxes, and printed on normal paper. I use them for vehicles, buildings and plant/equipment. I find that using some repeat liveries can help game settings look a bit more consistent and realistic.

Finished effect:

There are a couple of bought models in the foreground but the rest is scratchbuilt. The light pylons are wooden string ends from window blinds and the hexagonal pipe/tunnel is the container from a poly dice set. The boards are 1 foot squares of marine ply with ready-mixed plaster spread on with a knife, and painted in grey tones.

I don’t use proper weathering techniques, everything is just drybrushed with a grey or sandy tone. Cork and cheap card have a nice roughness to them which makes this a simple process.

More scratchbuilding in the next post!

15mm Buildings for Dark Ages and Fantasy

I recently bought some resin models from ebay to add to the few I already had. This prompted a long overdue re-paint of the thatch on the older buildings, which were a bit bright and yellowy for my current taste. Some bases also needed a bit of work, so getting the new ones in

Scratchbuilt longhouse, from many moons ago

Next I want to add a watchtower and some wattle fencing. Hopefully soon…

Walls for homebrew 15mm Sci-fi bug hunt game

This game, a spin-off from my dungeon adventure game, was designed to be mostly 2 dimensional – by which I mean floor tiles for rooms and corridors, but with some vertical features such as doors and internal machinery.

Naturally, expansionist ideas got the better of me and I started picturing walls enclosing the spaces, to help develop the atmosphere and claustrophobic feel.

Not fancying the huge task of modelling the detail on 12 feet of 1 inch high walls, I was saved by the loan of a Green Stuff World roller, designed to press suitable generic sci-fi detail into soft material. It worked a treat on styrofoam.

After a false start, when I realised I didn’t have the means or talent to accurately and consistently cut perfect styrofoam strips, I decided to upgrade the design to include MDF frames. These would allow me to insert 2 pieces of indifferently cut 10mm rollered styrofoam. The frames would provide structure and allow everything to be lined up neatly in the game. I made a decent number each of 1, 2, 3 and 4 inch long sections, each 1 in deep and a total of 33mm tall when based on cork tile (matching the room tiles).

The timber yard: mdf components from Warbases ready for assembly
Assembly done. Looks like a model of a TV warehouse
Rollered sytofoam pieces cut to (approximate) size to fit into frames

Lots of gluing then ensued.

Then lots of undercoating everything black, with 2 coats. This was definitely the most tedious stage and nearly defeated me!

Finally, the quick bit always seems to be the actual painting. I stuck with the pallet I’d used for the existing features, grey, green and a bit of ‘warning’ yellow here and there. Finally a sandy dry-brush and picking out the rollered panel edges with a fine tipped maker pen.

After some months of start-stop effort, they’re finally done. There’s enough for a typical game, with half a dozen or so rooms and corridor sections. When lockdown ends, it’ll get a proper run out.

Some Sci-fi Basics

Always in the background, or perhaps on the back-burner, my very slowly developing 15mm Sci-fi collection gets a bit of attention from time to time. Until discovering the simple joys of using Dragon Rampant for platoon-sized skirmishes this ‘project’ was just drifting. It’s still drifting, but now with more purpose!

I’ve been meaning to make some hard-standing bases for a while and finally got around to it at the weekend. Took about an hour altogether. Easily repeatable, I intend to make some more soon. ‘Soon’ being a timeframe that’s subject to drift of course. They are made from 4mm cork sheet, painted and dry-brushed to a lightish grey. I cut out a quick card stencil and applied a simple pattern with roughly applied yellow paint.

These bases represent man-made or pre-fab surfaces laid down in normal/rural terrain as support for buildings, machinery, vehicle parking, etc. Short of making entire terrain tiles of it (which I still could I suppose) this seems to provide a decent look for military or research facilities in the types of games I play. I’m not aiming for urban settings or major structures, just low-key scenery for small missions and skirmishes.

Hard-standing pieces placed under buildings and other features. A couple of scratchbuilt card cargo pallets on the right too.
About as simple as you can get with a piece of painted cork sheet.

Ruins, Generously Donated

The very kind Count Belisarius sent me these plastic ruins that were surplus to requirements. They’re going to fit in very well with my 15mm Frostgrave setting.

They arrived as assembled kits, in shiny black plastic. I based them on cork tile and added some rubble and patches of plaster to blend them in with my existing scenery. I also covered over a couple of electrical cables, presumably they’re originally designed for W40K or similar.

They then received a matt black undercoat, followed by dark grey, light grey and white dry-brushes. This was very quick to do, so they’re all finished within 48 hours of arriving.

Thanks Andy! 🙂

Sarissa Outpost

This is a nice cheap kit from Sarissa Precision that a lot of people seem to have picked up. It can fit into a variety of settings and periods, and basically just looks good on the table.

Mine has been painted with my usual colour pallet, with sand added to the base to blend into my terrain boards. I did add some roughly-cut card strips to the roof to rough it up a bit, as the standard look was a bit too neat!

Quick to assemble, quick to paint. What’s not to like?


Blotz Mausoleum

This is another simple kit, with some nice detail. It didn’t take any time to assemble, but undercoating it black did – due to all the nice detail!

I left the roof pieces loose as it has an internal tomb feature that’s worth being able to see.

Although designed as a 28mm piece I think it also works fine for 15mm, so into the Frostgrave and general fantasy scenery pile it goes 🙂

Those jungle bases definitely have to happen next…

Blotz Minaret

This is an MDF kit I picked up at Partizan, which I decided would fit well into my Frostgrave scenery collection. Blotz offer the same model in 15mm, 20mm and 28mm. I went for the 20mm one as I thought it would make a more impressive piece for 15mm.

It was relatively easy to assemble, and the online instructions gave a useful tip about putting some weight in the bottom section for ballast. I loaded it with 2p pieces. I may base the model at some point to give it some steps up to the door and a bit more stability.

Some of the upper section needed painting before final assembly, which I realised just in time. It’s the sort of thing I usually spot just after I’ve applied the glue!

A couple of Battle Valor 15mm figures give it a decent sense of scale.