Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Terrain Piece: Tank Trap Barricades
Today I want to share how I made a lot of easy and decent-looking tank obstacles, using fairly cheap and widely-available items.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED: (Costs are approximate)
(Pictured) Ice Cube Tray: I found a nice one made for RVs that had a more square shape to the cubes rather than the elongated rectangles used in most trays. Cost: 1.50 USD for 2 trays.
Foamcore Board: This will be used as the base. You can use a different material if you desire, but I use it because it is cheap and looks good. Cost: 3.00 USD per 2'x2' section.
Low Temp Hot Glue Gun: Used to adhere the finished cubes to the board. Cost: 5 USD (including glue sticks)
Plaster: I used plaster of paris made for modeling and sculptors. Cost: 4.00 USD for a bunch, plenty left over.
Potting Soil: Some of you may know this as my preferred medium for basing, making an organic texture when applied liberally with glue and paint. Cost: Free, if your significant other or your mom has potted plants!
Cheap Craft Paints: Black and white as a minimum. You really don't want to use up your expensive paints on a terrain piece. If you have it on hand, gray is useful so you don't have to mix your own. That helps keep consistency between pieces. Cost: 2.50 USD per color for a 8 oz container.
PVA Glue (AKA Elmer's): Buy the off-brand if you can, such as Rose-Art, because you are going to use a lot of it. Cost: .5 USD per 4 oz container.
When mixing the plaster, use the directions on the back. Pour the mixture into the ice cube tray, making sure to fill each cube as equally as possible. I found it useful to use a scraper to scrape off the excess. Scrape the excess onto a piece of newspaper or a paper plate and we can use that later. Once your tray is filled, tap it a few times to let all the air out. After about an hour or two, they should be ready to be popped out of the tray. They need to be popped out to dry properly. Let them harden overnight.
Cut out the foamcore bases. You will need either a sharp knife, or you will need to peel the paper backing off and use a hot-wire foam cutter. Make them big enough to accommodate at least 3 cubes with gaps in between. That is all you can do for one day, you'll have to wait for the cubes to be totally dry.
Mix your potting soil with a copious amount of PVA glue and black craft paint. Just make sure you use more glue than paint. Plug in your low-temp glue gun to get it warming up. Be careful! It does get hot, and it is likely to drip hot glue if you leave it alone too long. Make sure nothing flammable is around it. Our paper plate / newspaper with the excess should be dry now, so take that large piece and smash it up, mixing the pieces into your goop.
Glue the cubes to the bases, using the hot glue gun, being sure to leave gaps in between. By the time you are finished with the last one, the one you did first should be cool enough. (Pictured) Use your old brush to glop mixture onto the piece, starting with the gaps. Use the brush to coat the entire piece, but leave the most debris in the gaps between the tank traps. This step will take another night to harden overnight.
You should have something similar to the 3rd picture above. Now you can come back with a gray, and dry-brush it over the whole piece. Pay special attention to the tank traps themselves. For the final dry-brush, use a very light gray or a white. Finish up with a sealant of your choice, I still use Modge-Podge matte that is slightly watered-down. You're done! See the finished product in the 4th picture above.
This should at least stimulate some ideas about making tank traps. It may not exactly be fast, but it is easy, in my opinion. You should get 7 or 8 barricades, depending on the cubes that your tray produces. What are some of the ways you guys make tank trap barricades?
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