Still, you can't have just buildings. Real cities have parks, plazas, monuments--all that stuff that looks great with little . And I wanted a few statues that could work as scenery or objectives. So I started digging through my jars of bitz.
(Yeah, I keep all my bitz in washed-out peanut butter jars. Space Marines here, Chaos here, and so on. Takes up a lot less space than leaving them on the sprue.)
One of the first things I came across was a really old Sanguinus model I'd discovered a while back at my local store's bitz bins. I'm not a Blood Angels player, and my friend Matt (who is) already had the newer version. So I had the centerpiece. I decided to use a few of the really old snap-together Space Marines, too, and make a large victory memorial.
Helpful Hint--One of the best ways to make cheap, oversized bases is just to glue three CDs together. Most of us probably have a few dozen AOL discs kicking around, discs that didn't burn right for some reason, other things like that. Even if you don't, look at the check out aisles of your local departments store. They've usually got a few free discs hanging there waiting for someone to take them. Three discs glued together is almost the precise thickness as your standard 40K model base. They're great for small scenery bits like statues, rubble, or large clusters of plants.
For the statue pedestals I used square bases from Warhammer Fantasy. I've got a bunch from making plague zombies for the Death Guard, and some more from Chaos Daemons. If your own local store does some sort of bitz bins/ exchange program, you can probably get a bunch cheap. I used little strips of plasticard to make tabs on the bases so I could assemble them into cubes, then decorate them with smaller bases.
The statues themselves got a few nicks and bullet holes to add to the weathering. One of the three Marines I had was the old missile launcher model, so to make him match I cut away his viewfinder and scarred up his chest. Now he looked like a half-smashed version of one of the others, and some rubble at his feet (cut up sprue) completed the image. I didn't even have a fourth Marine, but a large pile of sprue-rubble and some "damage" to the pedestal worked fine.
At this point I hit the whole thing with some textured spray paint I had left over from my prop kit. It's a bit pricy (eight on nine bucks a can) but you can get a lot of life out of one if you're careful with it. All you ever need is a single light coat. Whenever you're done, flip the can upside down and spray for a few seconds to clean the nozzle out.
Helpful Hint-- To keep the statues themselves clean, I just made little covers out of paper. Take a piece of paper about twice as high as a Space Marine, fold it over, and tape the sides. Now cover the figure with it. The base and pedestel gets textured but the models don't.
Once the texture was dry I primed the whole thing with gray spraypaint. The bargain-basement stuff from Osh. Then I took my large drybrush and went over the whole thing with shadow gray, fortress gray, and a very light dusting of skull white on the Sanguinus model to make sure he stayed the center of attention.
Voila. Total cost, with bits, sprue, extra bases, old CDs, and one old metal model from the bitz bin... about two and a half bucks. That's factoring in the paint, too.
I'm currently working on something similar and of a more Chaotic vein, loosely inspired by the tales of the Relictors during the 3rd War for Armageddon. It uses an Epic-scale model of Angron (also cheap from the bins) on a tall plinth made fantasy bases, another three-CD base. Currently it's waiting while I gather more and more skulls. I'll toss up some pictures of that once it's closer to done.