Okay, even in the grim cheapness of the future, this week’s project is ridiculously dirt cheap. I’m almost embarassed by it.
I save plastic jars to use for bitz. Six or seven years back--when White Dwarf actually printed mostly fun, useful articles and not just press releases for new products--one of the GW guys mentioned storing his super-small bitz in spice jars, which meant they not only took up a lot less room, but his Guardsmen had a wonderful cinnamon smell. With all the piles of sprues I had, it struck me I could do the same thing with whole armies. Wham--90% of my Space Marine bitz end up in a cleaned out peanut butter jar, vehicle bitz in another. Same thing with the Guard. And Chaos, Orks, Tyranids, Necrons... Suddenly my shelves were a whole lot cleaner. Plus it lets me eyeball stuff a lot faster, too.
What does this have to due with a dirt cheap fuel depot?
Well, I had a peanut butter jar in the sink a few weeks back that I'd forgotten about. The lovely lady and I were making dinner and I strained a bunch of noodles. Boiling water filled up the jar in the sink and washed all over it. I watched it melt and deform. The bottom shrunk, the sides bubbled...it was useless.
I went to toss this mutant jar in the trash bin and absently screwed the lid back on. Wait, what? Much to my surprise, the lid still fit fine, even though the bottom was way too deformed for it to stand up. I mused on this for a bit, flipped it over, and stood it on its lid.
Wham again! It was a beat-up fuel tank. And who would keep such an old thing? Why, the Orks of course. Suddenly I had a scenery piece/ objective.
Helpful Hint--I've mentioned this once or thrice before. One of the best ways to make cheap, oversized bases is just to superglue three old CDs together. Old AOL discs or game demos, drivers for hardware you dumped years ago, backup discs that didn't burn right for some reason, whatever. Three discs glued together is almost the precise thickness as your standard 40K model base. Make sure you hit your “project side” with sandpaper, too, so the glue will have a coarse surface to grab.
Once the base dried, I just superglued the jar lid onto it. It’s worth noting that the lid is bit off-center, so there’ll be room on the base for a few models to be placed on it.
Once the lid was solid I put some superglue on the threads and screwed the “tank” onto it. It was tempting to leave this part unglued so I could hide objective markers, models, etc., inside the tank. Thing is, I know all that would really do is lead to chipped paint and messed-up scenery. So it’s going to be a solid piece.
A fuel tank is no good with no way to get the fuel out, so I decided to make a little pumping station where trukks, battlewagons, and maybe killa kans could get topped off (poor little grots--the crew compartment and fuel tank are one and the same). The pump is just a little card box with some details on it. It’s 1 1/4” x 1” x 3/4”. The buttons are made with the 1/8” hole punch. The sign is a Warhammer Fantasy orc shield with a skeleton crest. A few rivets from the 1/16” punch accented the details.
Helpful Hint--Here’s the best method I’ve found to attach these little card rivets. Put a dot of white glue down where you want them. If you end up with a blob that’s too big (larger than the pip on a die, say) use a hobby knife to scrape a bit away. Now, use the tip of the knife to spear a rivet and press it down on the glue. The excess will swell up, yes, but ignore it for a minute. Make sure the rivet’s solid on the surface you’re gluing it to. Put on all your rivets (I usually do ten or twelve at a time), then go back over them and just give each one a quick, gentle press with your fingertip. The momentary pressure will help the glue cover the edges of the rivet (more durability) and the excess will come away on your fingertip. Wipe it on the back of your other hand and repeat until this batch is done.
I glued the pump off to the side next to the tank, still leaving a lot of open space for other models. Then I painted some superglue onto the base with a wide toothpick and covered the whole thing with coarse sand. Not modeling sand or anything clever like that. Just some gritty sand I found outside. There were a few small stones in it, too, which just add to the texture.
The pump’s hose is a short length of wire from a broken set of iPod headphones. The “patch” on the hose is made from dental floss. Just wrap it and tie it tight. The nozzle is a bit of plastic sprue with one of the circular bits drilled out.
Now, here’s a last clever bit. I took four disks from a 1/4” hole punch and used the 1/16” punch to knock a hole in the center of them. The four of them stacked on top of each other and the iPod wire fit right through the middle. This little anchor glued to the pump. Then I glued the nozzle in place with a big blob of superglue to create a puddle. If the Orks are going to have a fuel depot, you know it’s going to be a fire hazard.
And that was pretty much it. It was ready to prime.
The tank and pump both got a lot of Tin Bitz and Boltgun Metal. I freehanded a big Deathskulls logo one side with pencil and filled it in with Enchanted Blue. On the other side, where the jar was still a bit rough where the label had been, I painted it to look like a big patch of rust. The puddle got a few coats of Chestnut Ink.
Total cost (not counting paint, glue, or peanut butter)... zero.
Also, I’ve tossed up a link in the sidebar there for the featured anthology of the month. They’re not Black Library compilations, just other collections of fun stories from other sources. And, yes, I shamelessly admit I’ve got stories in some of them. This month’s is Cthulhu Unbound 2, which is a bunch of genre-twisting stories involving the Lovecraft mythos. If you’ve got a couple bucks to spare, check it out and maybe get some inspiration for the grim darkness of the future.