Back when I was finishing up the Baneblade, I was struck with a sudden inspiration. These cylinders I keep making for weapons and engines and pivots... what else could they be used for? Was there a way they could be even bigger? I was making the pivot for the Baneblade’s main turret and it struck me that if I cut the edges of the “flower” on the other side, they would all fold in and make a point. But what could I do with that? Large spikes? Missiles? Towers?
And then I remembered a datasheet that GW put out a while back...
First, I needed to build the floating “plateau” the towers stand on. Foamcore’s nice and cheap for this sort of thing. If you look around, you may even find people throwing out sheets of it. The stuff I used had been cue cards and signs. Even if you have to buy it, one three or four dollar pack will give you more than enough.
I measured out a rough square about 10” x 10”. Then I measured two more shapes at about 10” x 9”, and another one around 9”x9” or so. Any time I ended up with scrap pieces I’d cut those into squares, too. Or as close to square as I could get. This worked down until I had a pretty good sized pile.
Helpful Hint - I did all these by eye, just using the ruler to get quick measurements. I knew I was going to be cutting and chipping this to make them rough and uneven, so there wasn’t much point in being precise and straight to start with. It was also a lot faster.
I went over each square and cut down corners and edges. I glued the 10”x9” shapes on either side of the 10”x10” one and set them under a book to dry. I wasn’t that concerned about them lining up or being straight. My only concern was that the smaller ones were within the edges of the larger one..
Once this piece was done I set it down and started using all the other shapes to build up one side. I ended up rounding them even more and split it into two small towers. One big one would work, too. Whatever appeals to your personal “flying island aesthetic” will work.
Helpful Hint - You can mix some cardstock in there, too, if you want. It would give even more variety to the layers. You could also use tissues soaked in white glue to coat everything and make smoother rocks. I kind of like the layered look, though. It’s as if some sorcerer ripped the whole complex out of the ground and we’re seeing the strata of stone.
I coated this whole thing with black paint and glue. The goal is to make sure there’s no exposed styrofoam anywhere. As the GW scenic guys have pointed out many times, spraypaint and styrofoam do not mix (the aeresol eats away at the foam). So I took my time, made sure the edges were covered, and let it dry.
Once that was done, I took this piece outside and flipped it over, so it’s resting upside down (on the side the towers will attach to). Now I hit the whole thing with some textured spray paint. I happen to have two cans of this stuff left over from a job I did. It’s a little pricey, so you might not want to buy it just for this. You can get the same effect by buying a bottle of white glue, painting the underside, and then just dumping some coarse sand on it—it’ll just take a while longer. You could even leave it as is, basecoat it black, and just drybrush it with a lot of different grays. The goal is to make it rock-like, so again that’s whatever your personal preference is.
Helpful Hint – You can also use all these steps just to make a nice hill for your game table. If you decide to, though, I’d measure out the open spaces and make sure you’re leaving areas large enough for two or three models (or one large one).
Okay, next bit’s a little tricky. I needed to find the balance point of this little flying plateau I’d built. I flipped the piece over so it was flat-side down and put it on my hands with both fingers out. The object is to get as much of it on my two fingers as possible.
Then, very slowly, I slid my fingers together. Through the wonders of science—namely physics—the plateau moves and shifts so my fingers end up at the balance point. I marked that point and then did this a few more times from different angles. It’s not going to be exact, but it’ll be pretty close. Close enough for what I’m doing.
Last but not least... some power tools work. I used my DeWalt and very carefully put a hole through the center mark of the plateau. I took my time with this and also used a square to get the hole as close to perpendicular as possible.
This Is Important-- Power tools are no joke, and I’ve seen a lot of people get hurt by them. Yeah, everyone says that but I mean it. I have seen lots of gouged thumbs. On the off chance you’re under twelve and you want to try this—or even if you’re an adult who’s never used power tools before (it’s okay, there are a lot)—ask someone for help. Dad, Mom, your older brother or sister, a friend, somebody who knows how to use the tools correctly.
At which point I need to stop and go apply my paper skills to wrapping presents. But I’ve got the week off so expect the next update in a couple days.
Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays to the six or seven of you who read this. Hope you've got all your shopping done.