Flat Scenery

I was struck with this idea a month or so back, and it’s been gnawing at my mind ever since.  I would’ve shared it sooner but I’ve been having camera issues.

Also, a shameless plug.  My book 14 was named the best sci-fi book of 2012 by Audible.com (although it was also in the top fifteen books for Goodreads Best of 2012 in the horror category).  So, for this week only, my publisher’s knocked the price of the Kindle/ Nook version down to $2.99.  That’s 80% off the paperback price.  Plus, you can get the Kindle and audiobook version together for under ten bucks and do the Whispersync thing.  That's pretty much the classic "deal you can't beat"...

Anyway... Enough shameless shilling.  Back to our regularly scheduled topic...

I’ve always been a big fan of scenery.  As much as I have fun with the game itself, I just think there’s something really appealing about a miniature city or landscape that’s been carefully set out.  I know I sometimes drive my friends nuts as I tweak scenery pieces before the game to make more complete buildings or visible roads and alleys.  Back in the day, I made a few buildings from foam core and cardstock, but no matter what I did they always seemed a little... well, flat.  No matter how many window sills or buttresses I added on, no matter how much textured paint I used, they never had the depth of detail of real buildings.  When Games Workshop came out with their own building sets, it just pushed the bar for built-with-card scenrey that much higher.

Where am I going with this?

If you’ve been following this page or any of the other Paperhammer sites out there, you’ve probably heard the term flats come up a lot over the past year or so.  It’s when people try to build figures from cardstock, and they do it with various degrees of complexity.  Some are just cut-out images, but a few folks try to do a nice job layering their models to give them some depth and thickness.

It occurred to me, though, that there’s a wonderful place where flat figures and scenery overlap.  Those same flats can be used to create bas-relief images on a 40K scale.  They make it ridiculously easy to create rich detail and texture on buildings.

For example...

This rectangle is 3 3/32” tall by 3 1/2” wide.  In terms of the Games Workshop building sets, it’s two panels long and one high.  That’s a nice decorative fresco on a building.  Double that and you can make a mural that could easily be the width of an entire wall.

Helpful Hint – When I cut these rectangles, I’m not including the last “beam” of the panel.  I’ll add one of the loose beams from the actual sets to give this a bit more detail and authenticity.

I used this 3 3/32” by 3 1/2” rectangle as a base.  I ran a 1/2” strip along the base, then doubled that to give it some depth.  I added a 1/4” strip along the bottom edge for some detail, and then did a matching one along the top.  Once these were in place I wrapped this whole thing in wax paper, double-checked all the placements, and then let it dry under a heavy book or three for about half an hour. I don't want this to bend or flex as the glue dries.

Then I cut three strips that were 1/2” by 3 1/2” each.  These went on the flipside of the panel to give it a little more thickness and stability.  They’ll also make for a degree of detail on the inside, since all of the GW stuff is double-sided.  Again, I wrapped them in wax paper and let them dry under a stack of books.  It’s very important that the base be as solid and flat as possible.

Now, if you go here there’s a nice, layered set of flats for pre-Heresy Terminators (I think it’s an Eli Patoroch template, put I’m not sure—it’s in Russian).  That’s a good subject for an Imperial mural.  I could say it’s a Space Marine of legend like Captain Orar or perhaps Konvak Lann (my new favorite 40K badass).  Add enough details and it could even be a Primarch, although personally I’d feel odd about representing a Primarch with such a small mural...

Alas, these templates are a little too detailed and are intended to stretch into three dimensions, so the arms are all side-view.  This means my mural-figure is going to be a bit splayed, but I’m okay with that in a symbolic image like this.  If you’d really prefer the edge-on elements, jump over here and you’ll find some "modern" Terminator flats that use a forward view of the arms.

Helpful Hint—I didn’t use all the detail pieces from this set.  I think if this cardstock mural goes more than three or four layers deep (not counting the base) it’s going to get a bit thick and unwieldy.  Plus there’s more chance the glue will warp things.  So I did a bit of pick-and-choose to get the elements I thought would work best in four layers.  There might be something you like that I didn't use, depending on how detailed you want your bas-relief.

While the base was drying I started cutting out the components.  I used a new blade so it would be as sharp as possible and tried to make the cuts as clean as I could.  Don’t worry about all the fine detail that’s drawn on.  This is a bas-relief, so all we’re really worried about is the outlines and the edges.

Helpful Hint—By doing just one pass on the tabard with my knife (not hard enough to cut through) I made indents for the leather straps.  Easy bit of detail.

And this is getting a bit long so I’ll finish it up in a couple of days.


Painted Stuff

I’ve been having some camera issues which have slowed down posting about my latest project.  But I have been working on stuff.  Honest.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share this quick shot of that Necron Cryptek I built a few months back.  I’m still going with Dagon of the Shadowed Matrix for a name.  Figured it’d give a nice sense how he turned out.  I got some basic colors on him – I’ve mentioned many times before that painting is not my strong point—so he could go up against Marc’s Tau. 

Which would’ve gone great if I hadn’t jumped the gun with said Cryptek and split my forces too soon...

Ah, well.  At least Marc took some good photos for the Atomic Warlords page.

Cool scenery project hopefully up by the end of this week, and then (getting back to basics here) I start work on a new paperhammer tank.