Flat Scenery, Pt. II

Hope you all had a happy holiday season, with a Glorious Ascension of Tzeentch and a very violent Mayan Doomsday.

So, last time I got my background panel all set and cut out all the individual terminator components.  Or all the ones I was going to use, at least.  Now let’s start putting the figure together and see how well this idea really works...

I glued the main part of the figure on, wrapped it in wax paper, and let it dry under a few books.  As I mentioned last time, it’s important that this whole thing stays flat.  Large swaths of glue like this can make it bend and warp.  So I wanted to take my time and make sure it stayed two-dimensional.

Once the main body was dry I added the chestplate piece, and then the gorget.  If you’ve cut these out carefully, it should be clear where each one goes, but I kept the original PDF open for reference.  After that was the tabard, and then the knees.

Helpful Hint – The tabard and the knees are a tight fit.  Make sure you do the tabard first and let it set before adding the knees on either side of it.  You don’t want to do the knees first and then find out they’re that 1/32” too close together...

Another Helpful Hint—Keep a hobby knife handy to make fine adjustments to these small pieces.  Fingers are big and clumsy compared to a knife tip, and they can also block your view.

As the terminator came together, I realized it might’ve looked a little nicer if I’d placed it on a small riser or platform.  Just something 2” wide by 1/4” high or so.  It would’ve filled the space a little better.  Something to keep in mind for the next time I try this.

The next bits to cut out were the arms.  Since I was doing this figure with its arms out, I only needed the inside piece.  Then I tried to figure out the best angle for them against the body so it didn’t look too “wide open.”  This didn't need to be exact, because the actual line where the arm and torso met would get hidden by the shoulder pads and their straps.

I wanted to emphasize the weapons just a bit, too.  I took another right arm (there’s three to a page, so there’s plenty) and cut out the body of the stormbolter.  I also very carefully lined up my 1/16” hole (LINK)  punch to make the front “vent” hole on the stormbolter barrel. Then I cut out the “knuckles” of another powerfist.  These were glued place and pressed flat. These are all very small touches, but they add a lot of implied detail because they draw the eye.

I glued the arms in place and pressed the whole thing under a stack of books.  As I’ve said before, it’s very important this stays flat.

The shoulder pads were the most challenging bit.  As I mentioned above, this template is pushing into three dimensions (about 2.5-D) so the shoulder pads are intended to wrap over the model.  I needed to make them two dimensional, but also make sure I don’t end up with any odd gaps between the layers of my mural. I cut them in two just past the center line on each side, so I ended up with a sliver of leftover material between them.  Then I gave the top pad (the one without the leather straps) a slight curve to it.  I tried to match up the curve of this under-pad with the curve of the arm’s shoulder section.

Helpful Hint—Just like I did with the (LINK) tabard, a light pass with my hobby knife helped the straps on the bottom shoulder pad-sections stand out.

Placement was a bit more challenging.  I used the image from the front of the template as a reference.  In the end, it didn’t look fantastic, but it didn’t look bad, either.  For a first attempt at this, it was pretty solid.

Another Helpful Hint – I ended up with some gaps between the layers, where one shoulder pad extended out past the other, or past the arm element.  I toyed with the idea of cutting slivers of card to fill these gaps, but realized it was easier and quicker to use glue.  Just put a small drop next to the gap and use the edge of your hobby knife as a spatula/ putty knife.

I cut a strip of card 1/4” wide and cut it into small rectangles.  I wanted these details to be a bit thinner, so I used card from an aspirin bottle.  I spaced these out along the top and bottom row of the panel for a touch more detail.  I also made up a few purity seals to fill some of the empty space alongside the terminator.  I wanted to make them look like part of the mural, though, so I used the thin card for the ribbon to make them look a bit more solid.  Doing them the regular way would work fine, too.  It would just look like dozens of chaplains, priests, and other devotees had left offerings or signs of respect over the years.

As a final touch, I went over the whole thing and added some rivets I made with my 1/16” hole punch.  Not a lot, because I want to keep the “sculpted” look, but enough to keep the architectural aspect of it clear.

And there you have it.  For just over an hour’s worth of actual work (minus drying time) I’ve got a nice bonus element for my scenery.  The best part is, it works whether I’m using Games Workshop’s models or if I’m building my own scenery from card.  If—more likely when—I try this again, I’ll probably make a point of cutting out the eyes on the helmet.  The image is kind of lacking a focal point, and I think having a pair of eyes would fix that.

You could also do much simpler things with this method.  A big Imperial eagle would be believable above the doors or balconies of any building.  With a little work you could trace out a cog that would look good on the side of any manufactorum.  It wouldn’t even take much work to put a skull inside it.

Or, on the flipside, you could download Guardsmen or Chaos Marines and take this mural idea to the extreme.  Chronicle the many heroic deeds of Marneus Calgar.  Show the brave men of the Imperial Guard at war.  See the classic battle of the Emperor vs. Horus.

If you’ve got the cash for some thin plastic, this might be a nice project for the sole reason that you could file some of the edges.  If they had a bit of a curve they’d look even more like they’d been carved out of the wall.  But honestly, the cardstock looks fantastic and it costs pennies.

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