Very sorry for the long delay. As mentioned before I had copyedits. And then I was a guest at New York Comic Con. And then I came home to a week’s worth of emails and messages and it turned out my publisher already had layouts done. And all of that finally got squared away... well, yesterday.
Some of you may remember this little tent template from about fifteen years back. Games Workshop actually just gave it away on their website at one point, no strings attached. I went looking for it but couldn’t find it anywhere there.
(For the record, it should be up in the STC archives shortly after I post this)
This template was originally designed for the Kroot. There’s a large one and a small one, but they don’t look that different side by side. I think it might be a 1/2” difference, tops. Even on this scale, that’s not much.
The template’s pretty solid and can be built as-is with no problem. I put together five tents (two large, three small) in about two hours. That’s printing them out, gluing them to some old frozen pizza and cereal boxes, cutting them out, and assembling them.
It’s goes together very easily, too. My only suggestion might be to make the tab on the tent body a bit wider. I scored the corners, pre-folded, and then clamped the tab with a few clothespins. I let those each tent body sit for about ten minutes as I assembly-lined through them.
I glued the entryway and the front panel together as a separate piece. I tried this template back when it came out and this is where I had trouble with it. I decided to assemble this first, then attach it. The tabs fit in the slots, then I folded them over and glued them for extra stability. Again these sat for about ten minutes each with a clothespin holding them together.
Once they were dry, I glued the flaps of the front panel, set the tent body over it, and wiggled it until everything was in the right place. This helped me make sure that entrance sat flat on the ground and didn’t end up “floating.” Again, maybe ten minutes for the glue to dry. I didn’t glue them on to bases, but really any irregular piece of foamcore or cardstock would work.
Helpful Hint—If you want to do a cardstock base, stack two or three layers on top of each other, glue it, and let it dry under a stack of books for at least half an hour—preferably longer. Wrap it in wax paper, too, in case glue squeezes out onto the books. This will give you a heavier and much more solid base that won’t bend or flex when things dry on it.
Here’s a large and small tent side by side. As I said, not much difference in size. That’s a pretty solid little Kroot camp, though, and three or four can cover a good-sized space on the gaming table as an obstacle, objective, or whatever you want to use them for. With the assembly line and drying time, I ended up building four tents in just over an hour.
Now... let’s look at some options and variations.
I wanted to make the tents look a little more unique and handmade, and I remembered something from way back when the Ogre line was first released for Fantasy. There was a great article in White Dwarf (remember those days?) about how to scratch-build oversized yurt-like huts for an Ogre village. And there was a great detail idea in there...
Get a paper towel or some textured paper. Or get some better cotton paper (dollar store envelopes work great), crumple it up, smooth it out, and repeat until the paper has some fine texture to it. Then trace out some simple “pelt” shapes on the material. They don’t need to be exact, but I try to average most of them closer to 1” long. I glued these around the tent at a few places to help hide seams and add to the “primitive” feel of the whole tent. The texture contrasts the smooth cardstock and will look like fur or hide when it gets painted (in an appropriate color).
Helpful Hint—When you’re gluing the pelts in place, don’t put the glue on the pelt or the tent. Put it on your finger and wipe it on the tent that way. This will keep it from getting too thick and wet and soaking/flattening your material.
Helpful Hint II – do not do what I did. Some of you may have already noticed the material in the above picture is actually toilet paper, not paper towels. My paper towels had a very distinct linear pattern to their texture, so I decided to use a few squares of toilet paper. Problem is, toilet paper’s made to dissolve once it absorbs... well, not much moisture. So once my pelts touched the glue they turned into... well, mush. I managed to salvage them, but it ended up taking me almost twenty minutes per pelt.
Save yourself a headache. Do what I say, not what I do.
On a more positive note... I didn’t do it, but it’d also be easy to cut a small opening off the top of the tent and put some round toothpicks up there as tent poles. Just flip the tent over and glue the toothpicks into the interior creases. It’s a tiny detail, but it’ll look really cool and makes the tents look even more handmade.
The Imperial Guard... sorry, Astra Militarium... use tents, naturally. I’d just build the template as-is so they look more mass-produced and use a color scheme that works for your army or whatever scenery you use often. Jungle tents, desert tents, arctic tents, or just a flat-looking canvas. With such a big expanse of flat surfaces, it’s an easy place to practice your camo painting, too.
Once that’s done, there are so many decals available to make this look Guard-issue. A large aquilla or a few stencils pretty much sell it. You could make a larger scenery piece by putting two or three of these in a row as if they were in-the-field barracks. Or base them individually and just set them up that way.
They could also work for traitor Guard, naturally, but you’d want different symbols on the tents. And maybe lean even more toward the primitive. Perhaps a blood splatter or three. And there are tons of skulls and ruinous symbols on the Chaos Marine decal sheet.
What about the Tau? It makes sense that Fire Warriors would have temporary housing of some kind for exploration missions, but I’m sure the Earth caste wouldn’t send them out with something as flimsy as fabric and poles. So what about using this template as a sort of pre-fabricated, lightly armored outpost?
It actually wasn’t hard to do this. The two different sizes of tent are identical except for the scale. I printed up one of each size and built the large one as is. While that was drying, I cut up the small tent into its individual panels. I mostly wanted the sides of the tent body and the top two panels from the entranceway.
Each component was centered on the corresponding panel of the larger tent (remember, it’s the same template) and glued in place. Once they were all attached, it gave the whole thing kind of an “armored” look that made it feel more assembled. Giving it a bright color scheme will make it look more like hard plastic than fabric. And, again, a few spare decals will look fantastic.
Last but not least, if you’re a Fantasy/ Age of Sigmar player, I’d imagine a tent like this would work for a bunch of armies. Brettonians peasants and Empire troops would definitely be sleeping in simple tents, if they had anything. So would Chaos Marauders. Even Orcs could manage something simple like this. So they’re a quick set piece for lots of armies.
Tents. Fast, cheap scenery for almost any setting, almost any army.