Thursday, February 11, 2010

[15mm Sci Fi Terrain] Desert Dome Huts

Post-apocalyptic adventurers encounter some scary looking neo-tribals. 

Last year, at Easter time, we ended up with a ton of plastic eggs. Left to their own, these eggs would not have made it to this Easter and so rather than see them scattered to the four winds to end up as sharp plastic shards in my foot, I collected them into the terrain bins for later use. A few months back, I started this project and have finally completed the first three test huts. I am sure they could be a lot dressier, but they looks good on the table.

The process is pretty simple. All you need are -

  • Plastic Easter egg halves of varying sizes.

  • Card for the bases

  • Spackle or other filler putty

  • Epoxy putty or modelling clay

  • Fine grit sand

  • Natural crushed rock or other similar material

First thing is to cut your card bases. This is pretty much done to taste, keeping the theme of your hut in mind when you do. For the most part, I kept the bases on the smaller huts pretty close to their outside diameter, leaving a little room around the edges fo detailing. This allowed them to be worked in around any terrain for the most part. The larger hut was given a good amount of room in front as I planned to create a more involved entry and room for a bit more detailing on the base.

The next thing I did was to cover the card bases in a bit of spackle, giving the base some surface contours and then stuck the easter egg halves into the putty, smoothing it up against the halves as best I could (could have done better). Set this aside and allow it to dry completely before continuing. As an alternative, you could maybe grit the putty at this time. I didn't but you could try it. After the spackle has dried, check to make sure the egg halves are fixed in place. If they are loose, then a little super glue should fix that.

Once everything was set up, I took a look at how the domes were sitting and decided where I wanted my entries to be. I picked the spots where there was the most room between the dome and the base's outer diameters. On the smaller huts, I used a simple ring of green stuff for the entry hole. For the larger hut, I formed a sort of igloo style entrance out of putty and smoothed it into the dome. The connection between the two dome on the larger structure was allso made by smoothing some green stuff between the two dome. If you have two stand-alone domes close to one another, you can spreads a little extra spackle in between them to give the appearance of accumulated sand or earth. Leave this all to dry.

I base coated everything in a black spray paint and while that was still wet, sprinkled the whole thing with fine grit sand. Don't worry about it looking too even, as differences in texture just make it loo more realistic. If you don't get enough sand to stick, brushing more paint here and there or a few more blasts from the rattle can will give it someplace to stick. Some super glue and the gravel does the rest.

I painted mine to look like they had been white washed and so used a very pale sandy color that was different from the ground cover. The colored on the doors is to represent tarps or blankets drawn over the entrances to keep the sand out. On fiture huts, I may use some foil to make it look a little more rippled. 

If these were not being done as desert huts, I could have gone with a more reddish earth color or even brown. I am keeping these pretty generic or else I could have added some baskets, pots, etc around the outside of the buildings. I also considered painting some symbols or pictograms on the outside of the huts and may go back and do so. With a few more techy bits and some doors, these could easily be more Tatooine-ish than tribal.




  1. Very nice job, Eli. I have some plastic eggs myself (I think they contained dragons which is why we got them - daughter is a dragon collector) and had been thinking, somewhat vaguely, along these lines. Now the Cokebottle Houses of Chaos are done, I need to finish the CD Tower Desert houses and then move on to the eggs!

  2. Wil lwe get to see pics of your bottle and CD tower houses?

    BTW, my daughter is also a dragon nut. Are those the dragon toys that come in pieces and are assembled?

  3. This links through to the menu page on my website - if I've done the HTML correctly - and there's articles and pics of various projects, plus my modeling log.

    My daughter tells me that the dragons in the eggs did require assembly and came from the $2 Shop. There were four types. I have kept three of two types as I had thought that, without wings, they'd make excellent Rankorr (? Jabba the Hutt's pet)

  4. Terrain! Nice post Eli. Speaking for myself, our group can sure use more terrain like yours. this really enhances the game just like having the right minis. By the way, what are the figures you used in the foreground? Nice sandcapes, web gear and guns.

  5. They are figs. I think they are from some long gone, vintage line, but they do stand up well. Here is a URL to the particular item.

    They also have figures in long robes/coats wearing breathers and such as well. A rather good line with the nice retro feel you want for a Gamma World or Mutant Future game.

  6. I checked the link, thanks! The figs really are suitable for a post-apoc or war scenario.

  7. neat idea! "Luke have you got my power converter"?

  8. Eli and Kobold:

    Both of these are really great. I use a different technique for my Martian desert stuff. Textured paint, then layers of alternating colors to get a mixed layer depth kind of thing.

    Kobold: I have used the dragon eggs for terrain. I made a Martian shirne with the larger half, which I like a lot.


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