Sunday, February 7, 2010

[15mm Sci Fi Terrain] Storage Building - Construction

A while back I picked up a bunch of AT-43 TacArms minis to use as Combat Walkers for my 15mm minis. The figures worked nicely but I was struck by the packaging. The thin plastic inserts that kept them in place had this interesting industrial character about them and the more I looked at them, the more I realized they looked like slabbed porefab concrete structures. So I set about making some buildings out of them.

The first step was to reinforce the flimsy plastic material. It was too bendy on it's own, so I decided to try and fill some of the interior space with another material. My first attempts were done using calking, but the materials was too heavy and ran, settling at the the bottom of the piece once I had flipped them over and glued them to a piece of foam core - the only basing material I had at the time. Later attempts used expanding foam insulation of the medium espansion sort. This worked alright. It was lighter and stayed in place. In the future I think I'll use the low expansion stuff for this task as I ended up having to cut some of it down so it wouldn't bow the flexible plastic outward.

As I mentioned, I based the filled structures on foam core, though thinner hard board or MDF would have likely worked as well, if not better. With the foam core, I'll have to tape the edges and grit them to make it look like accumulated earth so they don't look so far off the "ground" in 15mm. This was a little tricky because, even filled, the flastic was stil flexible around the edges. To counter this I ran a bead of craft glue around the edge. Once dry, this kept the plastic from flexing so much. I did have to occasionally asjust parts that bowed during the later work, but this was easy to do with either a hobby knife or even better one of my wife's smaller crochet hooks.

The next part of the process was to either fill or cover the the odd-shaped holes that had originally held the minis in place. I didn't have any good filling materials so I went with covering it. This was a pain in the but and in the future, I'm going to use lightweight plaster or something. There were two problems with what was to be the rooftop space of the building. 1) the depression on the top of the packing materials is too deep for 15mm figs to see over, making the terrain limited as urban combat terrain. 2) the outer diameter does not connect to the "roof" at a 90 degree angle. I ended up with gaps that would need filling later, but I figured I could do that during the detailing stage. I cut some resctangles of thin cork board, rounded the corners and fit it to the space as best I could.

Once the basic structure was complete, I set to adding details but more on that in a future post...

Until then, enjoy!



  1. I've kept 99% of my AT-43 trays and 75+% of the boxes for storage, but I think your idea is grand. :D

    I occasionally go through modelling terrain firs, but then it all falls apart or some such.
    --It is very nice to see your (and your wife's) work on this blog.

    Keep it up! :D

  2. I am still in the process of building this storage building. LEt's hope the final product doesn't leavem e flat on my face.

    Part two will post tomorrow, BTW, you can see it starting to come together.

  3. Nice idea Eli :)

    Keep us informed on your progress.


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