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Robert’s Terrain and Gaming Accessories

Robert’s Terrain and Gaming Accessories

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Project Blog by robert

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About the Project

A generic terrain blog keeping tabs on my general descent into terrain madness. I love to experiment and try new ideas. There are so many other hobbies and crafts out there that we can learn from, and I might even make something cool. Expect the unexpected and if it doesn't work, well at least we tried. Oh, this Project might also include some gaming accessories that I make from time to time.

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Sunday Update

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Skill 3
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Terrain has taken a bit of a back seat as I have actually been painting models (I’m as shocked as you).

I’ve made a little progress on my fantasy tree thing.  The base is ready for some rocks and static grass.  I need to find my soldering iron to make a static grass applicator and I have bought bits to build it with but I can’t find them.  Fairly typical of me to be honest.

Anyway a picture.

Sunday Update

I’ve also started to knit a Dark Angels dice bag.  The colours are slightly off but these were the best match I could find in the shop – never thought I would have been shopping for wool 6 months ago.  Progress is slow as the red is done in rib and I have never knit that stitch before.

 

Sunday Update

Finally after I knit my Camo dice bag, I started to make a bag in the Green Bay Packers colours.  The wool came from spares and left overs that my sister gave me and there was a small ball of green and yellow.  It isn’t actually wool either, none of my knitting has been done in wool it is all be acrylic, but this “yarn” was cotton.

After knitting the bag, I made an yellow cord in a french knitter (I call mine Myrtle and I will show her later in the week when I finish something else). Then today I finally got round to sowing the cord onto the bag to try and put a simple logo on it.  When I thought of this idea, it looked far better in my head than it now does in real life, but I have learned a few things along the way so it is not a wasted effort.

Anyway enough of my slabbering, and some pictures.

It isn’t finished as I need to tidy up the inside and sow up the sides.  I completely finished the ball of green cotton, so will have to wait until I finish the Dark Angels bag as it is the only colour I have that when I sow the green bits of the bag up, it won’t look obvious and stupid!  Yes, I could also use it as a dish cloth!

If you are wondering, the GS stands for Green Sea Snackers, which is the name of my Bloodbowl Halfling team… if I ever paint them!

A Little Work in Progress.

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Even More Mushroom Madness

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So I have been working on my giant mushrooms, mostly sanding them to get them a bit smoother.  I think the more rounded of the two is ready for some paint.  Below is a picture of it with a Warlord WW2 German to give you a better idea about the size of it.

Even More Mushroom Madness

I need to do more sanding on the other mushroom especially around the bottom of the head.  I also broke the curly bit off when I was sanding it and have used green stuff, and superglue to fix it back up.  The stem is done and I added some detail underneath as well.  Overall I am fairly happy how these are turning out.

Even More Mushroom Madness

More Mushroom Madness

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Another mushroom but with a slightly different shape.  Same technique as before.  Got some detail on the other one as well.

Another Mushroom

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Another mushroom made from a plastic pot, foil and some DAS.

Casting with a Hot Glue Gun

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Sometimes it isn’t worth mixing up a batch of resin to cast something.  Instead you can use your trusty Hot Glue Gun (HGG).  It can be quite difficult to get a perfect cast as the glue is quite thick (a bit like me) but it is fairly quick and easy if you just need one or two pieces in a hurry.

Silicon moulds are something I have begun to collect.  I have a range of different ones from one from Greenstuff World, ice cube trays  and ones I picked up in the poundshop that were intended for cake decorating.

Below is a mould from Greenstuff World for tires and wheels and an Ice Cube Tray I bought from Lidl today for £1.99.

Basically all you have to do is squeeze the glue into the mould.  I find you sometimes have to put the HGG into the mould to get into nooks and crannies, and I sometimes will squeeze the bottom of the mould to eliminate any air from the bottom.

 

Casting with a Hot Glue Gun

Tip, allow the glue to set fully.  On my ice cube tray, which is meant to produce spheres, I took it out too soon and it wasn’t set hard so it didn’t come out correctly.  I’ll try again.

The wheels turned out quite well and I’d be happy to put them on a piece of terrain (I’m thinking barricade).  Other things I have cast this way is some diamond/crystal things and a shell thing.  The shell thing has been primed with Iraqi Sand from Vallejo and given a wash.  The detail is not perfect but it will be perfectly adequate for the base of an alien tree.

More Mushrooms Type Things...

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This evening I got another “mushroom” stem made.  I also thought I would bore you with how I did it.

The first thing I did was get two toilet roll tubes, stick one inside the other and fold them in half.  I then hot glued the none folded edge together to give it a bit more strength and stability.  You don’t want to flatten the tubes too much, I only do the folding to give the tubes more strength.

Next I take the tin foil hat off my head and use it to wrap around the tube and make a base for the bottom of the stem.  This is then hot glued to a piece of MDF.

More Mushrooms Type Things...

Once the hot glue has harden and the tin foil has cooled down (remember it is a good conductor of heat), I then use more tin foil to build up the size of the stem.  I again turn on the hot glue gun and use it to seal the newly added tin foil to the MDF base.

More Mushrooms Type Things...

Now is time to get the clay out.  Again I am using DAS, mainly because I have it.  I only used Milliput on the other stem because I couldn’t find the DAS and I had had the Milliput for possibly 10 years and thought I better use it before it got really stale.

I cover the tin foil in the DAS, using my hands to move it to where ever I want.  I’m not worried about thumb prints because the next thing I do is take a plastic comb (I’m a baldy and had to go buy a comb to do this) and use the comb to put texture on the clay.  I think it looks ok, but I guess the proof will be in the painting.

So that is how I make the stems.  I’ll give the stems a few days to dry fully, then think about painting them.  I’ve also included a picture of both of my “mushroom” things below.

More Mushrooms Type Things...

Mushroom? Or Perhaps it is a Tree?

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So I have gotten a bit further with my giant fantasy mushroom, but it does just look like a weird tree, which I suppose is somewhat the point of doing this – make something that looks weird, wacky and different.  First, I have covered the mushroom shapes I made earlier with my teddy bear crocodile fur.

As you can see I have the stem constructed and glued to a piece of MDF.  I’ve also added DAS to the MDF to blend the stem into the base.

So once the DAS is dry I’ll be able to prime, paint, add flock etc.  The mushroom head also needs a bit of work but I haven’t totally decided what I am going to do with it.

Mushroom? Or Perhaps it is a Tree?

I’ve also bought some more wool as I would quite like to knit a dice bag or produce something to represent each of the original 18 legions.  The blue is for the Ultramarines, the Green for the Dark Angels and the red will possibly be used on both of them.  I might start with a traitor legion first, and that will be the Dark Angels 🙂

Mushroom? Or Perhaps it is a Tree?

Camo Dice Bag

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Camo Dice Bag

So I have my Camo Dice Bag knit and finished.  I made it very big, so will be able to store a lot of stuff in it.  The cost of the wool was £2 at most, and it probably took between 4 or 5 hours in total.  Most of this time I was listening to music or listening to podcasts.  I also find it very relaxing.  Not sure what I will knit next…

Camo Dice Bag

Sci-Fi Urban Camo Dice Bag

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Sci-Fi Urban Camo Dice Bag

So I got another dice bag knit last week but didn’t finish sowing it and adding a string until today.  I’m rather proud of this and really enjoyed knitting it.   Except for the orange, this probably isn’t that far off a colour scheme I had planned for an Imperial Guard army in the 90s.  The darker blue would also have been a bit darker than it is on this bag.

I may or may not have bought some wool described as camouflage and after it coming in the post today, I may or may not knit another bag!

Sci-Fi Urban Camo Dice Bag

Dice Bags, Craters and a wee Wooden Hut

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So just a few more wee bits I have worked on over the last week.  First up is a couple of dice bags that I have knit.

Being new to knitting I am rather chuffed about these.  I’ve never owned a dice bag so didn’t know what size I would need so have learned a lot from knitting them.  I even learned to crochet a chain to act as a draw string.  The blue one is currently in the shed storing the plastic bottle tops I am saving.  The red bag involve some purl stitches to create the effect I have on the front.  I might use this one for dice.

Another field, or attempt at a field.  I’ll put this experiment on hold until I get a gaming blanket sorted out to see how good it looks when put on it.

Dice Bags, Craters and a wee Wooden Hut

A couple of corks put together to make columns.  Not sure how I will go forward with is.  Once painted and more damage added, I think it will look pretty effective.

I had eaten a couple of small buns in foil bun cases over the weekend, so I moulded the foil into crater shapes and have added a filler on top.  It is a filler I have never used before, it was only a £1 for about 600ml, but it seems to have harden ok.  Next job is to add a few bit of rock and small stones, then paint it up.

Finally I found this small MDF hut, so put it together and will paint it up.

Making Mushrooms

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Inspired by the new Goblins from Games Workshop, I thought what would be more fun than making some mushroom themed terrain for fantasy and pulp gaming.  So with that in mind, and trying to keep things on the cheap, I set about using foil, paper and my trusty hot glue gun to see if I could get something mushroom shaped.

So using the lid of a Johnson’s Cotton Bud container as a starting point, I built up round the lid with brown paper.  This paper actually came in a package from the OnTableTop Store so it is a nice way to reuse the paper that would have been put in the recycling otherwise.  More paper is then added and shaped into something that approximates a mushroom. The paper tends to be quite difficult to get into the final shape you want, and that is when I add the foil.  The foil is much more malleable and it is also very cheap to buy.  The mushroom head is now ready to cover but that will be for another day.

I also built another mushroom.  This time the base was a lid from a jar of pickled onions.  Again paper was stuck to it to make the shape of a mushroom and foil used to finish it off.  The shape is different to the other mushroom.  Also the lid of the jar is made from some type of metal, which conducts heat very quickly and that is something you should keep in mind if putting hot glue on one side and pushing on the other…

I have also made a stem for this second mushroom, but I didn’t take pictures of making it.  It was made by adding foil and paper to a cardboard toilet tube. I then covered it with a putty and put some texture on it.  I’m not sure it will suit but I will show it off when the putty has dried and it is ready to be painted.

Plant Pots

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I don’t know where I got the idea for this.  I’ve been meaning to do it for a while and I kept forgetting.  Possibly I watched a craft video years ago and I saw people make stuff by manipulating paper, and I am sure this is how some people make their plant pots for model railways or doll’s houses.  Recently I stumbled upon a very cheap Quilling Kit and it sparked my memory, so I thought I would have a go. It is fairly easy to do, cheap and I think it will look great on the wargaming table and just add a little extra dimension for not too much effort.  

Plant Pots

The first thing to do is create a tight roll of paper.  The paper I used was 5mm quilling paper I got with the set. It is about 50cms long.  Any paper will do and I think I would get a better pot using paper 3mm or perhaps smaller. The thicker the paper the more sturdy it is going to be as well.  

 

The tool I used is basically just a handle with a small piece of metal at the end that has a slit in it.  You stick the paper in the slit, roll the paper and glue the end. You don’t need this tool and you could bodge one together, but it is handy and they cheap as chips if you look online.  

Once you have your tight roll of paper, get something with a rounded end and push into the paper to create the shape.  If you have skinny fingers or access to a willing person with a skinny finger, that would do but my fat fingers are far too big for this.  If you go too far or it isn’t the shape you want, you can push it back and manipulate it easily to the size and shape you want.

As you can see from the above photos, you can get a pot like shape and the white papered one is just to illustrate what other shapes and possibilities there are.  

The next step was to fill the shape I created with white glue then I added some small stone.  There are many ways you could do this step. Hot glue could be used, a bit of putty, scrap paper or whatever you think is best to fill the hole.  I used to PVA as I thought it would make the paper solid and keep it in the desired shape. I should have used a brown dirt flock instead of the stone as well but I poured the glue and couldn’t find the flock I wanted so just used this.  I let them dry over night and they are as solid as a rock!

The final step is to glue what you want to put in your pot.  This could be a tree, a bush or flowers like I did. I’ve had these little flowers for ages so just used them.  Clump foliage or static grass could be used, just whatever you have to hand or are comfortable making. These are quite tall and would could to waist height or higher of a 28mm model.  If I do anymore I will make them a bit small and add smaller plants by making them myself.

These would be nice on a railway platform or in the courtyard of a castle or manor.  They could also outside a fantasy house.  By changing the size and colour of the paper you could also make different sizes and styles of pots.  I don’t think it would be too difficult to do hanging baskets using this idea either.

Finishing my Pasta

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So in the spirit of trying to keep my terrain as cheap as possible, I decided against adding more green stuff to my pasta.  So I went through my poundshop box and found this.

Finishing my Pasta

I got this from Home Bargains and it is priced under a pound.  It is essentially a thin piece of wire surrounded by a plastic tubing of sorts.  It is such good value, I have perhaps 20 metres of it in the shed and will be great for adding detail to Sci-Fi terrain, adding thick tubes to models, and I am sure I will be able to come up with loads more ideas for it.

So I added a piece of this to the pasta terrain and also added a couple of pipe cleaners.  I would hazard a guess that in the UK, more pipe cleaners were purchased for kids to make stuff with than beardy guys to clean their pipes out with.  I’ve added a couple of size comparison shoots as well with a Mantic Orc Sci-Fi Boss and my Stunt Bot.

You may also notice I added a texture around the bottom of the pasta.  This is just 4Ground Basing Render, which is possibly the best product since sliced bread.  I just used a cocktail stick to add an organic looking coral type thing around it.

Teaching myself to knit

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I come from a family of crafty people.  Not the goblin or elf type of crafty, I won’t be sneaking up behind you to stab you in your back, but my mum is a great knitter, my sister knits, sows, crochets, and makes lovely patchwork quilts and my father did some awesome paintings and was a railway modeller.  I unfortunately missed the crafty genes and got the brains and good looks instead.

With the popularity of teddy bear fur and turning blankets into fabulous gaming tables, I have been thinking about what else we could use to make interesting terrain pieces.  So one day I was looking at something my mother had knit and I was captivated by the textures that she was able to create with the non-tasty part of the sheep and a couple of pieces of bamboo.  

I have also been thinking a lot about how we as a hobby can encourage our spouses and children to get involved in it as well.  I had an epiphany, but the doctor said I would be ok. Being more serious, I got my mother to knit me a test piece for what I was thinking could be a ploughed field for a fantasy or historical table.  

 

Teaching myself to knit

I’ve included some Mantic Orcs for scale.  I don’t actually think it looks too bad. and if it was bigger the effect would be better.  Some of the advantages of using something knitted for a field would be that it is very easy to roll up and store.  It is also relatively cheap to produce, can be dyed or painted and I think it would be very easy to sow some wool into the field to represent vegetables growing in it.

The main disadvantage is how realistic it looks and how many jobs I had to promise to my mother to knit this for me.  In terms of time, it took her about 30 minutes from me promising to wash the windows to her handing it to me.

Then I had another epiphany, this time I was concerned.  I decided to teach myself to knit.  

Teaching myself to knit

Armed with some trusty knitting needles, some wool I stole from my sister and my laptop, I went somewhere quiet and googled “How to knit for beginners”.  Up popped a link to youtube video containing the lovely Sarah and we then spent a wonderful 20 minutes together.  She taught me how to cast on and how to do the knit stitch.  I even remembered a rhyme from my youth and my sisters learning to knit;

In through the bunny hole,
Round the big tree
Back through the bunny hole
Off pops she

Oh Sarah, what have you done to me?

Anyway, I few snapchats to my sister for advice, and I produced this.  I am actually really chuffed with it!

Teaching myself to knit

In my excitement to finish, I didn’t even get the name of another young lady who taught me to cast off and thus finish my field.  I do apologise but I will be ever grateful to her . I did like and subscribe to her YouTube channel but a gentleman never tells if he dinged her dong.

 

So there you have it, the first thing I have ever knit with a few models for scale.  I’d be happy with something like that to represent a field on my tabletop and I will probably do a few more experiments on it to see what I can improve and make it look better. I’ve also included some comparison shoots with the other knitting experiment.

Including the time it took me to learn to knit, this took about 4 hours. I half watched some TV while doing it.  Now, if you had someone who could actually knit, it wouldn’t take them as long, an hour at most, and it would be much more even and better knit.  It might be a way to get someone in your family to get involved in your hobby if they are a knitter.

Even more strangely, I really enjoyed doing it.    It was a little challenge and I found it rather relaxing to do it.  Plus I got time with my new best YouTube friends, Sarah, and my other friend whose name I didn’t get.

A ball of wool can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to me, but you would get a decent sized ball of wool for a £1 in a shop like Home Bargains and could potential get three or four good sized fields out of it.  Different sized needles combined with different thicknesses of wool would produce a different texture and there are many more stitches I could learn to give different effects.

Will I do more knitting?  Yes, perhaps I could knit a dice bag sometime as well as another field or two.  We shall wait and see.

More silly terrain experiments soon. Now back to Sarah!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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So another of this week’s experiments involves my favourite hot beverage and that is coffee.  Coffee is great, I love coffee and drink an awful lot of it.  Nothing beats getting up in the morning, and having a cup of coffee in the morning sun.  As I live in Northern Ireland this happens about 3 times a year, so often whiskey is added to the coffee to make up for that… it is 11am somewhere in the world… I jest, I jest!

Anyway, I have been looking for practical and cheap ways to make terrain recently and I have also become very conscious of the amount of plastic that I use and waste that I generate.  We can all reduce, but it is more fun reusing.  While Wood Elves are one of my favourite Warhammer factions, I generally am not a tree hugger but do believe we can all do our bit for the environment.

As such I have been saving up a mountain of cardboard, tins, plastic bottle tops and I fully intend to use these over the next while making and experimenting while hopefully sending a little bit less to landfill or the recycling centre for them to send it to landfill…

But what has this got to do with coffee, Robert?  You mentioned coffee and then turned into Captain Planet!  Well, coffee grounds.  Coffee grounds are compostable, and many people swear by using their coffee grounds on their plants and in their garden.  As caffeine evolved as a defensive mechanism against critters and bugs eating the coffee bean, this doesn’t appeal to the gardener in me that much but I remember reading old train magazines and people using their grounds on their layouts.

 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

There is a major problem.  As coffee will biodegrade and compost down, there is the potential that your project will mould if you don’t dry it first.  So this week I have been drying my coffee grounds.  What I have done is saved the grounds for a couple of days, and then put them in the oven after I have cooked the Mac and Cheese except I used the macaroni for making terrain so it was just a cheesey sauce… still yummy though!

I just turn the oven off after I have cooked the dinner and put the grounds in the oven on a baking tray.  If the grounds aren’t dry by the time the oven cools down, I put the oven on at around 80C until they are dry.  They are then stored in an empty ice cream tub.  If you live anywhere but Ireland, you might be able to dry them outside using the big yellow ball in the sky that I haven’t seen for weeks!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I have been grinding my own beans this week as I haven’t been feeling lazy so there is a nice variation in size in the tub at the moment.  The potential is also there to bleach the grounds to represent a sandy rocky surface.  I may or may not do this when I have gather enough up.  I’ve never done this before so would be another interesting experiment.  We shall wait and see!

Pasta Weirdness

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A lot of our sci-fi terrain isn’t very sciencey or fictiony, and I want to try and do something a little bit different.  One day I was making dinner and I began to ponder as I put some pasta into boiling water.  Now the key to nice pasta is very salty water and this water is great for making sauces, especially carbonara but that is not what I was pondering.  I thought back to primary school and making pasta art.  Then I went to my cupboard and had a biscuit but also in my cupboard was some interesting pasta.

As I looked at this pasta, I thought of the many thousands of terrible pasta art projects done by children over the years, that only parents think are good, and I decided to join them.  I had two pasta shapes in my cupboard that soon made the short journey to the hobby shed . These were the magnificent and tasty Macaroni and Rigatoni.  Don’t you love Italian!

So out came the hot glue gun and I started sticking pasta to a small oval shaped piece of MDF.  One warning, hot glue is called hot glue for a reason and it is nothing to do with its looks.  Ouch!

Anyway I came up with this idea for something different looking and alien.

 

Pasta Weirdness

I had been experimenting and practising with Greenstuff earlier in the week.  I need tentacles and gribbly bits for a totally unrelated and different projects and I ended up making two snake like creatures.  I had thought of sculpting a couple of heads on these and putting them on the base of something, but as I glued pasta to the MDF I decided to glue the snaketubethings onto the scenery.

 

Pasta Weirdness

I was happy with the way it turned out, so I added more pasta to the base.  You might also notice some other little bits on the base.  More about them at a later date as I want to do a proper tutorial for that and need to take pictures and update my life insurance, just in case!!!

Pasta Weirdness

Next step is to make more greenstuff tube things and add them in a similar fashion to the other two.  Then it will come to painting it.  I’m thinking bright colours, moving as far away from traditional vegetation colours.  I also want to be able to do it quickly as ultimately if I like how this looks I will theme a table on a world based on tube plants and gribbly tentacle things.

 

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