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Populating the Damocles Sector or Creating a System Agnostic Science Fiction Miniatures Collection

Populating the Damocles Sector or Creating a System Agnostic Science Fiction Miniatures Collection

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Project Blog by 144artist Cult of Games Member

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About the Project

I am finally building the science fiction miniature and terrain collection I have been imagining for many years which is about time as the amount of kits, bits, and bobs I've squirreled away is staggering. This will range from ancient alien ruins to new colonies to hive cities to high tech metropolises as well as beings that might inhabit them. Part of how I brainstorm and plan is to create imaginary places for the things I am coming up with. With the amount and variety of sci/fi terrain I plan to pursue, an entire system is required. So, colonists and supplies are loaded, co-ordinates set, prepare to launch nanobots and terraforming factories, the colonization of the Damocles Sector has begun.

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It's Time For Some Details

Tutoring 1
Skill 1
Idea 1
No Comments

With the basic form built out of foam core it was time to dig through the bits boxes to find things to add texture to the building’s surface.  I can imagine the colonists adding on machinery and devices as they need them.  I left the roof unattached so I can use the interior once I decide what I want it to look like.  I also kept the details the roof to a minimum as I want to be able to stack other things there.  The windows and doors are those resin pieces from Trash Bash Bits while everything else is whatever looked interesting.  Still want to add more but I like how it is coming along.

It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details
It's Time For Some Details

Building a Habitat Unit

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
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As if I didn’t have enough kits to build and as fun as they are I love building from scratch with whatever bits and pieces I have in my collection.  One thing I have is a box full of doors, windows, hatches, and grates from Trash Bash Bits, a Kickstart campaign from way back.  I think they will add a sense of unity to whatever I use them on.  The first project I have in mind is a prototype of what I am calling Habitat Units as I see them as being assembled from the packing crates of the original colonists and then covered with all manner of equipment and doodads as needs require. I want to be able to stack them or things on them for more complex, more vertical battlefields so they need to be stable but lightweight. Since Necromunda set the precedent of 3″ squares and both my other sets followed suit I would start there.  Foam core is one of my long time favorite materials and I have a bit on hand so that is what I plan to start with.

Some brainstorming.  I decided I didn't like the border around top. Some brainstorming. I decided I didn't like the border around top.
Here is my box of portals. I get a little excited with the potential they represent.Here is my box of portals. I get a little excited with the potential they represent.
I'm using thin strips of plastic every three inches with slightly thicker pieces around the base. I'm using thin strips of plastic every three inches with slightly thicker pieces around the base.
Foam core has styrofoam between two sheets of card which is delicate and susceptible to damage form spray primer so I sealed it with thin plastic strips.Foam core has styrofoam between two sheets of card which is delicate and susceptible to damage form spray primer so I sealed it with thin plastic strips.
Still not sure how to deal with the interior but I made the roof removable because I will solve this conundrum.Still not sure how to deal with the interior but I made the roof removable because I will solve this conundrum.
I like to test sketch window and door locations.I like to test sketch window and door locations.

Secret Weapon Deadzone Terrain Tiles

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
No Comments

Way back when, Secret Weapon Miniatures ran a Kickstart campaign for their Terrain Tiles, one foot square plastic tiles that can be used to assemble battlefields of a number of genre’s.  A set of four designed for Mantic’s Deadzone and including a frame were an Add On I decided I needed but only now am painting.  (What? What primed sets still remain in the garage? What?) So here are the four boards individually shown in the gallery and the complete set with frame are next.  A few with terrain scattered about as a visual test look pretty good already.  Will be small battlefields as it is 2’x2′ but a definite start.

Secret Weapon Deadzone Terrain Tiles
Lt Phorskale has beamed down to a planet that appears to be in progress.Lt Phorskale has beamed down to a planet that appears to be in progress.
Secret Weapon Deadzone Terrain Tiles
Secret Weapon Deadzone Terrain Tiles

Trying Salt to Rust a Chemical Tank.

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 5
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I picked up this model at a game convention years ago and knew it would be my test piece when I watched @avernos Gerry Can on using salt to simulate rust.  I figured it might help mask or distract from the construction lines from the 3D print.

Primed in white then painted in a terracotta color.  Will be sloppier next time to further variegate the colorPrimed in white then painted in a terracotta color. Will be sloppier next time to further variegate the color
I brushed on water to select areas and poured salt over them.  Then I sprayed them with Army Painter Wolf Grey.I brushed on water to select areas and poured salt over them. Then I sprayed them with Army Painter Wolf Grey.
The salt makes a great texture on its own.The salt makes a great texture on its own.
After the paint dried I rubbed most of the salt off.After the paint dried I rubbed most of the salt off.
Not entirely happy with the color of the rust I added more layers of orange.Not entirely happy with the color of the rust I added more layers of orange.
Trying Salt to Rust a Chemical Tank.
I then used Secret Weapon Armor Wash to add grime and streaks.I then used Secret Weapon Armor Wash to add grime and streaks.
Trying Salt to Rust a Chemical Tank.
After some Aggrax Eathshade and selected highlights the chemical tank is finished.After some Aggrax Eathshade and selected highlights the chemical tank is finished.
It is a simple but effective technique I will be using a lot more in future.  @avernos Thanks, GerryCan!It is a simple but effective technique I will be using a lot more in future. @avernos Thanks, GerryCan!
I like how the remaining salt under the primer looks like rust is building up under the paint.I like how the remaining salt under the primer looks like rust is building up under the paint.

Encounter Team Bravo

Tutoring 3
Skill 5
Idea 5
No Comments

Whether it be initial contact on first landfall or exploring ancient wreckage floating in the Band highly trained and well equipped Encounter teams are a necessity.  These Hasslefree Miniatures figures have been waiting in my collection for way too long and seem a great group to start with as they will be all over Damocles System.  As usual with Kev White sculpts the details are clean and take Contrast Paint wonderfully.

Encounter Team Bravo
Stay frosty, BravoStay frosty, Bravo

Getting in the Deadzone

Tutoring 2
Skill 4
Idea 4
1 Comment

Ever since Necromunda came out, back in the day, I have loved the visual of a cluttered and stacked science fiction battlefield.  It reminds me of Mega-City One of Judge Dredd comics or L.A. in the film Bladerunner.  So when Mantic launched their Kickstart for Deadzone I knew I needed their terrain system to mix in with my ideas. My respectable collection was increased and diversified with their Deadzone 2nd edition campaign which I also backed despite doing little with the pieces from the first one.  I just knew I would use them eventually.  Here are a few of the thoughts I’ve had so far on.

One big box of terrain sprues isn't enough...One big box of terrain sprues isn't enough...
... when there are stairs, diagonals, and tubes to be added.... when there are stairs, diagonals, and tubes to be added.
One of my first test builds. I love the 3One of my first test builds. I love the 3" cube that is the foundation of Mantic's system.
I've heard it called the Lego of wargaming terrain as the pieces are largely interchangeable and don't really require glue.I've heard it called the Lego of wargaming terrain as the pieces are largely interchangeable and don't really require glue.
Great shapes and angles for cover or climbing. I love how they designed the stairs to hold figure bases.Great shapes and angles for cover or climbing. I love how they designed the stairs to hold figure bases.
A little of everything showing here from armored bulkheads to open catwalks.A little of everything showing here from armored bulkheads to open catwalks.
I think I'll end up gluing together individual buildings and stackable pieces for my collection as I don't want the hassle of building them new and then breaking them down each game.I think I'll end up gluing together individual buildings and stackable pieces for my collection as I don't want the hassle of building them new and then breaking them down each game.
Glued together would be more stable and durable for paint better as well.Glued together would be more stable and durable for paint better as well.
This stuff really works well for my concept of This stuff really works well for my concept of "Terrain Along a Continuity" where individual pieces can be early colonization structures but with more piled on top and around it becomes a more established settlement or city that grew from an earlier colony.
Such great textures and details it will be as much fun to build stuff as it is to play on.  Such great textures and details it will be as much fun to build stuff as it is to play on.
Necron099 built this one but is a great example of the look I want to create.Necron099 built this one but is a great example of the look I want to create.

Sketches and Doodles

Tutoring 2
Skill 4
Idea 4
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Being a visual person much of my musing manifests in my sketch books. I don’t tend to do detailed drawings so much as shapes and textures. I also play with ideas to connect everything together on the table or think about how I might use some of the more unique or numerous bits and pieces I have in my collection.  In addition to said model parts, electronics bits, junk, and whatever odd shapes that catch my eye I have a couple of boxes of Deadzone terrain as well as a big collection of Makitainers. More on both in future posts.

The grid is planned to be 3The grid is planned to be 3"x3" as it fits a couple of collections I have waiting.
I want stackable pieces.I want stackable pieces.
Gonna need bridges.  If you look closely you might see some Ferro Surprise Eggs integrated into parts.Gonna need bridges. If you look closely you might see some Ferro Surprise Eggs integrated into parts.
Did I mention I want things that can stack? The one in the upper left is made of two large, plastic spools that I'm still not sure I'll use.Did I mention I want things that can stack? The one in the upper left is made of two large, plastic spools that I'm still not sure I'll use.
I love vertical battlefields. Bonus if I can figure out a use for all these yellow eggs I have.I love vertical battlefields. Bonus if I can figure out a use for all these yellow eggs I have.

What is the Damocles Sector?

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
Idea 3
No Comments

For more years than I care to admit, I have been collecting bits and bobs that I think would look good glued to futuristic buildings because I dreamed of creating a solid collection of Science Fiction terrain.  I have been playing games so long that while I may never have built a hover tank out of a deodorant container myself, many of my friends did so.  We all made terrain out of whatever came to hand as there was practically no dedicated science fiction terrain on the market in those days.  When the first edition of Necromunda came on the scene it blew our minds with possibilities, the rules even had a section on how to build your own terrain out of whatever you had at hand.  Now there are new ranges and sub-genre’s appearing regularly made out of numerous materials, many pre-painted, some even table ready.  It makes it difficult to decide where to start.  

When developing a large, long term project like this one I will often create an imaginary setting for what I am coming up with.  This helps inspire my visual thinking as well as organize the overall vision, provide a sense of unity, and help decide what I need to build.  This will include drawings, test paints, writings, whatever creative line I’m following will be placed in said setting.  With my Wolsung/Steam Punk collection this was an imaginary riverside neighborhood called Shadows Gate (still working on the docks).  I have come to realize that no one planet was going to be able to contain the variety of what I wanted to build as I see everything from early colonial Habitation Units to the interiors of Hive Cities or exteriors of high tech worlds.  My friends and I play a wide variety of games in general, but specifically we vary in our science fiction miniatures and RPG interests, so I want my collection to be flexible as well as visually unified.

My concept for the buildings is of “Terrain in Continuum” where structures and elements combine to represent various layers of colonization/development.  Where the early colony habitat units become the floors of other structures as the colony becomes a city, even more added becomes a Hive.  Let’s not forget the ruined and apocalyptic pieces when a civilization suffers a collapse that no proper collection should be without and should fit in visually with the rest as it could always be a construction site in a big city.  Yeah, I’ve thought about this for a very long time.

With all this variety in my collection to conceive there would need to be a lot of variety in the worlds and races I populated my imaginary galactic narrative. So the scout ship in my imagination came upon a unique binary star system, filled with the debris of shattered planets and ancient fleets, wide open for exploration, colonization, industrialization, and competition; the Damocles Sector was born.

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