Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cliff Sections, "step-down" pieces

The large "step down" piece created to give an entrance or exit from the biggest of the cliff pieces
So, I needed more entrances and exits to my three cliff sections I'd built for my French & Indian War games. Originally, I'd made only two. I wanted the pieces to be more versatile, though, and that meant having more places for figures to climb up or down onto them. This became especially important as the cliffs are seeing double duty in my 28mm Pulp games, too.

I used the same method as I did for the cliffs. Black styrene plastic served as the base. The boulder or rock sections were recreated using pine bark. When I'd created the cliff sections this summer, I'd dried them out in the sun, first. The bark pieces that I didn't use I bagged up and put in the garage. I simply pulled this bag back out, and sorted through it to find flatter pieces that stacked up well. This became quite a challenge on the large piece. The very reason pine bark works so well as a stand-in for boulders is its irregular surface. So, it was kind of a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle to assemble the largest piece.
The medium sized can see one of the wire trees fairly well in the foreground of the image
The pieces were glued down onto the styrene or on top of each other using Aleene's Tacky glue. Just a few days after finishing these, I finally broke down and bought a hot glue gun (needed it for another project). In the future, I'll probably use this as it dries much quicker and doesn't drip as much. However, Tacky glue served me well on these -- and on the cliffs themselves. Once the glue was dry, I took them outsides and spray painted them with flat, black acrylic paint. As I sit here with the temperature well below freezing, it is hard to imagine that less than a week ago it was warm enough to go out and spray paint these in the corner of the yard! Ohio weather...don't like it? Wait a bit, it'll change...!

After the paint was dry, I squirted white glue everywhere that bare black styrene was visible. I poured over Woodland Scenics coarse ballast to start the ground surface up. After this dried, I watered down a large batch of Ceramcoat acrylic black paint (a bit stronger than 50/50). I painted this over all of the pine bark pieces and the ballast. I let the pieces dry overnight. Then I put a base coat of either dark gray or medium brown over the pine bark pieces. Like on the cliffs, I wanted some rock faces to be gray, and others to be more brownish (like they are here in Ohio). This was followed up by a light gray or khaki dry brush.
The smallest of the three pieces I created to give miniatures access to the cliffs. Note the two-color rock tone of gray and brown, as you can find here in Ohio.
And here's where the hot glue gun comes in. A friend of mine had given me a bunch of small wire trees, bushes and flowers made for model railroad terrain. I put one of the trees on each of the medium and larger sized step down pieces. I also put on one of the flowers. The hot glue gun worked great to hold them into place. With only a thin wire stem, I knew I'd need something strong to keep them in place. I followed this up with my normal flocking procedure, and was very happy with how the pieces came out. They look nice and should add a lot of options to how I use the cliff pieces, now.

Speaking of which, the cliffs (and these step down pieces) will see action this weekend in my third Pulp scenario, which I am hosting at my place. So, you should see more pics of them soon on this blog. In the meantime, it was fun to get my 28mm Conquest Miniatures out and photograph them scrambling up and down the cliffsides on them...!

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