Thursday, April 27, 2023

New Road Sections & More Vehicles for Post-Apoc

    Two of the four 6"x12" road sections I made from cork tiles with some wrecked & burnt vehicles
I am planning my next post-apocalyptic game to be on an urban tabletop. So, I continue to work on vehicles to put on the roads to break up the sight lines in the game. In addition, I decided to make some new asphalt road pieces. My previous ones were created with 12" square cork tiles. These would be smaller side streets, cutting each square into two 6"x12" pieces.

    Two of the road sections without cars on them - note beveled edges & center line stripe
I wanted to make sure everything went smoothly making these, so I cut up only two squares, creating a total of four pieces. These smaller width pieces will enable me to give the board more variety and change up the look of it easier. I will likely make some more 6"x12" pieces here soon. They went very quickly and were a breeze to make. Once trimmed to size, I beveled the long edges as I did with the sides of the 12" square pieces. The beveled edges are placed against my gray floor tiles which I use as the concrete sidewalks. I think this join looks better than both the road and sidewalk tiles having a squared edged.

    The Blood Brotherhood checks out another of my burnt out, die cast vehicles
Once beveled, I painted the four edges with black craft paint. It is okay if a little brown cork shows through, as there are brownish spots on many asphalt roadways. Once dry, I paint the rest of the tile black with a wide brush. I let them dry again overnight, and then I do two dry brushes. First is dark gray and the second is light gray. Finally, I add white dotted line lane painting with a square brush. When I created my first tiles awhile back, I made a cardboard template to place on the tile so that I get the lines the same length and evenly spaced. I finished the cork pieces off with matte acrylic clear spray paint and they're done!

    This plastic SUV warped in an interesting way from the heat, but I had to paint on the blackening
On the vehicle front, I added four new models. The first one was a die cast sports car. I used wire cutters and pliers to reduce it to the metal hulk, trimming or ripping away all plastic pieces. The second vehicle was a plastic SUV. There wasn't much I could do with this one other than cut away the wheels. I then burnt these as I had done the previous burnt out wrecks. I was a little less crazy with the pyro and went for a more controlled burn with fewer cotton balls. The plastic SUV bent like it had been "T-boned," but did not char very well from the burning. The sports car looked good enough from the burning that I simply glued it to its base.

   Both of these trailers came with a pickup truck for $2.99 each from Menards
The SUV required more work. I mixed up thinned down acrylic black paint and brushed it across most of the SUV. I made sure to "erase" enough black with straight water to allow some of the original color to show through. The windows there wasn't much I could do about. So, I painted them solid black and hoped they "disappeared" to the eye. All in all, the SUV looks like a passable piece of scenery, but by no means is it one of the best I created in this series of burnt out wrecks.\

    One of the Green Dragons checks out this old and dirty Campervan for anything to scavenge

    On hindsight, I should have scraped up, damaged, or put graffiti on this black trailer

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Burned Out Vehicles for Post-Apocalyptic Games

  A burned out wreck that I created by torching die-cast vehicles for my post-apocalyptic games
I decided my next terrain project for my post-Apocalyptic games would be to make some burnt-out, abandoned vehicles. I decided to use some die-cast cars available in retail stores such as CVS drug stores, Menards, etc. I figured that I wasn't the only person to ever decide to do this, so I went on my favorite online miniatures source, The Lead Adventure Forum. In their Workbench area, I asked for ideas on how to modify inexpensive die-cast vehicles to look burnt out. Much to my surprise, the suggestion was to burn them!
    Step 1: Use wire cutters and pliers to remove most of the plastic from the die-cast vehicle

Whaaat?? Play pyro and set it afire? Other posters confirmed this suggestion, so I set about this as methodically (and carefully) as I could. First, I used wire cutters and pliers to get rid of as much of the plastic portions as I could. This includes the tires, which would be one of the things that burnt off and melted. I wanted to leave pretty much just the metallic hulk. Next, I used 91% alcohol and swabbed the car and soak cotton balls to stuff inside the vehicles. I set it on fire and was surprised by the intensity of the fire. I wanted the metal portions to look burnt and the paint to peel or bubble. I adjusted the techniques a little, using less cotton ball material and toning down the heat and size of the flames.

    Stuffed with alcohol-soaked cotton balls, the trucks go up in flames pretty quickly!
Still, I was happy with how the burning of these die-cast vehicles simulated a burned-out wreck. One of the pickup trucks even split in half, with the metal connecting pieces melting. Others had the doors burnt off and falling to the stone pavers I was using as my surface. Once the vehicle looked good, I would either blow out the fire or douse it with some water to put out the flames. You have to be careful with water, though, as it may also wash away the soot that looks so good built up on the colored surfaces of the vehicles.
    The goal of the torching of the vehicle is to get some bending and bubbling of metal, and soot stains

Next, I took the hulks and based them up on textured plastic that I wanted to use to simulate the road surface. First, though, I sprayed the plastic with black spray paint. I set the vehicles on top of the plastic and noted where the metal touched the surface. I scratched away the paint in those places, exposing the raw plastic. I used two part epoxy to attach the bottom parts of the vehicles to the plastic surface. Once secured, I added Woodland Scenics ballast to the surface on top of Tacky glue. I wanted to represent a raised or melted asphalt effect. This was painted black and then dry brushed with a dark gray. I think it turned out okay, but felt it was too boring looking.

    I added some watered down black paint to supplement the soot stains and cover up any bare metal
I then added turf, brown tufts, and more fine blended gray ballast to give the road surface some detail and an interesting look. I also added some plaster bricks and washed them and the gray ballast with a black wash to dirty them up. All in all, I was happy with the look of the road surface around the vehicles. 

    The warping and contortion of the metal gives this a look you couldn't get from just painting it
I did have to go back in and put some black wash on parts of the vehicles that didn't get much soot. I also added some watered down black paint to other parts where the soot had been scratched, or where I felt there needed to be more of a burned look to it. In the end, I am happy with this experiment. I think in the long run, the soot and melted metal are the two things that make these burnt out wrecks look convincing. Interestingly, the soot will still rub off to the touch even after two coats of matte clearcoat spray. I really don't know what else to do, except remember to touch the models by their bases and not by the cars themselves.

    A freebie large truck becomes a great terrain pieces to break up sight lines on the post-apoc streets
I also had a long plastic truck that was given to me as a freebie by Diabolical Terrain. I thought it would make a great wreck, laying on its side. I placed some masking tap on portions of the decal before spraying it with acrylic black primer. Actually, before that, I had based it up with a styrene tube propping up one side. My thought was to paint it like an aluminum pole so it looked like it has slammed into a light pole, taken it down, and was now resting on it.

    I used a combination of masking off pieces of the decal on the truck and dry brushing & washing
After the black priming, I removed the masking tape. I also touched up the metallic pieces with various shades of metallic gray, pewter, and silver. Once I was happy with it, I did a heavy black wash. By no means is this the most amazing scatter piece for a post-apocalyptic table, but I think it looks okay. It will take up a decent amount of space the tabletop. Actually, that was the whole point of the burnt out vehicles. I wanted to break up the sight lines that areas of road will create on the table. Most skirmish games require cover to give players interesting decisions to make. Where do they move to? Where do they hole up?

    The Bucknuts investigate a burned out wreck, hoping to find something to salvage
I'm happy with my burnt out wrecks, and plan to create some more. I'll keep this page updated with new ideas or refinements I make on the techniques I used. I hope you like them, and stay tuned for more!

    This VW bug could probably have used more charring on portions of the blue painted surface

    Some colors show the soot stains better, like this tan colored pickup truck