Easy Does It
by Jim "Nobody" Cornell
This land has been inhabited by people for longer than anyone can be certain. Evidence of those civilizations exist for anyone with a mind to look for it. Drawings on a cavern wall, scattered bones and tools, and an occasional plant covered ruin.
I was flipping through a copy of Privateer Press' No Quarter Magazine #2 and saw a fantastic terrain piece of a ruin on page 16. The more I looked at it the more I wondered how I could scratch build one for myself. I started collecting this piece and that and had decided that I would tear into the project the following weekend. Well, as fate had it I had just bought a puppy (miniature daschund) the morning of the big project and I had to make a run the the local pet supply store for some dog food on the way home from the pick up. Having not been to the pet store before I had to wander around until I found the dog food isle. Fortunately, I stumbled across some aquarium supplies and what do you know—I found the ruin I was going to start building that very night and for less than $15 to boot! Thinking that there was no sense reinventing the wheel I stuffed it into my shopping cart. When I got home I grabbed the magazine and quickly thumbed to page 16 to compare my newly purchased treasure with the photo. A perfect match! Well, Scarab has been asking me to do a tutorial for beginners so here is what I came up with...
Top Fin Aquarium Ruin piece
Thick sheet styrene
Empty figure blisters
Flock or static grass
Step 1: Preparation
Remove the label, tubes and plastic plants from the Top Fin Aquarium piece. It comes pre painted and can go straight onto your gaming table (1A & 1B). If you want to repaint it (as I intend to do) you need to wash it with warm soapy water (You don't know where it has been) and leave to dry.
Step 2: Repair
Use greenstuff to fill holes where plastic tubes and plants were inserted. You may need to also fill some of the air bubble holes that were in the could and subsequently are now in the aquarium piece. It is up to you really.
Step 3: Base
Cut a base for the entire terrain piece out of thick styrene or similar material and bevel the edge. Mine was about 10" wide.
Step 4: Seal
Put a heavy bead of silicone adhesive on the bottom of the ruin (don't leave any gaps—over apply if you have to) and affix to the base (4A). Allow to cure.
Step 5: Plaster
Mix the plaster according to the instructions on the label and pour into the opening of the ruin. Continue to fill until the plaster level rises to the bottom of the ruin's entryway. This will be the ruin's floor (5A). Pour excess into empty figure blisters for use later. If you didn't get a good seal with the silicone adhesive your plaster may leak out through any gaps. Allow to set.
Step 6: Ground
Mix some Celluclay and apply to the base. I use less water than most people. The less water there is the less shrinkage, cracking and warping of the base there will be. I add a little at a time and knead it like bread. I know that if it gets shiny there is too much water and I add more of the paper mache.
Step 7: Leftover Plaster
Once the leftover plaster you poured into the figure blisters has set, remove from blisters, cut into pieces and place inside the ruin to look like the upper floor has collapsed (7A). Also cut some small bricks and glue the litter around the exterior with white glue.
Step 8: Dirt
Cover the base with white glue and sprinkle with dirt and rocks. Allow to dry.
Step 9: Undercoat
Prime the entire piece in black (9a & 9B).
Step 10: Paint 1
Now for the fun part. Paint the structure with a good coat of Vallejo Model Color 166 Dark Gray and paint the base with a heavy coat of American Burnt Umber (10B).
Step 11: Paint 2
On the structure I next used Vallejo Model Color 160 Neutral Gray and on the base I then used Vallejo Model Color 114 Green Brown in places (11A & 11B).
Step 12: Paint 3
On the structure I next used Vallejo Model Color 104 Stone Gray and on the base I then dry brushed Vallejo Model Color 114 Green Brown in places (12A).
Step 13: Paint 4
I continued to build up the base by dry brushing Vallejo Model Color119 Green Ochre in places followed by a light dry brush of Vallejo Model Color 115 Khaki (13A).
Step 14: Paint 5
Apply a diluted black ink wash to the ruins and allow to dry (14A).
Step 15: Paint 6
Apply a diluted sepia ink wash to the ruins. Allow to dry (15A).
Step 16: Paint 7
Seal the entire piece with a thin coat of Krylon Crystal Clear and when dry apply a thin coat of Testor's Dullcoat.
Step 17: Grass
Use white glue to apply static grass and trees. Allow to dry (17A & 17B).
Step 18: Finished
Sit back and admire your work (18A, 18B & 18C). Now you can dazzle your friends (and foes) with this simple piece.
Afterthoughts: This is a versatile piece that was a fun and easy project that didn't take very much time at all. Give it a try.
I am willing to field any questions you may have bout this and any other pieces I have done on this site. You may contact me directly at email@example.com.