Rocks & Rivets Pt. 2

By Nobody

January 07, 2007

A thick sooty smoke belches skyward. Metal grinds against metal and branches snap as the colossal crashes through the heavy underbrush. Its goal: To get close enough to the gates that it can bring its enormous hammer to bear. The spears and axes of the Trollkin defenders have almost no effect on the giant metal beast as it nears the village walls. Sensing all is lost the defenders panic and scatter. Another moment and the outer defenses will be pulverized into rubble and the village lost.

Suddenly the colossal lurches, its feet tangled in a trap of logs and chains. It stumbles as its forward momentum forces it to its knees. And just as suddenly, half of the great beast disappears into a cacophony of splintered wood and flying debris that once covered the forest floor hiding a large troll-made pit. A trap within a trap!

As it struggles to right itself, the defenders quickly regroup and attack the downed warmachine. Unable to get its feet, the great beast is defenseless and within moments the defenders are able to separate its head from the rest of its smoking mass. Horrified, the attackers break and flee with many of them being run down by pursuing Trollkin. The powers that make up the Iron Kingdoms will need to rethink their strategies before attacking the Trollkin again!

Many years later the sun-bleached and rusting hulk is still half submerged in the pit that is now overgrown with foliage. Its head sits on a pole as a grim reminder to anyone foolish enough to want to take this village by force…

That is what I was thinking when I started the project but it quickly degenerated into a when-you-put-your-piece-next-to-Scarab’s-Trollkin-village-piece-try-not-to-let-your’s-suck type of project. I am not sure if it worked out, but I hope you like it.

Techniques Used:


1/4" Masonite (as big as you want the base to be)

1/2" Dowel

1 small screw

Thick styrene

Thin styrene

2 plastic baseballs

2 plastic "Wiffle" balls

3/4" PVC pipe

5 x 3/4" PVC pipe couplings

1 x 3" PVC pipe coupling

An empty fruit cup container

Window screen material

Various bits from your morgue (I’ll show you what I used from mine)

Various plastic plants

Celuclay (paper mache)

Plant roots

Clump foliage


Card Stock

Green stuff

White glue

Super glue

Glue gun

Step 1: The Base

Cut your base to the size and shape you want and bevel the edge. I used 1/4" Masonite.

Step 2: Base Support

The pole holding the Colossal’s head needs to be sturdy as it may take a lot of wear and tear over time. Drill a hole to accommodate a screw where you want the pole to meet the base. Use a larger drill bit to recess the head of the screw so it doesn’t scratch up your gaming surface.

Step 3: The Pole

The pole was made using a 1/2" dowel. I cut the length at 9". Attach to the base with a screw.

[Insert Pole photo here]

Step 4: The Torso

Cut thick styrene to make the torso using the templates below.

I used the base of an old 1/72nd scale Space Shuttle model for the back as shown in the photo below. The rest of it was made from styrene.

Step 5: The Back Vents

Cut thick styrene to fashion the back vents using the template below. You will need to make two of them.

Glue the styrene pieces together. Add a piece of window screen material to finish it off. Do not attach to the Colossal until the very last. A painting example for the frames is shown in the second paragraph of Step 20.

[Insert Vents photo here]

Step 6: The Smoke Stacks

Tape two 3/4" PVC pipe couplings together to ensure that they are sanded at the same angle. I set my sanding wheel to 25 degrees and remove tape when I was done.

Cut 3/4" PVC pipe into two 3" lengths and insert into couplings. I found a plastic tube in my morgue that fit the PVC pipe perfectly. I cut it in half and glued it to top of the smoke stacks. I then used a 3/16" bit to drill venting holes. Attach each smoke stack to the back of the Colossal.

Step 7: Torso Extras

The extra bits are from my morgue.

Step 8: The Neck Collar

Cut the 3" PVC coupling as shown in the sample below. Sand the edges then glue in place.

Step 9: The Shoulders

Take two plastic baseballs and sand off the stitching.

Cut the balls similar to the shape shown below.

Cut two 3" disks out of thick styrene and cut notches in it to make it look like a gear as shown in the previous photo.

Create a flat spot onto two "Wiffle" balls. I created the flat spots on this piece by pressing the fenestrated side of the balls against the spinning wheel of a sander. Glue the baseballs and "Wiffle" balls to the disks and then onto both sides of the torso. I added a few gears here to break up the flat spots.

Step 10: The Hammer

Cut heavy styrene using the template below. Glue pieces together. It is designed to list to one side.

Decorate the hammerhead with bits from your morgue. I used a 5-gallon water bottle lid, half of a plastic Easter egg, and a Khador logo I cut from thick styrene.

Cut a piece of 3/4" PVC pipe to a length of 15". Make the handle grip by taking two 3/4" PVC couplings and cut them into 1/4" rings. Sand the rings and slide them onto the handle as shown in the photo below. Save one ring for the other end of the handle where it meets the head. I used part of a plastic capsule from a gumball machine to cover the grip end of the handle (save the lid for Step 13).

Attach hammer handle to hammer head.

Step 11: The Abdomen

Cut two 3" circles from thick styrene. Cut a piece of thin styrene 1" x 9.42" (see, that public education was good for something!) and glue it around the circumference of the disks making a drum.

Take the empty fruit cup container and cut holes in the sides to accommodate a 5" piece of 3/4" PVC pipe that will join the hip to the abdomen. Glue it to the drum you made in the first part of Step 11. Now glue the abdomen structure to the bottom of the torso.

Step 12: The Hip

There are two parts that make up the hip. For the first part, cut two pieces of heavy styrene using the template below. Also cut a piece of thin styrene 1" x 7-1/2" and glue it around the hip. The second part is the hip joint. Assemble the two parts separately and allow to dry. Then glue the two parts together. When the super structure is together then attach it to the PVC pipe on the abdomen from Step 11.

I then added the lid to a 5-gallon water bottle and the lid to a small water bottle.

Step 13: The Arm

For the bicep and the forearm, cut two pieces of 3/4" PVC pipe into 3" lengths. For the wrist and the place where the bicep joints the shoulder, cut a 3/4" PVC pipe coupling in half. Place a half on each length of pipe. For the elbow, determine the angle you want the arm to form and glue the bicep and forearm to two 5-gallon water bottle lids as shown in the photo. Cut a strip of thin styrene to cover the gap between the two bottle lids. The wrist is the lid of the plastic capsule from a gumball machine used in Step 10. Fill any gaps with plastic putty or greenstuff. Both bicep and forearm were decorated with lengths of bass guitar wire.

Step 14: The Hand

The hand was cut out of 1/2" Sintra (you could substitute with another kind of plastic or wood product) using the template below. All hard corners were rounded using sandpaper. Some joints were also beveled to force the fingers to curl into a more relaxed position. The knuckles were fashioned out of greenstuff. Attach the hand to the arm and the arm to the shoulder.

Step 15: The Head

The head is made from the body of a Star Wars AT/AT Walker. The chin was elongated using styrene with a HO scale window as a screen on the front. The face shield was cut from thick styrene using the template below. 1/8" holes were drilled in the shield for ventilation. The jaws were made from the spacers from new super glue bottles.

Step 16: The Rivets

The rivets are two parts. I used an 1/8" punch on thick styrene and a 1/16" punch on thin styrene, glued the large one to the colossal and the small one on top of the large one to make the look of a bolt with a nut through it.

Step 17: The Trap

Cut eight to ten 1/4 and 1/2" dowels into 1-1/2" to 3" lengths. Put a point on one end as if it were cut with an axe. The following graphic shows the logs for the Khador Wilderness Fort in the Home Sweet Fort tutorial. You will need to cut the blunt end at a more acute angle than shown in the photo so the logs look as thought they are coming out of the ground.

The chains connecting the logs were made by joining links together. The bands around the logs and the weld between the band and the chains were fashioned out of greenstuff.

Draw an outline on the base to determine where the pit should be. Glue the logs around the perimeter and form a small berm around the pit (and between the logs with Celuclay.

Step 18: The Trees

I learned how to do the these banyan-type trees from the Floating Earth tutorial Scarab did. He bumped it to make room for Rocks and Rivets Pts 1 & 2 so in a nonsensical way the tutorial will post after this one (it’s the next one actually). Only a weenie would take someone else’s idea and claim it as his own so you to refer to his piece to learn how to do trees like this. Sorry about that!

Step 19: Painting the Base

Cover the entire base with white glue (except for the center of the pit) and sprinkle with dirt. Allow to dry then apply a black basecoat to the entire base and trees. When the basecoat is dry paint the base and trees (for the rest of this step leave center of pit black) P3 Battlefield Brown. Then give everything a loose coat of VP Flat Earth followed by a looser coat of VP Green Brown and a drybrush highlight of VP Stone Grey.

Step 20: Painting the Hammer

The steel portions of the hammer where painted as follows: Coats of VP Gunmetal; GW Stormbolter Grey; and a light drybrush of GW Mithril Silver. The rust started with a mixture of one part black ink, two parts of sepia ink, and three parts each of P3 Battlefield Brown and VP Flat Earth. The mixture was applied with a toothbrush using my thumb to flick the solution off the bristles onto the hammer. I then dabbed layers of the following colors: P3 Battlefield Brown, VP Flat Earth; P3 Khador Red Highlight, and VP Light Orange.

The handle grips and other brass parts were painted as follows: Coats of GW Tin Bits; GW Brazen Brass and highlight of GW Burnished Gold. These parts were weathered using a very diluted wash of VP Green Blue, followed by various hues of VP Green Blue to VP White.

Step 21: Painting the Head and Body

The face shield was painted in the same manner as the brass parts in Step 20. The head and body were given a coat of P3 Khador Red Base. Then all areas that would be exposed by the sun were painted with a mix of P3 Khador Red Base and VP Neutral Grey and highlighted with a drybrush of VP Light Grey.

Step 22: Glue the hammer and colossal to the base

Glue the hammer and super structure to the base using a hot glue gun.

Step 22: The Foliage

The foliage is plastic plant purchased from a craft store. Be sure to wash it first with warm soapy water. I then divided it into three piles, spraying one pile khaki, one dark green and one medium green. I then added veins and highlights. I then filled all of the gaps in the pit around the colossal.

Step 23: The Grass

Affix the static grass to the base with white glue.

Step 24: The Easter Eggs

I made some flowers, mushrooms, and a bird’s nest with a couple of speckled eggs in it for this tutorial. To make the flowers I used thin styrene and a 1/16" punch to make the flower centers. I stuck them all to a piece of masking tape. I made the flower petals using the same punch and some white card stock. Place a drop of glue onto each small piece of styrene. Then attach three to five petals to each piece of styrene. When they are dry turn them over on the tape and paint the centers using a mixture of VP Green Brown and VP Yellow. When the paint is dry remove from tape and attach to base.

I made the mushrooms by rolling small balls of greenstuff and placing them on a plastic bag and flattening them. When the greenstuff had cured I removed the mushrooms and attached them to the base. I then used mixtures of VP White, GW Bleached Bone, and VP Flat Earth paints.

I made the bird’s nest by putting a glob of greenstuff on the end of a paintbrush to shape it into a bowl. I removed the greenstuff while it was still soft and wrapped it with moss Scarab used for his trees and was kind enough to give me. I then touched up the shape with the end of the same paintbrush until most of the greenstuff was covered with moss. I then rolled two small eggs out of greenstuff and placed it in the nest. When it was all cured I painted the next with mixtures of VP Flat Earth and GW Bleached Bone. I painted the eggs with VP Blue and the speckles with VP White and allowed it to dry. I then glued it in place under the shoulder plate.

Afterthoughts: This was a fun project. The challenge was to find shapes that would work with the overall vision I had for the piece. Another challenge was to make it look sun-bleached. If I had to do it again I would have had more blistered paint and a lot more rust. Maybe to the point of rotting clear through the metal.

Tedious looking things like a zillion rivets, Easter eggs and bark really score high on the aesthetics scale. If you have never stooped to that level of lunacy before try it in a small area on your next terrain piece. You may find it worth it.