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Nodri's PHR, UCM, & Terrain: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostThu Jun 23, 2016 9:16 pm

@Ljevid - Lets see, where do I start...

1. You noticed my color theory! *blush* Thank you!

2. I'm glad you like Caine. I hate to disappoint you, but the rest of the army won't be redone. If I did, I'd have to repaint Caine the complimentary color of the new army and I'm happy with her paintjob :lol:

3. The PHR symbol was a fun experiment with stencils, but you won't see it outside of the special commanders (hint of things to come...*cough* Barros *cough*).

4. The paintjob on the Poseidon will be the primary topic of my next tutorial. It's best defined as the first model that I've had the room to experiment with new techniques. As a result, there were some successes and some challenges. Overall, I'm happy with it, but it should be considered a stepping stone rather than a mastered technique. More on that over the weekend, however...

5. With regards to you stealing my basing idea, that's the nicest thing you could've possible said! Thank you. These tutorials are posted with the intent that people will grab a few nuggets of inspiration and go use them for their own purposes. Please post pics here when it's done. I look forward to seeing it.

6. I will enter in next month's competition. The reason being that I absolutely love Big Mac's dropship conversion and I'm really pulling for him to win this month. Every way you look at it, it's a simply brilliant conversion & paintjob.


@Mike Mee - Thanks man! Coming from someone with your well-documented painting skills, that's quite the compliment.


@Buffdrinklot - Thank you! Now go make your own version and post it here! :mrgreen:

I agree about the dual guns and would love to see an AA variant (Apollo/Phobos hybrid for quick backfield AA would be awesome!). I'm not much of a rules guy, so it could be game-breaking for all I know, but it would look cool for sure. As it stands, I think having the unique look on Caine really makes her stand out from her bodyguards and that's a definite bonus.




That's all for now. I'm getting started on the next tutorial. It's a beast, but it'll be fun. I promise.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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Mike Mee

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostFri Jun 24, 2016 1:26 pm

Nodri wrote:@Mike Mee - Thanks man! Coming from someone with your well-documented painting skills, that's quite the compliment.


Ah, you underlook my cow boy ways ;) Keep up the good work dude x.
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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostFri Jun 24, 2016 8:51 pm

@Mike Mee - Will do. Thanks :mrgreen:


In light of today's results regarding the EU vote, I'm an American and have no opinion that matters one way or the other. For what it's worth, I will share with our friends across the pond the consensus here in the Rocky Mountains. Regardless of how this plays out, we think you did the right thing by putting it up to a popular vote. To do otherwise would've been contrary to the ideals of democracy which we all hold dear. It clearly won't be an easy road and we respect your courage. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, president during the American civil war, we hope that the UK will "have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Good luck friends.



And now for something completely different...



How to Paint Blue Fire


If you've been following this plog, I'm sure you noticed that Caine was not painted to match the rest of my army. This was done for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted my special commanders to be blue because blue and orange are compliments (opposite each other on the color wheel) and so will look good together. For a fire-themed army, blue also makes sense for special commanders because blue is the hottest part of the flame. With that in mind, it was fun to experiment with a monochromatic color scheme for the first time (there are no colors except blue in shades and tones from black to white).

In addition, I've painted excessive amounts of yellow, orange, and red over the last few years and I was in desperate need of a break. The alternative may have been scooping out my eyes with a teaspoon and that probably would've been kinda messy.

So without further ado, let's get started.


First, I installed magnets in Barros & the Poseidon in the same way as the Hades/Poseidon. All magnets shown are 1/8" x 1/16". Details on magnetizing Caine can be found in the tutorial immediately preceding this one.
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The models were then primed with Vallejo Black Surface Primer applied via airbrush.
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I then made a stencil on the Silhouette Portrait out of adhesive frisket film and applied it to the models. The Barros & Poseidon stencils are the same size. The stencils on Caine and Barros' tail gun are smaller but are also both the same size.
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I used the same stencils for these models that I did for the shields. All were made using the Silhouette Portrait to cut transparency film.
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Next, the flames were mapped and airbrushed on with Minitaire 103 Snow White. This first layer of flames was made by using the airbrush in conjunction with the stencils. There was minimal freehanding with the airbrush. This process was difficult on Barros & the Poseidon due to scale. It was nearly impossible on Caine due to an even smaller scale. For this reason, I balanced the flames with zenithal highlighting (visible across most of Caine, the legs of Barros, and the turbofan housings on the Poseidon, among other locations).
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Minitaire 150 Royal Blood was then applied to the shadows, leaving white showing through the highlights and midtones.
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Minitaire 148 Lagoon Blue was then applied to all remaining white areas.
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Minitaire 174 Ghost Tint Blue was sprayed across the entire model.
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An intercoat (protective layer) of Matte medium was sprayed over the entire model. Dilute the matte medium to the consistency of thinned paint.
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I then reapplied the stencils to the models and sprayed them with Minitaire 103 Snow White to bring back the highlights.
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Next, I applied Minitaire 103 Snow White freehand with the airbrush (for the record, I'm using an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS). This is where things get challenging at such a small scale. The ideal is to reapply highlights while leaving room for the underlying layer to show through. At such a small scale, this is extremely difficult bordering on impossible. I attempted to apply the flames in the same way as had been done in the first step (i.e. with the stencils) but it just didn't look right. I instead opted to freehand the highlights which resulted in more depth, but also caused the flames to have more of a surreal, plasma-like feel vs. a formal fire look.

It may be possible to improve on this with practice, but I'm not sure at this stage if I've hit the limits of my tools, my skills, or (most likely) both. More practice will be necessary to say for sure.
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Minitaire 180 Ghost Tint Plasma Fluid was airbrushed all over the models.
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A second intercoat of diluted matte medium was applied.
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I then used a regular brush to apply the metallic layers. The base is VMA 71 Arctic Blue; the first highlight is VMA 71 Arctic Blue 1 to 1 with VMA 63 Silver.
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Next, touchups were performed with Minitaire 150 Royal Blood and then all metallic areas were washed in Minitaire 180 Plasma Fluid diluted 1:1 with acrylic airbrush thinner.
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A final highlight of VMA 63 Silver was applied to all metallic areas. The entire model was then given another intercoat of diluted matte medium.
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The matte medium was allowed to cure overnight and VMA 64 Chrome was brushed on to all lenses. Two coats of Testor's Glosscote were sprayed over the entire model. The Glosscote was allowed to cure overnight.
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Once the gloss varnish cured, I used a beading awl to re-define all of the dots on the models by gently pressing the tip of the awl into each dot. I then painted VMA 63 Silver over all of the dots and wiped off the excess with a cotton bud dipped in tap water. This gives a nice, clean look to the dots without making them too fiddly to paint.

I then painted diluted matte medium over the dots with a brush to prevent frosting of the varnish.

Next I sprayed the models with two coats of Testors Dullcote which was allowed to cure overnight. The Dullcote is applied over the Glosscote because both are solvent-based and the Dullcote will dissolve the surface of the Glosscote. When dry, the Dullcote will provide texture that will improve the adhesion of the acrylic varnish.

The next day, two coats of Testors Acryl 4637 Semigloss Varnish was airbrushed over the models. Done.
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I think that, overall, they came out well. I'd still like to do some more practice to see if it's possible to get a better layered effect of the flames at this scale. As I said earlier, it's possible that I'm pushing the limit of my tools but practice is always a good thing.

Next up are two massively huge and evil tutorials. I hope to have the time this weekend to get at least one posted. They'll not only take this army in a new direction but will also fill you all in on what I'll be working on between now and whenever my FLGS gets all of the new PHR units in stock (which will be the last project before switching gears entirely and starting the UCM army).



As always, questions and comments are welcome.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostSun Jun 26, 2016 10:15 pm

Get comfy and grab your beverage of choice (I'm drinking Sambuca in Cappuccino). This is gonna be the first part of a two-part series on how to build a custom lava display board.

It's been broken into two parts for two reasons. The first is that it's insanely long and I cannot promise that both parts will be completed today (if not, the second part should be available mid-week). The second is that by splitting it into construction & painting sections, it will be easier for those with a non-lava themed army (i.e. everyone) to follow along with the building process exclusively. You can then apply your own ideas with regards to painting or applying other terrain details. As with all tutorials on this plog, the goal is to provide you with some level of inspiration that helps you to improve your own work in your own way.

It's also worth mentioning that these two tutorials mark the end of the updates and progress that I've made since the beginning of the year. Everything from here on will be an accurate representation of whatever is currently on my workbench. I start a new job this week, and it promises to offer me the ability to balance my professional and personal lives which is a luxury I've not had in several years. I'm hoping to post updates, even if they're small, every couple of weeks.

Like many of the projects I undertake, this display board had more than one purpose. It was designed to experiment with some terrain techniques on a small scale before moving on to a full-sized gaming table, which will be my next project (which will be followed by completing the new PHR units, prepping the new UCM units, and finally painting my UCM army). While I love the paper terrain offered by Hawk for starter purposes, it's definitely time to make a proper gaming table. It's all on paper at the moment, but I have a plan and will start buying materials and getting things built in the near future. There will, of course, be a metric crapton of tutorials posted to show my progress. This will be my first ever gaming table, so be forewarned that mistakes will be made and things will not go especially quickly.

Enough talk, lets get to the fun stuff...



How to Build a Custom Lava Display Board


I started by buying a wooden plate and display base at Hobby Lobby. I don't recall exactly how much they cost, but it wasn't particularly expensive. These parts were used because I wanted to create a functional display base that didn't look like a converted TV tray.
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Next, I found the center of the circles and marked them. To find the center of a circle:
a. Draw two arbitrary parallel lines cutting chords across the ellipse (in red).
b. Bisect the chords and draw a line through the midpoints (blue).
c. Bisect the resulting line. The bisecting point is the center of the ellipse.

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Then drill the pilot holes so the wood doesn't split when the screws are installed. I also traced the outline of the top of the base on the top of the plate so that I would know where the two objects meet for future reference.
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The put glue on the base. Any wood/craft/PVA glue will work fine.
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While the glue is still wet, install the screws.
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Sand the bottom of the base so that it's level.
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I then sealed the holes and joins with PVA glue. It will shrink a little when it dries, so two coats may be needed. Painters caulk would've also worked fine, but I couldn't justify opening a fresh tube for a project this small.
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Next, I made a homebrew depth gauge to determine the depth of the recess on the surface of the plate. This was necessary because, as you'll see in the next few steps, I wanted to cover the surface of the plate with a single piece of sheet metal. Knowing the depth of the recess allowed me to cut spacers to reinforce the sheet metal.

To make an use the gauge, use any flat object (a ruler would work fine) to lay horizontal across the entire plate. Then place something flat perpendicular to the surface of the plate. Draw a line on the perpendicular object where it meets the bottom of the ruler to and measure to determine the depth. I know that this is a pain to explain clearly, but the images below should help. It's stupidly easy.

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I then noticed that the base had a bit of a rock to it, so I added two more screws to make it level. Worked perfectly.
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The spacers were then cut to the same thickness as i measured on the homebrew depth gauge. I don't recall the exact depth, but I think it was about 3/16".
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A sheet of 28 gauge sheet metal was cut into a circle with tin snips. I picked it up at the local Home Depot and saved the scraps for the bases in the tutorials that were posted earlier. The sheet metal had been prepped by sanding it with very course sandpaper, de-greasing with Simple Green, rinsing with tap water, and wiping dry with an old towel. The prep work ensures that future glues, primers, etc. will stick to the metal.

The pic below shows the sheet metal test fit and neither the sheet metal nor the spacers have yet been glued.
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The spacers were then aligned with the sheet metal and pilot holes were drilled through both. This will enable the screws to go through the metal and will prevent the spacers from splitting.
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The spacers were then coated in wood glue and wood screws were driven through the pilot holes in the sheet metal, through the spacers, and into the base. I ran a thick bead of PVA glue around the entire perimeter of the sheet metal and used self-tapping screws (screws that can go through metal) to secure the perimeter. This was done by eye and no measurements were taken. C-clamps were then placed around the perimeter to improve the glue bond. Any excess glue was wiped away with an old towel. Do not use your finger because the edges of the metal are sharp and you will bleed all over your display board.

Allow to dry at least over night.

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You may have noticed some lines marked on the sheet metal with Sharpie. These were to map out the lava islands. I made the the islands out of cork and then trimmed the same sheet metal as was used above (and prepped the same way) to fit.
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In this image, the metal and cork are just test fitted, they have not yet been glued.
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The glue on the display board is now dry and the clamps have been removed. This thing is solid! If I put a strap of leather on the back, it would work as small shield. As it is, if someone breaks into my house, I'll just bludgeon them to death with my display board. Try explaining that one to the cops...
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Here, the islands are test fit.
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Because this is a DzC display board, I need a way to incorporate flier bases directly into it. If I didn't, the board would need to be much larger in order to accommodate the flier bases. To solve this problem, I picked up two packs of Hawk Widgets so that I could mount them directly to the display board.

I spaced the Widgets two inches apart around the perimeter of most of the board. I intentionally left the front open for display purposes. Although not visible here, I wrapped a piece of blue painters tape around the display board. I then put marks on the tape at 2" intervals and put the tape back around the board. The marks were then transferred from the tape to the wood. I then put a dot on each line 15mm in from the edge to mark the future location of the Widget.

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And here's how the islands will look in relation to the Widgets. The portion of the board closest to you is the front.
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Next I drilled the holes for the Widgets. I started by drilling a 3/32" hole at every mark do a depth of about 3/8". This is about the same as the diameter of the small nub on the bottom of the widget. I then went back to all of the holes that would not be covered by a lava island and expanded them to 3/16" so that they would sit flush with the top of the liquid lava.
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I've mentioned this before, but it's worth reviewing here. The Hawk Widgets are very well made and have a consistent internal diameter of about 1/8". This is awesome. What isn't awesome is that I've not been able to find long, clear, plastic rod that's made to the same degree of accuracy. The flight pegs are made out of 1/8" Plastruct clear acrylic rods. The problem is that they weren't designed for this level of tolerance and have slight variances up and down the length of each rod.

Flight pegs are made by cutting acrylic rod to 4 1/2" & 3 1/2" lengths and gluing a 1/8" x 1/16" magnet to the top of each rod but every one of them is slightly different in diameter. While one will fit perfectly, another may be to large to fit int the Widget at all. If the Hawk widgets are drilled out to much, then some pegs are so small they rattle around inside and lean badly when a model is attached. To say that this is maddening is an understatement.

The best solution that I've found to this problem is to grip each Widget in a pair of vise grips. I then put a 1/8" drill bit in my power drill, laid it on my workbench, and while holding the pliers/Widget with my left hand I drilled out the top half or so of each widget with my right hand. It was also necessary to test fit each widget with the flight pegs that had already been cut. This process sucks and you will ruin as many Widgets as you will get to work properly, so buy twice as many Widgets as you think you need. The only silver lining here is that this is really the only frustrating part of the whole project.

As a direct result of this gawdawful experience, I must make this plea:
Hawk: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make your flight pegs commercially available in 6" lengths for those of us who wish to have our fliers modeled to the correct height. I know you're busy with Dropfleet being just around the corner and all, but when when you get a break please take a moment and make this happen. Nothing else works quite right with the Widgets and every alternative is nothing short of maddening. I know. I've tried.
Thank you. :mrgreen:


The Widgets were then glued in place and test fit with flight pegs before being allowed to dry overnight. I used a carpenter's speed square to make sure they were plumb.
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Flight pegs installed. The peg on the left will be flush with hot, liquid lava. The peg on the right will be covered by cool, black lava.
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Display board with test pegs installed. The pegs you see will not be used in the final version of the board. They're offcuts and scraps that are in place to prevent the Widgets from getting clogged with paint, glue, etc.
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I then mixed up some Milliput Yellow-Grey and applied it to the edges of the board that will have hot, liquid lava. This part has a gentle slope from the edge of the metal out to the edge of the board. I cleaned out the Widgets by dipping a cotton bud in water and spinning it around in each Widget.
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Next I applied Milliput to the edges of the board that will be covered by the cork islands. This was be done separately because rather than sloping the Milliput, I had to keep it flat to support the cork above. To accomplish this easily, I wrapped a flat piece of scrap wood with clear packing tape. I then wet the taped block with a little water and used it to flatten out the Milliput all the way to the edge of the board. It worked like a charm.
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Milliput was also applied to screws that won't be covered by the cork islands.
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Here's a closeup of the edge of the board. The Widget on the left will be covered by a cork island; the one on the right is visible as part of the hot lava.
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The cork islands were again test fit.
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The cork was then laid out with scraps to map the future placement of terrain features. What you see here is a rough map to my mind's-eye vision.
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The sheet metal was then cut out to fit around the Widgets and future terrain placements. I also drilled out the bottoms of the cork to make room for any screws that were proud of the metal. The sheet metal was then attached to the cork and the cork attached to the base with a healthy amount of CA glue. Everything was clamped in place and allowed to dry overnight.
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I then dry fit the lava rock. They were purchased in the garden section of the local Home Depot for about $6 (sold as garden pumice stones). I washed them in warm water to get rid of any dust before fitting. This image shows the rocks just sitting on the board. No glue has yet been applied.
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PVA glue was then used to attach the pumice stones to the base. It was also used to fill gaps and to create the effect of lava oozing from the rocks. This took forever to dry (a few days in front of a fan, and I'm in Colorado where it's high and dry).

You may also notice another mini-island that's now visible upstage center. It just felt right so I went with it.

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This image shows the PVA mostly dry. I had to keep adding more and more as layers dried to either fill in gaps or to get a good flowing lava effect. I used pins to poke holes in the surface of the dried glue where bubbles were visible underneath. PVA was then squeezed in under pressure until it started oozing out of the other holes. The base was then left in front of the fan until dry. In some cases, this was repeated half a dozen times or more. As a result, this part of the project took about a week. It was worth it, however, as it made the structure very strong.

I also added ground up cork around the rocks to soften the look and to add variety. It was sealed in place with watered down PVA.
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This may be stating the obvious, but the reason for the sheet metal surface is because all the walkers have magnets in their feet and therefore won't fall over. One of the neat side effects was that I could also magnetize some of the terrain features. I made little features out of cork and stone that will be used to cover any obviously-visible Widgets.

They have a 3/16" x 1/32" magnet in the bottom. It's deliberately mounted off-center so that the stone can sit on top of Milliput or cork without having to be completely over sheet metal.
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Vallejo Plastic Putty was used to create the roof of the cave. I just dabbed the tip of the bottle against the top and worked it around a bit with a toothpick.
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As if this board wasn't complicated enough, I decided it was great opportunity to play around with Vallejo Water Effects. It wasn't at all necessary, but I wanted the excuse to experiment. The tools that I used were tap water, a cookie tin lid, toothpicks, and some extremely cheap brushes.
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The Water Effects was stippled on to the cookie tin lid. I did two coats and the second is still wet in this image.
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Water Effects dry with a closeup of the texture in the second image.
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While the Water Effects was fully curing, I applied Liquitex Coarse Texture Gel (dirt cheap from Hobby Lobby) on all of the rock areas (stone and cork) to unify the texture. It looks a bit odd now, but it will make sense once the primer is applied.

The board was then left in front of a fan for a few more days to dry.
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Back to the Water Effects. When fully dry, it peeled off the cookie lid easily and you can see how well the texture is preserved. In future projects, it'll be used to create the feel of flowing water. For the lava, however, the random stippled texture works just fine.
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The Water Effects was broken up and attached to the edges of the board (over the Milliput) and to the inside of the cave. I used undiluted PVA to attach the Water Effects.
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A wash of diluted PVA was then liberally applied to the entire board to seal everything together. It was then left to dry in front of a fan overnight.
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Undiluted PVA was then liberally applied to all areas that will have hot lava. Make sure you do this over cardboard or newspaper because it will drip off the board. Placing the display board in front of a fan while drying will add texture to the surface of the glue as it dries. Give it at least few days to dry completely. Remember that while it will look dry within a day or so, there are little nooks and crannies that will take longer to dry and you want to make sure it's as dry as possible before priming & painting.
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And here's the last image of the first part of the tutorial, the board completely dry and ready for paint.
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And that's it for construction. Part 2 will address painting and I'll post images of the completed board.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostWed Jun 29, 2016 4:14 pm

And now for part two...


How to Paint a Custom Lava Display Board


Before you begin painting the display board, makes sure it's absolutely dry. Leaving it alone for a week or more after the previous soakings in glue is not a bad idea. While the surface glue will dry fairly quickly, there will be plenty in the deeper recesses of the rocks that will stay wet for days and you don't want the residual moisture to cause poor paint adhesion or, even worse, bubbling.

When you're certain the board is dry, you can begin with priming. I went a bit overboard here by using both primer and a paint & primer combo. The reason I did this is that I hadn't used these Rust-Oleum products before and I wanted to experiment. Both worked very well and when I work on the gaming table, I will use the gray primer for hot lava (it's easier to paint white) and the black paint/primer combo for buildings and terrain features that will be black. They have the added advantage of being available at Home Depot for cheap so they're perfect for terrain.
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Gray Primer
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Black Paint & Primer Combo
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Vallejo White Surface Primer applied to areas of hot lava.
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Minitaire 142 Dark Leather was used to map out the lava. This project is fantastic for practicing airbrush skills because it's virtually impossible to mess up an organic form such as lava. So long as you leave yourself enough space to work in all the colors and apply the paint in thin coats, it'll look fine. It's also painless to conceal or repair anything you aren't happy with.
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Minitaire 143 Blood Stained Mud was airbrushed into the shadows. Apply it in thin coats and leave some of the underlying color showing through.
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Minitaire 112 Ancient Bone was lightly dusted across the entire surface to push the underlying colors into the background. A good rule for quality painting, whether it be with a regular brush or an airbrush, is always to build up colors in layers, and then to push them back down before building them back up again. Repeating this process over and over allows you to create a depth and complexity in color that's only possible when using thin layers of paint.
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Minitaire 103 Snow White applied to the hottest areas of the lava.
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Minitaire 170 Ghost Tint Yellow was airbrushed over most of the hot lava. If you thin the ghost tint with airbrush thinner, you can apply it very thinly over a few select hot spots. This will create the effect of very hot areas without pushing too far towards white which is a bit too stark.
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Vallejo Game Ink 092 Brown was airbrushed into the shadows. Thin the brown about to about one part paint to one part airbrush thinner. You could even thin it even further down to 1:2 or 1:3 if you'd like. The thinner the ink, the more control you'll have over the final effect.
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Minitaire 172 Ghost Tint Orange was airbrushed over the shadows. As with the ink, thinning the ghost tint will grant you greater control by allowing you to pass over warmer areas without making a dramatic change.
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Minitaire 173 Ghost Tint Magenta was thinned to one part ghost tint to four parts airbrush thinner and then airbrushed into the shadows. Be very careful with the magenta, as it's very easy to overpower the underlying colors.
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Minitaire 102 Raven Black was brush painted over the cool parts of the lava and to the underside of the board. I used this color because it's what I had on the shelf, but any quality opaque black paint will work fine. Be very careful with your brush strokes. If you go too fast, the bristles will flick little dots of black across your freshly airbrushed lava. Go slow and stipple whenever possible.
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Vallejo Black Lava Texture Paste was brushed onto all of the black areas. As with the black paint, be very careful or you'll flick black dots across the entire board. It's also worth mentioning that I applied the paste in several layers around any of the small detail areas of hot lava. The paste built up around the hot areas and improved the effect of the lava oozing out from underground.
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Vallejo Gloss Varnish was brush painted onto all of the hot lava (2 coats). In hindsight, the gloss should've been applied before painting the cool lava black as it would've made the cleanup of errant splatters much easier. Oh well, live and learn.
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Testors ModelMaster 4636 Flat Clear Acryl matte varnish was brushed on to all black lava. The top of the board is now complete.
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Remember those little magnetic rocks that I made? They were also painted black, given a coat of Vallejo Black Lava Texture Paste and painted with Testors Acryl matte varnish.
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To complete the bottom of the board, I brushed on some Liquitex gloss varnish and then applied some self-adhesive felt (dirt cheap at Hobby Lobby) to finish it off.
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Here's the finished display board with a few PHR models.
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That does it for getting my tutorials up to date. Please post any questions or comments you may have regarding this or any of my other projects. The next mission is to build a lava gaming table that will use the same basic techniques discussed above. Given that it'll be my first foray into terrain, there's still a fair bit of brainstorming and figuring that needs to be done.

I'll start assembling materials and beginning construction in the next few weeks. Updates will be posted as progress is made.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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Mike Mee

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostWed Jun 29, 2016 8:56 pm

Very nice dude, I wish I had the enthusiasm to make my own for Resistance.
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ObliviJohn

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostThu Jun 30, 2016 6:34 am

That is super awsome!
Makes me imagine a whole table with lava and stuffs. Skimmers would be kings.
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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostThu Jun 30, 2016 10:48 am

@Mike Mee - You'll find the enthusiasm when you need a break.

A Resistance version of this board would be super easy as you could skip all of the sheet metal (no need to keep walkers upright with magnets) and the center of the wood plate could be easily filled with drywall compound. Hack up a Woodland Scenics kit or two for the ruined city look. Have some fun with a screw gun and a couple different forstner bits and fill the holes with tinted Still Water to create a few pools of toxic sludge. Fill the remaining flat spaces with roads, sidewalks, urban debris, and turf/trees/bushes from any number of N scale railroad suppliers. If you wanted to breathe some extra life into the scene, you could also get some 10mm civilians from Pendraken.

It'd be great fun to build, paint, & weather and would be perfect for recharging the hobby batteries when you're burned out on other stuff. It was exactly that feeling that led me to this project in the first place ;)



@ObliviJohn: Thank you! You will get to see the full lava table that looks like this (and a bunch of tutorials detailing how to build it). I promise.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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fiddlerboy

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostFri Jul 08, 2016 7:26 am

Very nice job on that display base! It really ties everything together well. I'd have left a bit more room for things that touch the ground to not melt into the lava, though!
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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostFri Jul 08, 2016 5:21 pm

@ Fiddlerboy: Thank you! With regards to the melting issue, given the fire theme, the vehicles hopefully look natural on both hot & cool surfaces. :)

In fact, the full table will have the flexibility to use the hot lava either as rivers or as roads depending upon the desires of the players. Scourge & Shaltari skimmers, for example, won't look at all out of place zipping across the unobstructed surface of molten lava. On the other hand, my UCM & Resistance friends may prefer a more traditional approach due to the natural limitations of traditional road tires (which would go flat in an instant even on cool lava due to the fact that it's incredibly sharp and brittle, but we'll conveniently ignore that for gaming purposes...).

With this in mind, I may as well get started...



Adventures in Terrain Making - Building a Lava Table


Unlike my previous tutorials, this project will be updated in pieces as work progresses. This is partly due simply to the volume of information that's generated from building an entire 4'x6' custom table. Topics are sure to include design, construction, and painting of the table frame, terrain features, buildings, and other components. In addition, I've never made a gaming table before and this format will make documenting my learning curve easier. It'll also make it possible to get feedback and ideas as work progresses. This last point is particularly important, as I'll need to keep the needs and preferences of my opponents in mind.

As mentioned above, the table will be designed with the idea of maximum flexibility in mind. As with the army, much of the table will be magnetic or magnet-friendly. Imagine a refrigerator door converted into a gaming table. Not only will my walkers be able to stick directly to the surface, but I will also be magnetizing terrain pieces so that they're less likely to be bumped out of alignment during play. I'm sure that other opportunities for the creative application of magnets will arise and I'll be actively seeking ideas.

From a design perspective, this table will be a PHR forge world. Imagine a small, molten asteroid or moon in some isolated part of the galaxy. In and on this world the PHR build their machines of war and augment their soldiers with the designs imparted upon them by the White Sphere. They are literally humanity reforged.

The base table will be painted as hot, molten, lava in the same way as was done in the display board tutorial. This will keep the table itself flat, which will make it easier to transport & store. Areas of cool, black lava along with other terrain features will all sit on top and will be attached with magnets. There will, of course, be hills, lava rocks, craters, etc. to bring depth to the surface. Buildings will be of an industrial nature and will reflect the purpose of the world as base of PHR operations. There will be factories, pipes, storage tanks, defense systems, habitation areas, etc. The nice thing about this project is that I'll always be able to add more new stuff at a later time. It will always be modular.

The other nice thing about working with a lava table is that it has no real scale unless structures are present. This means that it will also be fully compatible with with Dropfleet.

With that broad framework in mind, here are some of the first images of this project.



The base of the table is built out of 19/32" x 4' x 8' oriented strand board (OSB). The reason I chose OSB is that it's cheap (about $15 for a sheet), strong (it's used for a variety of construction applications), and readily available.

I bought a sheet at the local Home Depot and had them use the panel saw to cut the 4' x 8' sheet down to three pieces of 2' x 4' and two pieces of about 11 3/4" x 4'. The three 2' x 4' pieces will comprise the table (either two as a 4' x 4' or all three as a 4' x 6').

The two offcuts will be used as end pieces for storage of models, templates, dice, and books. I'll probably also incorporate a removable dice tower/turn counter into one or both of them. Since I play with a very small group, games of 3 or 4 players aren't uncommon, so I want to be able to accommodate everyone as best as possible.
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36" x 48" 30-gauge galvanized sheet steel (used for duct work, also from Home Depot, about $16/sheet) will be used to cover the surface of the table. The two sheets will have the extra 12" cut off and I'll use those two offcuts to cover the third sheet of OSB.
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Closeup of the OSB & sheet steel.
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Finally, here are the magnets that will be used. The 1/4" dia. x 1/2" thick N52 magnets (top) have a pull strength of 4.79 lbs. Two will be mounted on each side of the three table-surface OSB boards (I ordered two extras just in case). This will allow them to stick to each other to prevent separation during play. I'll write up a quick & dirty tutorial once they're installed that will better explain their application.

The smaller 1/4" dia. x 1/16" thick N52 magnets (bottom) have a pull strength of 1.47 lbs. These magnets will be used to stick buildings and terrain features to the surface of the table (like fridge magnets). The pull strength is reduced by the thin gauge of the sheet steel, but it will be more than enough for terrain purposes. I'll also use them to attach each of the two, smaller, end pieces of the table to the main playing surface.
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That's all for now. Updates will be posted as work progresses. Please post your feedback, ideas, and insights. The more information I have, the better. :mrgreen:
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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