Sunday, March 25, 2012

Middle Earth (but It's Pink!), Pt.1

I figured it was time I put the Fort in context. In other words, get off my butt and make some terrain. Even from the first I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted, so I grabbed some pink insulation board, positioned the Fort, and began drawing the cut lines for the terrain features. Next I grabbed my WS Hot Wire Cutter and began slicing.......grabbed my hot wire cutter and began............ hot wire cutter and began.........shoot, the thing was dead. It worked the last time I used it, but that was probably three years ago. At least it fit in the trash bin.

So, I looked through my blade drawer and found a two inch blade that cut the foam like butter. I don't remember buying this blade, so it probably came out of Eve's stash. As long as it worked.

OK, some parameter's. These boards are 2' x 3,' standard LotR fare. I figure 4-6 of them will allow room for the Long Walls, as well as giving the Evil side room to maneuver. These boards were actually cut down from some 2' x 5' blanks I was preparing for a FoW Omaha Beach table. The foam was glued to wooden frames (to keep them flat) with tongue-and-groove edges (to keep them aligned). Man, that is too much like work. I was not so nearly ambitious here. I'm hoping that if I'm careful applying the various ground covers, the foam will remain flat. If it twists or curls, I have some 1/4" Masonite that will do the job.

The first requirement is that  the Fort's sides were not parallel to the board's edges. Boring! It is hard to see in these pictures, but the building is angled with the right-front corner an inch or two closer to the camera. It doesn't take much to get rid of that 'static' look. The second requirement was the Fort should be raised one layer of foam higher than the normal ground-level. Thirdly, I wanted a small shelf of ground with a sharp drop-off in front of  the baffle wall. Last of all, there had to be a long, grassy causeway from the Fort to ground-level. I achieved all those goals, plus a few more.

In these two shots, you can see I used one of the big cut-off scraps to raise the Fort one layer. You can easily see the drop-off in front of the baffle wall, as well as the causeway. The 'gutters' on either side were cut to an exaggerated depth. I knew I would cover the board with plaster cloth or Sculptamold (or both), and they would fill that extra depth.

Here are a couple of those extra goals. I started with a creek that ran into a small pond. I cut completely through this layer of foam. I will add a new bottom in a minute.  Then I took  a two-arch, N-scale viaduct, cut off one of the arches, then widened it from 1" to 3". Finally I trimmed the foam to accommodate the bridge.

If you were wondering what the stone pedestal at the foot of the causeway was for, here you are. There is a pedestal on the other side also. I have enough silicon left to make a mold of this guy, or I could just use the 'fallen statue' that came with this one.

A view of the creek.

I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the next step, but I think I can explain it with this shot. I couldn't just leave the creek and pond bottomless. I needed something nice and flat to apply a water-effect to. I pinned a 1/4" piece of foam core under it, and cut straight down through the bevel and through the foam core. Where the creek sides were vertical, I cut the foam core flush with them. I ended up with a piece that fit (almost) perfectly.

The following pictures show the application of the first layer of Sculptamold. I love this stuff, a combination of plaster and paper mache.

I changed the direction of my thinking. The water course will now begin here, emanating from a spring on this islet.

This first application of Sculptamold was fairly thick, and I've left it to dry overnight. Hopefully it won't shrink too much. I'll sand it today and apply a second, 'soupier' layer to cover any boo-boos.

The last thing I did last night was glue down the big piece the Fort sits on. Oh, did I mention this earlier? I guess I haven't used this glue for a few years either. It had dried so much in the bottle, I had to cut the entire top off. It was now the consistency of children's paste, but it  went on perfectly with a putty knife. A dozen magazine holders 'clamped' the piece down. Looks like I need to make a trip to the hobby shop on Monday.  Thanks for looking.  Don

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