Monday, November 1, 2010

Aquarium Additions- The conclusion

In this final installment, we'll look at a large piece and how it can be modified multiple ways according to the armies being used.  Ideally this will serve as inspiration for you to select your own large piece and modify it as best serves your wargaming.

The piece in question is a large fake section of driftwood from Petco.
First- as a large tree fit for a Xenos nest
Second- s a base of operations for Forest Elves, Forest Goblins, or, in my case, Orks.

One side of the tree, complete with a Tyranid for size comparison.

The other side of the "tree"
Top view of unaltered "tree"

First Option- Making the plastic driftwood look more like a real plant:

Step 1- Add darker brown on the tan highlights, a wash, and paint on the inside of the "tree" where it may show.

This was taken when the wash was still wet; the shine leaves once dry, but this also makes it more difficult to see the difference in shading from photo to photo.

Here's the other side, dry.
 Step 2- Fill the largest holes with florists' foam or housing insulation foam- cut with a craft knife and glue with hot glue (low, since high melts the foam).
Step 3- Insert greenery, which may be painted as in earlier Aquarium Add-Ins, again, use hot glue.

 Here is the finished tree, version 1- beware the giant xenos enemy!
Front view

Top view

Rear view
 Second Project- Giant Tree Fort/Tree Base
The first steps are the same, adding shading, filling in at least some of the holes, and adding moss or plastic greenery.  I made a point of selecting four of the eight openings as being places for horizontal platforms.  Using thick foam makes it easy to create a stable base- just be sure to work from the top down so that you can reach up inside the structure.
Next, (Step 4 if you're counting) I gathered craft sticks and wooden shapes (usually sold under the name of "Woodle" or "Woodsie" and began layering them on the foam platforms.  I also created walls and doors for the remaining openings.

A close up, top down, showing the largest of the foam platforms and a small circular (and wooden) platform making up my smallest "decking."

A number of "Woodsies" and some moss make up a platform and hatch at the very top of the fortress.

Here's a hole at the base of the fortress that I elected to cover rather than treat it as an entry port.

Here's the backside of the craft sticks seen painted in the previous photo.  As long as you are careful about the order of your work, it's possible to get both the glue gun and at least one of your hands into the space (at least if the piece is as large as this one) to secure everything well.

This is the foam background used to support the main entry to the fortress.

Here is a platform of craft sticks that cantilevers out of the large opening in the back of the fortress.  I was sure to add a craft stick that seems to support the decking (left side of this view).
Step 5- trim craft sticks, chopsticks, or other sources- including the plastic your model came on- to create railings and details. Hot glue is probably still your best bet.
Step 6- paint all of that light colored wood!  Try a few shades of brown, and possibly a wash.
I play Orks in 40k and Goblins in Fantasy, so I like to leave things looking "rustic" and "ramshackle."  Using balsa and toothpicks can create a more refined look for elves.
The finished fortress, front view- Two Nobz guard the main gate.

Top view- There's a gretchin in the small lookout, and Boyz with some dakka in the main crows' nest.

Rear view- Black Ork Nob conversion with banner keeping watch on the main deck...

Close up of the Gretchin and a Boy helping to hold the main gate from the second largest platform.

(Please pardon the resolution.)
Here's the wall and platform in the back, completed, so that you can see the details mentioned in Step 4.

You may notice that the shading here is different from the shots with the Tyranids.  I sponged over the entire surface with a lighter brown to help make the bark and craft wood blend a bit better.

There are several different plastic versions of driftwood available, and, of course it's possible to acquire real driftwood as well.  Since driftwood can seem alien in shape and tends to have interesting curves and hollows, it is an excellent base for terrain conversion.

Please consider posting pictures of your own work- the possibilities seem endless!

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