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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

On the Road to Armies on Parade - Part 3 - Scratching the Surface

As this is part three of the series on this year's Armies on Parade board, I figured it was about time to get around to talking about the third layer of this cake - the surface level. I'll also go through some major updates on the mine level as well, as that level is coming right along. My parade board is designed to tell a bit of a story, with the Uprising taking place simultaneously across the planet - in the mines, in the Hive city, and across the planet's surface. As my army is a mix of traditional Genestealer Cult models with a very liberal dose of unique Brood Brothers examples, I figured I needed at least some surface area to show off some of the larger vehicles that wouldn't show up in a mine or Underhive.

Early phases of surface construction

The surface layer is the only layer where I have the whole board to actually work with, as there is no superstructure for the next layer in the cake. I'd originally toyed with the idea of a four layer board, but wisely talked myself out of it. The surface starts with the plywood as I've used for the other layers. I've added some Plastruct craters to represent some bombed or shelled areas. I've also created a couple of small rises using 1/4" foam (which will show up again in the mine level). The pink foam used for the small outcrop with standing stones is foam insulation board I've been using for the structural support down in the mine level for the rock wall. I've found that Täk-E-Glue works very well for all of the foam sheets.

Surface with the base coat completed

One of the hills is just going to be a rise for one of the larger vehicles, which the other I'm hoping to put a bunker on, assuming it gets done in time. All of the foam was cut with a hot wire foam cutter (visible in the top left of the photo along with the ubiquitous Sharpie for drawing out the shapes). The entire top is now ready for painting and texturing. I also have to add some texture to the standing stones as well.

Ceiling foam added with holes for lights

I'd initially purchased the craft foam I used on the surface to help with integrating the lights and other effects in the mine level, where I ended up using several sheets in two layers. The first layer was irregular to encapsulate the wiring for the lights, and the second layer just had holes in it to allow the LED to pass through. The connections didn't have to be perfect, large concrete constructions or mines in the real world aren't, and I was sort of going for that look. The texture I used on the top was Ammo of Mig Concrete (AMIG2108), which is great, but is coarser than some competing offerings. I found it to be perfect for anything that I needed to look fairly rough.

Floor with foam and lead for bottom effects

I used a similar technique for the bottom of the mine level, where some of it was supposed to actually look more like concrete. I've only used a single layer of foam to cover the one lead that needed to come through the floor of the bottom level. For this level I used the AK Interactive Concrete (AK8014) as it has a bit finer texture which gave me the look I was going for. In the two photos above you can see I've managed to get the rest of the rock facing built and integrated, but it isn't completely painted yet. 

Ceiling with texture added

In the photo above you can see I've finished the ceiling texture and all of the LED lights are dutifully hanging through ready for the next step. The rock face is integrated and ready to go as well. Just in case you're wondering, I ended up using about 2/3 of the container of Ammo of Mig Concrete on this and had to purchase a relief container (as I use it one some of my Cult bases as well!). I'm pretty happy with the effect - it's now ready for final washes and the next details.

Old dart gun ammo? No - mine level light fixtures!

I scratch built some light fixtures for the LED lighting for the mine level from some Plastruct parts and Evergreen tubing and sheet. These will complete the actual ceiling of the mine level, though there is still a way to go with final detailing and other bits.

So, more good progress this time, but I'm really starting to feel the time crunch. I have a lot to get done in a fairly short period of time. So far so good on all of the electronics though. I've been testing them at every step of the construction to make sure that nothing has gone wrong. Next time I should be able to reveal the nearly completed and fully lit-up mine level along with a few more surprises!

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