A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

Tony F moves into real estate development.

Last year, as a bit of a lock-down#2 project, I decided to make a small desert village for 6mm sci-fi games. All of the components come from Brigade Models (quick disclaimer here – I’m one of the owners of said company) but the techniques would work with any other manufacturer’s buildings. The wall pieces were taken from the Town Walls range, while the buildings are mostly from the Desert Outlands set. The photos in this post are all thumbnails – click on them for larger versions.

The first decision to make was how large it was going to be; I decided that it would have to fit in a 4l Really Useful Box, which gave me a maximum of a 348x220mm footprint and a height limit of 68mm. I based it on a sheet of Foamex, which is great for terrain projects as it doesn’t warp like MDF or hardboard when you apply paint. This came in 300x200mm sheets, so one of those did the job nicely.

I spent a while laying out wall pieces until I had a configuration that I liked – I wanted to avoid a simple rectangular wall. I positioned a gateway and sanded down the base at that point so it sloped away, and added a pair of watchtower pieces to the walls. Once I was happy with this I glued them down with a clear glue (Uhu). I smeared some wall filler around the joins to fill in the odd gap, this has a similar texture to the wall pieces so blends in better. I then laid out the buildings – I wanted enough space around them to be able to position figures and vehicles, so didn’t cram them in too tightly. In the end there were nine altogether. Again I fixed them in place with clear glue.

Now that the main components were in place, I was able to texture the ground. Inside the walls I simply glued a layer of sand using PVA, with the odd small stone around the edges. Outside the walls I mixed up a batch of emulsion paint, sand and PVA and applied this with an old paintbrush. I mixed in some larger grades of sand and small stones (sold in homeware shops for basing candles) so that I achieved a much rougher texture than the inner area.

The next stage was to add lots of small details to the buildings. I used a few parts from the Brigade 2mm scenery range, there are bits of girder bridges, barns, support frames from an airship hangar, a Roman lighthouse (makes a good chimney) and an obelisk in the main square. There’s the odd roof-mounted water tank and aerial from the 15mm range. There’s also a radio antenna which is the broken off top of a much larger 3D (mis)printed mast. This part proved to be a nightmare as I kept knocking it off – in hindsight it would have been better to paint it separately and attached when everything else was finished, but I kept supergluing it back on.

I also fitted some supports for fabric canopies made from paperclips and wire staples – I drilled into the buildings, walls and base with a 1mm bit and superglued them in. I didn’t add the canopies themselves yet to make it easier to paint around them.

Everything was then sprayed in Halfords white primer, followed by a coat of Army Painter Skeleton Bone. The walls and buildings were them washed with GW Agrax Earthshade, while the ground was washed with Seraphim Sepia. This gave the buildings a distinctly different shade from the ground, even though they were painted with the same base colour. Walls, buildings are ground were all heavily drybrushed with bone or stone paints from the Citadel Dry range.

Other details were painted in – doors and windows, various roof accessories and so on, mostly using Citadel contrast paints which worked well over the pale bone base colour. With this done I was now able to make the canopies from small pieces of paper towel – the type of nasty, non-absorbent cheap towels that we used to get in school toilets! I soaked the pieces in dilute PVA and draped them across the supports, making sure that they drooped as naturally as possible in between. Once the glue dried they were pretty solid. I painted them in either dark red or dark brown using GW contrast paints.

The finished conurbation was christened Mos Arun; ‘Mos’ from the Star Wars Tatooine naming convention, and ‘Arun’ taken from the road name where I live. I’m planning a series of other small building bases to accompany it in the near future, which will also appear on this blog in due course. All being well, they should appear at the club’s Open Day later in the year.

Author: Brigadier Tony

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