Insider 5-18-2017

As Lock & Load looms closer on the horizon, I put my head down and continue the grind. In my previous Insider, I shared some inspiration and early planning for the Boarsgate project. Today, I would like to share some more work-in-progress photos of the Boarsgate fort and wall for the conclusion of the Crossroads of Courage League.

Once I had the dimensions in mind and the foam pieces loosely cut, I needed to decide where to begin. The main gate seemed like the right place, as it would be both the centerpiece of the table as well as a good location to build off from. I knew it would need to be large enough for a colossal to fit through, so with those parameters in mind I started the project. I probably spent too much time on the main gate, but I wanted it to be impressive and eye-catching. I measured and cut two layers of foam core to give it some thickness. I then started layering the details.

The back of the gate reveals large wooden beams of basswood with banded iron and large iron hinges made from plastic tubing. I made a functioning crossbar using plastic card I-beams for some added visual detail.

The front of the gate was layered up using thin plastic card and plastic strips, all riveted with a leather-embossing tool. The most challenging part of the front was making the Ordic Army symbol, which was carefully cut out of plastic card and layered to add visual appeal.

I then cut the gatehouse from pink insulation foam using a hot wire table and hobby knife. I used the gate and models to make sure things maintained the right scale.

From the gate, I built out, making the walls surrounding the gatehouse and some smaller towers to help defend it.

While working on the main fort, I periodically moved to working on the long wall sections as well as the defenses that break up those sections.

For a decent look that wouldn’t claim my sanity, I eschewed large bricks in favor of stucco for the walls. I used wood filler putty to get the stucco look, making sure to sand it all down smooth. One tip when working with wood filler like this is, if you want to go back and do cracks and battle damage, it helps to lightly wet the surface and let it rehydrate a little. When it is a little softer, it can be much easier to etch cracks into the surface. Be careful not to over-wet it, or it will become mushy again, and you will not get the nice crisp, cracked look you’re after.

After I had all the main features built and had begun detailing, I started working on the destroyed wall sections. I used the walls they will replace as a template to cut a base plate out of MDF board. I roughed in the shapes of the rubble with layers of pink foam, using hot glue to quickly adhere things and build up mass quickly. I tried to be aware of the angles of the slopes, so models would be able to stand on the surface as they climb up to the battlements. With the basic shapes mocked up, I used Sculptamold (which is a plaster papier-mâché mix) to smooth the surface, to make it more organic, and to fill in all the seams. I used wood glue to adhere some different size gravel. I always start with the largest pieces first, going down in size as I sprinkle in more gravel.

Finally, I kept the detailing to a minimum to save time, letting the shape and massive scale of this piece do most of the talking. With all of the basic detailing done and everything magnetized, I stepped back from the project until we get closer to Lock & Load. Around that time, I will paint it and then add the final details such as doors, windows, and hatches!