Friday, August 8, 2014

A Place Worth the Fight

There are several ironclad laws to my gaming. I believe them and believe other people should adhere to them as much as I . . .

No game is complete without scenery.
I am a cheapskate (large collections of miniatures notwithstanding).

On the surface of them, this might seem a contradiction in terms, but just beneath this tumultuous upper layer the sea is a deep and tranquil calm. For starters. the scenery for naval games consists mostly of one or another blue bedsheet. Added to this, random found objects make GREAT sci-fi terrain. 

Some of that is construction debris. My supervisor calls them "robot parts" and a coworker refers to them as "bunkers." Both look at me a little funny when I take home obvious collections of dumpster worthy junk, while both being terrible pack-rats themselves. (With barns and storage units to prove it. Actual barns, not the model kind. Filled with real debris. Suddenly I have a modeling idea. Farmer Kurtis . . . ?) But most of us will have some of that or something similar to it. Anyone who has read the original Rogue Trader or old White Dwarf will remember a similar pile of debris depicted in the modeling section. They'll also be well familiar with the classic "butter-tub bunker" and probably also the "deodorant-stick skimmer."

Obviously the skimmer has seen better days, but it's nothing that can't be fixed with a little time and patience . . . 

Well, in that vein here's some of my more recent scenery made partially or primarily from found objects and leftovers . . . 

This little chemical terminal is made from several found objects. One of them is probably recognizable to the ordinary layman. The other two might be more of a stretch unless you're a specialist. The tank is, of course, an empty aspirin bottle. (Or perhaps technically ibuprofin. I can't quite remember as a certainty. A "pill bottle" anyway. There's a cardboard inspection hatch atop it to cover the recycling number. (2, I think?) Less recognizable are some theatrical leftovers. The pumping gizmo on the side is the remains of a male XLR connector (microphone cable for the layman) that I destroyed in a failed soldering attempt at work. (Chris, I swear to god I don't do this on purpose to create spare parts. It was, after all, one out of thirty or so.) The building itself was at one time one half of a surface mount box for another mic jack. (Long since demolished. No failures on my part this time. The rest of the box and the jacks themselves are visible in earlier buildings.)

This next guy is somewhat more "leftover" than "found."

The bulk of this structure was a raffle prize at a railfans convention I atended. Suffice it to say it was a raffle prize because no self-respecting railfan would buy a kit that poorly made. (It's supposed to be a "precast concrete" station, but it's a resin kit with so many voids and such a rough texture that it could just as easily depict a wattle and daub hut. I've gone for a sort of compromise, raising it's undersized HO proportions a few millimeters so the freight door can admit a normal height 30ish mm individual. Assuming 30mm is 6 feet (a good rule of thumb for 28 mm "heroics" who are all the same 30mm height) the freight door would be about 9 feet, though the usable opening is only about 7. In any case, this little Wabash pre-fab makes a nice security shack in 30, er 28 mm.

The next building is not as yet complete, but makes fair use of both found bits, raw materials, and leftovers.

The interior walls and roof of this factory/barn/warehouse are the plastic packing materials that surrounded some . . . CDs? Puzzle boxes? 

Something small and squarish we were selling at a pharmacy where I worked for a while. The walls of course are the ubiquitous blue insulating construction foam and the beams added thus far are balsa wood. The machinery inside is a packing carton from some small model aircraft and two worn out faucet cartridges. This one is still ongoing, of course. The shed could use some lighting and a good coat of paint. (Or a bad coat, as the case may well be.) Maybe a catwalk and a chain hoist or two. The machinery needs some applied details. (Hoese, controls . . . stuff.) But it's starting to take shape.

More models are of course needed for my settlement slowly emerging from the desert rocks, but things are looking better every day. All in all I am fairly pleased. Hopefully this will give you a little inspiration to go out and find the interest in your own household debris, but maybe you'll find a better way to organize it than I.

So that'll do for now. As always, thank you for reading and may everyone have a wonder-filled game.

The Composer.


  1. I love all of this. Tiny little worlds!

  2. It is a very boyish doll's house, isn't it? With many very boyish dolls. (Or "figures" for "simulations" if you are one of those boys who don't want to "play" with "dolls." I'm fine either way. I loved playing dolls with my sister, so long as she admitted that my arrangement for the furniture was the better one.) ;-) . . . (She never did, darn the dear woman.)