TERRAIN - Burned Ruin

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After taking a few months off after doing my last ruined city piece, I decided that it was time to do another. The last project was sort of a large proof of concept. It was sort of a way for me to try a bunch of stuff to establish a baseline. Now it was time to get a little more focused and try and add some depth to my skill set.

For my second project, I decided to do a ruined building again, but this time it was more of a ruin in the way 40k players are used to - an L-shaped bit of free-standing wall. By making a smaller piece, and focusing on two dimensions instead of three, I'd have more time and energy to focus better on the quality of the work. My only concern with this project was to fix the problems of GW ruins - tiny little shooting galleries designed for nothing more than allowing gunlines to shoot down over terrain from relative impunity.

The design instead would have a few things. Firstly, it was to be rather large - the length being akin to the widest length on the previous work. The idea is that it would seriously disrupt what's going on, rather than providing a tiny island fortess in a sea of green felt. For similar reasons, I also wanted it to be tall. If you do have something on an elevated position, the height of the ruin would allow certain parts of the board to still get cover saves (rather than the increased elevation of the shooter getting to simply bypass terrain rules). I also decided that it wasn't going to have a second floor. There would still be a "gallery" on the lower floor, but it would be somewhat limited, and wouldn't create excessive problems for close combat and barrage units like GW's ruins do. I toyed with the idea of making the ruin a complete LOS-blocker, but eventually decided against it... for this piece.

I also spent some time taking to heart some of the suggestions made about my last piece. To make things more realistic, I spent some time looking at images of things like concrete walls and even spent a bit of time examining a building under construction near where I live, despite the awful weather. Armed with a bit more knowledge, I decided to do a few things - a list that increased slightly as I went. By the end, things I was determined to do included making the concrete be modular (the lines between the concrete bits there on purpose and in a regular pattern), and to look more like joined slabs. I also wanted to use the much more correct concrete + wood studs + sheetrock look for the interior wall. I also spent time looking at graffiti and figured I could do better than last time.

The process for making this piece, then, was pretty straightforward - just make some reasonable attempt to make a building in a similar fashion to the way that buildings are actually made. Not conceptually difficult, just time consuming.

To start with, I cut, rounded, and beveled my L-shaped base. I then cut out a lot of rectangular pieces of .060 plasticard, laminated them 2-thick, made the edges flush, and then slightly beveled the edges. I'd note that these slabs were originally going to be used for a different project (which was postponed for this one, of course), so they're a bit larger than I'd use in the future, but don't look too out of place. Anyways, once the slabs were made, I just glued them together, focusing on keeping things flush on the top. After this, I added a bunch of thin plasticard pieces to act as the studs (2x .030 laminated. I didn't wind up using as many as I should have to be completely accurate, but so it goes). I then cut out some pieces of .030 of the same size as the concrete slabs (but a little shorter to account for the woodwork), and glued them down just as anyone might apply drywall, making sure to do a bit of black spraying before they went down.

The last thing to do (well, this was done mostly after the slabs were glued then after everything else) was to handle the joints between the slabs. For the first time ever, I bought myself some liquid greenstuff. Despite being useless for most else, it was actually just the right thing for this. Just as real concrete slabs are mortared together, so I used a goopy compound between the seams. The end result looks pretty close to what I was seeing in the pictures, and the poor way that the GS applied left little pockets and imperfections which is perfect for a slightly-crumbled look.

The end result was something that looked pretty good:

While I wanted to have one face of the building in tact, I decided that for the short end I'd try and rectify another problem with my previous work. I was going to put in a few crumbled panels of reinforced concrete. The way to do this seemed obvious. If the regular slabs were two pieces of .060, then the broken slabs would be 4 pieces of .030 with the middle two pannels recessed to make a pocket for a bit of screen door material to act as the rebar.

And so it went, first cutting the pieces:

Then gluing the two middle pieces together and gluing it to the bottom. Then I put in some regular greenstuff, smashed the wire in, and gave a healthy amount of superglue.

And then glued down the top piece. I then trimmed down the wire, packed some greenstuff in around the top and shaped it, and then beveled the edges.

Once the walls were put together, I added a bit more detail, such as a few floorboards (using a method that has sheetrock on the bottom, which made the whole thing stick on much more easily) and some metal tubes that used to hold onto a sign (or something) broken on the front near the door, and carved some bullet holes, and then added sand to the base.

The painting was pretty straightforward as well. I did a slightly different technique with the concrete, starting with light grey, then mid-grey, then light grey again, and a few extra spots of the mid-grey. The combination of the slightly bluer administratum and the slightly browner dawnstone made a nice contrast. The end result is a slightly lighter, but also slightly better defined. After trying two shades of blue for the sheetrock, I eventually abandoned both for white, and did the wood as I did last time.

Something that people noted last time that didn't bother me then seemed to bother me a lot more this time. I had these nice, slightly-grimy walls, and nice, slightly-grimy interior space, and these well-painted brown slats that went between them, but it really did seem off. With the 3-D ruin, you could sort of see the damage, but in 2-D, it sort of looked like someone just sort of dismantled a building, rather than it was catastrophically wrecked by something.

I started by trying to add some extra grime to the drywall in the form of washes to approximate water damage, and this did a good enough job on that part, but I still had all of the beams and torn-up sheetrock and blasted concrete that looked like nothing had really happened to it. Someone had suggested fire damage, but without an airbrush that would be difficult. And then I realised I did have an airbrush, of sorts. I took my can of black spray primer and went to down on the thing creating vast swatches of scorching. That made the amount of fire damage I had to do by hand (such as around the windows) a rather trivial thing.

Then it was just doing a bit of graffiti (including the use of some sunburst yellow circa 1990) and the sand. Flock and done.

And in the end, I'm pretty happy with it. I feel like I managed to fix a lot of the problems I had with the last one, which was the point of doing a less-ambitious copy of it in the first place.

After this, there are a few more skill things I'm going to work with, including a concrete wall that I was trying to make in the first place, a chain-link fence, and another ruin like this one, but made of wood rather than concrete.