TERRAIN - More Ruined Fences

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After my last terrain piece, I decided to go for something rather less ambitious: fences.

There were two projects I had in mind for this that I'd roll into a single work. The first was to try something I hadn't done before, namely, chain-link fencing. I had wanted to try this out on my ResCom unit, but just never found a way to fit it in nicely. I told myself I'd work on it on a different project, and that project is now.

To start with, I went to the hardware store and bought myself some cheap brass rod and some screen door material. It was there that I learned that you can actually cut screen with a simple pair of scissors, and didn't need to use wire cutter (like I'd done for my chimeras). Great!

When I got home, I cut and beveled the base that this would sit on. I then cut out and beveled a second piece for the second-layer bit of plasticard and beveled that. Then I drilled holes the size of the brass rod with my x-acto knife and glued the two pieces together. I then cut some brass rod of the length I wanted and glued them down into the holes cut in the second layer:

The brass rod actually just supergled in there surprisingly strongly. I cut out a few bits of .030 plasticard to act as collars (so, they were doughnut shaped) and slid them down the rod and glued them down. That three-layer laminate, though being less than 1/10th of an inch, anchored those suckers in there very firmly, to the point where when I applied torque on them, they would bend the plasticard rather than even thinking about popping up out of their holes.

Once this was down, I added in a cross-bar on top and then cut out a bit of my screen door. Unfortunately, this still wound up being somewhat less precise than desired, what with the long distance of the cut and the ease of eyes getting screwed up looking at a shining close-knit pattern like that. I got it close enough, though, and lightly glued the mesh to the posts.

But this wouldn't hold, of course. There was very little surface area and the only way that I could make it work with glue was to use a LOT of it and really gunk it in there, but I didn't want that. Instead, I went back to google image search and let reality be my guide. In the real world, people use bits of wire to tie the chain-link material down to the posts, so I would do the same. I got out a bit of steel wire and did just that, tying the fence to the vertical posts and to the horizontal side-bar.

The end result was shockingly sturdy. It's also an elegant design, now that I've really noticed how it works. The mesh supports the bars, and the bars support the mesh, and so long as the posts don't rip up out of the ground, everything stays put very, very well. I guess that's why people in real life actually build fences like this.

When this was done, it was just time to put the sand down. I used a slightly different method for this step this time, though. For the last two projects I'd used wood glue (PVA), which is having the nasty habit of chipping and flaking (the sand glues to itself well, but it doesn't glue to the plasticard well), and it's not waterproof, which has ruined some of my static grass already (it softens, the grass falls down and mixes into a glue-grass concrete). To circumvent both problems, I decided to use superglue.

So I went back to the hardware store and got me a container of brushable superglue. This wound up being unfortunately challenging to work with as the brushable glue is extra-extra thin (it's binder must be alcohol or something), which meant that it would dry out almost before I'd applied it. It took awhile to get used to and I still had gaps. After a disastrous attempt at spot-checking the gaps with gorilla glue (I'd heard it was waterproof, but I didn't know it expands as it dries...), I decided to fix the spots with just regular superglue. I didn't exactly like what I got, but it was good enough, and hopefully should be much more sturdy.

Once that was done, I painted the fence with a couple of week coats of light grey and then drybrushed my sienna color on it. Perfection.

With that done, I wanted to try my hand at another regular wooden fence. This is far from my first attempt at this, but I've never really been happy with the results. A part of the problem has to do with the materials not matching up with the design.

The problem is that, in order to have the wood pieces small and thin enough, I don't have something that's structurally sound as I'm building it. Unlike the previous fence, which was metal, the plasticard at this gauge and size is just too bendy and flimsy. Once all the pieces are locked together it's fine, but it's not strong enough during construction. This means that, no matter how I do things, something's going to end up crooked or warped. The trick, then, is to find the order that makes things look the least worst.

Last time on my big project I put down the second layer of plasticard, build the fence skeleton, glued it down (leaving a small gap between the posts and the edge of the second layer) and then added the slats (they would glue to the bottom and then the second layer and the skeleton on either side). This method produced something very strong, but very, very warpy and uneven as the skeleton just wasn't strong enough.

This time, I decided I should build the fence first and then glue it down. There were two ways I could do this. The first would be to glue the boards together, glue the skeleton onto the boards, and then glue the whole thing down, and the second would be to glue down the boards and the skeleton concurrently. Fearing that gluing the boards together would obliterate the small spaces between the board or have a LOT of glue leaking and dripping through the cracks, I decided on the latter.

I glued the first few boards together just to establish a base, and then glued down the long-horizontal bars (they were 8cm long, alternating so both weren't joining to another board on a single slat). Then I went down the line, gluing the slats to the board (and not to each other), using a ruler to aline the slats on top so that they were flush. I then added in some vertical supports and then glued it down to the base, once again using the second layer to provide a guide for keeping it straight.

I then added on the back half of the second layer and then added on the back bit on the vertical posts (to cover the first vertical bits of plasticard to make the posts two layers thick) and cleaned the whole thing up. I also went and added some hinges with GS to one side and ripped out some of the boards on the other to make it look like it collapsed due to damage.

Then I used the same superglue method for the sand for the same somewhat mixed results, and painted it up:

And there we go. Fences.

Things are still a little rough with the straightness of the chain-link and the straightness of the support bars on the wood fence, but this all looks pretty solid. In all, I'm pretty glad for just how easy it was to do the chain link fence and make it look right (especially the super ease of painting), and this is, by far, my best attempt at a fence. Mostly it's just about making the pieces smaller. There were about 200 planks all said and done, and all at 3mm, rather than the 4 and 5mm of my previous fence, and the ludicrously huger sizes of the ones before. Now that I've gotten some sense of getting the structure right, I can use these smaller, more realistically-sized pieces of plasticard.

Out of curiosity, I took down my terrain and placed it on my ~4.5 x 3 foot dinner table to see my progress:

Not too bad. I also did some measuring to see how I'd stack up against the old 25% rule for a 6x4 foot table. As is, I've got about 10%. Now, that's with terrain that's mostly wall-like, and with another big piece or two I'll have it in the bag.

And I'll get to another big piece, but there are two more things I want to do first. A second try at my concrete wall, and another ruin piece that will allow me to try wooden structures on a larger scale.

Then a big piece. Promise.