Ruined Buildings & Rusty Sci-Fi Walls

As I described in my previous blog post, I wanted to work on expanding my collection of terrain in order to enhance the visuals and improve play for my retro sci-fi Combat Patrol™ games.  Specifically, I wanted to add some ruined and battle-damaged buildings and rusty walls.  However, I wanted them to look great – […]

As I described in my previous blog post, I wanted to work on expanding my collection of terrain in order to enhance the visuals and improve play for my retro sci-fi Combat Patrol™ games.  Specifically, I wanted to add some ruined and battle-damaged buildings and rusty walls.  However, I wanted them to look great – and weathering is a relatively new area of painting for me, hence the challenge!

Working with some new materials was a central aspect – especially with regards to weathering and rusting techniques.  My journey started in August with Armorcast’s 3-crater set and using Vallejo Pigments.  Subsequently, I followed that project up with putting together five ruined buildings and six sci-fi walls (both from Armorcast as well).  They included:

To complete the project, and work on my techniques, I made a list of goals.  I desired to employ several new (to me) technical skills, materials, and techniques.  I ended up checking off on all of these except for using the Citadel “Nihilakh Oxide” and the Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Oil Stains (Gloss)” as they proved to be unneeded.

Below is my initial list of goals – the ones in bold were ones used and apply to this post.

  • Assembling, building, and basing terrain
  • Use of materials to create weathering and rusting effects, to include:
    • Vallejo Pigments, to include application and fixing (covered in this blog post)
    • Vallejo Mecha Color weathering products
    • Weathering and rusting/oxidizing effect products, to incude:
      • Citadel Technical paints:
        • Typhus Corrosion
        • Ryza Rust
        • Nihilakh Oxide
      • Vallejo and Vallejo Mecha Color rusting and weathering products
        • Vallejo Pigments (various)
        • Vallejo Game Air rusts (71.069 and 71.080)
        • Vallejo Mecha Color Weathering products
          • Oil Stains (gloss)
          • Rust Wash
          • Rust Texture (Matt)
  • Create a new storage system for my terrain pieces

I am glad that I got to use most of them.  The buildings will be discussed first, and then the walls, and finally my storage box work.  I will aim for plenty of visuals, and there will be eye candy at the end!  I will list a lessons learned section and a materials section at the end of the post for those interested.  This should hopefully be useful for some of you.

Ruined Buildings

1 Armorcast Building as received
My one ACRB009 as received.  The resin was definitely in need of a clean up with an Exacto blade, but that’s to be expected.  I also found that using Scotch-Brite pads on the resin and washing them thoroughly aided with priming.
2 T section clean up
This is the T-section as received.  It had some larger areas of excess resin on the lower portion to remove as you see here.
3 section with door blast hole
My one ACRB008 as received.  I was intrigued by the battle damage on all of these, especially on the garage door here.
4 base polystyrene
After assembling my buildings with Gorilla Glue and some green stuff, I based them on this polystyrene.  I had cut the sheets into irregular shapes.  I glued steel bases from Wargames Accessories on the bottoms for strength and future magnetic storage.
5 basing
Some of the buildings on their polystyrene bases before I added a play sand/rocks/PVA glue mix to act as a rough surface gradient.  The sci-fi walls are on steel bases that are similar to those under the buildings’ bases (more on them below).
5a basing
Here you can see the irregularly-cut shapes of the polystyrene.  My thought was to create pieces that were diorama-like for gaming.
6 buildings based and primed
Good close-up shot of the ruined buildings after the PVA/sand/rock mix had hardened and they had been primed gray.  I had affixed the bases to upturned plastic plates with poster tack, and put a mark on each plate to help as a locator reference for airbrushing.  This allowed me to avoid handling the painted surfaces.
7 early base coat on buildings holes
I was not sure how best to do the shell holes.  I started with black paint, then tried to ashen them up with some pigment later.  You may notice the rocks are tan – this was because I applied Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” pigment and Vallejo “Pigment Binder” on them – after I learned with the crater project that using airbrush thinner loosened the rocks.
8 Tsection base coated
I focused on completing the T-section first as a “guinea pig”.  I thought I could dry brush the bricks, but that did not work well at all.  I painted each brick by hand individually with Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”…on ALL of these.  As I grew up in an old industrial area in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, old factory walls were something with which I was familiar.  These had a goodly amount of old plaster sculpted on them, which got some old Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”.  Clearly, there would be a need for weathering!
9 fixing pigments on t section
So now the weathering!  Here I have dirtied up the walls with Vallejo “Dark Slate Grey” pigment, and put a mix of four Vallejo pigments (“Light Yellow Ochre”, “Light Sienna”, “Natural Umber”, and “Faded Olive Green”) on the base.  I fixed the base pigments with the capillary technique (Vallejo airbrush thinner drops applied from a brush), and then airbrushed the walls with thinner.
10a tsection view 1
I used the “wet mode” technique and the “Faded Olive Green” to make the bottoms of the walls appear as if moss and mold were growing.  The Vallejo Pigment video on YouTube is very helpful.  The T-section was varnished with Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish” and allowed to dry overnight.  I added tufts from Army Painter and Shadow’s Edge miniatures.  Later, I would darken this with a gray wash.  As this is a T-section, there are three views.
10b tsection view 2
View 2 of T-section.
10c tsection view 3
View 3 of T-section.  Interestingly, one of the reasons that I had difficulty with the dry brushing of the bricks is that they are sculpted differently on different sides.  I found that using the gray as plaster to cover areas I thought needed help was able to mask this.
12 all buildings base coated with t section
After finishing the T-section, I moved on to the other buildings in a similar way, except that these had remnants of window sills, shell holes, and rusty doors to paint and weather…and about a million bricks (or at least it felt that way when I was painting them).
13 early rust work on the doors
My attempts at rusting here were not pigment-based.  Here, I used a combination of Citadel rusting products (“Typhus Corrosion” and “Ryza Rust”) in conjunction with Vallejo Mecha Weathering products (“Light Rust Wash”,”Dark Rust Wash”,  and “Rust Texture Matt”), and Vallejo Game Air “Rust” (2 types – 080 and 069).  I layered them on, dry brushed, and layered more.  I wanted the ground to show that rust had been accumulating on the ground for some time, and the Vallejo “Dark Rust Wash” was my go-to here.
14 interior after rusting door
Another view of the ACRB008 interior.
15 drying ground pigments in sun
After using similar pigments to those that I used on the T-section, I let them dry in the sun on my driveway (it was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit!).  I then varnished them similar to the T-section. After I saw my results, I was happy, but wanted a dirtier look even still, so all of the buildings got an additional wash with Secret Weapons Washes “Stone”.  That did the trick!
16 buildings washed, flocked, done
All my ruined buildings complete.

Sci-Fi Walls

1 wall with blast hole as received
Moving on to the walls!  This is my one ACW007 as received.  I liked the battle damage here as well.
2 other wall as received
This is one of my two “High Tech Walls 1”.  This is one side…
2a other wall as received reverse side
…and here is the other side.  I prepped these pieces similarly to the way I did the buildings.
3 based on steel
My basing for these would just be steel bases from Wargames Accessories.  I wanted to be able to line them up on the tabletop.  I also put these on upturned plates as before.
4 on plates and primed
Instead of sand and PVA for flocking, here I just used Army Painter Black Battlefields.  Priming was then done on them in my usual way.
5 base coated in light steel
After priming, I base coated them all with Vallejo Game Air “Steel” with my airbrush.  My goal was to build the rust up from here.
6 after a wash with light rust
Next, I used my airbrush to apply Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Light Rust”.
7 bulding up the rust
Next, I airbrushed both Vallejo Game Air Rust (080 and 069) in bursts and along deep areas.  The label on the Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Rust Texture (Matt)” says it is able to be airbrushed…please note IT IS NOT!!!  It jammed up both of my airbrushes badly (one needed a new nozzle afterwards).  After this, I decided to use a regular brush and use “Typhus Corrosion”, “Ryza Rust”, Nuln Oil (Gloss)”, as well as my previous products to give the walls and the battle damage a randomly -rusted and realistic appearance.  Washing, dry brushing, stippling, etc…
8 washes and more washes
The walls all painted, awaiting pigments on bases and varnish.  I decided not to use rusting pigments here as I was happy with the way these looked.
9 high tech walls 1 front and back
After pigments, varnishing, and flocking – this is both High Tech Walls with each side completed and shown for display.
10a high tech walls 2 view 1
This is the completed ACW007 – one side…
10b high tech walls 2 view 2
…and the other side.
000 a month of terrain
All my Armorcast terrain work from August and September together.

New Storage System/Box

Now that I had all this new terrain, especially the buildings, I needed a good efficient way to store and transport them to my games.  I decided to use a 32-liter Really Useful Box and to design a level inside to optimize its volume.  Essentially, I built a tray with legs to insert into the box and make it into multiple levels.  I plan on repeating this for other terrain in my collection.  Note that I use Aleene’s Magnetic Tacky Sheets from Michael’s to line the storage surfaces.   

1 Box
Box from outside showing the two levels.  I used a thin sheet of plywood and 5/8″ square dowels with #6 wood screws to make the tray.  I cut two small handle slots so that the tray could be picked up easily.  Luckily, the magnetic sheets cut easily with scissors for sizing.
2 Box
The box bottom with the tray removed on the left.
3 Box
Good view of the tray next to the box.
4 Box
Here’s a top view of the tray in the box.

Lessons Learned

I have several “lessons learned” about this project, and I also got great feedback on my last crater post.  One area of feedback that I got was from Azazel who suggested I needed a gaming mat.  I had wanted to get one or two, but they are indeed expensive.  Thanks to advice from him on my last post (and all of you who give me feedback – I thank you all from the bottom of my heart) – and that’s the truth!

Anyways, I got two neoprene (mouse pad material) mats from Gamemat.eu in the Czech Republic.  One is “Wastelands”, and the other one is “Highlands in War”.  I think both will work well with my terrain, and you can see them in the “eye candy” section below the lessons learned.

So here are the lessons and thoughts I have from the project – some are the same as the crater project, and some are new – but I though I’d try to be complete and list them all here:

  1. The cleaning and scrubbing of the resin helped with the priming.  The Scotch-Brite pads work well for this use.
  2. Armorcast terrain pieces are fairly priced and a good value.  The quality was easy to work with, and any issues were easy to address with green stuff.
  3. For terrain pieces that will be totally covered in pigments, priming them is not needed.  
  4. You can indeed airbrush a wash, but NEVER try to airbrush anything with “texture” in it, no matter what the label says (maybe a bigger nozzle might work, but I only have one size).
  5. Fixing pigments with airbrush thinner is easier than with pigment binder.  However, add any additional large features, such as extra rocks later, or use pigment binder on the rocks.
  6. Affixing larger models to plastic dinner plates is a good option for handling without touching the painted surfaces. 
  7. Having trays and palette wells (such as the one I put my pigment palette in) while working with pigments cuts down on the mess considerably.  Be ready to use multiple brushes, both wet and dry.  The mess vacuumed up or washed off easily from my palettes and trays.
  8. Always ensure your pigment bottles are shut tight.  I see how they could spill over easily.
  9. PVA glue and play sand are an inexpensive winner.
  10. The combination of thin steel and thin polystyrene yields a model base with little to any “rise” from the tabletop at its edge, and is strong.
  11. Real rusting takes time and is random.  So is weathering it.  The Vallejo and Citadel products I used were really nice.  I do see how the pigments would be useful for rusting and will have to try that too sometime.
  12. Thin your varnish to prevent the crazing! You can airbrush the thinner easily directly on pigments, just need to watch the airflow so they are not blown off.
  13. The Vallejo pigments video is a must see for newbies.
  14. Washes help in the end for touch ups.
  15. Love my storage box design!
  16. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures tufts are fantastic – need no extra glue and dry clearly.
  17. I love my new game mats!!

Eye Candy!

17 defense of the buildings frogs v Martians and Robot Peacekeepers
The Highlands mat showing the F.R.O.G. Commandos defending the ruined buildings and craters against the Martians, the Robot Peacekeepers, and a couple of Mark 1 Sphere tanks.

18 MArtians swarm building and the craters19 Frogbot holds the gap20 root peacekeepers swarm other flank21 top view of setup22 defenders view23 holding!24 holding! (2)25 last

Now for the walls on the “Wastelands” mat!  Here we have the F.R.O.G. Commandos getting picked on again and getting assaulted by Archive Warbots, Roberker, and more Mark 1 Sphere tanks – will they hold?

11 top view frogs behind walls v robots
Go Frogs, RIBBIT!

11a top view frogs behind walls v robots12 left wall view frogs behind walls v robots

13 tight wall view frogs behind walls v robots
Time for fried frog legs – and the rest too!

13a tight wall view frogs behind walls v robots

Hopefully you found this post fun and informative.  Please leave any feedback or suggestions in the comments section – and I realize that this was a long post, so if you’re still reading, THANKS!

PAINTS, PIGMENTS, INKS, GLUES, GLAZES, WASHES, AND FLOCKING USED:

  1. Vallejo “Surface Primer – Gray”
  2. Vallejo “Airbrush Thinner”
  3. Vallejo “Airbrush Flow Improver”
  4. Army Painter “Black Battlefields” (flocking)
  5. Green stuff (kneadatite)
  6. Generic play sand
  7. Elmer’s “Glue-All”
  8. SceneARama “Rocks”
  9. Vallejo “Pigment Binder”
  10. Evergreen Scale Models #9020 0.5 mm plain polystyrene sheets
  11. Gorilla Glue
  12. Wargames Accessories steel bases (various)
  13. Vallejo Game Air “Wood”
  14. Vallejo Game Air “Steel”
  15. Americana “Raw Umber”
  16. Polly Scale “WWII Luftwaffe Uniform Gray”
  17. Vallejo Mecha Color “Dark Steel”
  18. Vallejo Mecha Color “SZ Red”
  19. Polly Scale “WWII British Aircraft Gull Gray Light”
  20. Vallejo “Black”
  21. Vallejo “Dark Slate Grey” (pigment)
  22. Vallejo “Light Slate Grey” (pigment)
  23. Vallejo “Light Sienna” (pigment)
  24. Vallejo “Faded Olive Green” (pigment)
  25. Vallejo “Light Yellow Ochre” (pigment)
  26. Vallejo “Natural Umber” (pigment)
  27. Citadel “Balor Brown”
  28. Citadel “Skrag Brown”
  29. Polly S “Rust”
  30. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Rust Texture (Matt)”
  31. Vallejo Game Air “Rust 069”
  32. Vallejo Game Air “Rust 080”
  33. Citadel “Typhus Corrosion”
  34. Citadel “Ryza Rust”
  35. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Dark Rust Wash” (wash)
  36. Citadel “Valhallan Blizzard”
  37. Vallejo “Titanium White” (pigment)
  38. Vallejo “Carbon/Smoke Black” (pigment)
  39. Secret Weapons Washes “Stone” (wash)
  40. Vallejo Mecha Weathering “Light Rust Wash” (wash)
  41. Citadel “Nuln Oil (Gloss)”
  42. Citadel “Niblet Green”
  43. Citadel “Athonian Camoshade” (wash)
  44. Citadel “Agrax Earthshade” (wash)
  45. Testors “Universal Acrylic Thinner”
  46. Vallejo Mecha Varnish “Matt Varnish”
  47. Army Painter “Wasteland Tufts”
  48. Shadow’s Edge Miniatures “12 mm tufts”

Thanks again – and please let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section!

 

 

 

Author: Mark A. Morin

This site is where I will discuss stuff that I find interesting and that includes family, friends, golf, gaming, and Boston sports!

26 thoughts on “Ruined Buildings & Rusty Sci-Fi Walls”

  1. Cracking job mate, these all look fantastic! Congrats on picking up some mats too mate – they are pricey, but oh so handy… as an added bonus, I’ve found that they are very kind to lead figs (dropped minis tend to bounce rather than chip!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alex! I did debate for a while about which ones to get, and the anti-chipping feature is a bonus for sure. I’ve been lucky so far in that my varnishing has protected my paint jobs. The carry bags for the mats are nice too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great stuff Mark but that’s what we’ve come to expect these days! Love your methodical approach to record keeping too. Next steps? I reckon it’s time to start scratch building your own terrain, buildings, trees, etc, you’re clearly capable of doing so.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks TIM, and as I think I said before, your dioramas helped to inspire me to do more for the games with regards to terrain. I’m always open to scratch building too, but I think I need more placards, (game markers) so I’ll probably scratch build those. A lot of my sci-fi minis have jet packs, and I ran out last game I ran. Then there’s the lead mountain to chip away at…🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Simply stunning work Mark!! love the Sci/Fi walls the rust work is excellent, but for me the ruined brickwork is the star of the show, those look perfect! Top work and a great write up as well.

    As said above, some scratch building next, I think.

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s quite a comprehensive post Mark! Nice to see all of that terrain turn out so well. The extra wash on the brick walls has really done the job! And I’m pleased you got your mats – both look good, but I like the “Wastelands” mat in particular. Have really enjoyed this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to hear that JNV, agree on the final wash being the kicker. I went with more pics so it would be easier to digest but yeah, it was a bigger post. I do like my mats, and the Wastelands one will get its share of play for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic work here, Mark. I’ve got both those sets of walls that you’ve done here and you’ve really done a great job on them all. Glad to see that the mat info was helpful to you as well – your new tables look great with the units and terrain on them!
    …though looking at some of those bases, you might need a red desert mat of some description in the future? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I did have a red desert/Mars one in my mind but at the price that hey are at that will be a later purchase consideration. I tend to work on bases with different materials, often to differentiate the units the figures belong to so that game play is easier. Otherwise I’d have to have multiple units for different terrains…

      Oh yeah, my wife would just LOVE it for me to have bought 3 mats initially! 😏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh. I found the mats were a new addiction and god a couple, then a few more, then a few more. You know, to cover almost every eventuality and a reasonably large selection of surfaces… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Pat that was my tedious surprise! Glad you like the photos and I only use an iPhone 7 with a couple of lights on the side usually. I think the mat pics were a bit bright but that’s because they were taken on a table that was directly under an LED shop light. I download the pics from iCloud on my desktop, and crop,adjust the light, clarity, and color, etc. Then I add them to WordPress.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just love it Mark ! I’m a 63 year old fossil mate ,I think I know what a LED light is but after that matey you have lost me ,thankyou any way . I showed the Tech adviser your info, and after she sniggered and left the room I’m sure she said poor man, doesn’t he know he is dealing with an old fool ! ,or maybe I miss heard her.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha! As today is my last at 55, I can appreciate that. I’d like to think that I had all that tech stuff down but I just learned by trial and error. And my approach is pretty basic I’m sure compared to what could be done, but I’m ok with that!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Great to hear Mark, you inspire me to do better mate and apply myself and not just rely on the Tech adviser ,shit she might find a bloke and move out and then where would I be ,left with the old girl that knows about as much as aHHH !

    Liked by 1 person

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