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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Scenery On The Cheap

For those of you who don't know it, painting miniatures is an expensive hobby. And it's not just the miniatures and the paints you have to buy. It's scenery as well and the price tag on that is mindblowing. I just can't afford it yet I can't live without it.  So really the only option for me is to build my own.


This is the first time I've tried anything like this and I did it very quickly and it's not completely finished so there are a lot of mistakes and room for improvement. The figure that I have on here is the second miniature I ever painted, so when I look at this bit of scenery and see mistakes, I know I will get better at it and won't give up until I do.


The most important thing I learned with this little project is that it can be done. And if I keep at it, one day I may be able to build the things that I imagine in my mind. 

As a beginner I feel it's a bit presumptous to go through a tutorial on how I put this together, but that is the convention and another part of things I must learn to do.


I used cheap paper plates to make the bases.


I purchased enough 3mm styrofoam from a hobby store to build 2 large buildings for only $3.99 and I only used a fraction of that here. 

I got the technique for making the walls from a tutorial at Paul's Bods on building a medieval castle. I used a biro to outline the bricks and the blunt end of a pencil to push in the spaces to give it a 3D effect.



I bought the paint for .69 cents each and it was on sale for another 50% off.  At that price I picked up a bag-full to use just for painting scenery.


I cut off a piece from the brown plastic floral accessory and glued it onto the base to make the tree.


I purchased small mosaic tiles and some glass beads for about $3.00 each and used a small amount of those to make the flooring.  The bird seed and the spices were items I already had on hand and those were used to create the ground.

The little mirror that is hanging on the wall is a bit that fell off of an old charm bracelet.  I ended up going through my drawers of old costume jewlery and found quite a lage number of things that can be incorporated into scenery. And that's free so it won't piss the Hubby off!!

I did something horrible just a few minutes ago, but I'm going to confess it so it will be okay.  I just scored a box set of 7 dwarves in 28mm scale to be cast in pewter for only $25.00.  I found this deal over at the Ferret's place. It's a kickstarter being done by Stonehaven Miniatures and you have to see this to believe it.  And why is this a horrible thing you might ask. If you want to know the answer to that you'll have to read the comment I left the Ferret!

Tomorrow I'll be doing a guest post over at Melanie's place No, Really You Can Eat It.  And when the piece goes up, I'll post a notice here so you can follow the link over.  Some of you saw the title to this pop up last week when I was working on it in draft form so tomorrow you can find out what that post really is.

36 comments:

  1. I think you need to stop selling yourself short Anne. A wonderful tutorial and great looking final result; I hadn't even thought of cheap plates as a building material - genius. Yes we see mistakes in our work, but I find the experience of sharing ideas and the mutual praise of each other's efforts far out weighs any embarrassment. It sounds to me that you are already firmly established as a terrain builder as you now spend the days thinking, 'what I can I use for a ...?' - welcome to the asylum my good lady! ;)

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  2. Thank you Michael. When I go to the grocers now I at the shape and dimensions of things and wonder how they might be used. I picked up a cheap pack of playing cards, matches, wooden skewers, popsicle sticks and some brightly colored ribbon. A building of some kind will come from that. Later today I'm going to get some plaster as I'm going to try to build up some hills to create a valley with a lake in the middle.

    I'll be crawling through everyone's old posts looking for ideas over the weekend too!

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  3. Same as Michael said: Welcome to the Asylum my good lady!
    That's the best part of this hobby, that it makes you think think think better ways all the time to make your projects tangible and real.
    You put all your ingenuity in this terrain making process. It came out great. :)
    Welcome! :)

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    1. Thank you Thanos. There's no way out for me now is there. It's a wonderful creative outlet because it brings so many skills to bear all at once. And I'm at the beginning so it's all brand new and very exciting. And with ordering those dwarf's I'm going to have to build something for them to fit in. The less I buy that's already made the better I think.

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  4. Well I follow Mel so I'll notice it anyway :) I think you did a great job with the scenery, and even if you think you didn't, just look at how quickly you picked up painting miniatures. I think you can get this done easily. Plus you also have the imagination and creativity to use things like bird seed and spice and broken jewelry :) You have all the tools, you just need a bit of practice.

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    1. This is so much fun it's like being a kid again. I used to build model airplanes when I was a little girl and some of those early memories are coming back to me. And my cousins and I built forts in the summer from wood we'd steal from building sites, so some of this comes naturally.

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  5. Great work Anne, and as others have said, never be embarrassed by your efforts. In your case that is most definitely true - your painting and this scenery are all top notch.
    Another good source of "planking" is wooden coffee shop stirrers. Next time you are out and about and grab a coffee, grab yourself a bunch. They also make good mixing sticks for basing gunk.

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    1. Thank you Tamisin. The stirring sticks would be good as they are more narrow than popsicle sticks. I'm really on the look out for small bits of wood and small bits of metal to use. When I go buy my plaster at the hardware store today I'll be looking through the hinge and washer bins for things to use too.

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    2. While you're there, don't forget to look at chain and wire - some of that can be useful. And sisal string can be used as a cheap source for long grass and for making trees. If they cut wood to size there, ask for a bag of sawdust and some small offcuts.

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  6. You scenery looks amazing. You are so very creative and get bonus points for recycling.
    Hobbies don't have to cost a fortune all the time if you are smart about it

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  7. Your scenery is fantastic Anne. Nothing wrong with any of that. As Tamsin was saying, I grab anything that I can that I think may come in useful for the hobby.

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  8. You need to stop being so critical of your work. Step back and take a look at it and pretend that you didn't make it - the same goes for the figures you paint - I think you will see that they look pretty amazing!!

    Looking forward to tomorrow!!

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  9. Hola
    Pues te a quedado una escena muy buena,y estoi con tigo esta aficion es cara,pero lo bueno tambien es hacerte tu los terrenos improbisando,por lo menos a my es lo que mas me gusta cuando diseño dioramas y escenas para las minis.y cuando paseo por el campo recojo de todo para las escenas.
    un saludo

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  10. Great job on this, Anne. Your natural talent shines through. Here's a few other things scratchbuilders use: vinyl spackle, thin plastic card (you can get it cheaply by buying cheap plastic "For Sale" and other type signs at a dollar store. Air-dry clay to sculpt with. Green kitchen scrub pads make good hedges, sisal twine can be used for vines and small plants, lichen from a florist supply shop also makes good vegetation, sand and kitty litter (unused) for bases. I'm sure you'll come up with plenty more either intuitively or as you search the web. Oh, and if you haven't been there yet, check out Terragenesis.co.uk They have lots of great frugal ways to scratchbuild your own terrain.

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  11. Wow that was greatly done, even a pretty plant for the cat to chew on when he comes to visit and soil your gardens hahaha You surely brought it to life and did so cheaply too, can't beat that. Next you'll be building castle's the size of a couch or something, as when you get the cat done, that is the size he needs and don't forget the litterbox hahaha Oh and a cheater too, well the cat likes cheaters so he'll let that one slide, just don't get caught.

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  12. Very nice modeling. IMO, you have graduated from basic training in the Scenery Building Society, and are now training in the advanced scope-it-out, scoop-it-up, and stick-it-there Division. Each training session should equip you for the formidable modeler's battles ahead. Persevere! It's a good day to model!!

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  13. You are your own worst critic and there is no need for you to be so hard on yourself; you do a great job - much better than anything I'd be able to put together. The things that you've come up with from items around the house are impressive, Anne!

    Can't wait to see your guest post!!

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  14. You're so talented. Did you go to Hobby Lobby? xo

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  15. I think it looks great! The only thing I know (from making gingerbread houses) is that white rice makes great (and cheap) snow, if you ever need to do a winter scene.

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  16. LOL, does hubby hubs get angry when you spend money on these things? :)
    I love the technique and how you made it from something everybody has in the house! I bet a walk in a forest could give you lots of material and little pieces for some next setting - branches, cones, stones, rocks....

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  17. You always have to keep your eyes open for good scenery materials. I love Pringles cans for towers. I was at a yard sale this weekend and scored an entire tub filled with styrene plastic used for modeling, I'm very excited about that! Keep up the good work! Sometime we will have to have a chat about painting scenery. :-)

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    1. Pringle cans for towers hahahaha oh make sure they are empty.

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    2. I know. I won't be able to stop thinking about Pringle cans and poo Cat.

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  18. I continue to be amazed by your creativity, sis! Your first attempt at scenery is great. I can hardly wait to see what you come up with next. Love you!

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  19. Very fun, yes sounds like you've definitely caught the bug. I now look at everything this way. One man's junk is another man's terrain. Someday they might do a hoarder special about terrain makers. I've saved things like old computer fans (they make perfect industrial & sci-fi fans for buildings) and have a collection of old ink cartridges that will become storage containers or temp-housing pods for 15mm sci-fi. Pringles tubes are gold. Great work, looking forward to more!

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  20. Turned out well Anne :-D
    ..the see through plastic tops from pringle tubes, not only good for mixing trays but they make great camera filters when using a flash. Cut a hole in the thing that goes over the lens and at the same time part of it covers the flash..it gives a nice soft tone. I haven´t tried it myself´but Apparently it works.
    Welcome to the barmy world of terra forming
    Cheers
    Paul

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  21. You've done an incredible job with the scenery Anne. I mean this in the nicest way possible but it's a better job than your actual figure painting is. That's not to say that your figure painting isn't excellent but it required some real artistic prowess and genius to do an amazing job like this and you pulled it off perfectly, I'm actually really, really impressed.

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  22. very cool...lots to capture the eyes...i really like the brickwork...and the tree just pops like a flame...

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  23. Now this is cool. Now don't get me wrong, painting and making the scenery really happen is awesome, but I think I would enjoy making it so much more. Really gets those creative juices flowing!

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  24. This looks like a lot of work that you should be proud of ~ Thanks for sharing the bit of a tutorial about this hobby...I think its good to make use of what we have ...Well done here ~

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  25. Nice work Anne it's just given Ray and epileptic fit with the colour and awesomeness of the work!

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    1. I hope you got a photo of him having a fit!! Where's your post for today at big guy.

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  26. There is no hope for you now Ann, not only are you painting figures, but now your making scenery as well. You do realise this has finally put an end to any normal life you had hoped to live. You have officially joined us in the nut nut brigade!!

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    1. I know Ray. I'm properly fecked now. I have so many ideas banging around in my head right now that I can't think straight. I've a huge pile of materials taking up a quarter of my bedroom now! God help the Hubby!!

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  27. Thats quite well done! I love it! I hope you make all your own scenery from now on!! I love the colours you used! I think the colours you used reveal something about you, about your personality and its great!

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  28. Well done!
    That looking through the closet thing really made me laugh. Your infection advances :)
    You're about to stockpile a lot of junk, just 'cause you might need it for scenery some day...
    But that's allright. We all do this to some extend ;)

    //mojo

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