Cheap ‘n’ Simple Scratchbuild – Holy Soviet Empire Shock Drones DIY Miniatures

How do – Dan here again. After Jim’s revamp of his decadent Western capitalist imperialist helots (which included a reinforcement with a dastardly M42 Stealth Tank and a close air support flight of Avrocar flying saucer tankbusters), I’ve had to up the game for my Holy Soviet Army in the hope of Lt. Polikarpov finally getting a victory for the workers.

This started with the BEHEMOTH mech I showed you last time, but seeing as we got such a positive response I thought I’d share these little critters with you – a pair of Shock Drones. Now, these are inspired by and similar to (but definitely not the same as) the notorious Terror Drones from Red Alert 2, and function in a similar way – basically fast moving close combat killers with limited AI and rigged to self-destruct when they hit Allied lines!

So – the build. For materials, you’ll need a few wee tiny offcuts of foamboard, some cocktail sticks, some glue that isn’t superglue, some glue that is superglue, some bits of sprue, some wee little bits of cardboard, and some disused guitar strings or bits of wire.

Step 1:

Foamboard. Take a rectangle of foamboard, 20mm x 15mm, and trim it at the edges. Count 5mm in each side and trim off. This gives you an octagonal shape which is the main body of the droid.

Step 2:

Glue a bit of sprue on top. Two if you’re really enthusiastic. These are the sensor superstructures on top of the droid.

Step 3:

Legs. You’ll need two cocktail sticks. Chop them in half, and then score each half a stick in the middle. Break the stick along that line but leave it in one piece and bend it at an angle. You then soak it with superglue to stiffen that joint. It will harden and actually be more solid than you might expect. Then you cut a V-shaped piece of cardboard, score it along the middle and fold it, and glue those to the “shins” of the legs (it doesn’t matter which way round you do it, but I had the sharp bits of the cocktail sticks as the feet). The other end of the cocktail stick gets dunked in glue (NOT SUPERGLUE – that will melt the foam) and pushed into the foam on the edges.

Tell you what, here’s a picture:

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Step 4: Attack cables

Guitar strings (or wire) wound up around a screwdriver, dunked in glue and pushed into the foam.

Step 5: Painting

This is exactly the same as the paint scheme for Stompy Uncle Joe, with one MAJOR difference – DON’T USE SPRAY PAINT! Spray paint has a chemical in it that melts foam. Your model is largely made from foam.

Some close ups of the finished articles:

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This is a dead easy build, and the little fellas actually do look quite nice in situ:

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Seen here about to rip apart an M60A3 Centurion..

They’ll certainly be a valuable addition to the rolling firestorm that is the Holy Soviet Army, skittering ahead to attack whatever enemy unit registers on their crude but effective sensor arrays. They also represent a potent, if somewhat unconventional anti-tank capability – admittedly the Holy Soviet Army likes to deal with tanks by using LOTS MORE TANKS (and occasionally the Holy Mystic to chuck them about).

We’re going with Armour Rating 12, Speed 24cm, CCR8 but no ranged weapons. A rugged Soviet construction method means the first hit penetrating the armour won’t destroy them, just halve their stats – the second takes them down, and when they go, they explode like a frag grenade!

And of course, there’s no way they could get hacked and go haywire. Is there, Jim?

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Terrain Talk Pt. 3 – The Board

Let me start by linking the videos that were largely the blueprints for this project (both by Mel The Terrain Tutor):

In Depth Guide To Realistic Flocking (47 minutes, but it’s a better way of spending 47 minutes than watching the Kardashians…)

Texturing Gaming Boards With Filler (20 minutes)

So, as the new generation terrain began to develop, we decided that the board was starting to look a little tired and tatty… Time for a change.

Our board is a pair of 12mm thick 3’x 4′ chipboard shelves bought from B & Q a couple of years ago – unfortunately, logistical challenges (to be specific, my car) meant we couldn’t keep a 6’x4′ slab together, but they fit together quite nicely and provide a good solid base for gaming on.

Step 1 – Texture

We first tried painting texture paste over the original coating of artificial grass and grit, but it soon became clear that wasn’t going to work, so we simply flipped the board and started again. Using the texture paste idea from the Terrain Tutor video , we knocked up a paste from filler powder, play sand, PVA glue and water. The ratios will vary depending on how you want to texture it, so experiment! You’ll need about 2 litres to cover the board, and you’ll want to leave about 24 hours to dry. Be sure to stipple rather than brush as you don’t want unnatural looking straight lines.

Step 2 – Painting

With the paste dried nicely, next step was spray painting a black basecoat. A word of warning here, you’re going to need a LOT of spray paint. Seriously, we went through five of the £1 cans from our nearest pound shop. This project EATS supplies.

Next up was a drybrush, following the pallette of earth tones I copied from 3T Studios.

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Starting to take shape…

 

Some close ups of the textures this method accomplishes.

I also wanted to replicate some of the cool exposed rock effects that you see on GW Realm Of Battle boards, so I used a dab of filler and traced cracks into it with a very fine bit of wire.

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Rocky surfaces in white

With the earth tones applied, I painted the rocks in the same way I painted the rocky parts on the hills we did recently.

Step 3 – Flocking

The Terrain Tutor’s video is a must see for this step. Basically, he’s using a three tone approach which I nicked, shamelessly. A good time saver here is to use a small sieve to evenly distribute the flock all over the board creating areas of dark and lighter grass, in some places allowing the original texture paste to show through and blending in some fine dust gathered from my garage floor!

I took Mel’s tip about using a window cleaning sprayer with diluted PVA to blend and seal the flock, and then a couple of coats of matt varnish to seal the whole thing.

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Seen drying here, but you get an idea…

Close ups of the details

 

In situ with the new look Buffalo 2-7 deploying across it!

Now just waiting for Dan to finish mucking around with his Holy Soviets and we’re going to christen this bad boy with a truly APOCALYPTIC battle! Stay tuned 😉

Terrain Talk! Pt. 2 – Hills

Once again, shouts out to Lukes APS, Mel The Terrain Tutor and 3T STudios here – they are responsible for teaching Dan & I what we used to make this stuff. Credit where it’s due!

So last time out it was ruins, now I’d like to share with you How I Build Hills…

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This was where I started – Good quality thin corrugated card, two layers glued together at 180 degree angles so the corrugation folds cross each other, helping prevent warping. On top of that – blue modelling foam (although for subsequent builds I’ll be using Celotex insulation foam, as that’s what my local Wickes have in store for FAR less money). I’ve carved two layers with a cheap DIY knife, glues them together using tacky glue and then textured using filler (spackle, for my American friends). Embedded in the filler are bits of masonry offcuts, mortar, a stick my dog chewed up, stones from the back of the garden and bits of gravel – basically anything with an interesting looking texture that happened to be lying around. Skinflint don’t pay for texture, yo. I then sanded down any rough edges, covered the thing with PVA, sprinkled it with sand and cat litter, before undercoating black with cheap £1 spray paint.

NB – make sure you’ve covered up the foam in texture or grit or something before you spray, because the chemicals in the spray paint will melt your foam..

Next stage is painting:

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Drybrushed up with the earth tone palette I mentioned in the last terrain post.

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After drybrushing a basic blue grey onto the rocky areas, I followed Luke’s APS advice and dabbed in a little red on the rocky areas…

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The next step was drybrushing successively lighter greys onto the rocky areas – again using the same palette of paints discussed last time. This helps homogenise your terrain and pull it all together, kind of the way comic book artists try to unify and limit their palette.

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Then flocking! Jarvis JFT01 is my main colour here, with JFT02 and 03 providing shade.

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Wet blended a little dust from my garage floor, spray sealed with diluted PVA, sprayed with matt varnish and it’s good to go! Nice and dramatic, and the Orks of Da Skooderia certainly seem to agree with me..

 

I’m genuinely pleased with this hill, particularly the rocky bits, and it’s not actually that hard to do.. so the old hills will be upcycled to match! Stay tuned for our final terrain post – the board itself…(dun dun DUN!) 😉