No matter what period you play in, or which rules set you use, nice looking scenery will always add to the enjoyment of the game.

Here, long-time PAW member Orlando Murrish walks us through the steps he uses to make some of his excellent MechWarrior scenery.

 Scratch building good looking terrain is not difficult, things like tank farms can be constructed from card & plastic items you would normally throw away.

Fig01Fig 1 Selected items from this pile of bits will be used to scratch build two buildings. In this case tank farms that will use the B5 template for the model base so they are perfect for MechWarrior Age of Destruction games.  

This is a pile of aerosol and bottle caps, and the plastic ties used in the packaging of my son’s toys.


Fig Fig022 As you can see the large & small caps will be used to make two tank farms.
Plan the basic layout before gluing anything in place.

If plastic items are dirty, wash in warm water and detergent and dry.




Fig03Fig 3 Basic pieces have now been glued in place using a contact adhesive.

Note the layout has slightly changed from above.

Cut off bits of pen top have been used to add panels to the side of some tanks.



Fig04Fig 4 A card gantry has been glued in place using contact adhesive. Pipes connecting each tank will be added later.

This gantry will add strength to the model, preventing the model from flexing at the base of the tanks.



Fig05Fig 5 Using a modelling drill, holes are drilled in the top of the large tanks and in the centre of the small tanks and just above them, in preparation for the model pipe work.

Fig06Fig 6 The plastic ties used to hold toys in place are used.  Straighten the ties bend it to shape and cut to the required length.

Fig07Fig 7 Secure the pipe work in place with a drop of superglue. This will also help lock the model together making it sturdier.

Fig08Fig 8 Painting can start.  I am using a thick coat of enamel matt black.

Fig09Fig 9 Both buildings have a thick base coat.  Leave to thoroughly dry.

Fig10Fig 10 A dark grey will be brushed over the black (Humbrol matt 66 which is actually a grey-green colour).


Fig11Fig 11 One building is painted: lightly scrub the grey over. The idea is deeper parts of the model retain the black.

Fig12Fig 12 Grey paint completed. Leave to dry.

Fig13Fig 13 The dark grey has been lightened by adding some white and dry brushed on.
Dry brushing is where only a little paint is used and the brush only deposits paint on the raised areas. Only used old brushes for this, as it will ruin a new bush in minutes.

Fig14Fig 14 Silver paint is dry brushed on, (only completed on the building in the foreground).

Fig15Fig 15 A close up showing the dry brushing.  Note how the brush strokes in the under coat are adding texture.

Fig16Fig 16 This show a page of paper signs to be cut out and stuck to the model using contact adhesive.  I used the table's function on my word possessor package and downloaded safety signs from the web to make up the signs.

Fig17Fig 17 This shows signs in the process of being applied.
Cut them from the sheet with a straight edge and a sharp modelling knife, because this gives a neater edge than scissors.

Fig18Fig 18 Signs and labels have been applied.
Note that the buildings have a dirty used look, and the clean white signs don't look quite right.

Fig19Fig 19 Using matt black paint dry brush over the signs and add dirt streaks.  Now the signs match the overall look of the building.

Fig20Fig 20 Add some finishing touches: some rust streaks at pipe joints and on the side of the tanks . 

Fig21Fig 21 Same touches added to the second building.  Leave to thoroughly dry. Then apply a matt polyurethane varnish: this will dull down the silver paint. 

The signs are printed using an inkjet printer, but the ink does not run using this type of varnish.  This will not be the case with an acrylic (water based) varnish.  If in doubt test on an unused sign before applying the varnish!

Fig22Fig 22 One of the varnished buildings next to a Mech.
Not bad for a scratch build!


Fig23Fig 23 Similar idea applied to three card powdered milk containers with metal bases.  This model is scaled for 25mm and the tanks are 100mm (approximately 4 inches) high.


Fig24Fig 24 This model fusion reactor is made from the tops of two Lego Bionicle containers (which would be thrown away) glued together with a paint job and signs.  This building's base again follows an approved play format and can be used for WizKids approved play.  See the adjacent Mech for an idea of size.

Fig25Fig 25 This is a closer shot of the model Fusion Reactor.

Fig26Fig 26 This building is scaled for use with Classic BattleTech and is made from another Lego Bionicle pack top, the lid from an aerosol can and  plastic packaging ties as pipes.



Fig27Fig 27  This is a closer shot of the building (55mm or approximately 2 inches tall).

All the above types of terrain are in frequent use at PAW meetings, in particular during our regular MechWarrior competitions.  Come along and join in!



Children undertaking modelling and in particular the use of contact adhesives and superglue should always be supervised by an adult.  
Always use a well-ventilated room and follow product manufactures instructions.