So I go over to Chuck's house the other day, and he's got some paint sitting on his painting table.   The BIG can at left.   So I'm wondering ...  What's the deal?


The "Deal" is exactly that.  Got large stuff to cover with a single color?  Need something to attach flocking to your figure bases?  Look no further than common acrylic housepaint for your solution!

Y'see, paint stores will mix up custom colors for folks, and earth tones are in.   But sometimes they don't *exactly* get it right so the yuppies in question will reject a gallon or two here and there.  

The poor store now has a can of unsalable paint!  Oh no!  WHAT TO DO?!  

Well, what they do is put a deep discount price on it and put it in a corner.   You can save some cash from these screw-ups and get a ton for pennies on the dollar.   This is especially great if you have a lot of foam terrain pieces to paint.  You'll probably be quite able to find some sort of workable color right at your local paint store.   Don't think you'll be able to match the color later though!

Cheapie Modelling Tips and Tricks

This particular page is a catch-all of various modelling Tips and Tricks that I've learned thoughout the years.  If a new technique or trick comes up, I'll put it on this page.  So keep checking, you might find something new. 

Also see the Zombietown series of pages, as all the buildings have detailed articles on the techniques used to create them, as well as the other Articles on this page.

Moderately-Priced, Sturdy Painted Terrain for Sale

For a time, a number of game companies offered paintable buildings, cast in resin, for you to buy and paint.   They were spectacular.   The problem is that many folks bought them and then never painted them, or painted them poorly.  And as resin items, tended to be very very expensive.    So what if somebody came to you and offered you a fully painted greek Parthenon for the price of a set of Resin columns (appx $40)?   Would it inspire you to run a Jason and the Argonauts game?   Well, maybe...

What I'm talking about is for you to go down to your local pet store and look at what you can put into your fishtank now.  No more cheesy plastic bubble-divers, no sir.   You can build up Atlantis itself for your tank.   And maybe for your tabletop!

Aquarium terrain is fairly sturdy (but don't drop it) and is painted about as well as most people paint.  Certainly well enough to grace a game table at a convention.  It's bulky - I had a footlocker of the stuff myself so I know.  But all in all it's a pretty good value for the money.  Certainly more than if you would buy it as a "raw" model.  And it will save a gamer that most precious of commodities - TIME.   Have a look below at some of the primitive cultures represented  in aquariums.

PARTHENONS!   Git yer PARTHENONS HERE!   Hot Buttered PARTHENONS!   Greek Temples!   Old Ruins! 
Fully Painted! Git 'em while they're hot!

And it ain't just for the Greeks....   Egypt and the Indus valley await!

Or maybe ancient Rome?  That bridge to nowhere could become a bridge to somewhere on your gaming table....

These little gems might work well for a Samurai game or maybe a WWII Island-Hopping game.  Yup, they're appx 28mm.

How do I know?   Well.....

The OLD FASHIONED way....    I take a miniature with me and stand him up by the terrain.   See...  a perfect fit.

And don't forget to look in the Lizard Habitat section of the store too.  You might find something that could work for The Flintsones' Bedrock, something outta Planet of the Apes,  Or maybe Pellucidar-type buildings.  The little gems above are even hollow so you can hide figures in 'em.   Wasn't it nice of the designer to make 'em that way just for you?

Cake-Dressing and Aquarium Plants for your Game Table

And while we're sorta on the subject, you can use the smaller plastic aquarium plants as tabletop dressing for games that call for those.  Some are molded in such a way as to have small color variations right in the plastic, meaning, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAINT 'em!  Thus saving you that precious commodity TIME again.   These are certainly better than the "model" jungle trees (put out by a company that shall remain nameless) that look like McDonaldland playground gear.  Certainly if that's what you're modelling, buy some from them but I'll pass, thanks.  

This batch came in nice clumps that can be separated.   The following were from a small plastic "tree".   They were pulled off and mounted on small washers and can now be placed as needed on the game table for spice.

-UP Paint from your Paint Store

And this bunch came as cake decorations.  They are also present where styrofoam "mission" kits are sold.   Unpainted, they look awful, but painted, the're almost passable.   Beats the pricey model railroad ones, that's for sure!

Nothin' sez MACHO like Dollhouse Furniture!

I think I've mentioned before (maybe somewhere in Zombietown) that when it comes to getting stuff to use in my setups, I'm pretty much a shameless old bastard.  If I see something useful and I have to withstand the steely gaze of little old ladies to get it, I don't give a shit, I'll just go and get it.  C'mon, dude, MAN UP !   We all gotta suffer for our art, right? 

Then again, if you're a female gamer, you have the advantage.  Buy some and sell it at a profit if you want.   I mean, what the hell,  why not?

So here's something REALLY useful.   It's little packs of 1/48 (appx 28mm) furniture for sale as dollhouse items.  I have tons of 'em.  So do other modellers I know.   They're great for doing interior detailing on buildings.  They're also fairly damage-resisntant and paint well.   I've seen resin ones for 10x the price that were full of holes and bubbles, and gamers just dying to get their mitts on 'em.   HA !   Had they only drawn on their reserves of testosterone and gone to their local dollhouse store!  They would have saved tons of money for a superior product that would have garnered the accolades of their fellow gamers!   Pics of Packs below:

If you can find these, GRAB 'EM.  My packs had a bar-code sticker on the back that said "Item No. G1454".  I don't know if that was from the store or manufacturer, but it may aid you in your Quest.

Just TWIGS

Back on Chuck's Modelling Page we talked about using plain old dirt from the yard as a base dressing for buildings.  Here's another "Green Organic" solution to the problem of foliage.   Instead of buying resin trees, or sculpting them from wire and wood putty,  how about just using plain old twigs found in your yard?

Like Gallagher would say.... it's JUST.....  THAT EASY!

You'll want to pick ones that have sufficient detail and cracks in their "bark" to be sort of in-scale to your models.  They should also have knobs and gnarls that are also semi-in-scale.   See pics below:

These are like TOTALLY GNARLY DUDE!   Sufficiently gnarly that they'll pass for fall trees or stumps in a nice diorama.   Picked from my own yard in late fall.

These are from a different species of tree or bush.  All are excellent examples of a nice "bark".  Be sure to seal them with clear spray before using them to model.

This is an example of some that I pulled out of my garden years ago.  Spayed with testors flat, then slightly dry-brushed with a khaki tan and ivory to really bring out the bark and deep ruts.

Go out every fall and gather some.  I keep mine in a Zip-Lock baggie after I've sprayed them.   You'll want to avoid wet ones, or at least let them dry out inside your house for a few weeks before you seal them with spray.  You don't want them to get moldy.   That will only result in them being useless for modelling later on.

Yeah, just regular old garden twigs can be fairly useful....
Best of Show.  Gamex 11 (Strategicon, Los Angeles)
(Back in the Day)