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Tau Firing Platform
Ingredients & Tools
Before your very eyes I will transform an empty spice bottle, seven cardboard circles, and A COAT HANGER, into a Tau Firing Platform! No photoshop here folks, just some scenery magic from the Magus_Arts Secret Lair!
Use a compass and an box cutter to trace and cut out seven circles from some heavy duty cardboard. You want to have three large circles about 6" in diameter, three that are about an inch less and one even smaller. The small circle should be between the size of the medium circle and the spice bottle.
To prepare the spice bottle remove the lid and cut off the groves that it screws onto (you could probably skip this step, but I wanted the platform to be 5" tall so non-jump troops would have a chance at getting up to it).
The Powers of Scotch Tape!
Tape everything together from bottom to top in this order:
spice bottle (narrow end down)
Set the remaining two circles aside for later. Ideally all the circles are lined up so their centers match. But if things look slightly irregular don't panic. Adjust it the best you can. We'll cover up any mistakes in the next step.
Behold! Instant Paper Mache
I got this stuff at a craft store ages ago, so hopefully you can pick some up at Michael's or a place like that. Just add water and you end up with a lovely light mushy clay like substance. When this stuff dries it will be easy to sand and carve in with a Dremel tool and will also be extremely light weight.
Place everything that's taped together on some wax paper and start gooping it up with the instant paper mache. You want to build up a decent thickness so it can be sanded and carved later without fear of exposing the ugly guts of the thing. It might be a good idea to smooth everything out as best you can now to save some sanding time later. The only thing is that smoothing often causes your layer of goop to thin out. Just build it up the best you can and try to keep everything nice and circular (Aun'va's warriors will not be happy if they have to shoot from an aestheticly unpleasing platform!).
If you're impatient you can turn your oven onto the lowest setting possible to dry out the goo. But it also works just fine to let the whole thing air dry. I didn't like the idea of putting all that flamable and meltable stuff in the oven, so I just left it out for a few days (yes I started this project a while ago. The coat hanger gave me an idea for the roof support. Disqualify me if you think I'm a cheat =P).
This is what I've got so far
Stay tuned. Updates from the Secret Lair will follow.
Last edited by Magus_Arts; July 10th, 2008 at 10:17. Reason: title expanded
I decided to apply another thick layer of Celuclay (the instant paper mache) to what I already had, and I made sure the top of the platform would be nice and thick. I plan on carving a big Tau symbol into it and I want to carve the rest of the platform to look like it is several sheets of metal fitted together.
The Second Layer
Since this layer is pretty thick I'm giving it another day or two to dry before I sand it smooth and start carving. But, wait! Remember we still have two more cardboard circles to incorporate? That's going to be the roof of the firing platform. Let's cut up the plastic coat hanger to make some supports for the roof.
Coat hanger Bits
After the coathanger got carved up I ended up with five straight bits 3 1/8" long that I'm going to use for supports for the roof, two candy cane shaped bits that will become fireman poles for bailing off the platform if it comes under fire, or a ladder, and a few other nice shapes that might turn into an antenna or something like that.
We want the roof to be detachable for easy model placement. So we will first attach the supports to the roof by poking holes in the cardboard to hold them. Then we'll apply a thick layer of Celuclay to the roof which should keep those supports in place. Finally we'll drill some holes in the top of the platform for the supports to sit in.
More pictures and updates coming soon
Nice, looking good. i can't wait to see the finished product!
Tau have nice smooth shapes, so I did a lot of sanding and evening of the overall shape with my dremel tool and a bit of hand sanding. Then I drew in pencil the lines I wanted to carve into the platform to break up the flat surface.
Then I steadied my hand the best I could, changed the bit on my dremel and started carving. The Tau symbol on the top definitely came out the best:
and the rest of the carving is passable... but not exactly what I had immagined (live and learn, use a smaller bit next time).
Being elevated will help the Tau with line of sight, but what about those pesky flying vehicles? The Tau also need cover!
When everything's said and done the roof will match the rest of the Firing Platform, but I had to get the coat hanger pillars in place and I want them to dry before I start sculpting the rest of the roof.
Once the roof is done, I'll just have to add a few more bits and then I'll be ready to paint.... hmmmm color scheme....
This one is impressive. I love the look of it, and doing Tau scener is going to stand out from the ruins and ruins and...ruins of imperial buildings.
Just wondering, ..how long did it take to sand it down?
Rome wasn't built in a day, Either should good scenery.
I probably spent a little over an hour, but I may go back and sand it a bit more. The dremel sped up the whole process.
I will most likely be using foam core for my next project, as trying to get everything round and symmetrical is a bit of a pain with the materials I chose. I did like the carvability of the paper mache, but I wish everything could have been a bit more evenly rounded.
Last edited by Magus_Arts; July 24th, 2008 at 20:18.
The Transformation is Nearly Complete
The roof is nearly dry and ready to be sanded and carved. The coat hanger pillars are firmly in place (we wouldn't want the roof to wobble now would we). I used a piece of sprue to make a ladder for non jump pack troops to get up to the platform. I'm still debating whether I want to use more coat hanger bits to make fire man poles on the sides or if that will make the piece too cluttered.
Because I positioned the pillars while everything was wet I didn't have to drill holes in my nice Tau ensignia. This will make for nice easy unit placement.
Here's another picture for scale.
Can you get up to the Fire Warriors before they fill you full of pulsed photon?
looking nice man! good luck with it!
And Now for Some Color
A couple more shots for good measure
Post Construction Analysis
If I thought any of the previous stages of this project were a pain in the ass due to my material choice... it was nothing compared to painting. I didn't realize how uneven the texture of the surface was until I put a prime coat on it. There's no documentation of that stage because it was UGLY!!!
I put a blue wash over the white prime coat and I was still worried I had ruined the thing by painting it. But after i got the gold in the grooves and the dark blue dry brushing complete the piece came out satisfactory.
So, I don't think I'd use the celuclay for another Tau structure. Getting everything smooth and uniform is just too darn hard. Foam is going to be my next attempt. But for starting with some cardboard circles, a spice container, and some coat hanger bits, I'm happy.
Thanks for reading!