We all keep knick-knacks and trinkets to make things from in the future.
Whether it's some small bit, like a dragon pendant I got from the Salvation Army for 50 cents or some cardboard forms that hold the latest tech device you ordered in. The kind that would make good, simple buildings for Battletech or even D&D.
Recently, I found the plastic mounting bracket to my old smoke alarm that's been floating around my bench and figured out what I wanted to start making. Now, I usually draw out what I intend to do, but the bracket defined its purpose. The well-area of the bracket looked like a multi-sectioned water filtration system. But I can't have a perfectly built and working one. No, I needed it beat up and filled with clutter, moss, and prolly some creepy crawlies that pop-out and scare things.
I decided to make the whole thing out of various finds. Tracked down my bits and pieces box(es) and pulled some pieces out of it that I had been sitting on for a while. If I were to use this as a display stand for Battletech miniatures, which I think will be the main purpose of this, I want some form of a military feel to it. Water is a strategic point after all. So, a turret.
I have gears from Michael's jewelry and findings section that can be made to give the gun a track to use to turn the turret. Next comes the base of the turret. It needs something round to be cool. Aha! My son's wood knob-like cap from his hot sauce that he gave me. The cap has a flat spot at the top that the gear can set on easily. Now for the gun or cannon. What do I have handy? Nothing jumped out at me while in my bits and pieces box(es) that was gun like enough. Most of my extra mech pieces were in use. So, time to mess around and take some stuff apart.
My type 2 diabetes is controlled with diet and exercise, as well as with medicine. One of my medicines is the shot, Trulicity. The shot pen has a cap that contains a spring and rubber enclosure to ensure that the needle stays inside the tube if it is dislodged by accident, etc. I disassembled the cap to reveal the back of my cannon, the muzzle, and I cut the shaft of the cap that inserts into the pen, for a water overflow drain. The cap assembly also had an insert that serves as the exhaust that the turret is resting against.
The back of the cannon rests on two pieces of a large barrel that is split in two and has a cog running through it. This is a spent desiccant cylinder. The cap comes off of these after the label is removed. I cleaned off the lip that holds the two pieces together and lined them up against the cog.
Note that this is a deserted water reservoir and a disabled turret.
The whole thing will be weathered and detritus will be added to the water and around the base.
Around the outside edge of the circle are actual bricks. Square gray bricks and red rectangular bricks that I purchased from Wish. I bought them ... because. I decided to use them here because it would give the whole piece a solid edge to apply the resin against for the water. I have square red bricks as well the same size as the gray ones that I might use around the cork bottom to finish off the base and give it some "height" above the ground around the filtration tank. Using the scale of a mech, the height will be roughly one-level for in-game purposes. I made a small pile of regular bricks piled on the lip of the inner segment wall.
The large, flat rock, is split length-wise and works well for this project as the standing spot for mechs for a picture. The intent here is that the rock was something that fell into the side of the tank and either broke off creating a nice flat landing place.
The three large yellow pumice marbles are from a pack of aquarium terrain I acquired from online as well. They will serve as heavy foliage that has grown up against the turret.
Speaking of the turret, it looks awkward in the space. Kind of ungainly. Don't worry though. It will look better later.
Assembling Ablative Armor for the Turret
Along the same lines as the rest of the diorama, I’ve been sitting on a trivet I bought at Walmart that has hexagonal shapes within its silicone to allow for heat dissipation. I filled the whole trivet with air dry clay from AC Moore that I snagged as they closed near us. Smoothed over the top with some wet paper towels and let dry. It took less than a day with the AC running in the room.
With the pieces of the armor formed, I proceeded to adhere them to the body of the turret. I used some Loctite Power Grab Construction Adhesive to create a “thinset” for the hex pieces on the ball of the turret. I superglued the first two pieces above the pipe at the front and worked off of those around the sides.
As I got closer to the back and neared the terrain stacked against the turret I added space and overlapped the pieces from damage. I left odd gaps as I worked as well to make the whole thing look irregular. Once the first side was finished, I sealed the clay pieces with some of Bob Smith Industries Super Thin superglue because the clay is so porous. It also helped to ensure a good bond to the construction adhesive underneath.
The irregular surfaces of the plates adds to the appearance of them that the turret has suffered damage from something. I will weather the piece once I get into painting to bring out all the nooks and crannies (™ Thomas’ English Muffins). The second side went even faster and again I sealed it with superglue to ensure permanence and a better paint surface.
After I was finished, I still had a few pieces of armor left over so I placed a few bits on the terrain and the wall and have reserved a couple for placement among the moss under the water. I felt like painting the basecoat of the armor next so I pulled out a blue as a neutral Battletech color for nearly any house or merc company. I chose Reaper Miniatures’ Tropical Blue since it will start fairly bright once the washes and other tones are added.
Let the Painting Commence
Time to get a little paint on it. Most of the basin will be filled with mosses. To give them a Battletech otherworldly appearance, I decided to basecoat the basin with a dry brush of Vallejo Model Color Flat Yellow over an undercoat of Reaper Master Series Green Liner. I will go back over that with other colors for different mosses and alt-flora colors.
On the flat rock platform where I plan to place mechs and other sci-fi minis for pictures I did a pattern of striations to mimic a large slab of rock that fell into the reservoir. The pattern included Reaper Master Series Desert Tan, Desert Sand and Woodland Brown.