Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How to Make Asteroids

One of my hobbies is making and painting miniatures. There are a large range of figures from games I don't play but own 'cause their cool. The last month or so I've been into Firestorm Armada. I found a website that had them clearanced and bought several. Over the next few weeks I'll be doing reviews on these with regards to their quality and general awesomeness. Anyway I like the fact that now I have some non-Star-Wars spaceships. This brought up a unique problem however.

What kind of terrain do you have in the vastness of space? Flat maps are nice but 3D is better so I put my mind to how to fix this issue. Not hard to figure out, asteroids and debris fields are about as far as it goes. So asteroids, how to build asteroids.

What you need to make asteroids:

Step 1: Find a neighbor with a yard full of lava rocks
Step 2: Under cover of darkness steal handfull of said rocks
Step 3: Putty. Epoxy or Sculpy
Step 4: 1/8 inch clear acrylic rods and 1/8 inch acrylic sheet for bases

You can also make asteroids using only putty but the lava rocks are great for pressing textures into the clay. Rocks are difficult if not impossible to drill through to have a socket for the rods so I build up some putty texture it like the rest of the rock and paint it. If done properly you can't tell where the real rock ends and the putty begins.

I've already spread the putty to fill a depression in the bottom of this rather large rock and have textured it by pressing a smaller rock into it to leave a similar texture.

Texturing is finished. Normally I'd just pop this in the oven according to the Sculpy instructions but since dinner was in there at the time this was just for the blog post. I'm actually going to build a little space station in this large rock. I do have some other smaller examples using Green Stuff epoxy.

After the epoxy sets I drill a 1/8 in hole in to for the stand. You can see the stands in the background there.

A couple Plumbata scout corvettes in an asteroid field.

A Skyhammer cruiser as well.

The big incomplete asteroid with some bases jammed in the soft putty. Anyway, prime them black dry brush with some grey and you have some pretty convincing asteroids for cheap. The 1/8 inch rods and bases are standard for Firestorm Armada. I tried 1/16 but they're a bit too fragile.