Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More free basing ...

Last March, Ron Saikowski published a basing article about using free basing material you can find just about anywhere. While I was always using ordinary sand, I now keep my eyes open for anything else that may work. Nothing I've found so far is very different from what Ron used in that article. Some of the best stuff I'd found so far was very rocky sand from a local river beach; great for rubble-strewn city terrain.

A few weeks ago, I was doing a little home improvement in the way of painting a ceiling. I had started late and left a thin layer of paint to dry overnight in the disposable roller tray. In the process of cleaning this up the next day, I noticed the paint had cracked and some had separated from the tray. Disposable trays are very thin plastic and the paint, being less flexible, didn't stick very well. I saw some potential in this, separated as much as I could, and broke it into manageable pieces for later use.

The beauty of this stuff is, you can leave it in big chunks for large terrain pieces, or break it up even further for basing your smaller pieces. Another bonus is that its latex paint. You don't really even need to prime it, and if you do, it won't melt like foam. A disadvantage is you can only make it so thick, so it won't readily work if you're looking for thick-walled rubble.

My first test was on a mortar team. I needed to break it up a bit into smaller pieces, but it breaks apart very easily into random shapes. I just grabbed the biggest piece and broke off small chunks till I ran out, then grabbed the next biggest piece until I had a decent pile. Gluing it to the base required applying it in layers, so involves a little more time than plain sand/gravel, but came out looking fairly decent. I added a topping of sand to the pile and remaining open area, then primed, and finished. In the top picture, you can see the final product, minus the team itself (currently WIP).

This has made me pick up a bad habit though. I painted a wall in that same room the other day, and purposely left some extra paint in the tray in order to have more "rubble" for the next project.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Vanquisher Barrel Conversion

A couple weeks ago, Col. Hessler asked if anyone knew a good way to extend the LR barrel. He's planning to build a Vanquisher. I had actually been playing with this idea for a bit, and finally got to the point I could share. While this particular project didn't involve a standard LR tube, I did have a FW Conqueror turret that needed a barrel extension. So that is what I'm using here. The LR tube is about the same diameter, so this should work with that as well. My limitation was it needed to be removable, so this barrel isn't permanently attached.

What I did was to find a hard plastic Bic style pen tube and took the ink and ball-point parts out. Next I held it to the end of the Conqueror tube and measured the length. I actually have a similar FW Vanquisher turret, so I used that length for reference. I then angled the end of the new barrel as seen in the top picture. After experimenting with various plastic parts, what I ended up using was a 1/4 inch copper coupling (50 cents at the local home improvement center). While the inner diameter is a tad large, the outer diamer is perfect. I found a soft plastic bushing to help fill in the gap, but Green Stuff would work fine here as well. I also had to fill in a bit to transition from coupler to barrel.

To build up the front of the barrel, I used some leftover metal tape I had from a home improvement project. This is very thin, very smooth stuff, which works good for this conversion. Thin strips of plastic card might work as well, but I was concerned with how well the glue would hold so went with the tape. I cut two lengths of different widths, using the wider width on the bottom. A bit of glue over where the tape ended to fill the gap, and there you have it.