Our next article is a combo modelling / terrain guide for creating something to put on the table to represent the results of the Ork Rok ‘Em Boyz Strategic Asset from the Apocalypse Reload book. While not really required to play the asset, I think it will add a lot to the game. If units get squashed by Strength D Roks the physical representation of the crater and Rok are a nice visual reminder.
Thumbing through the various GW books can provide ideas from both the text and the pictures. I would like to eventually create all of the various Strategic Assets that require actual tabletop pieces. I have a couple of bunkers done, but need four more to complete that choice. I have created minefield signs to mark the outside edge of a minefield. Obstacles are also a good choices to create since they can be used in normal sized 40K games as well.
Step One: Sculpt the 10″ Crater
Start by selecting your favorite foam cutting tool. This can either be a serrated knife or a nichrome wire electric cutter. I use the Hot Wire Foam Factory line of cutting tools for hot wire cutting. The foam being used is two inches thick. This is the same thickness as I have previously used for other terrain I have created, although one inch thick foam board would probably work better as it would remove the need for some of the scooping and trimming described later.
Trace the Apocalypse ten inch template onto your foam. Carefully cut along the line to create the circular shape that will become your crater.
Once the ten inch circle has been cut you will see that unless you used a special cutting table chances are that the circle is only perfectly round on the side that had the line, the other side is probably a little squiggly. This is fine because you will flip the piece over so that the perfect side is the bottom. The top is going to be all carved up to represent the Rok impact so no need to work about squiggliness.
Hopefully you chose to use a hot wire cutter. This makes creating the crater a lot simpler. Trying to dig out the center with a knife is very difficult at best since the knife is flat and not very well suited to scooping.
Bend the wire as shown to create an arching shape.
Drag the wire along the surface of the foam, rotating as you pull so that the “U” of the wire plunges in the deepest when at the center of the circle. Start approximately one inch away from the edge to start each scoop. Do not totally scoop out everything, leave some raised up peaks, larger toward the edges and tapered down to nothing toward the center.
Once the basic scooping is complete you can start removing the outer edge of the top of the circle. You can either use the knife wire tool or simply bend the wire back to being straight. I made the angle take off most of the side of the circle and stopped very near the edge of the scooped section, as shown in the picture to the left.
At this point the crater is starting to take shape. Keep scooping from the center and trimming along the side until you get something that looks like the picture on the right. There are two things you need to be careful about in this step. The first is to keep the bottom of the template ten inches in diameter. You can create some notches in the bottom in a subsequent step, but for the large trimming you don’t want to make the template smaller.
The second is to be very careful not to dig down below the bottom edge of the foam. If you are not sure about how deep you are making the scoops, hold the crater up to the light. Your deep sections will allow the light to glow through a bit. If it glows through a lot you need to stop scooping there.
An alternative way to create the crater is to make a hardboard base. A base will allow you to totally scoop out the center of the crater, in essence creating a doughnut for the dirt thrown out of the crater by the Rok’s impact. This makes your crater more durable and allows the center to be totally flat so that miniatures placed there will not fall over.
This next picture shows the crater at the final step of the wire cutting. It has been sculpted down to the right depth for the Rok to sit in the middle, and has enough height to the dirt mounds to look good. A few notches were created in the outer edge that line up with the lowest valleys in between each pile of dirt, but there is still enough area to show the true ten inch diameter of the template.
The side shot here shows the randomness of the mounds and varying height. The center of the crater is as flat as possible since I have opted against the hardboard base. Chances are that this crater will be used without the Rok most of the time, so there needs to be a large flat center for infantry to take cover without falling over. The final step for the crater will make the center even more flat.
The last thing to do to finish the crater’s shape is to sand it down. This helps to make the surface more even and dirt piles more realistic after the turf is applied. Care must be taken when sanding because the foam tends to tear when sanding in one direction. Try to sand lightly, you will be able to figure it out once you’ve tried it. Any big tears in the foam can be filled with wall repair compound (spackle) or thick glue. I use Vallejo Sandy Paste for filling in gaps, it really works well. It comes in a 200 ml jar which should be enough for quite a few terrain projects.
Step Two: Sculpt the Rok
Now that the crater is done you can start working on the Rok. Take your foam and cut a random circle about four inches in diameter. This should line up with the width of the flat portion of the crater. You will not be gluing the Rok down to the crater so make sure to test fit the Rok. If it crashes into some of the dirt peaks trails that taper down into the center of the crater you can always just sand them down a bit more. You just want to make sure that you cannot see underneath the Rok, it needs to look like it is buried into the ground a bit (the bottom of the Rok need to be flush with the crater surface).
Think about how you want the Rok to look, and then hack at it until it looks right. I was thinking that it should look somewhat like the surface of the comet in Armageddon so I wanted it to look fairly jagged.
I also stabbed the end of the hot knife into the surface at random intervals to give it a cosmic rock look. My Rok ended up looking a little funny so after staring at it for a while I decided that it should look more like half of a sphere and less like a smashed up can of tuna fish. I chopped off around the upper edges of the “can” and added some more holes where needed (not shown).
Step Three: Painting and Turf Application
Now that both the Rok and crater are completely sculpted it is time to paint them.
The crater can be completed as described in the Sloped Hills article, although you can add a bit more to the application of the turf to make the crater’s mounds look a little better. I added some Fine Turf T42 Earth to the valleys to darken them up and some Fine Turf T43 Yellow to the peaks to highlight them. Both of these colors were added immediately after soaking with the Scenic Cement.
The Rok was simply painted with a very thick coat of gloss black spray paint. Normally you shouldn’t spray paint styrofoam because it melts, but I wanted a crinkly look to the surface and spray paint doesn’t melt the foam anywhere near as much as CA glue does. After the paint was dry I sprayed a satin sealer over the top.
Step Four: Enjoy Your New Terrain!
That’s it, you’re done! Well, almost done, now you have to make two more because there are D3 Roks for this Strategic Asset!
My advice is to make a bunch of these at once. You only need to make three Roks and three 10 inch craters, other craters can be larger or smaller depending on what sizes you would like to add to your terrain collection. There is significant time savings if you can do each step to multiple pieces, and you only have to clean up all of the pink shavings once.
Hopefully you have found this article helpful. Go ahead and experiment, it is surprising what you can create in just a few hours.
Have fun and good gaming!