The Pipes are Calling…

If wishes were horses, I’d have made more terrain…

TerrainTime 2019 is over, and I managed to complete only ONE terrain project all month, a gas (or sewer) pipeline. So much for all the other stuff I wanted to get done.

A while ago, I picked up this pumping station and this storage tank from Joerg Bender over at Things from the Basement. Joerg sells laser-cut MDF kits and dollhouse furniture. His stuff is awesome. I really can’t say enough good things about it. Many of his gaming kits are designed to fit commonly available supplies like electrical boxes, PVC pipe fittings and, in the case of the storage tank, a Chock Full o’Nuts coffee can. (I don’t drink Chock Full o’Nuts, but I bought some just to get the can.) They’re scaled for 28mm miniatures, but I plan on using the pipeline both for 28mm supers/pulp/sci-fi games and for Gaslands, as you will soon see.

The elevated pipe stands, spacer rings and terminal grates are all purchased from Things From the Basement. The pipes themselves are simple 1/2″ PVC pipe along with standard elbow, T and coupler fittings; readily available at Home Depot for super cheap. I think I spent less than $10.00 on this entire setup.

Once I cut the pipe into varying lengths, I gave it and the fittings a spray with this Rustoleum Metal Primer. I also primed the pipe platforms with a rusty bronze primer. Then, I painted the inside of the pipes a few centimeters deep with some Vallejo acrylic black primer, as I didn’t want the white pipe interior to be visible from the outside.

I want to add some of these buttons that look like steampunk gears as valve handles, but I wasn’t able to by month’s end. They don’t look right sitting flush against the pipe and require a spacer. (Ideally, I could just replace the faux-screw in the center with an actual screw and put it directly into the pipe, but I don’t have screws that small at present.)

Once I started playing around with my pipe (not what you think, Roger), I decided they would look better if the pipe ends were mounted on bases rather than just sitting flush on the table. The problem I encountered is that the pipe stands are designed to hold the pipes so that the ends rest flush against the surface, so if I used a base, would it lift the pipe off the stand? How much difference can 5 mm MDF make? Another quick order to Joerg for some 50mm circular bases (among other things) and I was good to go.

As you can see, I constructed a very sophisticated device to hold the pipes upright while I primed and weathered them. This took a lot of my time this month, which is why I didn’t complete as many projects as I would have liked.

Once assembled and primed, my pipes looked a bit too shiny for me. So, I decided to weather them up with some rust and grime. I used some Weather System rust pigments, after applying some black/brown wash made from craft paint. Once dry, I drybrushed more of the rust anywhere that made sense, in progressively lighter shades. This got messy real quick. I advise wearing gloves when using pigments. A mask wouldn’t hurt either. (I discovered I was breathing it in unaware when I sneezed later and thought my nose was hemhorraging.) After each layer of rust, I sealed the pipes with Dullcote.

I drybrushed the stands and pipe end rings with some Reaper brass, then washed it in Citadel Nihilakh Oxide, to get the verdigris effect. Then I sealed the whole shebang with Mod Podge, to ensure that the paint wouldn’t rub off when I was assembling the pipes in different configurations later. That didn’t work so well. The edges still chip easily.

For the pumping station, I also used a different rust technique for the electrical box.  I applied some Citadel Typhus Corrosion in patches and drybrushed some Citadel Ryza Rust over those areas.

Sadly, the storage tank was one of several planned projects that didn’t get done this month. But I did manage to make some burned out car wrecks for Gaslands, using cheap cars, Magic Sculpt and plenty of Stirland Mud.

My technique for these is quite simple, separate the top half of the car, apply a hammer liberally to the car body to simulate damage, then affix it to the base with some loose wheels and other detritus as you see fit. Prime, cover the base with Stirland Mud or the texture of your choice, and paint the car whatever color you want. Then apply a black wash and rust effects to make it look like burned-out wreckage. These are so easy and quick to do that I will probably do several more. They’ll look great as Gaslands scatter terrain.

As you can see, the pipeline works equally well for Gaslands as a large, aboveground sprawling rust monster….

…as it does for 28mm skirmish, as you can see with these Heroclix Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

One look at this and I decided I need more pipe, and more fittings, in order to have maximum variation in my layouts. I bought another 5′ piece of 1/2″ PVC pipe, which will be more than enough. In addition to the extra fittings I already have, I purchased a few more. So I’m pretty much set to have games in a maze of pipes, should I desire.

My thanks to all who participated in TerrainTime 2019! You can see their contributions at their respective blogs. While you’re visiting, check out their other posts and drop a comment or two if so inclined!

Jeremy at Carrion Crow’s Buffet  scratch-built a terrific Star Wars Imperial bunker.

Kieron at Cheaphammer! made some ruins and a jungle board (complete with submerged alligator) for TerrainTime, as well has prolifically posting a lot of other cool stuff over the course of the month.

Daniel at Wade’s World of Wargaming  made a spectacular Wizard’s Tower from scratch.

Anton at Anton’s Wargame Blog  really went all out, scratchbuilding a hexagonal “Dark Tower”, complete with spiral staircases, and basing/converting a Playmobil coliseum that looks amazing! Inspiring work, Anton!

Charles the Modeller at All Hell Let Loose painted some 6mm Brigade Models buildings and made some terrain plates, complete with walls and foliage. I envy you, Charles. 6mm terrain must be so much easier to store…

Codsticker at Codsticker’s Historicals  made the Hornet’s Nest, an area of terrain specific to the Battle of Shiloh (ACW) which includes a road and lots of trees. It looks fantastic, and you can see it and the battle report in which it was used over at his site.

Thanks again to all who participated and all who dropped by to check out the results. I still want to get that storage tank done (and probably make some more pipes) but for now I’m happy to get back to some good old-fashioned miniature painting for a while.

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4 Responses to “The Pipes are Calling…”

  1. That’s beautiful work!

    Thank you for kicking off the challenge and spurring us all on!

    Charles the Modeller

    • I’m not sure how much spurring I did, Charles, but you’re quite welcome. Thanks very much for participating. Part of the fun in hosting a challenge like this is seeing game pieces in genres/scales I don’t game in, like your stuff! It gives me an appreciation for the wider hobby, not just the stuff I do.

      Thanks for the compliment, but I believe I need more pipes before I can truly say I’m done. Cheers!

  2. Jeremy Winstanley says:

    Terribly late with my comment, Keith, but zi have been gallivanting around in Edinburgh, so that’s my (rather lame) excuse. Lovely work on your pipes… kind of reminds me of the pipeline in ‘The Gone-Away World’ by Nick Harkaway – which is a bloody good read, with a rather startling twist that makes you look at the whole book differently. And it has ninjas. Thanks for initiating this challenge – it fit in jicely with my plans and I ended up with a nicer terrain piece than I had planned. Wins all round!

    • No problem, Jeremy. It took me 8 days to even see and approve your comment, so no harm done. Glad you got something out of the challenge. That bunker really looks terrific.
      Also, I am jealous of your trip to Edinburgh…home of the Bagpipe Museum! I’ve been meaning to get to Scotland myself at some point, but so far it hasn’t happened.

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