Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Building Bridges

Double Rainbow?
Well, I had every intention of moving on to phase two of the 15mm Sci-fi Project, but the old workbench needed a good clean after the chaos of phase one, and stuck in the middle of everything were two kits, both bridges, crying out to me: "Peabody, build us now!"

The Italeri Stone Bridge is a classic single span bridge, an objective to enhance any table. The kit itself has good detail and is simple to build.
I primed the model light grey using Vallejo airbrush primer. A base coat of Tamiya medium grey, xf20 was next. I mottled this coat as I sprayed, so I would be painting details over a mix of greys.

Hot mugs of tea & favourite tunes made the job of picking out selected individual stones easy enough. I worked my way through cool greys, greens, tans and khakis trying to avoid patterns, but allowing these spots of colour to group in places to draw the eye to some of the more interesting detail or create interest where the pattern of stone was too repetitive. The paint for this stage needed to be very thin, almost transparent, to keep the effect from becoming too much like a patchwork quilt. The brightest tans were toned down with a touch of dark grey.

A good dark oil wash (burnt umber & black) did the job of picking out detail, but left the whole model very cold looking. That was fixed easily with a couple of applications of the Mig Filter 'brown for desert yellow', which warmed the colour and tied the whole piece together nicely.
Well diluted Tamiya flat earth, xf52, was dusted on via airbrush, working mostly around the base and lower ends of the bridge, leaving the higher parts brighter and free of 'dust'.
The next day I added ground work to better tie the bridge in with the terrain most used on my table. I couldn't resist trying the Army Painter Poison Ivy, it's so easy to use. I also took a tip from the great tutorials on the Acrylicos Vallejo pages and tried my hand at moss using Woodland Scenics fine turf, acrylic matte medium and different shades of home-made green pigment powders.

While working on the Stone Bridge I also had a second, very different bridge on the bench.

Pontoon Bridge Trussed-up
The venerable Airfix Pontoon Bridge is the donor for this kit-bash. There is so much bridge inside this kit it's a shame not to get more than one project out of the box! This short span is intended for my Vietnam table where there are numerous deep but narrow canals to hamper traffic. The look is intended to suggest the classic bailey bridge that springs up around so many conflicts and natural disasters.

I thought it would be worth the trouble to leave the span of this bridge detached. Now I can play all sorts of bridge-out, bridge-laying or destroy-the-bridge scenarios. But I can also use the ends with the remaining longer span from the kit to eventually make a much larger bridge.

I base my 20mm minis on pennies which makes them too wide for the narrow strip of walk-way to each side of the Airfix kit's truss-work. My solution was to add width with some additional 'wood work' made of styrene strip and square-stock. The effect is more convincing than I thought it might be.

The overall look works for me and reminds me of the sort of improvisational construction I have encountered travelling in South-east Asia.

So what really inspired me to build these now?  I think this little detour is the pay-off for going out of my way and having tried new techniques for the 15mm Sci-fi Project. The stone bridge is no work of art, but it's come out a lot better than it would have had I tried to build it a year ago.
The bailey bridge tested elementary (but fundamental) scratch-building skills and was chipped using the hairspray technique. Both bridges benefited from the use of oil based filters and washes.

Die-cast Repaints. Road-work on Highway 19?
A year or more ago I won an ebay lot that included some poorly painted die-cast toys and what turns out to be bits from the Airfix Aircraft Recovery Set.

A quick repaint and a dash of grubbiness and these are now ready to help add a bit of story to the next game.

 Tragically the 'Queen Mary' aircraft recovery trailer is missing a wheel...
I would be grateful if anyone has a line on a suitable replacement!

Now that the bench is clear again I will be cracking on with the flight of three GZG FanVans.

Peabody out.


  1. They turned out good man!

  2. I am very impressed by these and may have to copy some of it as I am working on a similar idea.

    Good work and some well thought out additions to the bailey bridge.