This tutorial covers how to make 'rough and ready' craters for your battlefield - they may not win any awards, but they're cheap and can be thrown together with minimal effort. In the end, they'll look something like this:
I think it is worth mentioning that I did not invent this idea, I have merely taken the original concept I found a few years ago, and experimented with it (unfortunately I cannot find the original tutorial I followed). Namely, I have discovered that DVDs are a much better basing material than corrugated cardboard when it comes to paper mache.
What you will need:
- Ends of bottles and cans, some cardboard, or other bits and bobs.
- Scrap paper (or newspaper)
- Old DVDs, a piece of plywood, or thick cardboard.
- Fine sand
- Coarse dirt pieces
- PVA glue
1. First, chop off the bottoms of soft-drink cans, 1.5 litre soft-drink bottles, 300ml bottles, or just use cardboard, and tape it to a DVD (of course, you could use any basing material, but I find that cardboard - no matter how thick - usually bows upward when the paper mache dries). You won't need much tape, the paper mache will secure it properly later. Here is what I used (sorry for the censorship!):
Craters are labelled so you can see how each one turns out.
The bottoms of 300ml Sprite bottles.
On the right is the bottom of a 1.5 litre bottle of Coke.
2. Next, mix your water and flour to a roughly 2:1 ratio - that is 2 cups of water for 1 cup of flour. The resulting paper mache mix was fairly runny, but it worked. Tear your paper into strips, dip it into the paper mache, and layer it over the base to form the shape of a crater. (I only used one layer of paper mache, and the base did not bow upward like it usually does with cardboard).
NOTE: I put a sprinkle of salt in my paper mache mix to prevent it from becoming moldy. Honestly, I don't know if it works, but I still do it just in case.
3. Once the paper mache has dried (this could take a day). Cover your craters in PVA Glue.
- Then take your coarse dirt.....
- .... and scatter the larger chunks/rocks/twigs across the surface.
- While the glue is still wet, take your fine sand.....
- .....and completely cover the crater with it. Mound the sand up so it covers absolutely every part of the crater. Then, after waiting a minute or so, shake the sand off the crater.
- Next, water down some PVA glue to a runny, milk-like consistency. Apply this generously over the whole crater.
- Once dry, the craters should look something like this:
4. Of course, at this point you could choose to just use the craters as-is. But a spray of black and a dry-brush of brown makes a decent, if not astonishingly great, paintjob.
(I tried a completely brown scheme with E, but didn't really get the look I was going for!)
And there you have it, that is how I get my cheap, easy-to-make, and rather expendable craters for the tabletop. I managed to make eight of them over a weekend (it's the paper mache/glue drying that takes up the most time), though I'm sure you could mass-produce much more if you tried!
Until next time, happy scratch-building!