So I had my zombie fighting Scooby Gang, found a suitable Mystery Machine upgrade, and I had some maskless ghosts and zombies. Time for a base. I did some sketches, moved the figures around a piece of paper before finally heading down to the local craftstore, reasoning it would be easier to plan out if I knew what I was going to build on. Tom (http://www.skullncrown.com/store/) always says to buy the storage box before building the terrain so you know where it needs to all fit into. Words I have repeatedly found the wisdom in the older I become. So with that in mind I found a wooden plaque template that was big enough to hold all my parts and I liked the varied edge. I had played with a number of ideas, the runner-up being the parking lot of the ruined malt shop but in the end I decided on a simple crossroads because I wanted to make the wooden sign as much as any symbolism. At this point I drew the overall shape onto a piece of foam core as well as circles where the bases would be inset, cut everything out (careful right angles for the circles tapered outer edge), and glued it down to the board with some Elmers White Glue.
I built up the area around the road with lightweight spackling and painted the road with Golden Course Textured Medium mixed with deep brown acrylic paint as a base color figuring I might as well save a step. I ran an old flat brush, frequently moistened in water, along the road to simulate ruts and old tire tracks. Once I liked the look, I pressed the tracks of the Mystery Machine against a wet sponge repeatedly between pressing them against the still moist roadway, up to the point I wanted the vehicle to be parked.
I painted the finished roadway with a watered down gloss medium to make it look wet and flocked the rest of the areas with Woodland Scenics materials, finishing them off with some tufts of grass to break up the solid horizontal planes a little. I built the sign post out of bits and pieces laying around my table.
The resin kit I picked out (GZG41 Snow Cat at http://www.daemonscape.com/contents/en-uk/d5_01.html) has some nice detail, is a clean cast, and has wonderful flat panels to paint that 70’s detail onto. I do recommend washing resin kits with a little dish soap, rinsing very well before drying them with paper towels. Otherwise I find my hard work comes pealing off the mini AFTER I’ve completely finished and usually right before I want to show it off. The only issue I had was with the turret as it didn’t have more than a slightly raised cylinder to show where to place it and then the gun hit the vehicle’s ventilator/snorkel (yes, they might have to cross flooded out roadways on their way to “Old Man Brown’s Farm” looking for the zombie of Don Knots) and my gang would need clear arcs of fire. All I needed to do was build a short base to raise the height of the barrel a bit and I found that the trigger block from a can of Montana Gold spray paint was perfect. The hole in the trigger block was almost exactly the same size as the placement cylinder and even tapered into the middle so I didn’t have to sand it off the original. What I did have to do was build up the bottom of the turret and add a plug so it could rotate. I used two part epoxy, or greenstuff, to roughly shape the bottom before pressing it into place, the surface of which was liberally covered in water to prevent sticking when I then removed it. This provided a nice, custom fit plug. After it dried I test fit and sanded it to get a smooth, tight connection and it was time to paint.
Other than the Cosmonaut Horrorclix figure where I wanted to keep his transparency, I primed everything white. Still not made the jump to airbrush I do everything by brush, including my vehicles.
I try to keep my base coats clean as it makes everything else so much easier and is worth the effort once I start putting down washes and stains.
After the base coats the figures receive said stain and washes. While I will coat every bit of a 10mm Warmaster figure (strip of figures?) a solid wash of brown (Agrax Earthshade in Games Workshop colors) for these I prefer to mix it up and tailor the colors more. Secret Weapon Miniatures (http://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/) not only make my favorite washes (huge range of colors made out of high quality materials), my favorite bases (nothing less for Hasslefree Miniatures) but also an incredible line of dry pigments I swear by for weathering. The tutorials on the website are wonderful.
The gang were simple enough as reference materials are everywhere online. I did find a great “print and fold” your own Mystery Machine on Deviantart.com that showed the details on EVERY side of the vehicle. That was wonderfully helpful. It was really a straight forward job of base coats, washes, blend, and highlight on the figures. I was working off of cartoon characters here after all. I mounted all of the Scooby Gang figures on Secret Weapon Corpse Fields Beveled bases with the original plan of adding some water effects afterward. The “Rombies” were all based on simple round bases I didn’t do more than add some texture to. Heroes should stand apart on multiple levels after all. I still haven’t added the water effects because I’m not really sure they need it. Might be a bit of overkill but with zombies that might not be a bad choice.
Such a fun project and I’m rather proud of myself for getting results so close to my original vision. That happens so rarely in any creative endeavor it’s worth savoring. All that’s left now is to figure out a game to use them in.