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Post-Apocalytic Wanderers Need Fast Food Too!

I’ve been spending a disproportionate amount of time creating terrain and painting models to play Wastelands 3: Total Meltdown as well as my new love, Wreck-Age. I love post-apocalyptic (PA) games quite a bit because the sky’s the limit with the time-frame and the circumstances around the “end of civilization”.  It really makes for interesting games with odd mutations, home-made and futuristic weapons, and myriad adventures that depict desperate raiders laying waste to towns defended by future farmers. I’ve talked about Wasteland 3 to several people and it is, at this point, my favored campaign-based PA game. Wreck-Age is definitely a better system, but the rules aren’t out yet, so I’m still playing Wasteland as it’s no slouch.

Anyhow, I was perusing the Wreck-Age forums and found a conversation about “raised bed planters” and how in desperate times, people might carry their produce with them, or simply raise food in mobile gardens in case they need to bug out quickly. A lot of good ideas came out of that thread and I kind of had to see what my mind eruptions could conjure and, subsequently, engineer.

So, here’s what I’ve been doing over the Labor Day Weekend, aside from partying, going to the local pool, taking my youngest to the playground, and taking my eldest from party to party and sleepover to sleepover. It’s worth mentioning that people can get really caught up in these projects, but never forget the most exciting adventure of all: finding ways to occupy your children so that you can have sex with your wife.

Anyhow, here’s the veggie cart:

The body of the cart is made from Evergreen Scale Models V-groove Corrugated, in 0.030″ thickness. This was to exude a corrugated metal look to the walls.

The I-beam below is also from Evergreen; it’s a bitch to cut, even with a sharp knife, but I wanted it to look uneven and rust-eaten, so it actually was OK.

 The wheels and axle were “harvested” from a cheap ATV toy I got at the aforementioned indoor playground, which also boasts a small store area for cheap shit to sate your kids’ need for new shit. Unsurprisingly, I was the only one who got to buy anything.  Finally, the hitch was made from two 1/4″ balsa sections with a toothpick section thrust in between and square-cut. All of it was secured with cheap CA glue. The animal in the picture is a Wreck-Age Pack Boar, and I had initially planned to create a yoke to attach to it from the hitch, but in the end, I thought it better not to as if the boar was killed, the yoke would just be lying on the table, and probably would be easily damaged. So, it’s free-standing.

One of my concerns was that I’d have to load the wagon with a lot of expensive scenery materials or something, so I opted to raise the height of the bed using Scrabble tiles. I use them in almost every project, somehow, and every time I see a copy at the local thrift shop, I buy it, because you can use all of the parts for all kinds of things. In a recent group of projects, I used the tiles as a “tile floor” for a ruined command center, and I used the little tile racks as a sign post for my “Mark’s Junk” junkyard project. In any event, these things take all sorts of glue very well, and are almost identical in size, which makes them a shoo-in for all kinds of things. I’ve thought about even cutting grooves in the sides to make a magical tome or book of some sort, and the tiles scale very well for things of that nature.

After that was done and it was primed with Armory Grey primer, I had my eldest basecoat the entire thing with Vallejo “Mithril Silver”, except for the hitch, which would later be painted with two Vallejo brown colors and washed with Coat D’Arms Brown Ink Wash, I truly believe it is the single best brown wash on the market, and all of their washes are superb, although the black needs to be watered down a bit as it is REALLY dark. The rumor is that this is the same paints Citadel used to use, and this company mixed them for Games Workshop until they went “in-house”. In any event, the paint is pretty good, but Vallejo is easily better, with the washes being the exception. I have a ton of Cd’A washes, and I use the flesh wash exclusively for all of my models. It’s simply brilliant. 

Anyhow, back to the cart build. After the basecoat dried, I applied the best stuff in the world for rusting things: Modelmates Rust Effect Fluid. This stuff should be in every modeler’s stable along with some of their mud and oil washes, because it’s both easy to use and gives utterly spectacular results, as you can see from the above. The final touch was loading the bucket with my “Superfly’s Super Secret Sauce”, which isn’t secret, but is super:
2 parts water
1 part Titebond II PVA wood glue
1 part Mod Podge (satin or matte) PVA glue

Now, this mixture is not only watery enough to soak down into substrates, it’s incredibly strong and durable. I dropped some Woodland Scenics “fine brown ballast” in there for dirt. The beautiful thing about the Secret Sauce is that the material becomes so hard that you can dry brush over it without loosening little bits of debris, thereby avoiding the ruin of your expensive brush.

I added a few more coats of the rust fluid to really make the thing look old and beat up, and then I put a drybrush of Vallejo “Beastly Brown” on the tires. I was pretty satisfied with the final product, so then I went on to finish the model by adding some Noch static grass as foliage for small plants in the front, and some Woodland Scenics fine green turf as a bed to cover the dirt for the larger produce.

I used Super Sculpey, a cheap and easy to use modeling material, which hardens in the oven at low temperature with no odor, to make the produce. Normally, I use Milliput for this sort of thing but it’s sticky, makes a bit of a mess, and is more expensive.  In any event, I simply rolled some oblong balls for small turnip-style root vegetables, or perhaps tomatoes, and then I made some larger ones for watermelons. I figure that in the wasteland, you’d want to get as much water as possible captured in the fruit so that you can re-absorb it when you eat it, and I know people who grow them in Las Vegas’ searing summers, so it seemed a proper idea.

Painting small things like this is very hard, but I have a method that always works: I roll the balls in a small palette, really more of a drop, of whatever color I want, and then slide them off to the side to dry with a small tweezers. If you don’t know who Excelta is, you should check them out. I used to sell them to factories and they’re the top of the line, lifetime tweezers and cutter company. Anyhow, I rolled the “turnipmatoes” in red paint and slid them off.

The melons were not so bad, but I knew I’d end up painting them and inadvertantly rolling them off of the cart onto the floor, so I opted to simply glue them to some scrap plastic and then paint them. I started with a dark green with the intention of adding lighter stripes, but that was harder than I thought, so I re-painted them in the lighter green after two attempts at the stripes. Happy with the results, I finished them off with a drybrush coat of the original, darker green, and what you see above is the product of that endeavor. 

I used some CA glue to affix the melons in place, but I used the Secret Sauce to affix the small red produce as they were so small that using CA glue would probably kill the paint job due to “frosting”, a phenomenon that happens when CA glue is allowed to dry without actually bonding one thing to another. In any event, once they were down I used a small paddle tweezers and some more Secret Sauce to add a little more of the Noch static grass, and to add Woodland Scenics “coarse turf”, which was comprised of a mix of both the light and dark green variety, to give some depth of color.   

As you can see, this thing turned out amazingly well, at least in my opinion, and it’s a perfect fit for any PA game setting. I’m thinking it could also work well with a modern or pulp setting as it’s designed to look like it was made from harvested materials, something farmers do fairly often due to necessity, especially out in the sticks.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

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