Friday, December 30, 2011

Time To Do Some Camping!

I recently ordered a bunch of Star Wars minis from Miniature Market that I'm going to re-purpose for Mutants and Death Ray Guns by Ganesha Games (pics to follow soon).  This also got me looking at my terrain collection.  Though I have pretty good selection available the one thing that's really missing is some post apocalyptic pieces so I've decided to start building up that end of my terrain spectrum.

Shelter is one of the basic necessities of life so it seems like a natural place to start.  Rather than doing more permanent structures first, I decided to focus something more mobile such as tents.  This also gave me an excuse to try out some new modelling techniques so it was off to the workbench I went!

For my tents I'm using some pretty common household items.  The frames for the tents are actually some of those one serving fruit cups (minus the fruit of course) though you could also use some of the one cup plastic containers that you can find in the grocery store.  You could just leave the cup intact use the side of the cup as a door but the plastic is soft enough that you can easily cut them with scissors.

Now to actually have a tent you need a cover for the "frame".  For this I grabbed an old t-shirt and started cutting!  You could just use scraps of cloth instead of chopping up your clothes but you need to make sure that the fabric isn't to stiff since it's going to be draped over the cup.  Just make sure that you cut a slit in the fabric so you have an entrance, otherwise your tents are going to offer much shelter.

Next I put a liberal amount of glue on the cup and set it aside while I prepped the fabric.  An important thing to do is make sure you put some around the edge of the cup so that the fabric will stick firmly to it.

With the cup set aside its time to get some glue onto the fabric as well.  To do this I spread a liberal amount on one side of the fabric then crumpled it up and ran it under water.  This gets the glue to permeate through the fabric which will make the whole structure much more durable once it dries.

While its still wet, put the fabric onto the cup making sure to press it down so that it sticks closely to the "frame".  Also make sure that you press it down around the edges otherwise it might pop off later.  After this its time to put it down and walk away.  I'd give it at least a day to fully dry though you might want to trim off any excess fabric during this time before the glue completely dries.

This gives you plenty of time to make the rope that runs around the bottom of the tent.  For this I used thin gauge floral wire twisted around itself.  The easiest way to do this take a good length of wire and fold it in half.

Then stick a pen, pencil, dowel (you get the idea...) through the loop and hold the other ends with some pliers.  While you hold on twirl the pen around to get the wires to wrap tightly around itself and voila!  Somewhat instant rope!

Once the fabric is dry, its time to thread the rope around the base of the tent.  The easiest way to do this is use a drill to make holes through the hardened fabric and the cup.

Once you have holes spaced all the way around the edge of the cup thread the wire through.  I originally tried to do this by threading it through the way you would by sewing but I found it much easier to use several separate lengths of wire around the edge.  You can also do this up the sides or anywhere else you want but that's up to you.

With the wire attached, its time to paint!  I originally went for just dirty browns as I like how it fits with the whole apocalyptic feel but I then I decided to through in a green as well just to mix it up.

And there you have it!  Yes, you too can have your own post apocalyptic tent city!  This project is a little time consuming because of the drying time but overall its really simple and I'm very happy with how they turned out.  If you give it a try yourself I'd love to know how it turns out or if you have any improvements I'd love to hear about those as well.  Until next time...


Mats Lintonsson said...

Good looking tents! Thank you for this tutorial. Might try this out.

Pete Lowther said...

Glad you liked it! Using glue to stiffen the fabric is something that I'd seen years ago but never got around to trying it myself. Really pleased with how they turned out and I'm thinking about doing more projects using this method.