Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rivet Wars Diorama: The Battlefield

The Rivet Wars diorama that I'm building for CoolMiniOrNot is nearing completion. This week I'll focus on how the battlefield itself came together:


In addition to the troops and blimp, I made some extra bits to adorn the battlefield. These tank traps are made from blocks of insulation foam, coated with Liquid Nails and glued atop a small Rivet Wars Base.

I made some bunkers to match the style of the plastic bunkers previewed in the Rivet Wars Kickstarter. They appear to be squared off corner sections forming a small defendable area. I scaled them up a little and added some variety to the number of openings.

Each is built on a square of thick cardstock, with andged foam sides.

Next, I cut some thin slices of foam for the concrete floor tiles.

These tiles were then subdivided into smaller sections. The walls were roughed up with some chips and bullet holes and the joins puttied over with some wood filler.

These were pretty simple to make, and I'm so happy with the result that I think I'll do a full, detailed terrain tutorial on the bunkers in a future post. (Keep your eyes peeled.)

The Battlefield

The table is built atop a wooden frame with 2-inch insulation foam on top. While the troops and blimp were shaping up, I planned out the layout of the battlefield. The original concept I was shown had the blimp hovering over the center. I decided on having trench lines at either end with a no-man's-land in the center. One side (the Blight forces) will be making a push into the enemy line with the support of their air cover.

The first step in modeling the terrain was to cut out the trenches. Channels were cut out of the foam. The removed portions were split in half, and then the bottom half glued back in place.

The edges of the trench were roughed up with a wire brush.

The joins in the foam, and the corners of the trenches were then spackled over with wood filler putty.

To make the craters, I burned recesses into the foam with a heat gun.

Here's the battlefield with the trenches cut, and craters burned out.

The Trench Line

For the trenches, I built up a walkway with a layer of foam core.

The beveled edge was coated with Liquid Nails to seal the exposed foam and smooth over the join.

Basswood strips were then added for the framework.

The trenches were finalized with some resin-cast sandbags.

Finally, the bunkers were secured in place and more sandbags were added around their tops. You can see a couple channels cut out for the stairs, and the ladders for when the rivet troopers hear that fateful whistle and are ordered "over the top!"

The final table, awaiting its cover of sand and gravel:


The painting was done in stages. The first step was to prime it black, and spray a little grey on the concrete bunkers.

Next, the ground was drybrushed.

The craters were blackened, and the bunkers and tank traps were painted.

The brown of the wooden trench-works was brushed up with a bit of color.

Finally, the sandbags were painstakingly basecoated with olive drab and drybrushed with a little highlight green.

All that remains is for the painted blimp and troops to be added and the lighting for the explosions to be installed.

'Til next time!


  1. Looks great, the heat gun created craters are a very cool trick!

    Only one question...I only see ramps up/down on one side of the board, what happens at the other end?

    1. There's a ramp *over* the trench line for rocket bike deployment! :)

  2. I hate how quick and easy you make these things look!


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