Friday, December 20, 2019

Gutter Runner Diorama Build

As the year draws to a close, I've been scrambling to check the last few boxes on my Wargame Hobby Bingo Card. One of these is for building a diorama. I needed something small and quick that I could finish in a couple weeks, alongside all my other work and the holidays. I settled on a Skaven Gutter Runner, running through a storm drain tunnel. Here's a look at how I built the tunnel:


This was a perfct little project because I could use up some of the leftover scraps I had from other projects– Off-cuts of foam core board and a section of plastic tube from a large crayon bank that I had used to make a cylindrical tower in another project.


For the model, I used a runner from the Skavenblight Scramblers Blood Bowl team. He didn't need any conversion work to make him not look like a Blood Bowl player–  he's just a Skaven running along with a knife in his hand, no shoulder pads or anything, so I assembled the model "stock." I cut a 3" length of the plastic tube to be the tunnel. Next, I needed to build a box to hold the tube.


I traced around the tube on a piece of foam core board and cut out the ends of the box.



The ends were trimmed to the same size, and I cut the bottom for the box.


These pieces were hot-glued together so the bottom of the tube would sit on the floor of the box.


The back of the box was also cut and attached with hot glue, leaving a gap for the top of the box.


Then, I hot-glued the tube in place, and attached the box top so both the top and bottom were contacting the tube to support it and prevent it from deforming.


I cut away the front of the tube, and then glued some thin strips of foam core board on the front. These were beveled to fit around the curve of the tube.


With the box framed out around the tube, you can see how the Gutter Runner will fit in the diorama.


I coated the tube and exposed foam with Liquid Nails to give it a "skin" that I could super glue parts to without dissolving the foam or having the glue flake off of the plastic tube.


After the Liquid Nails was dry, I began adding the "stones" for the tunnel. Each piece was cut from thick cardboard and super-glued into place inside the tube.



I made a grate to go in the ceiling of the tunnel. For the grating bars, I used groove-textured styrene card. I cut some thicker square rods to make the frame around the bars, and cut small rivets from round styrene rod and glued these around the frame.


The grate was put in place as I was attaching the stones, so that I could fit them around the shape of the grating.


With the stonework finished, I coated the exterior with wood filler putty. The putty helped fill in the gaps, cover the foam edges, and add a little rigidity. I applied the putty a little rough, and once it was dry, sanded it smooth, leaving a little of the rough texture visible. Once the sanding was finished, I added a layer of thinned wood glue to seal the wood filler and cardboard.


The final step was to add some technical details. I wanted a lamp in the tunnel so I could play around with lighting, and figured I'd add some jury-rigged wiring and cables.


The cables were made from floral wire, bent into shape. The attachment brackets were pieces that I had sculpted and resin cast. The lamp is from a Legions of Nagash Corpse Cart.


On the bottom of the tunnel, I added a pipe. A large chunk was cut out and then pitted with a pin vise to create a large, rusted out hole.


I capped the ends of the pipe with a piece of styrene card punched out with a hole punch. The hole punch just happened to be a perfect fit for the diameter of the tube. Otherwise, I would have had to settle for gluing a square on the end and trimming and sanding it round.


I used strips of card and sections of larger tube to create the brackets securing the pipe in place.



The Gutter Runner was added to a base and spray-primed. The tunnel itself is currently primed and waiting for paint. I'm hoping that I can knock out most of the painting over the weekend. This is going to be a race to the finish line!


'Til next time!


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