Prepainted AT-43 Bunker

Back in 2007 when AT-43 was an up-and-coming game system with many new releases and still sold at full retail, Rackham released a plastic prepainted AT-43 Bunker. Fortunately I snatched one up from a friendly local game store, because an AT-43 Bunker is now incredibly hard to find. Mixed up in the legacy of the bunker and its accessory walls is perhaps a clue to the demise of Rackham as a company. When a product is incredibly popular and sells out, God forbid you should produce more. Perhaps even raise the price because demand is so high? Sacrebleu, non! So along with the AT-43 plastic shipping containers that so many 28-30mm war gamers covet, Rackham has provided another wondrous plastic relic for shoppers to quest after.

Prepainted AT-43 Bunker with Karman Apes Attacking and Red Blok Defenders

The AT-43 Bunker Was Ahead of Its Time for Value and Makes a Great Objective to Fight Over

The AT-43 Plastic Bunker Itself

What a steal! While I slightly remember a price closer to $29.95, the toydirectory.com lists an MSRP of only $25 in 2007 for a prepainted building with a removable roof and fully painted interior. The mottled grey bunker stands about 6 centimeters (2.75 inches) tall with its gunnery slits starting at 3 centimeters up from the outside base. The interior floor is only a millimeter or two thick, so it does not dramatically affect line of sight to and from models on either side. Because it is trapezoidal in design, the bunker has an odd footprint, but it is roughly 14cm x 16cm. The bunker’s double-edged sword is its integrated wall sections for attaching AT-43 walls. They’re perfect for gamers who already have AT-43 walls and wish to use them, but a little unsightly should you wish to use the bunker sans walls.

AT-43 miniatures posed next to prepainted grey bunker which has a nub where the wall attaches

Without Walls the AT-43 Bunker May Be Unsightly to Some Due to the Nublike Wall Connector

Interior Dimensions and Removable Door

Closeup of prepainted AT-43 bunker with 22 Warhammer 40K figures crammed into it

22 Warhammer 40K Figures Take Shelter in the Spacious Bunker

Because the bunker’s walls are so realistically thick (9mm), the rusted metal interior floor space is a bit smaller, but still fully painted and textured. The floor is divided into 3.5 centimeter squares, while the walls are the same mottled grey, dark concrete color as the exteriors. Standing room is spacious with the bunker able to hold an astonishing 22 figures on round 25mm bases! As for AT-43 models themselves, the bunker can take 14 infantry figures on the 30mm bases and 7 of the larger 40mm bases used by Karmans and Kolossus units (or 8, if you don’t mind a tiny amount of base-overlapping).

Close up view of AT-43 Bunker's Rusted Steel Interior

An Interior View of the AT-43 Bunker Without Too Many Miniatures Blocking the View: Roomy

While the door doesn’t retract into the roof or slide into a wall, it can be removed, which is a great touch, though it does require lifting the roof off. It has the same design front and back. Most gamers will probably keep the door off for convenience, but its inclusion is useful for any game that simulates breaching charges or the need to hack into the door’s control panel, which features a green button on its black console. Another green button and a red one below the console might represent whether the door’s locking mechanism is engaged, though with this little detail the painting is a tad overenthusiastic as the orangish red has splashed over onto the door’s steel brackets on my bunker.

Rust wash is visible on steel bunker door as well as paint splash below control panel

Painting is Just a Little Sloppy on the Bunker’s Control Panel, But Detailed Wash on Rivets

The Bunker Roof

Models wishing to take position on the roof will lack protective cover on the roughly 4″ x 5″ relatively flat surface. Enterprising players could solve this with the addition of some sand bag sections. The roof is broken up by what would appear to be three round drain or ventilation covers in the corners as well as a central metal panel with textured bolts affixing it to the top of the bunker. The panel is further detailed by three concentric circles which diminish the building’s otherwise grim demeanor with their curves, instead softening the piece. While the purpose of the concentric rings is puzzling, they have received a nice rust wash along the bottoms which is a magnificent level of detail on a prepainted piece of terrain. The three round drains or vents are similarly lightly rusted and seem to be removable. This poses the same hazard as many of the AT-43 vehicles though, in that while a Strider may have a hatch that can be opened or removed, doing so will often break the brittle piece of plastic.

Concentric circles are visible along with drain or ventilation spouts on top of AT-43 Bunker

The Bunker As Seen from Above With Concentric Circles and Rust Wash

Accessories and Final Thoughts

The AT-43 Bunker also came with two High Defensive walls. Twice as tall as the normal walls, they measure in at 5 centimeters tall and were not included in any of the other later AT-43 sets. On each side of the bottom of the tall barriers black and yellow warning stripes have been painted. These high barriers block Line of Sight to infantry as well as Kolossus models and Karmans. Meanwhile Striders in AT-43 or most vehicles in Warhammer 40K will be able to claim partial cover if hiding behind the walls. The high walls are a nice touch and a welcome addition to the set, but entirely unnecessary for the original $25 price tag.

Plastic AT-43 bunker reveals figures inside while others are hidden behind tall wall sections

At 5 cm. Tall, the Tall Walls Conceal Infantry and Provide Vehicles Protection and Cover

Indeed, very few products offer as much value as the AT-43 Bunker, so if you find one for sale, you should probably add it to your collection. That or contact Craven Games, because I would love to get a second and a third myself.

Hirst Arts at Gen Con 2012

Hirst Arts tan Fieldstone Dungeon and Tower with Conical Roof for 25-28mm miniatures at Gen Con booth

Hirst Arts Fieldstone Dungeon and Fieldstone Tower at Gen Con

Hirst Arts is the gold standard for consistently high quality gaming products matched by informative tutorials and product support. To put it simply, Bruce Hirst really cares about both his products and his customers and it shows on his website and in the quality of the silicone molds customers receive from Hirst Arts. I am a huge fan. Dana McDonald of Custom Kingdoms attributes his start into mold making to Bruce Hirst and Hirst Arts. Whether it’s spotting Hirst Arts bricks in the pages of White Dwarf or seeing how Mike from Terranscapes has used the Hirst Arts molds, the figure of Bruce Hirst looms large in the last decade of miniature terrain-making.

Bruce Hirst Himself

I was positively thrilled then to speak with Bruce Hirst at Gen Con 2012, having watched all of his tutorial videos and read through his website completely multiple times. While he had an additional helper at Gen Con, Hirst normally runs his company with only his wife in Missouri and strives to match his own exacting standards. His current projects are three Tavern Accessory molds, which modelers can expect within the next month. As he reveals in the video below, even Hirst struggles at times to get a project right the first time, casting twice as many bricks as he will need to be able to go back and fix mistakes with his leftover bricks. Hirst also reveals a number of other insights:

Hirst was selling his molds at Gen Con, using the exact same pricing offered at hirstarts.com, which is usually $34 for a standard silicone mold with a 10% discount on orders of 5 molds or more. While this consistent pricing did not induce me to pick up any more Hirst Arts molds at Gen Con and some of the business aspects of the decision are beyond me, by not discounting himself Bruce Hirst has maintained a premium value on his molds and consequently I rarely see any pop up on eBay, much less at any sort of discount.

Science fiction corridor set for 25-28mm miniatures at the Hirst Arts booth at Gen Con

Hirst Arts Science Fiction Corridors: Who Wouldn’t Want to Game on This?

Robo Rally: “The King of Games”

I also ran into a Hirst Arts customer at Gen Con. Patrick Gilliland was running games of RoboRally on his custom-made Hirst Arts floor tiled board. Designed by Richard Garfield, Robo Rally is currently sold by Wizards of the Coast under its Avalon Hill division. In all, the board took Gilliland three months to cast, construct, and paint after a few weeks spent on its design and after testing its possible playability. To make the custom board, Gilliland primarily used the Sci-Fi molds, but also dipped into the Fieldstone and Gothic Floor molds, as well as making his own custom castings. Gilliland has also made replicas of four of the Robo Rally maps out of Hirst Arts floor tiles with his Exchange, Reactor, and Laser Maze maps being mostly flat, while his Coliseum has vertical elements.

Three dimensional 3D Robo Rally board made using Hirst Arts dental plaster blocks and tiles at Gen Con

A View of Patrick Gilliland’s Entire 3D RoboRally Hirst Arts Board

For Gilliland, who is an accountant by day, the Hirst Arts board is a fusion of two of his favorite gaming products. His gaming group has been playing Robo Rally, which he refers to as the “king of games”, for years and he cites the game’s competitive ruthlessness and logic programming as its main attractions. He is equally passionate about Hirst Arts molds, always having had a fascination with miniatures and building things, so he describes his Robo Rally board as “a match made in heaven”.

Medium distance view of Robo Rally 3D Hirst Arts block board at Gen Con 2012

Despite being an attendee of Gen Con for over 30 years, this year was the first time that Gilliland ran an event and he “had a wonderful time doing it”. Currently he is working on a long-term dungeon project that will feature three levels and come to a total of 96 square feet of playing surface. When he finishes it, Gilliland plans on bringing it to Gen Con. Usually though, the beneficiaries of Gilliland’s creativity are much closer to home; he has made a number of Hirst Arts dice towers, including one that resembles a Rube Goldberg machine for his daughter, as well as name plaques for his great nieces and nephews. Gilliland has also made four Hirst Arts Robo Rally boards, replicating the original game board’s layout.

Close Up Detail of Hirst Arts Robo Rally Painted Game Board at Gen Con

An Even Closer Look at the Custom Hirst Arts Robo Rally Board at Gen Con

Hirst Arts Vendor: Legendary Realms Terrain

Players get ready to play on Hirst Arts and custom terrain from Legendary Realms at Gen Con gaming table

Gamers Prepare to Play on Legendary Realms Terrain

A number of licensees use Hirst Arts molds for commercial purposes, selling pre-made terrain to customers who do not wish to cast their own bricks or floor tiles. Naloomi’s Workshop offers single casts of many Hirst Arts accessories and Itar’s Workshop features many entire buildings cast out of resin based on Hirst Arts designs. Legendary Realms Terrain was also at Gen Con, where its president and main purveyor Richard Parla was selling painted terrain pieces.

Parla and Legendary Realms Terrain also ran nine events over the course of Gen Con to display and promote their terrain and I caught a portion of one session one night while passing through Gen Con’s largest gaming hall. While the dungeon elements seen above and below are pure Hirst Arts, Legendary Realms Terrain sculptors custom-made the docks and the boats. For the nine events they used the Labyrinth Lord game system from Goblinoid Games, filling each of their paid sessions.

Hirst Arts dungeon for 25-28mm miniatures with miniature boats on water tiles at Gen Con

Custom Legendary Realms Terrain Boats Docked Against Custom Docks Leading Into a HA Dungeon

Legendary Realms Terrain was also successful inside the Vendors’ Area, selling 95% of the dungeon accessories brought and approximately 75% of their entire convention inventory according to Parla. LRT also received a number of new orders for terrain during Gen Con, which the company is now in the process of filling. One service that Legendary Realms Terrain offers is reproducing adventure maps as 3D terrain as well as creating custom accessories based on customer needs, with 20% of Legendary Realms Terrain’s custom products having been created to fulfill customer requests.

Parla is already making bigger plans for Gen Con 2013 including bringing more inventory and purchasing a larger booth space. While Legendary Realms Terrain had dungeon corridor sections for sale, their booth also had at least three bins with painted dungeon accessories like crates, barrels, and chests for sale individually, perfect for a GM who needs only a few obstacles for the PCs to fight over and through.

And More Hirst Arts Fans and Creators

I also encountered Bill Foreman aka Terrainaholic from Youtube at the Hirst Arts booth at Gen Con. Under the Terrainaholic name, Bill Foreman has some 895 videos to his credit on Youtube, including at least a dozen on Gen Con 2012 himself and has 11,000+ subscribers to his channel, which occasionally features videos using Hirst Arts bricks, but almost always features terrain of Foreman’s own making. We spoke briefly on camera and then talked for ten or fifteen minutes longer off camera with Mrs. Foreman joining us, discussing Youtube, Foreman’s day job, and terrain.

Hirst Arts casts were also the main component of this fortress/castle gaming board, which was left unattended one evening at Gen Con in the main gaming hall. It features heavy use of the Fieldstone molds and quite intriguingly seems to use the square Flagstone Floor Mold tiles to construct the walls of the fortress. The three pipes at the base on each side appear to be giant cannons to discourage anyone from besieging the gate and ramparts. If you have any knowledge of this board’s creator, please email brant at cravengames.com so it can be properly attributed to its designer (and so that we might get some details on its construction).

Hirst Arts plaster floor tiles and bricks arranged to create a castle or fortress at Gen Con 2012

Unattended Gaming Board from Gen Con 2012: Who Made It?

Comic-Con 2012 Hasbro Terrain Inspiration

For a number of years Hasbro, the manufacturer of G.I. Joe, Transformers, Star Wars, and My Little Pony toys, has shown off the latest G.I. Joe and Cobra action figures in its booth at Comic-Con. Hasbro employees or contractors pose the figures in elaborate dioramas and this year I believe they had at least four separate scenarios being enacted behind the glass cases. I contacted Hasbro to find out who built the dioramas and for details about their construction, but never heard back from the huge, global toy company.

The Cobra Installation

Two vignettes really caught my attention. The first is obviously a Cobra installation with Cobra Commander and his lieutenants Storm Shadow and Destro surveying the Cobra troops. Two Decepticons have bolstered the Cobra ranks. During the 80s and 90s, there were occasional crossovers between the two toy franchises in the Marvel comic books. The modeler or modelers have created a very convincing layout with a number of flat surfaces weathered to show a little exhaust and grime. While the red translucent cases and their loading carts come from the Comic-Con exclusive release of the H.I.S.S. Tank/Shockwave, most of the building seems to be scratch-built, using pieces of cardstock or styrene to create texture.

Diorama at the 2012 Hasbro booth at Comic-Con with GI Joe action figures lined up in a huge Cobra facility

I spot Iron Grenadiers, some new B.A.T.s (Battle Android Troopers), Alley Vipers, a regular Viper, a Night Viper, the Shockwave H.I.S.S. and Starscream, I believe. I love the stenciled Cobra logo on the floor.

Red Cobra stencil on floor of detailed diorama in the Hasbro Booth at 2012 Comic-Con showing Cobra Commander and Transformers

I am a little surprised that the modeler(s) didn’t add activity on the monitors for the two Cobra members on duty at the right, simply by printing out a miniaturized scene from a cartoon or comic. They also do not appear to be Tele-Vipers, which would have been extra cool. Their searchlights though probably do swivel. Can you spot the Soundwave in the picture? Who is he ejecting?

Looking down on Starscream and Shockwave as a H.I.S.S. in a GI Joe diorama at Comic-Con

Ninja Bridge Battle

The other diorama that also looked realistic to me (and therefore inspiring for building terrain for wargaming) was this Ninja Bridge Battle which seems to come straight from the second movie, Retaliation. If you have not seen the GI Joe: Retaliation trailer, these ninjas will have an aerial battle, anchored by ropes, on a mountainside in the film, battling against Snake Eyes and his team, including the yellow and black-clad ninja, Jinx. GI Joe: Retaliation‘s release date has been pushed back to March 29, 2013. These enemy ninjas are called Red Ninjas in the comic books appropriately enough.

Red Ninja action figures from GI Joe by a building and bridge at the Hasbro Comic-Con 2012 booth

The one criticism I have of this vignette is the choice of red to fill in some of the grout in the stonework. I gather that it is supposed to be blood, but if it is, the splatter is curiously not sticking to the stone faces, but instead running into the cracks. The building at the end of the bridge appears to be a straightforward construct, but the addition of the black trimming partway up makes it more believable. The clay tiles on the roof look good and 28mm modelers can achieve the same with the Hirst Arts Clay Tile Roof Mold.

Red Ninjas lay dead or falling in a bridge attack action figure vignette from Hasbro with a grey mountain backdrop

It’s scenes like these that had me playing with GI Joes throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, but back then we were limited to catalogue pictures that were nowhere near as imaginative with their environments. Similarly wargaming scenery brimming with castles, cobblestone streets, and lush forests drew me into Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40K.

Dust Tactics Operation Cerberus

Distributed by Fantasy Flight Games and made by Dust Studio, Operation “Cerberus” is the latest expansion for Dust Tactics. While previous expansions have included two new miniatures, Operation Cerberus features a plastic 3D building as well, easily making it well worth its SRP of $44.95.

Of course, the expansion is just that: an expansion. While I got it solely to add its building to my terrain, it does include two new hero miniatures. The Allies get The Chef, a dual-flamer wielding maniac. The Axis feature the skirt-wearing, sniper rifle-wielding Angela Wolf. The expansion rulebook suggests some tactics for them, introduces further rules and units, and has scenarios involving the new building, as well as instructions on putting it together.

The Operation “Cerberus” Building

The Operation Cerberus building from Dust Tactics viewed from the front.Those directions are actually useful. While the pieces are intuitive, building three separate floors and then placing them together requires great dexterity and patience. Instead, upper pieces should be placed on the top tabs. The other panels slide down vertically into the waiting grooves. The pieces “lock” in at the top, leaving the lower portion freer to potentially pop out. This is more apparent in a smaller build as adding floors further stabilizes the building. The building is also designed more as a facade than for both detailed interior and exterior use. The plastic used is also lightweight and very hard, which makes it brittle and more prone to snapping than other plastics typically used in wargaming. Jerky motions can be rewarded with a connector snapping off and getting stuck in the groove.

Modularity

Modularity is restricted by the design of the corner elements as well as the linking mechanisms between pieces. 3 Inside Corners are provided, while there are 15 Outside Corners. Are they really that different? Yes! Their upper tabs and their bottom slots both differ, as well as the aesthetic difference between having inside and outside designs. The other pieces are further divided between narrow panels and wide panels. Narrow panels are 51mm wide, not including their connectors. The Wide panels are about 71mm across, again not including the connectors. The measurements get even more confusing when the set’s two Support Doors and two Support Windows are factored in. They share a 92mm width. Lastly the other connectors, including the corners, have a standard width of about 27mm. Because of all these varying measurements, I have stayed with one of the standard configurations from the book, which is used in scenarios 1-6. Otherwise, some thought or moderate experimentation is required in order to get a building that will match up. There are also no T-intersection pieces.

Visual Design

Its design is perfect, of course, for Dust Tactics, which takes place in the alternate WWII timeline of 1947. Besides fitting well into any other WWII era wargame, it also carries well into the present. Want a building to fend off zombies from? Check. Need a building to stage your own “Assault on Precinct 13”? Check. It fits in well for use as a building for Heroclix. It also bears up well in more futuristic sci-fi settings.

Adding Basswood Floors

The Dust Tactics Operation Cerberus building as seen from above with basswood roofing.The building comes with card floors that insert into the grooves. Unfortunately they don’t run the entire length of the building. I knew for other wargaming use, I would want actual floors and quickly ruled out plasticard as an option as it lacks rigidity and would collapse downwards with any serious weight. I happened to have 1/16th inch basswood strips on hand from Revell, purchased at Michael’s. They slid in easily into the building’s grooves. My strips were 4x24x1/16 inches, so I next began trimming them down to size.

The dimensions I eventually arrived at were:

Long Piece A – 180mm x 92mm
Long Piece B – 180mm x 85mm

The two large pieces fill in a 2×2 area on the Operation Cerberus board. I suppose you could split the difference and have two pieces both 180mm by 88.5mm or so. There is some wiggle room allowed. Very importantly: the plastic structure can bend and bulge depending on how you cram flooring in. I know that my pieces are causing it to bulge slightly.

I roofed the asymmetrical portion that extends off, which I would call a 1×1, with two separate pieces of basswood, because I had run out of a large enough piece. Together they measure: 91mm x 85mm.

A more precise hobbyist will get more accurate numbers, but the dimensions I used were enough to have a sufficiently convincing roof that is relatively easy to remove and reattach.

Painting the Tarred Roof

While basswood has some slight texture, I saw that I would want more and used Spray Adhesive on the uppermost roof pieces. I then poured dental plaster over them, briefly shook them off after a small wait, hit them again with the Spray Adhesive, and did a final layer of plaster. I avoided PVA glue because it is usually too thick and I didn’t want to warp the basswood strips. A simple black coat of craft paint later, I had a passable tarred roof reminiscent of asphalt. The lines were added with a sloppy drybrush of light grey paint. Then I sprayed them with Testor’s Glosscote. Despite the gloss finish, they are relatively flat.

The other floors did not receive as much attention with two colors painted on, followed by a light grey drybrush. Depending on how you are going to use your building, you may want more additional roof areas which would be as easy as preparing other basswood strips.

Pegasus Hobbies Gothic Rubble

The Pegasus Hobbies Prepainted Gothic Rubble set contains three rubble pieces. The product is truly what you see is what you get and comes in a clear plastic container. The rubble piles lightly match their existing line of Gothic terrain; I still haven’t found a wall panel that matches the window section on the largest rubble piece.

I picked mine up for $10.99. Obviously from my post on Making Rubble, I have elected to make my own rubble, but if you don’t have the time to make your own (or the inclination), Pegasus Hobbies really comes to the rescue. I suggest hitting the rubble piles with a lighter highlight of grey mixed with white to really make them pop out on the table. There is a second set with different pieces. I think any more than two of each set on the same table would be too much repetition, especially in the case of the larger more distinctive pieces.

Making Rubble: Design and Materials

Part of my plan for my Cities of Death table for Warhammer 40K is having plenty of rubble. It adds Difficult Terrain, can occasionally block Line of Sight, creates Cover, and adds visual interest to the table. Since I don’t want to game exclusively on a table with ruins, but instead want an equal or greater number of intact buildings, I don’t want any of my buildings to have fixed rubble glued to them. They need to be added as needed.

Getting the Rubble Right: Influences

Long before making my first rubble pile, I was struck by some observations Mike made in this Terranscapes Youtube video on the Ruined City he made for a customer. His rubble looks quite believable.

The second major influence is the Pegasus Hobbies Rubble pack (which I’ll be reviewing briefly separately). Its three pieces were useful to look at and compare to as I made the various ones below. They have a very standard tabletop painting quality to them and my goal is to equal or exceed them. Their design though is excellent, even though my needs are slightly different.

My Approach to Rubble

  1. Modular/Removable: I need to be able to model intact buildings and ruined ones. I can’t have the rubble glued to a building.
  2. Realistic Presence: Most rubble scatter terrain is designed as being an irregular circular shape. From the brief research I did and just a lifetime of experience of watching movies and consuming media, it is natural for rubble to accumulate against the sides of immovable objects. Tanks with Dozer Blades would push the rubble out of the way. In photos of bombed out WWII sites, avenues have been cleared out to let vehicles and supplies through. The Grand Bazaar level in the game Battlefield 3 also meshes with my understanding of rubble smooshed up against the sides of buildings.
  3. Semi-Circular Design: The nice thing about two semi-circular rubble piles with roughly the same width is that they can be pushed together to create a single larger rubble pile.
  4. Use Rubbish: A major driving force of my creating rubble is to use up my plastic sprue and Hirst Arts miscasts. I can’t afford to chop up perfectly good Cities of Death buildings to have even more natural rubble. I have almost enough Pegasus Hobbies buildings to spare a few sections, but I would always rather keep them usable for buildings and unblemished.

Rubble Materials

For all of the rubble bases I have been making, I have used For Sale signs from Wal-Mart for $1.59 or so. They do bend, which is an issue, but they don’t warp from glue or water, and polystyrene cement bonds with them.

Sprue Rubble

The first material I turned to for my rubble piles was sprue and only sprue. After gluing down pieces of varying sizes and realizing that the look was odd, I tried to keep them all about equal in length. I didn’t fuss over trying to make them resemble actual bricks though. I think the overall effect is alright, especially at arm’s length. It doesn’t bear much scrutiny though, but certainly helps with recycling sprue. I realized I needed something to cover empty spots on the base and glued sand down to fill them out.
An early rubble pile made with plastic sprue with gaps.
I took the idea of sprue rubble pretty far in this 1’x1′ section for my Cities of Death layout:
Plastic sprue has been chopped up to represent the rubble of a building.

Cork Rubble

I had a ruined bulletin board, but ended up throwing it out because the cork on it was so cheap, but the idea that I could use cork for rubble lingered. I also had a roll of cork purchased years ago from a craft store. For my semi-circular designs the roll of cork has the wonderful advantage of two straight edges. I used hot glue to affix it and worked in layers, switching to tearing off pieces towards the top. I think it needs further crumbles to make it look more realistic and ultimately cork is a poor material to use.
Rubble pile made from cork doesn't look good.

Architecture Blocks or Modeling Blocks

A former colleague once brought in a model building kit because he knew about my interest in gaming. It had a bag of wooden building blocks inside and a bag of shingles. I have never been tempted to use the bag until I set about creating rubble. The bricks work wonderfully. My supply of them is quite finite though, but I’ll be glad once the bag has been used up. They are near the scale used in the Hirst Arts Small Brick Mold. I also glued some round craft sticks and painted them as rusted metal.
Rubble pile made from architecture blocks

Plaster Miscasts

When casting with Hirst Arts molds, especially earlier on, I would end up with a lot of pieces that were either too low, not having enough plaster, or which had a large piece of plaster on the top, because I had scraped the molds too late. You can sand or chip away pieces that are too large, but that’s a lot of work for a good brick or accessory. I realized recently that I could probably top off pieces that are too low, but have already saved many in a plastic bag. I also have the plaster from scraping, the plaster from the cup used to mix and pour it from, and plaster that dried on the spoon.

The look is the closest to Pegasus Hobbies’ product and is superior to the other methods. The variety of shapes in the miscasts gives just the sort of chaotic jumbled effect found in real war rubble.

Hybrid Rubble

Perhaps not surprisingly the best looking rubble comes from combining the architecture bricks with sprue and a lot of plaster miscasts. To me, these all meet or exceed my expectations for quality realistic rubble.

Conclusions

One of the things that I ignored as I went through creating my initial rubble piles was the fullness that real rubble has. There aren’t conspicuous gaps in the densest parts of rubble piles. Those areas would naturally be filled in. Both Terranscapes and Pegasus Hobbies get this aspect right. I think I will go back through on my earlier pieces and add plaster fragments to help fill in the gaps.

I also think that a small variety in coloration really adds a lot to rubble piles. I may add a few muted colors to the existing piles as well.

Moving forward on future rubble piles, I may include a few recognizable Hirst Arts pieces that are not miscasts or cut up a few panels from my Pegasus Hobbies Gothic line and strategically place them in prominent positions in the new rubble piles. I think a few IMEX Platformer pieces might also make their way into rubble.