Monday, June 11, 2018

TRASH into TREASURE:  The Mountain Fortress

I’m always scrounging/saving something from the trash with the intent of transforming it or incorporating it into a gaming project.  Bits of used sprue, the clear contact lens packets (for windows), Styrofoam or polystyrene (for terrain or buildings), can lids (for basing groups of figs), or any other general crap that catches my eye.  Of course, this always draws a shake of the head from the Mrs. and a look on her face that says ‘Really? What are you going to do with that?  My sad sweet little man’.  As with all gamers or hobbyist, I think it’s about using a little imagination and creativity, plus a healthy desire to save some money here and there… prefab terrain, etc, isn’t cheap.
My latest find came while driving around during the city’s spring cleanup (any and all trash to the curb for pickup… no questions) looking for old used furniture for the Mrs. to refurbish (see dear, you do it too!!!).  Anyway, my Spidey sense was tingling as I drove past a box and immediately backed up to get a better look at what my eyes had spied.  In the box I find a brown plastic mountain thingy with a crane claw on top, mixed in with some Hot Wheels track.  I grabbed the mountain, and ditched the track.  The mountain thingy turns out to be from the Fisher-Price Geo Trax Mountain Blast Construction Quarry set from 2003.

I got it home and immediately began tearing off the crane/claw, shaving the tabs that hold the top to the bottom (now they just act as guides while allowing easy removal of the top if you want to put stuff inside), and removing a few other unnecessary bits.  I then washed it to get whatever child spit and coodies off that might be on it, which foreseeably might lead to disease, pestilence, and early death.  Children… Gods little petri-dishes!  I glued in some thin card stock over certain area to hide holes and make spots for figures to sit.  I sprayed on a coat of black spray primer, followed by a very light misting coat of brown.  I wet-brushed on a medium dark gray, followed by some lighter gray to highlight.  This was followed with moss flock (adds a pleasant smell as well), and then some turf grass in areas.  Finally, I glued the base to a cut-to-fit piece of brown Masonite, textured side up, which I can add additional grass, brush, weeds, etc to, and which will make it easier to pick up and hold too.  I’d like to create a couple interchangeable things, depending on the scenario, for the top of the mountain, ie. gun emplacement, radio tower, observation post, ray gun, etc.

It’s now set for use with any jungle, woodland, mountainous, or mysterious island, war gaming scenarios.  It’s not super high, which is ideal for storage and perspective, but has several levels, hidey-holes, and interior that can be used.  I foresee its use for some WWII Pacific Island scenarios, ie Peleliu, where the Marines had to assault fortified and entrenched Japanese defenders.

Next Up… Scratch built tropical pacific huts and Guard Towers

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