This isn't the first time we've seen tank traps cast in plaster using an ice cube tray but what makes these pieces by Rictus somewhat special is the attention to detail.
The first thing to note is that Rictus went to the trouble of tracking down a mould for square shaped ice cubes as opposed to the more usual rectangular shape.
Cheap, store brand filler/plaster from a DIY store was then used to cast the shapes. Rictus didn't mention whether this was naturally grey coloured or whether he added black paint to the mix, but either way the resultant grey cubes are easier to distress and to paint than if white plaster had been used because the basic colour is already there in the plaster. When set, the plaster cubes are removed from the mould and distressed to simulate battle damage.
Rictus made individual bases from 2" disks of MDF. The traps will still need to be deployed in groups on the gaming table however giving them individual bases allows for greater flexibility. Note that while you'd need special tools for cutting and shaping MDF disks, you could use cardboard, or any number of other materials, as an alternative or even buy suitable bases from a shop.
The plaster cubes are attached to the bases using PVA along with some of the debris from the distressing process. This results in some quite usable terrain pieces however they will benefit from the application of lighter grey and white paint using drybrushing techniques to add tonal variations and to highlight the edges.
By this point you would have some rather nice looking pieces however Rictus went on to add further details using rust coloured paints to add dots and streaks in the positions where re-enforcing bar might poke through the broken areas of concrete.
The Imperial Eagles are perhaps the ultimate detail and are brass etched accessories purchased from Forge World and painted to look rusted. However, even without the eagles, Rictus' work illustrates how, with a little extra thought and attention to detail, a fairly basic beginner level technique of using an ice cube tray to cast plaster tank traps, can be used to make something rather more appealing.
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TerraGenesis was created in 1997 by Gary James and is currently owned, edited and maintained by Andy Slater, however the ideas and opinions expressed are those of the individual contributors. TerraGenesis and its content are © Andy Slater, unless otherwise stated, and should not be reproduced without permission.
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