Urban Rubble Piles

While I was working on my Ancients project I decided I needed a break. I stared at a bottle of white glue, my bag of cut down left over sprue, and a disposable bowl.

I further chopped down the sprue pieces into lengths around an inch or so long. Nothing fancy, just cut them down with a pair of snippers. I added a little hot water to the white glue and shook up the bottle real well. I then mixed the diluted white glue in the bowl with a handful of the sprue. I made sure to coat the entire surface of the sprue with the mixture. The trick here is to cover the pieces entirely but to keep the mixture from becoming too runny.

I took a nice glob of the mixed material and plopped it down onto some newsprint. It was like making cookies! I wanted to use the newsprint for under the piles as it would be easy to peel off excess paper when the pieces have dried. Later on I realized that I should of had the newsprint on something like wax paper as the diluted glue penetrated several layers of the paper. Also, to increase stability, I should have made an initial bed of sand mixed with glue. After that initial bed dried it would make excellent reinforcement for the pile of sprue and bits to cling to and make the piece of terrain much more sturdy for handling. Fortunately I can still do this in reverse, just mix the bed of sand and plop my finished piles onto them, but I lost some of my piles due to instability. That also wasn't a great loss as I could just toss the bits back into the bowl and start over!

Next sprinkle some sand onto the pile of sprue as soon as you can. This allows for some texture and also reinforces the hold of the glue by filling in some of the dead space between the joints of the sprue in the pile. Try to use natural sand which is not uniform size and thus more realistic.

To add some character to each pile I raided my bits box where I tossed all those extra pieces from various kits over the last few projects. Armored skirt from a Bradley ripped apart, some chopped up netting cover from a box of oranges. The main point is to have these unique pieces on the outside of the pile, and not to waste them on the inside of the pile where boring normal sprue should be. Simply coat these pieces in the diluted glue mixture and place accordingly.

If you look closely you might be able to see that the glue mixture has filled in the space of some of the openings on the netting and pieces I tossed onto the piles. Later, when it dries, it has an effect similar to glass! Go back in there with a hobby knife and you can make broken windows! This is why I love this hobby.

Allow the pieces to dry and then spray black base. This also becomes a good time to get rid of any extra paint you might have around. Slop it all onto one large piece of cardboard and smear it around making all sorts of gunky junky colors to apply to your piles of trash. You could even add some of those inexspensive LED tea lights under a thick puff of pillow stuffing and you have a burning pile of junk! I only scratched the surface of my sprue box and I still produced more than a dozen piles of junk. Not to mention that the whole process is easy and fun - especially peeling the thin layer of dried glue off my hand as if it were skin!

Cheers & Enjoy!

© 2009, Gabriel Landowski