Our local Dollar Tree had a couple of toys that I grabbed probably too many of and turned into wargame stuff. I’ve been hunting for a couple more things to use for scratch building some spaceships I’ll probably never actually play with, but this whole lockdown is cramping my style.
I normally don’t have much luck at dollar stores or thrift stores. I see something posted online and go search 14 dollar stores and find nothing. But these two have been consistantly in stock around me and I was able to pick up about a dozen boats and six or eight of the tanks.
First up, and easiest to turn into a wargaming piece is a rubber raft.
This police rescue set or some such. The helicopter is too big for 15mm and too small for 28mm. The German Shepherds are about the size of Pomeranian’s compared to the cops and the street signs are sub-par and much easier to just scratch build your own. In the trash they went for me, but you could give them to an appropriately aged child.
To be fair the boat is way out of scale for a small rubber boat, but it’s just big enough to place a couple 25mm based minis in there to represent troops loaded in.
The paint scheme is very simple. Rattle can prime black, a couple of drybrushes of grey to give some illusion of depth. A brown wood parts, a vague rope color for the ropes, brown wash, drybrush, gloss coat for the ‘rubber’ and matte coat for the other details.
The second find is a pretty decently scaled for 28mm plastic tank that is modern enough to be used for terrain purposes. It’s apparently a copy of an old Timmee toy tank that has been copied about a billion times in China.
Like the police set there’s a bunch of useless stuff in here, over sized sand bags, barbed wire, flags, and some troops.
The tank lacks much detail, the ‘casting’ warps and has flaws in it. But for a buck it makes a great burned tank wreck!!
The painting process was pretty simple. I cleaned the piece up a little bit, used cheap grey primer, airbrushed a craft paint ‘field drab’ mix onto it and then started to add burns and rust.
I airbrushed a couple of progressively darker grey and then black coats of craft paint over it, trying to simulate some sort of believable burn pattern.
After this I used makeup sponges to stipple on a random pattern of assorted rust colored craft paint and I tried out some GW Typhus Corrosion but decided these pieces weren’t worth the extra effort.
I airbrushed on some inexpensive matte varnish and called it done. These will be used in any post apocalyptic games as scatter terrain, Third line tanks drug out of mothball as a last ditch effort and blown up.
I have a lot of luck with craft paint, both on terrain and on minis that I play with. I even use a number of craft paints on commission pieces. I don’t have much trouble running it through my airbrushes when thinned and they’re perfect for this type of dirt cheap terrain. I’ve used a recipe list that used to be on Nordalia.com, but they seem to be gone now. The Internet Archive thankfully still has a snapshot of the page though! Here’s a link to the article: Using Craft Paints for your WWII Miniatures – the Valejo conversion charts