Thursday 18 April 2024

AK-47 Republic Checkpoint Competition - part 3 (completion)

 At last, the finished checkpoint!

Everything came together more or less as I hoped.

It's got a few differences from the original plan, mainly due to me overestimating how much I could fit on a CD!

Overall, the changes work well, I particularly like how the white painted rocks have come out to mark the road.

The flower bed is coffee stirrers painted Humbrol 25 matt blue, drybrushed lightly with Vallejo bonewhite to weather it.  A bed of sand and brown tile grout was added for the soil, sealed in place with some watered down PVA. There are some small foam shreds for vegetation and the flower stems are tiny bits of thin guitar string painted green with teensy weensy scraps of red tissue paper superglued on for the flowers.

The flower bed has helped fill what would otherwise have been a fairly empty area on the opposite side of the road.

The barrier is a rather oversized compared to the figures, but it's not too bad.  This was hot glued in place with more sand/grout and static grass to hide the join. The little bits of scatter like the Jerry cans add a bit more interest, too.

A bit of copper electrical wire was soft enough to bend into shape to secure it as a hinge, so I can raise the barrier if desired.  It's a tight fit, so friction holds the barrier in position.

The building has come out particularly well, I think.  This was also hot glued in place with some extra grout/sand/grass to cover the gaps.

A couple of long-leafed plastic plants were hot glued in place on the raised bank around the rim of the CD.  These were really cheap from somewhere online and add to the variety of vegetation.  There are a few green dyed tea leaves scattered around here and there as well.

I tried to position the figures to tell a story.  They are superglued in place, then more grout/sand and a bit of grass to blend them into the groundwork.

"Rest break is over.  Get that rucksack back on and let's move out."

The old enamel sign table looks really good.  Plenty of rust around the edges hides the bits of ink I smudged.  A few little touches of silver complete the weathering.

I'm very happy with the rust roof too, it looks suitably decrepit.

"What the... this thing just ate my money!  Where's my cola?!"

I completed the scene just in time for the AK47 Facebook group checkpoint competition and managed to have the winning entry. This was against some stiff competition, and it has to be said that some of the other entries were completed before I'd got any further than the sketch for mine!  It's always great to see what other people have come up with, all the entries were distinctly different and they've given me some good ideas for other things I can do in the future.  The next competition, ending mid-May, is a river crossing.  I'd better start rummaging in the bits box now to see what I can find...

AK-47 Republic Checkpoint Competition - part 2 (construction)

 As usual, my initial ideas were a little over-enthusiastic and unrealistic given the size of a CD!  I decided to leave out the tree, this was going to need a lot of space at the side and would overshadow a lot of the base.  There was also the risk that it would fall off, because I wasn't likely to be able to fix it particularly firmly compared to the ones on my previous objective markers.

The plan.

The hut is foamcore, 40mm x 30mm footprint with walls 30mm sloping down to 25mm.  Doorway is 15mm wide x 20mm high, the window is 10mm x 10mm, 10mm up from the base of the wall.

Walls cut to size.

The walls were trimmed with a fairly new knife blade to avoid tearing the foam inside.  One end had a 5mm strip cut out from the inner face card and the foam, leaving the outer facing card intact.

Testing the joints.

This gives a rabbet joint, with 2 faces for the walls to glue together, much stronger than a plain butt joint and with the added bonus of the card hiding the cut end of the foam.

Dry fitting.

The roof is a piece of thin corrugated cardboard with the outer face removed.  This came from the Starlink: Battle For Atlas computer game box (bought remaindered super cheap for the spaceship!) and had fairly fine corrugations that look good for 15mm scenery.


I trimmed some bits of coffee stirrer to use as windowsills.

Ready for assembly.

With all the parts ready, it was a simple matter of gluing the bits together with some good quality PVA.

Flower bed.

I constructed a flower bed out of some more bits of coffee stirrer around a scrap of foamcore.

Seat and table components.

I prepared the table and seats from some bits of twig, carefully cut to the right length.  There will be a table (cereal packet card) with 4 log legs, a bench (coffee stirrer) with 2 log legs and 2 separate log seats.

The right size to sit on?

I made sure I measured against a Peter Pig sitting figure before cutting!

Table and bench.

 The table and bench were glued together with a few small drops of PVA.  They're slightly wonky, but my excuse is that it adds to the authentic "rustic charm" of their construction.

Clamping the barrier parts.

I assembled the parts for the barrier supports from coffee stirrers with PVA, then clamped them to ensure they stayed firmly together while the glue set.

Half finished vending machine.

 While thinking about what else to include on the base, I remembered some 3D printed vending machines I had partly finished.  One of these would look just right next to the snack shack.

Test fitting on the CD.

I test fitted the parts on the CD base to ensure they'd all fit.  I glued a bit of card over the hole in the middle, tearing rather than cutting it to shape in order to get a tapered, irregular edge.

Time to texture the CD.

I decided to try an experiment with some superglue and fine sand to give a good texture to the base.

Well, that didn't work.

 The result was disappointing, to say the least.  Still, live and learn, and at least it stuck round the edges to give a good key for the next stage.

Signs for the walls.

I cut a couple of small rectangles from my trusty cereal packet and using the white side, painted a couple of signs for the building.  One is the menu for the Snack Shack, the other is probably some sort of information sign for people to read when entering/leaving the country.

Box of paints to take on holiday.

 I wanted to texture the walls of the building, but was limited by the supplies on hand while I was on holiday (just staying with my Mum, so plenty of free evenings to work on the project).  This included my paint box and a tub of scenic materials, but no grout, filler or plaster.  I painted some PVA over the whole of the building, then sprinkled on some baking powder I found in the kitchen cupboard.  This also helped conceal the cut edges of foam in doorways/windows and any small gape on the corners.  After it had dried, I mixed some khaki paint and PVA, then added a fair bit of water and daubed this over all the sides to help seal it all in place.

The Snack Shack, ready for your order!

I gave the building a couple of thin coats of white paint, fairly roughly applied with a scrap of sponge so that the khaki shows though in places (not very obvious in these photographs, but you can see it better in real life!).  I also applied some small patches of very light grey with a sponge, to give the effect of some older/flaking paint.

Passport control.

The signs were fixed in place with PVA and the labels painted in very carefully with a thin brush and a drop of Humbrol 60 matt scarlett.

Windows to see who is coming down the road.

The windowsills are thinned Vallejo Beastly Brown with a drybrush of Vallejo Bonewhite to give a worn and weathered look. The roof is a variety of greens, with plenty of burnt umber and burnt sienna rust applied along the edges.  Some chestnut ink was used to vary the rusty colours yet further.

Some fresh air for the cafe.

 I added a few rust stains and streaks coming from the roof.  These were created by washing some water over the walls, then adding a tiny drop of 30-35 year old Citadel chestnut ink and streaking it down the wet wall with a fine brush.  This gives a fairly delicate effect and I'm pleased how this came out on the first time I've tried it.

The figure box.

 I had a rummage in my box of figures to find some suitable people for the scene.  I already had the Peter Pig professional vehicle crew member to sit on a log.  I found a couple more professionals, plus a 14th Army mule handler who doesn't look too out of place next to the others.

Figures almost finished.

 The figures were painted to match my AK47 army.  Vallejo Khaki base coat, a range of browns and flesh colours for the skin, sepia ink & matt varnish ink wash. Webbing is Army Painter Camo Cloak speedpaint, camo on the clothing is spots that same speedpaint, plus splots of GW Goregrunta Fur contrast paint.  Boots and weapons are black.


I painted up a spare 3D printed fuel drum to look suitably rusty, with a few touches of solver round the edges.  This was mislaid when I was preparing a previous project, so I'm glad I found it again and had a chance to include it in this one.

Vending machine.

I also finished off the vending machine, adding a freehand picture to the front and adding some rust and paint chips around the bottom using burnt umber, burnt sienna and silver paints and a scrap of sponge.

Ready for the scene.
WIth these complete, it was time to test everything on the CD again and decide on their final positions.
Test fitting number 2.

 Everything looked OK, the poses of the figures will help tell a story, being more interesting than the standard action poses shooting or running etc.  I was thinking about what to do with the table when I suddenly had a brainwave.


Why not make the table an old enamel sign? A quick trawl through the internet provided a suitable colourful but reasonably simple design that I thought I could reproduce.  I'm not sure whether this a genuine vintage sign or just a modern copy, but it looks the part.

Initial design.

After a base coat of Humbrol matt yellow, I dug out my technical pens and used the finest one to draw on the design.

Getting there...

I used a fine brush and some Humbrol 60 matt scarlett to paint in the design.


 After a couple of accidental smudges of the pen ink, which seemed to take forever to dry, I finally got the sign finished.  Some weathering would hide those smudged bits OK!

Table and bench.

With the table finished apart from the weathering, I moved onto the other furniture.  The bench received some Vallejo Beastly Brown paint and a drybrush of Vallejo bonewhite.

Barrier ready for installation.

The barrier was painted red and white, with an octagonal paper "STOP" sign.  This has been folded slightly at the bottom and dabbed with silver paint.  Someone obviously didn't stop fast enough and hit it.  I drilled a small hole where I will insert a piece of wire for a hinge.

Scatter scenery.
  I painted a few small items of 3D printed scatter scenery from my box of tank stowage.  3 Jerry cans, a small oil can, ammo box and a rucksack. 

Packed for home.

By now, it was the end of the holiday, so I had to get everything home safely.  I'd brought the bits in a small cardboard box and a rummage in the wardrobe furnished me with some scraps of upholstery foam left over from my foliage making project.

Upholstery foam scraps are ideal for packaging.

With everything securely boxed up for the journey home, the next task would be the final assembly.

Test fitting with ground work part completed.

One of my tasks on holiday had been fitting a bath panel.  I had used some of the left-over acrylic caulk for the basic ground forms, mixed with some brown paint and sand.  The building, vending machine and oil drum were left unattached, but everything else was bedded into the caulk as it was drying.  I scraped little flat patches where the figures would stand so that I could blend their bases in.  Some of the larger stones from my tubs of basing materials (builder's sand sieved into fine, medium and coarse grades) were places along the edges of the road.  After it had dried, I painted watered down PVA over the ground surface and sprinkled fine sand over it, sealing in place with even more watered down PVA and a drop of washing up liquid to break the surface tension so that it would soak in.

Adding some vegetation.

The semi-final stage was to add the vegetation.  This included some cheap bushes, lots of bits of foam flock followed by a generous sprinkling of static grass.  All that was left to do now was add the building, vending machine and fuel drum, small bits of scatter, and finally the figures.  The figures would be glued in place, then have their bases sprinkled with more fine sand to blend them in, plus a bit of static grass where necessary.

Hopefully I'll post the finished photographs tomorrow!