Scenery: Cooling tower chimney

These last two days we have been working on a project that we had kept in mind for some time, which is no other thing that to make a cooling tower for a Wasteland nuclear power plant. First thing was to find a flowerpot with the adequate curve and size: the one we chose has a great curved shape and some horizontal stripes that seem great to represent the concrete formwork, but we reckon that it is somehow small. Anyway, if you wanted to make one of those cooling chimneys to scale it would occupy almost all the gaming table (I think it would need to be about 32″ in diameter, and the one we bought is about 10″), and besides, the smaller the easier to transport.

First step: buying the flowepot in a «one dollar shop» (3,50 euros)

Then, we have to cut a round wooden lid for the lower part, where the supporting beams will be.

Then it’s time to cut the supporting beams themselves, from a wooden rod 5 mm in diameter (we bought two of them, 0,75 euros each). Length? To be able to put a miniature under the estructure, as it supposedly is an open space to go through, we chose to make them 2″ long.

Once all the legs are cut, it is time to draw some radius across the lid to know where they should be.

We nail one small nail on the edge of each of the radius…

And we turn the lid around, so we can insert each beam in each of the nails, with a drop of wood glue to strengthen the union.

The lid with all eight supporting beams and the flowerpot on top of it. Here we must mention that we made less beams for the chimney than necessary, as it should have more of them and closer to each other (another one in between each pair), but we are not taking part in any architectural competition, so… It supports the weigth, which is all that matters.

But there are still missing the diagonal crosspieces that will strengthen the whole structure (and which are those the actual chimney really has). These are longer than the vertical ones, of about 3″ or 3″ 1/2 in length.

The lower structure, finished.

On the upper part we made a crumbling wall structure with Das Pronto modelling putty, above the flowerpot bottom, to gain some more height and hide the flowerpot bottom a bit.

With a hammer, a hobby cutter and a lot of care, we can make some damage on the surface of the chimney, such as a hole, scratchs or cracks that simulate structural damages.

And the first paint coat, in Vallejo’s Basalt Grey. Remember to paint the flowerpot bottom with Matt Black as well.

Drybrush in Vallejo’s Medium Grey and starting to soil the surface with washes.

The painting process is done, with another drybrush in Medium Grey and all the washes dried (Asurmen Blue, Athonian Camoshade, Reikland Fleshshade y Devlan Mud from Citadel). You can apply the washes as you like, representing mosh, general dirt, foul substantes spillage, or whatever.

A bit of detail: the iron rods of the internal frame exposed and twisted. With some simple paperclips 1 mm in diameter, cut and bent as we like, you can do them just perfectly. Das Pronto putty is soft enough that, even after drying, we can nail them easily.

Another detail bit: a couple of signs to put onto the legs of the structure.

And our project is finished, on the table among other scenery! It is, as we have already said, a bit small to be the cooling tower from a nuclear power plant, but it could be from another factory, such as a thermal power station.

To give the whole structure a better support and an extra touch of realism, you can add a CD plastic pack (in this case, we used a 25 discs pack) as part of the lower chimney facilities, where there are all kind of conductions, control rooms and maintenance accesses. You just have to paint it with the same colors as the rest of the chimney and add graffiti at will. You can also wear it down with green, brown and black washes, as well as modelling grass or moss.


Once under the chimney, among the supporting beams, the effect is much better and realistic.


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