Here you are an article about the winning piece of the Scenery Contest at Freak Wars, written by its own creator, Manuel Canteras Campos.
The entire piece is made with recycled materials taken from many sources at the purest Scratch Attack style (the best scratch scenery channel you can probably find in Spanish) with LED and Arduino lighting. The use of the latest was possible thanks to the info provided by the Custom Wargames channel (a genius of lighting and impossible effects).
This piece of scenery recreates an abandoned hospital that members of the V Reich have turned into an experimentation lab for mutards. It has a surgery room, testing grounds, a morgue, a detention cell, a control room, a heliport with helicopter, a lift and a mutard-hunting car.
This room, as well as the others, is entirely made of foamboard. The texture on the outer side is made with a mix of white glue, extra-thin sand and a bit of water. The shelves on the walls are reversed calculator keys, which allowed me to have plenty of shelves in a fast, easy way. The sink’s tap is made with thick wire, while the sink itself is another calculator key emptied with a modelling knife. The drain is a syringe’s needle, and the hot and cold water taps are pinheads. The stretcher is made with plastic taken from a miniature’s blister, cut and shaped as desired. Serum bags are made from injectable medicine’s caps glued to a piece of wood, a plastic rod and a round base I took from an empty Tipp-ex bottle. The cabin hanging on the wall to the right is part of a plastic toy I only had to paint with a rusty look. The heart monitor is made with a clear resin TV monitor made by Custom Wargames, on which I glued a transparent acetate sheet with the classic green heart beat line painted on it. To put a flickering green led in there I made a hole on the back of the monitor; it’s not enough to put the led behind it, the LED has to be inside the TV for the lighting effect to be realistic. The monitor stand is made with a thread bobbin and bow-shaped piece of an old toy. All doors of the building are made of 3.5″ floppy disks metal plates, while the glasses for all of them are plastic acetate sheets from my job. Signs on the doors are laser-printed acetate pieces.
The most eye-catching element is the mutard x-ray visor machine. The radiographs themselves are made with the same technique as the signs on the doors. The structure of the machine is made with translucent pieces of construction toys, and under it two cupboards similar to the one hanging on the right wall to complete the thing. The backlight comes from an USB bulb hidden on the upper part. This type of bulb gives much more light than one or two LED lights and is also more realistic.
Finally, the neon tube on the ceiling is actually a rectangular leads tube for mechanical pencils. With a LED light on each end and a piece of baking paper rolled inside it, I managed to get quite a realistic finish as a real neon tube.
Lamplights are made out of caps from medicine bottles and hollow plastic tubes. I used blue LEDs with them, so the fluorescent pigments stand out.
Barrels on the right and their contents (man giving a thumb up and some tentacles) are from Custom Wargames. The stand they are on is a twin telephone landline connector, while the central and upper pieces are from kids toys.
The central machinery is made with a piece simulating the framework and engine of a car, but sitting in upright position instead of being horizontal. The coil in which the mutard head is situated was an old battery case spring. The mutard itself is an old zombie miniature improved with some custom tentacles. The color tubes behind all that are used eyedrops containers, an idea I had years ago for the HARD RAT soda fountain scenery.
On the right side of the room there are a couple of hanging tentacles, made out of green stuff and nailed with pins.
The radiation tank is made using two small spraying deposits from old airbrushes. I cut the upper part out of one of them, glueing the lower part of the other on top to make the chamber look symmetrical on both ends. It also has two round trims on both ends to cover the seams and help stabilize it.
The liquid is just water with yellow marker diluted in it. It is not necessary to use fluorescent LEDs here, as a regular white LED will glow strongly enough to create a nice effect through the stained water. This is the same idea I already used with the Mutant garden/fountain in last year’s contest.
The corpse units are made out of pillboxes painted to look like metal. The lamp is made with three medicine bottle caps. The light is provided by orange LED bulbs intended to combine nicely with the blue walls of the room. The upturned forensics slab is a plastic sheet taken from a facial cream container, which already had those diamond lines engraved on it, and its base (not seen on the picture) is another cap from a different body cream bottle.
The control room is made with TV screens bought from Custom Wargames and using the same system as seen at the heart monitor of the surgery room. The difference is that the LEDs I used here are from electric candles, which flicker to simulate interferences and power failures.
Maps used to give character to the walls are actually printed in black and white and hand painted, as at the time I didn’t have the means to print them in color. I want to mention that the security guy’s chair is a plastic toy car’s seat, under which I glued the very same car’s wheel to simulate a swivel chair.
The complements for this car are really easy to get. The cutting blades on the fron are Tipp-ex wheels cut in half, as well as the cannon mounted on the bumper. The back piece comes from a toy forklift at a different scale, which represents a holding area to hold captured mutards.
The most difficult item to make was the crossbow, which is completely made from scratch. Toothpicks and a thicker chunk of wood to make the main body, a piece from a rolling Tipp-ex machine to hold the bolt in place, and the plastic stick of a lollipop with a small necklace bead as support. The bolt is also secured in place with a thin chain from a necklace. The crank to hold the chain in place is another plastic stick, while the metal structure is made with the same plastic sheet from the facial cream bottle I used in the morgue table.
I printed the V Reich logo in black and white to glue it to the doors, and the use rust colors to give the final touch.
It’s made with a tube from a toilet’s cistern. Inside, two plastic discs joined together with toothpicks form the lift cabin itself, and the crane on the roof gives the idea of a service lift turned into an elevator.
On the roof of the building, between the lift’s crane and the control room, there is a heliport for the mutard-hunting chopper to land.
The floor is made out of a rubber kitchen mat and, hidden under it, the wiring for the four blinking lights that mark the landing pad made with the ventilation grid of a computer power supply unit. In the previous picture you can see part of the hidden work, after I had to cut open the floor when one of the lights broke down (shit happens).
The chopper is customized from a very basic plastic toy helicopter, improved with corrugated cardboard, toothpicks, a plastic grid from unknown source, a Tipp-ex can circular piece, metal chains and metallic paint. The cell carried under it is made with tho milk bottles caps and toothpicks.
The detention cell for mutards is located at the back of the building, and is used to keep mutants away before experimenting with them. The wire is made out of strips of insect screen mesh. If you are careful enough to cut a strip of just one thread, part of the crossing threads will remain on both sides simulating the spikes of the barbed wire. Quick and simple.
Inside it I put boxes and mattresses from Custom Wargames and a mutard in one corner: he is marking on the wall the days he has been confined and has a rope ready to hang himself in case he can’t stand it anymore. The door is made with corrugated cardboard, wood and insect mesh.
Lights are predominant throughout the whole scene in two possible ways. It’s true that installing them is quite time-consuming, but very easy if you handle a couple of basic notions.
Static lights are all linked together by hidden wiring, or visible wires if they fit the scene they are set into. Lamps, spotlights and flickering TV screens lights are part of the same closed circuit that ends in a USO wire to plug into a battery or a socket with that type of connector.
The second group of lights are the four ones from the heliport and the flickering light at the surgery room. These are programmed to flicker according to a pattern and for that I used an Arduino motherboard (a type of small computer device that can be programmed) which is the perfect way to do that. You can see here the Custom Wargames video where they explain how to do it; you have everything you need in there.
The motherboard is partly seen on the diorama, in the picture for the heliport and inside one room. The Arduino motherboard has its own lights, so I thought it would be a good idea to integrate them in the scenery piece.
For the main building pillars (as well as to hide most of the wiring going to the upper floors) I used chocolate candy tubes.
And that’s all! Thanks to Custom Wargames for the scenery material and to spur us modelling fans to get further in this hobby by showing us that things can move and shine in a simple way. Thanks to Scratch Attack for organizing this contest and giving credit to my work, as well as for being the most charismatic scenery channel in the whole world and making funnier this already fun hobby and inspire a lot of people with a smile. And, of course, thanks to Punkapocalyptic for creating this great game, throw our minds into new levels of craziness and motivate the players to be part of the creation process of the game with our ideas and work.