Thursday, August 13, 2009

40K: Crates, a Step-by-Step Tutorial

They're simple to make, they work in either a fantasy or (depending on how you paint them up) a sci-fi setting, they can serve as either an objective or simple cover - they're crates!

I've been meaning to get this post up for a while now, but other things kept popping up. I lost my motivation to work on the blank pdf form, however, and decided to use that creative 'downtime' to finish something for once.

Materials used
  • 1" wooden blocks from Michaels
  • 1/4" wide wooden coffee stirrers (I got mine from Kroger's) - approx. 3 per crate
  • white glue (Elmer's)
Tools needed
  • X-acto knife
  • Razor Saw (I have a Zona Razor Saw w/Mitre Box, very handy!)
  • ruler
  • old toothbrush (the most underrated tool in a hobbyist's arsenal)

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 1:
Marking the block with 1/8" lines. Why 1/8"? Well, a 2 x 4 is actually only 3.5" wide - approximately the width of my hand (not counting the thumb). On an average Space Marine - which is what I base all my terrain measurements on - the width of the hand is 1/8". Thus, the width of a 2 x 4 on the 40k scale is 1/8". Additionally, be sure that the lines run continuously around the block, then put perpendicular lines on the top and bottom - rather than having the lines on each face run in its own direction.

Step 2: Use the saw to cut a groove on each of the lines. Trying to get the groove started can be tricky (watch your fingers!), but don't worry if it's not perfect or one of your cuts jumps off the line. Slight imperfections actually make it look more realistic, in my opinion. The toothbrush is perfect for cleaning the sawdust out of the grooves.

Step 3: Measure and mark the coffee stirrer. You won't need the rounded ends for this.

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 4:
Cut the stirrer. I found that, instead of trying to cut (across the grain) all the way through the stirrer, it worked better if I scored it deeply (about 1/2 through) then bend and broke the pieces off. The exception to this being the long cut along the grain to split the stirrer into two long 1/8" pieces. This is the step I was most likely to screw up on.

Step 5: If you cut like me, one of the two long pieces will be wider than the other. Take the wider piece and measure out and then score and break off four 1" long pieces.

Step 6: Glue these 1" pieces to the corners of the block. Be sure to place it so that half the with of the segment overhangs (1/16" or the approximate width of the coffee stirrer).

Step 6b

Step 7

Step 8

Step 6b:
This is an 'in process' shot to show my approach to getting the right amount of overhang: set the block up on two other coffee stirrers for the proper depth, then use a couple other blocks to keep the pieces being glued in place.

Step 7: Measure, score and break off four more 1" pieces from the remaining long piece. Glue them to the opposite corners, filling in the overhang.

Steps 8 and 9: Measure, score and cut the horizontal pieces to fit between the vertical ones. For some reason, I kept cutting these short the first time I did this.

Step 9

Step 10

Step 11

Step 10: Measure, score and cut two 1" pieces for both the top and bottom of the crate. Glue them into place.

Step 11: The remainder of the procedure should be pretty obvious by now.

You might save time by not cutting grooves into the bottom of the crate. Personally, I put all the grooves in - that way, if one side is uglier than the others, I can simply keep that one faced down. You may also want a couple different symbols or insignia on each side, so that having the crate turned a certain way can serve different purposes for different situations.

I've not painted my crates yet, but I have plans for an up arrow and an Imperial aquilla. I'd love to see what anybody reading this comes up with!

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