Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Sci-Fi Communication Tower in 28mm

This post is in response to questions about construction of my Comm Tower that appeared in the photos with my 28mm bunker complex that were posted sometime back.  Some of the following is a rehash from my long dead website, mixed with some additional info.

The Comm Tower is was conceived as communications station capable of deep space communications on a newly settled world. The base consists of a small bunker that can house a few troops during times of need, and the communications mast.  The idea is that bunker is a precast standardized component designed to mainly resist tampering by civilians or alien fauna.  The  main access door opens into an equipment room with tiny quarters inside. It has two roof hatches to permit access to whatever sort of equipment might be mounted on top.

The design was first sketched out on graph paper in full scale.  Basic construction was is from .06" styrene plastic, solvent welded  with a disposable syringe and Tenax 7R solvent.  The tubes for the roof hatches are acrylic, I think from Plastruct.  They were super glued in place and blended into the basic shape with styrene sheet and automotive glazing compound or putty.  For sanding the styrene and putty, I find that the Squadron wet/dry sanding stick are quite helpful.  Yes, all of the doors and hatches are pinned and hinged.  I am that sad.

  The view below gives some idea of the size with older GW Imperial Guard figs posted next to the door.  
  A view from the rear showing the equipment boxes extending from the back of the base.  They are made from styrene and patterned sheet from Evergreen.  The stairs are part of an Evergreen  kit; the railing is Brass wire from K&S.  
  The comm mast was made from Evergreen tube, sheet, and Plastruct vessel flanges (the gray rings near the top of the mast).  The catwalk is wide enough to permit access by the GW style bases on many of my sci-fi figs.

The comm mast was assembled to allow the later addition of wires for LEDs to give a little more life to the contraption, though I don't know if i will ever get around to it.

  The antenna array complete.  The dome and dish are parts from Plastruct, as are the cage and ladder, the phased-array looking panels are patterned tile sheet from Evergreen.   
  Triangular supports for the catwalk extend beyond the edge of the platform to give a rigid mounting point for the vertical rail supports. The rail itself is made from .02" thick by '06 wide styrene strip. I curved the strip by rapping it around a small bottle, attached one end to a support, then worked may way around the the catwalk, attaching to the supports with solvent as I went. A second strip was glued inside the fist to give the rail more strength.

  The base is painted with Polly Scale Israeli Khaki, "metal" parts are painted with Vallejo Russian Green. The base was then weathered with a several mixes of Polly scale Old concrete and Israeli khaki to bring out the waffle pattern a bit and dust up the green parts.

The waffle pattern was made by painting a coat of artist's acrylic paste onto the masonry surfaces of the bunker, letting it surface dry, and then pressing fiberglass drywall tape into the semi dried paste. The result is a Zimmerit-like texture.  
  The roof of the bunker is press fit in place, and is removable to permit eventual interior detailing and battery installation for the LEDs  
  A few more pics, showing how the roof and mast fit into the base unit.  

And lastly, a view of the unfinished interior.The plan is to someday put an electronics control bay to the front of the interior, and a submarine-like quarters for 2-4 for those when the natives are restless.

  And there you have the communications tower, a lovely target for any season.


  1. That is an incredible piece.

    When I clicked on your TMP link, I was initially disappointed, until I scrolled down and saw how cool it was. The door and stairs are amazing. The ladder is impossible.

  2. WOW, great scratch-build.

    And I like your use of tape to model the anti-magnetic coating.