Crashed Cargo Hauler for Terrain Competition Season 2 “Hidden Places”

I can see why people enter competitions. It helps you focus and finish!

This is for TerrainBuilding on Reddit. You can see the all the entries at

It would be cool if I won but I am just excited that I finished this ambitious project! I got stuck and I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish it. The project was intimidating and made me try a lot of new techniques!

I don’t have a 3D printer yet but I really like the hands-on part of this hobby. I want the result to be awesome but I don’t really want to destroy any expensive model kits to do it. Papercraft is perfect because it gives me a structure to build my custom creation off of. The angles on this ship would be really difficult to measure if I wasn’t starting with a papercraft template. All the surface detail has to be hand done though. It avoids the problem of papercraft looking “too flat” but adds a ton of work. My hybrid approach, was to print an extra outer layer on thin cardstock and cut out the panel lines on that.

The main structure is printer paper glued on top of medium weight chipboard. I had a lot of gaps though. I filled the gaps with wood filler. If I were to do it again, I would make the cuts on the inside of the structure to avoid having to fill gaps.

I had a number of issues getting the papercraft to work for this project. My biggest hangup, seems minor in retrospect now that I have it solved. The middle section was printed slightly smaller and it didn’t line up. It was super annoying because I had it built with chipboard and had the doors done for the middle section.

Two days before the competition due date, I was determined to make it work. I made each section have a wall and a door. Then I decided to build two rings of corrugated paper outside of the middle section.

What solved it was reinforcing the diameter with cut coffee stir sticks. I was able to make it fit into a single spaceship. Later, I ended up deciding the leave each section separate but with bits of frame and broken pieces to suggest each section was longer but had broken apart.

My second problem was the cockpit.

I wanted the cockpit to be visible but there was a large awkward area and no distinct floor. Luckily, I found some mochi plastic packaging I had saved. There was this raised part in the middle that was perfect to separate the cockpit cabin from the rest of the front section.

Black Magic Craft standard application of Gesso and black craft paint. Perfect for papercraft.

The pilot chairs and torsos are from a 40k Valkyrie model kit I haven’t built yet. I cast the bits using Oyumaru thermoplastic and magic sculpt 2-part sculpting putty. The trick is to pull the cast a little early, so it is soft enough to cut.

Not a 3D printer but the next best thing: Oyumaru + magic sculpt

The skeleton pilot is a GW skull with Frostgrave Cultist arms. The other pilot, with the Expanse-style helmet, are bits from the Wargames Atlantic Cannon Fodder set (lots of extra bits in that kit!). The left joystick if made of wire. Fiddly.

The console is from various cast bits, card and foam. The window is from salad packaging plastic.

The hill

I have never made any natural terrain like this before. I ended up using spray foam insulation and plaster cast in Woodland Scenics rock molds.

The foil was there because originally I was going to bake the plaster and homemade sculptamold. However, the spray foam meant I couldn’t do this anymore. I ended up using a hair dryer on it.

The secret ingredient to Sculptamold is probably just salt. Toiler paper is designed to dissolve. It breaks apart quickly when you add add hot water. The hot water and dissolved salt make it dry faster. There is no reason to spend money on a special product like Sculptamold.

In a large bowl I ripped up a fresh roll of toilet paper and mixed it with dry plaster. Then I dissolved salt in very hot water and poured it in while mixing thoroughly. I added extra plaster to get the consistency fairly thick. It gets really messy and slippery as the TP dissolves but it works great once you can smooth it out. The only issue I had was that I might have obscured the rock detail a bit as I smeared it everywhere. I will be more careful next time.

The grass tufts I made myself. I have only used my static grass applicator once but I made many sheets of grass tufts with a small amount. It’s just dots of watery glue on baking paper. Super easy to make but it looks like I need to make more now.

This is the static grass applicator I have but it looks like the price has gone way up since I bought it. . It works great but you might want to shop around for a better price.

Painting the hill was a huge pain. I tried a lot of techniques, including the airbrush.. but mostly I just made a giant mess. It didn’t come together until I actually starting brushing the paint on. Cheap craft paints are perfect for this because they are nice and transparent when watered down.

The hill is flocked with a few kinds of foam. The longer grass I made from an old vegetable brush.

The tree

Last weekend I went on a couple hikes and found some really great wood. I noticed the older scrubby bushes have great character and I was really excited about this one piece. I didn’t even paint it. I might spray it with rubbing alcohol and seal it with matt varnish spray.. or maybe it is fine as is. The material is really tough and not brittle.

Around the tree, I sprinkled a used tea bag and some birch seeds I had saved for about 15 years. I am glad I did!

My original sketch had a tent to suggest a survivor had made it out. So that is what the stack of supplies is about.

This was a fun project and I want to enter more competitions like this. Next time, I will try to finish my entry earlier though. Pushing though was good practice but if I had had more time, I could have been spent more time on photos.

I learned that the Genet model shuttle seems inspired by the ships in “V”; which is scifi series about an alien invasion.
They look pretty similar!

The bad news is that I didn’t win the competition. The good news is that the legendary Eric, from Eric’s Hobby Workshop, voted for my entry!

Here is a video about the competition:

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