Sci-fi Industrial Buildings from Old Plastic Toys

Last weekend I finally got around to painting a couple of industrial terrain pieces that I had built some time ago. You can see the finished product above, along with an old 25mm chaos knight for scale. The top of his axe is about the same height as a Games Workshop Space Marine on a slotta base.

Both of these pieces started life as broken and cast-off toys I found at local resale shops. Some of the parts were made of soft plastic that required epoxy, and I even used plumbers PVC cement (truly nasty stuff) to attach the space capsule (more on this later).

The tower is some sort of a dumping toy or playset. I added a barrier to the front made from a piece of plastic scavenged off a classroom mathematics toy set. There are several versions of this kind of gridded counting aid toys, and I highly recommend picking them up when you find them at resale shops. They're great for sci-fi terrain. I also added some cross-stitch mesh to make the floor, and the bucket on the side was epoxied in place.

On the back, I added some bits of wood, toy greebles and a lamp made from a piece of plastic.

The top section is stock, and it's just full of nice places to put figures for my games. It's also wide enough to hold an entire squad for larger games. I've got plans to use it as part of an elevated terrain system I'm planning out.

The chemical plant piece is based primarily around a car launcher playset and and a toy lunar spacecraft.

Though Krylon's Fusion and Camo spray paints has made it easy to paint, I've still run into difficulty gluing large pieces of the soft (possibly polyethylene?) plastics that toy soldiers and others are often made of. The lunar module is made of just such a plastic. First I I tried plumbers PVC solvent adhesive to attach it to the hard plastic launcher. It is probably the harshest and worst-smelling glue/solvent I've ever useed, but it worked really well. Just be sure to use it somewhere
that is well ventilated.

The vents and pipes sticking out from the side are plastic medical bits, maybe part of an IV or oxygen system.
In the rear we have part of a smaller scale rocket toy stuck inside, a couple of copper elbow pipes and the drain from a contact lens case.

Painting was my usual speed method which I've used countless times over the years. The process gives good results in no time flat.

  • Prime black
  • Wet/drybrush on the base colors
  • Apply two heavy brown washes
  • Dry brush metallic in a few places
  • Tan dry brush all over
  • Matte varnish spray

Check back soon, as I'll be blogging about several more DIY projects this month.

-- Karl, Chicago Skirmish Wargames club member

4 responses to “Sci-fi Industrial Buildings from Old Plastic Toys

  1. Wow, those came out real nice. You are the junk terrain master, Karl.

  2. I might start using PVC cement from now on. I'm sick of all the other glue's I have going off…..super glue, plastic glue etc. I know the PVC stuff stinks, but it works great & never turns bad.

    I like the last terrain piece you've done, well done!

  3. Very cool. The terrain looks great. Nice junk building šŸ™‚

  4. It’s so sad about photobucket messing up blogs like this.
    I love the work being done here, especially old toys/garbage into wonderful post apoc terrain.

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