Wayne’s G.I. Joe terrain and bunker


Wayne’s G.I. Joe terrain and bunker


I’ve started a new G.I. Joe commission  4 x 600 x 600 terrain tiles with a bunker, which I’ve been asked to style it on the Imperial bunker from Star Wars ROTJ. To get the design right for the bunker I’m going completely back to basics. Drawing out the design to scale before going straight to foam. I had realized with the drawing, it’s smaller than I had wanted. I will have to scale it out by at least 2 inches on either side and increase its height by an inch and half.

I have cut two of the tiles required and for scale I’ve placed Snake Eyes next them.

 After spending time looking at the design, not only am I extending the bunker on either side but using bringing it forward to. Using my original thought as a porch entrance as you can see in the 3D mock up picture (not to scale!).

Now I have the design, next phase will be creating.

The Bunker

 For this phase of the project I will be focusing on the bunker which is built using foam board.  Using 5 mm foam board to create the frame around the tunnel leading into the bunker, behind each of them is two layers of 10 mm foam board.



For the front wall of the bunker I have carved in grills into either side of the wall, a two step porch roof added. 

After looking at this I decided to add another layer of 5 mm board placed in between the tunnel and front wall, with holes cut out to display grills. This will also act as a frame for the front wall.

While trying to workout the layout and design for the inside of the bunker, I cut two pieces of 10 mm foam board to the height of the front wall and 4 inches deep. These will be the walls to the bunker, then a piece of 5 mm board which will act as the floor to the bunker.

For both side walls, I’ve cut in 11 grills at half an inch thick. Once I cut through the foam, I then scored around each rectangle with a thicker blade, pressed in the top length of each rectangle, punching them in at angle.

Cut out two frames to go around each side wall, both pieces were fitted into the front wall.

The roof was cut along with two foam circles before all the pieces were placed together and sculpted into shape.

The work started with gluing all the external pieces together, sanding them down before attaching each section of the walls together. After each wall had all their parts stuck and formed, I turned my attention to the door of the bunker.

Using a piece of 5mm foam board I cut a cross section and then glued that onto another piece of 5mm board, surrounded it with a boarder. The using 2 pieces of 10mm board to create a runner for door, this was glued to the length of the back of the front wall. The door can slide the full length of the wall.



Before finishing off the main wall, I turned my attention engraving the insides of the side walls. Drawing inspiration from the 80’s G.I. Joe cartoon and the interiors used for Cobra’s hideouts/bases/lairs, using this type of style to carve in panelling into each wall along with an 80’s style tape recorder.

Work began making the final wall match the decor of the other two walls.  To start with I cut another piece of foam which would fit on the right side.  This stops the door from being able to slide across both sides.  With that piece in place I scored the same style of pattern across both untouched pieces of foam and across the pelmet that runs the length of the wall. 

What is left to be done with the bunker is:
• As detail to the floor.
• The roof circles need the Cobra insignia applying to them.
• Paint and fixing all pieces together.

The final section of this build completed, floor panels have been etched into the foam all the remains is to sand the floor ready to be painted.


I have done a little work on the roof to which it now matches style of the bunker, I need to cast a couple of Cobra logo’s which will stuck on top of each of the circular vents.  This can be done after I have started to paint bunker.


This weekend I have been busy painting the bunker, first applying a black undercoat to all pieces. Once they were dry, a grey coat was added over the top. A coat of desert sand to border of the side walls, the front wall and front porch. Gun metal grey was used on the door, the dome vents and the wall vents followed with silver dry wash over the wall vents. Unfortunately, the floor started to disintegrate, the exposed foam reacted very badly with the black spray paint. I cut another piece of 10 mm foam, then cut the original scored tiles form the other piece, painted them silver and stuck them down on top of the new piece.


On the inside, I painted individual panels with a combination of grey/silver/gun metal grey then a silver dry wash over the top. The more I looked at it the more I was not happy with the look, instead of looking metallic the inside look was dull and grey.


Taking my airbrush I gave all the walls a gold wash after going over some of the tiles and made the colours bolder. The gold wash lightened up the walls, giving it the 80’s cartoon feel I was looking for.


With all the pieces painted and dry, it was time to glue all pieces together before doing the final touches to the bunker.


Using my airbrush I sprayed a dark grey wash over the floor and the bottom half of the bunker to weather it.

While this was drying, I took the mould I had made for the Cobra Stun hubcaps and cast two more, once dried I painted them in dark gunmetal grey and red for the Cobra logo. These were then glued to the dome vents on top of the roof.

With the bunker complete I can now start on the four 600 x 600 tiles.


Before I start work on the terrain tiles, I wanted to add a helicopter pad which could be added to one of the tiles.  Made from two pieces of 10 mm foam board, the bottom rectangle piece with one inch squares carved across the surface. the top circle nine inch diameter across with one diameter boarder carved into it, along with a “H”.  Both pieces glued together, with a grey base coat which was built up with grey/silver coat, silver for the top ring, green surrounding the “H” and white for the “H”.



Terrain Tiles

The original commission was to create four 600 x 600 squares, with the bunker and helipad done I can spend time building these.  An idea is to have a border going a round two of the four edges, this way the tiles could be rearranged to suite the users needs.  At present only two of the four are cut with borders drawn into them to see how they would look and with the bunker and helipad loosely added to them before a layer of sand is added to each.

I’ve cut the other two terrain tiles and been in talks with my client on how he wants them set up. We’ve agreed that the bottom two tiles will have a sand texture across 3/4 of them while a 8″ width road runs across them. The helipad will be glued into pace and surrounded by sand, while the bunker will not be glued (due to shipping) but also will be sat on sand. A two inch border runs along the edges of two sides of each tile.

The strips were cut which are to be used as borders on two edges of each tile, each strip has a two inch width. I decided to make one set overhang and the other cut shorts by half an inch, this makes them interlink. and interchange with one another.

Two inch squares where cut into the border, then the sides were sanded and the edges of the borders softened.

I took two pieces of 5 mm foam board for the road, I took my steam cleaner and used it to remove the top card layer.  When top layer had been removed, they were glued onto the tiles and a black base coat was applied.  Once it was dry I airbrushed a light grey coat evenly over both boards, I also added a couple of pot holes.

I began painting the borders of each tile with a light grey, using a sponge to dab the paint on. Doing this I was ale to get a nice even coat all the way around, then using a brush to to paint the sides.

The road, I have added a couple more pot holes and cracks in the tarmac, being a dessert road and with today’s standard of roads it needs imperfections.  I then used to the sponge and lightly dabbed paint across the road and then gently blended it all in to lighten the tarmac. Where I will use my airbrush to then weather it.


Mixing sand with PVA glue and water, the mixture was spread evenly over the tiles.  The first tiles done were the helicopter pad and one of the road tiles.  With the addition of the sand, it has trebled the weight of each tile.

After 48 hours the first two tiles are dry that applying sand to the other two tiles could begin. Due to the weight of the sand, I have had to add another piece of 600 x 600 5 mm foam board to each of the four tiles to help strengthen them.

I have embedded a piece of foam board onto the tile which the bunker will be housed, it is then surrounded by sand giving the bunker a foundation to sit on.

Another couple of sand/water/PVA mixtures were made and spread evenly over the two remaining tiles.  Once they are dry I can start doing the final touches:

  • Paint touches to the road
  • A black border edges on each tile.



Before I started working on the final touches, I had to take some test pictures for my client on what he could do with his diorama and the overall size of it. You have to agree it is very impressive.


After seeing all the tiles put together there were some final paint touch ups to hide any exposed foam board.  A black boarder around the white foam board base, and a second coat of grey on the two borders of each tiles.  For the road and sand areas, I touched them up using a sandy brown hiding any exposed blue foam and to weather road.


The barriers

The final part of this commission build is to create eight barriers for my client to position where ever he would want them.  The barriers are made from 10 mm foam board, each one cut to 5 inch in length and 2 inch high (not including the base).  The base of each I have gone a quarter of an inch in, using a sharp blade I have cut diagonally across both sides to create a ramp (mind your fingers!)

h the 5 x 2″ blocks, I have scored them on both sides at 2.5″ from top to bottom, making them look like they are two slabs joined together.  In the centre of each slab a rectangular hole has been pressed in on either side.

With all eight of the barriers made I gave the one face of three of them battle damage, applying bullet holes and crack in the concrete.  This giving my client variation when photographing his figures on his diorama.  With the changes made it was time to apply paint to them.  A light grey base coat was applied first and then weathered using my airbrush.

The completed Diorama

With barriers dry, it was finally time to put the completed model together and fill it with Cobra action figures and vehicles to show my client exactly what he has bought and some of the potential it has for him.

 you will agree with me he will have hours of fun setting up his figures and taking plenty of pictures.


The final pictures of this completed commission diorama.



Commissioned Building

Commissioned Building

After taking a couple of weeks off from Comic Con it’s time to start back up again and what a project to start off with. My sister contacted recently to tell me that my 7 year old nephew has started to get into Spider-Man and wondered if I could build him a play-set for him for Christmas (yes I said that horrible word!).  I decided to construct a building for 6” figures, which will be double sided, with roof for him to play with.  By the time I am done with this, he is going to love it!  To start with, I am using insulation foam board for the overall construction.



I started preparing the external brick work. Drawing out each one on the boards surface, making them a half an inch in height and one inch in length, before taking a pointed tool to scored them onto the board. After all three external wall were marked, the window and doors were cut out.

I completed marking out the internal brick work to match the external. Then cut a single piece of foam board to be the foundation of the raised ground floor, which will be accomplished using bolsa wood for the floor.

Because I’m an awesome uncle I even went out and purchased a Spider-Man Homecoming figure which will accompany this set.

I got on with developing the ground the floor, using a bolsa wood block strips for the beams with flat sheets laid on top, then made it look like floor boards. Over the weekend I will be nailing the together, use a wire brush to add wood lines and remove any splinters then add 4 beams on each corner to which I will be putting the next floor on. To tidy up the back so my nephew doesn’t get underneath floor I have cut a strip of foam board.


Started creating the first floor by sticking bolsa wood onto a sheet of foam board. Four beams at 7.1 inch tall, to which where glued to the each corner of the ground floor and then nailed down. Afterwards ground floor was then glued and nailed onto the three foundation beams. The first floor was then glued and nailed into position.
Next I will start the roof before any painting and gluing all pieces into place.


I have finally managed to get the roof on, its all held together with masking tape but its on!  Using insulation board, I cut various lengths to build up the rooftop.  My nephew is only 7  so I have tried to design this with as much access and freedom for him, that any boy needs for a play-set.


Next I need to build the fire escape, front and side steps and then sidewalk.  Not forgetting the glue and paint!


I started working on the fire escape. Using bolsa wood for the base of the platform, then cutting strips of bamboo cans of 3.5” and placing them equal spacing along the platform. Once in place I cut two strips of bolsa wood to act as a railing, making sure the wholes where lined up and slotted the bamboo bars into the railings.

As you can see it slots into place perfectly. I now need to add a couple of braces under the platform to brace it against the wall, sand it down and glue all the pieces into place.



I’ve had a busy/productive day with Harry’s building. I woke up at 6 am wanting to make the front and side steps (as you do on the weekend!)

This then led to sander, rotary tool and the glue gun being brought out, all edges sanded and tidied up. The wooden floors and fire escape was sanded, glued together, braces attached to the underneath of the fire escape.

I disassembled the roof, using hot glue all pieces were put back into place and sanded as I went along. This was followed up with building been glued together and the roof being glued into place. While I attaching the walls together, I decided to swap over the side walls, this made the fire escape pointing the over way with ladder rear facing.

What is left to be done, create a side walk to surround the building and then apply paint to it.



First coat of paint applied. Black for the fire escape, light grey for the roof and a grey/burnt umber mix for the bricks.

I completed the outside and inside the ground floor it by the then it was late last night and I’d run out of the made up paint and was too tired to do the 1st floor. The outer steps I made up a medium grey and for the surrounding border.

This morning I had to quickly spray the fire escape because the paint I had used had been absorbed into the wood.

2nd coat needs applying then numerous washes to weather the exterior of the building. The floors need painting and a pavement still needs to be done.


Last night was time to work on the pavement surrounding this building. Cutting out a piece of foam board, marking out where the building will sit on board. I marked out the curb and pavement slabs which run across the front of the building. Either side of the building I want it to look like a concrete alleyways.
Still need to add second coats of paint to building and paint the pavement.

Over the weekend, I have applied a second coat of paint to the exterior and interior. This was quickly followed by a coat of dark burnt umber for the wood work, both floors and supports.
For the roof, I cut a piece of black foam board, removed the top layer of card and glued it to top of the roof. Texture of the black foam board, painted black works as both texture for the roof and another layer to child proof the set.
With the pavement I sprayed a coat of white, then while wet I sprayed a coat of black paint. Another coat of grey is needed to cover the blacker areas.




I found the time the other day to grab a paint brush and set to work on the pavement. Using a grey mix I went over the pavement slabs to even them out. Adding a touch of blue to grey paint and using a thin brush, I went around each slab and crack.
While this was drying I did the same to cracks on the roof. A grey mixture was then used over the black and then around the side doors and window frame.

I mixed up burnt umber and red and applied that to the outer and interior walls, I was not fond of the brown brick effect it currently had.
Once it’s dry, I need to touch up the paint in places, work on the front entrance. I may add a couple of doors to it for effect but this is going to be a play set for my 7 year old nephew.


I couldn’t resist doing a couple of action shots to test out Harry’s play set.

Taking a small paint brush and mix of watered down burnt umber and black acrylic, I went round each brick and crack on the external walls. Then washed over the interior to darken the walls and cover up ant foam still showing. This took a couple of hours so now I just need to to paint the door frames and touch up any smudges.

Finishing touches complete, this morning I went round out tidied up any paint run off, painted the door frames and the concrete border running the base of the building.


Now that it has been completed, I placed it next to my first building. I know I built it for my nephews Spider-Man but Batman got in there first. Followed by TV’s The Flash, Flash 2 and Zoom. I did finish off letting Spider-Man try out this play set for him. 

I will be putting up my usual finishing photos up tomorrow evening.

I hope you have enjoyed watching the development of this project as I have creating it.

I am pleased to present to you the final pictures of my nephews Christmas present, before I wrap it up for him.
I added a few extra character pictures for your enjoyment. Enjoy!



Tiger Force Outpost

Tiger Force Outpost 

Back in 1984 & 1986 Hasbro released a little battle station play-sets for Action Force/GI Joes one was called Missile Defence Unit and another called Outpost Defender. 

1986 Outpost Defender

 It’s a nice little set which would work well in a diorama, which leads nicely to my next project!  I had looked at purchasing this set but found sellers were asking a ransom price for it, so what am I to do but to make my own!

Demolished wall front
Demolished wall rear





To start off this project I built a wall similar to the Missile Defence Unit, the idea was to combine the two play-sets together.  With one wall built, I moved onto the Outpost, looking at pictures of the original toy I saw that the sides are made from “wood”.  This gave me inspiration to use bolsa wood, cutting out the 2 lengths 2.5″ x 4.5″to build the sides, a 1″ x 1″ square to join the sides together, it is now starting to take shape!


Filler was used around the edges of the base to cover up the layers of foam board. While the filler is drying, first coats of paint have been applied to the brick wall and Outpost.


I wanted to try and make the outpost as close the the original as I can, to do this I needed to create sandbags the surround the front of the structure.  Using Apoxie Sculpt I have individually created each sandbag a placed them around the front of the outpost, building it up until it reaches below the gun emplacement.  This has been left to cure for the next 24 hours.


Next a coat of aluminium paint was applied to the roof of the outpost.

Moving onto the scenery, I used filler to build up contours onto the landscape or otherwise the terrain would be unnaturally flat.  While it is drying I have gently rubbed down the surface to smooth out the terrain.




After sanding down the filler, I made up solution of water down PVA glue (7 parts glue to 1 part water), mixed with ordinary dirt from the garden because it’s free.  A heavy coating is applied to all the fillered area’s and a lighter coating over the rest.  Further dirt is applied to enhance the raised areas, the wall was put into place to bed into the scenery.  Foliage, twigs and root were dotted around in areas and modelling stone ballast was sprinkled over areas to give the impression of a track and down the centre of the lowest level (in case I wanted to use that as a track also). 


After 8 hours, a few washes of different tones of blues were administered to lower level.  A rippled River water sheet was mounted on top, turning it into a stream.  I’ve place the Tiger Shark on top, impressed with how it looks.  The next part will be removing the excess dirt and administrating a coat of glue over the rest, adding more foliage to the top mound.

Using a combination on tan brown and black washes, I weathered both the wall, sand bags and the Outpost.

A layer of PVA glue and dirt applied to the base of the lower level, where the river sheet meets bank to blend the sheet into the scene.

I added more foliage to the top of the river bank and a combination of grass and moss from my garden where applied to the hill linking middles section to the top. Using moss, bits of twigs, grass and roots, I dresses the large rock opposite the wall using PVA.





The small hill at the very top, I took away the loose dirt and stuck more foliage down.

Once all the glue has dried, the next job will be using hot glue and applying it to around the sides of the river sheet and trimming off the excess and then painting the base. Almost ready for my Tiger Force Joes to take their positions to defend their outpost.

After finishing the final touches, it is with great pleasure to announce the completion of the Tiger Force Outpost.




 I will be exhibiting this and a collection of my other works this Sunday at Bradford Unleashed.