Tutorial – Scratch Built Fortress of Redemption

By tristanmitchell

I wanted to use a Fortress of Redemption in the doubles tournament this weekend but never really liked the GW model for it (Or the $150+ price tag!). So, with the tournament as my motivation, I decided to scratch build one with a more Imperial Guard theme to it! I had a rough idea in my head but I needed very specific plans, so I sat down and designed the model on my computer.

Once I was happy with it, I took all the model measurements and started cutting out foamcore to make the walls. I had a stock of 6 sheets I picked up at a sale a couple years back and had been keeping for scenery projects. I expected to use 2 sheets, and each one cost about 5$.
I started with the tower and bunker walls. They are all octagonal, with 3 inch wide walls. The bunkers are 4 inches high, the tower is 7. When I cut the walls out, I didn’t actually cut through vertically for each wall – I cut two 45 degree angle cuts and removed the strip of styrofoam but was very careful not to cut through the back paper layer. I also cut the fire points at the same time – Each bunker has 3 sides with no firepoints as per my plans, they will be facing the inside of the Fortress and firepoints won’t fit.
This left me with a “strip” of walls that I could then curl into the building shape.

I used a couple small pieces of tape to hold the walls together – This will be painted over later so it saved me having to glue it.
Next I cut out the 3 inner floor pieces as well as the 3 top battlement floor pieces. The first set I cut out weren’t quite square – I realized just a ruler wasn’t accurate enough so I went out and picked up a square at a hardware store and cut new ones. The 2nd set were much more precise. I set aside the poorly cut ones for later – I would use them as “guides” for the roof pieces to hold them in place when set on top of the buildings.

I laid out the buildings so far to make sure they looked proper. Nothing is glued at this point – They’re just set in place.

I wanted to add some texture to the flooring so I picked up a roll of screen door replacement screen – It’s a very small cross pattern which works perfect at the 28 mil scale as steel grating on floors. It cost around 15$
I made sure to leave a good 1-2 inch excess screen around the edges so I could wrap it around the back.

Next I put a line of hot glue along the 4 corner sides.
I waited a few moments for the hot glue to cool, but not be entirely hard yet, then pulled the corners in and pressed it into the warm glue. NOTE – This step is dangerous! It is VERY easy to burn yourself here if you don’t wait long enough so you have been warned – A more practical (but messy) solution would be to use a scrap piece of foamcore to press the sides down.
Repeat for the short sides.

Once all sides are glued in and cooled, the result is a nice cross pattern on the floor. I glued the screen flooring onto all 3 floor pieces
Next up I flipped each building upside down, and flipped a floor piece upside down and slide it into place
I was careful to make sure that the floor was level, and the same height below the fire points (roughly 1 inch worked well for me)
I carefully put a bead of hot glue around the edge of the floor to hold it in place

When I flipped the buildings back over right-side-up, the floor stayed in place and the screen pattern was nice and tight too.
I repeated this for all 3 buildings.
Next up was the floor pattern for the battlement floors. These would be a bit different since I couldn’t wrap the pattern around the bottom – The bottoms would be visible. So instead I cut them to leave roughly half an inch of space from the edge.
I then put a line of hot glue around the edge and glued the pattern down. Again – Be careful here!  I managed to burn my knuckle by touching fresh glue while gluing a cooler side.
I glued the screens for all 3 tops, and then proceeded to creating the battlement walls from 1 inch blue styrofoam. I cut 1″x1″x4″ strips for each side of the 3 octagonal battlements, so 24 pieces in total.
Then I cut a rough 45 degree chunk of the edge, I’d say about 2/3 of the width of the piece.
I put a line of hot glue down, waited a few moments for it to cool (so it didn’t melt the styrofoam badly) and pressed it into place on the edge of the battlement floor.  The styrofoam wall covered the edge of the floor pattern nicely so no seam was visible.
To make each piece fit better I cut angles out of each edge.

I repeated this process for all 8 sides.
And again for the other 2 battlements. I now had 2 usable bunkers and a usable tower!
Next up was the main bunker that connected the 2 bunkers and tower. This one was a bit oddly shaped, but luckily I was able to get the shape down by just expanding the tower’s walls by about 4 inches. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of this process (which is too bad – it’s one of the more complicated ones). Basically I make another octagonal floor piece, but about twice the diameter of the first ones. Then I cut off the back 3 sides so I had 5 normal octagonal sides and one long flat side. Then I had to cut out the space where the other buildings would go, as you can see in the picture here the big chunk missing from the center is the tower slot, and the two smaller chunks missing on each side are where the bunkers fit into place.
The battlement for this bunker was also a bit complicated – I used the floor as the stencil, but extended each outside wall by 1″
Then I cut out the walls themselves. This bunker is the lowest of all the bunkers, only 3 inches high.
I was in a hurry at this point (it was like 1 AM already and the tournament was the next day) so I forgot to take some photos – I used the same procedure as before to glue the screen door pattern to the floor, and then glued the walls into place (from the bottom again, so nothing shows on the top).
Then glued it to the battlement floor too – This one had a mix of the underwrapping style (where there would be no battlements) …
…and the non-underwrapped style (where the battlements would be. )
I then cut more 1″x1″ styrofoam to length, glued it into place, and cut the 45 degree angles out – Exactly like on the other battlements (but with different lengths).
I put all the pieces together (Looks awesome already!) on a a large hard card base and penciled in a rough outline for the base. Took a few photos here to show off the building.



I cut out the base and sanded the edges smooth
Placed all the building pieces on the base
And all the battlements too! I used blue-tac to attach four Heavy Bolters as per the Fortress of Redemption options.

At this point the fortress is obviously not done – But it was about 2 AM the day before the tournament and it was definitely USABLE, so I called it a night – I’ll finish it up later. All said and done I would estimate I spent about 50$ in material, but I only used a small fraction of the supplies I purchased (especially the styrofoam, fiberglass screening) so I would pin the cost at less than 25$. Total time (including design) was probably around 8 hours or so, but I think if I were to do it again it would take maybe 4-5 hours. (I made a couple errors and had to redo stuff, had to make several calculations in the plans, etc)

Obviously I still need the emplaced Icarus and Missile Silo too – For the tournament I just used a quad gun as representation but I’ll add something soon.

4 Comments

  1. Kyle September 16, 2012, 7:58 pm

    Wow! That’s really cool looking – I’m hoping to try this out sometime in the near future. I really like the screen door as steel grating look. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. tristanmitchell September 16, 2012, 10:54 pm

    No problem! I’m considering adding some plasticard designs over top of the grating to look like panels. We’ll see.

    Reply
  3. FoxPhoenix135 September 16, 2012, 11:42 pm

    Nice job! Looks very Imperial-Guard!

    Reply
  4. Russell September 22, 2012, 2:55 pm

    Tristan, Build another one! So I can buy it!

    Reply

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