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High Level Walkways


High-level walkwayI think the best underhives are those with multiple walkways at different heights building into a complex maze of paths, bridges and buildings.

The walkways in the boxed set are fine as far as they go, but by building your own you can make them longer, more interesting and more versatile. Here is the simple, cheap method I use to make my bridges and walkways.

Materials

  1. The basic material used is thick corrugated cardboard, of the type used in strong cardboard boxes. This is strong enough to allow very long walkway spans to be created.

  2. Thick plain card (such as picture mount card - buy offcuts from a picture framing or art shop) and cereal box card.

  3. Lentils and split peas

  4. Bamboo barbecue skewers

  5. PVA glue

  6. Paints and inks for finishing

Method

Cut the corrugated cardboard so that the corrugations run length-wise (ie, you get a wavy pattern at the ends and solid edges). Make it about 2 and a half inches wide and up to 18 inches long. Next cut strips of plain cardboard half an inch thick and the same length. Stick these over the long edges of the walkway, slightly proud to give a lip at the edge and to tidy up the sides.

Cut two more strips of corrugated cardboard about half an inch wide and as long as the walkway. Cut the cardboard so the corrugations are at an angle to expose the zig-zagging internal structure. This gives a nice girder-like effect. These strips are glued underneath the walkway towards the outside edge to reinforce the span and give a heavier look.

Finally, add detail. To create the floor panels cut squares of thin cardboard, for example from a cereal box. Score the squares from corner to corner in a cross and fold the card to get good creases. Turn the square over and poke around the edges from the underneath with something sharp to create a rivet effect. Turn it back over and glue it to the walkway. Glue lentils along the edge strip to give a rivet effect or, if you prefer, stick pins through the edge strip and into the walkway. Add any embellishments you can think of - drinking straws for pipes and railings, bits of broken circuit board, discarded weapons.

It is the painting that will turn your walkway into something special. Start by spraying the whole thing black. When dry, drybrush with chainmail or silver. Use a very dry brush on detail areas to bring out the floor panels, rivets etc. Brush in a cross-cross pattern to get a good metallic effect. Leave plenty of black showing in corners and around edges. This next stage is very important - wait until the silver paint is really dry, and then give the whole thing a wash over with chestnut wash diluted 50% with water. Go for a patchy effect and encourage the ink to sit around the edges of panels and in pools here and there. Finally, use undiluted chestnut wash to paint blotches, runs and rust marks.


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