5 October 2022

Terrain: Barracks

This blog post was originally written as a feature for Uncle Vanyas, an excellent little compendium made for Zona Alfa. If you want to check out a really cool community, head over to Stalker7, Patrick Todoroffs play ground.

"Alright kids gather around and listen to old Uncle Vanya. I got another tip for you, a good place to look when you're inside the Zone. The the anomalies started and everything went to shit, all manner of forces moved in here to control and contain it. Both the army and those bloody UN peacekeeping tourists. The all set up FOBs - before knowing what was going on!

Now you can find these FOBs all over the Zone, huge areas filled with those nissen huts, prefab steel barracks - we call the tin coffins around here. The thing is, they're often filled with good stuff. The Zone is filled with them! Sometimes soldier boys leave those FOBs as part of a mission, just leave - might come back and use them later. Cheap to build, so just leave 'em. Might forget or leave common stuff. Sometimes they have to evacuate quickly as anomalies shift or they just all die from some weird stuff.

That's the tin coffins you really wanna find, a base left in a hurry. Just keep your fucking eyes open! You might find NVGs, MREs, boxes of Igolnik rounds - or some weird deadly shit. Had a guy try to light a campfire with scavenged fuel, it turned out the jerry can was filled with Hellslime - blyat, what a mess.

Where to look? Well there's manned bases around the edge and near the checkpoints, but you can find the abandoned ones deep in the Zone. Sure I know a few tin coffin graveyards. Here give me your map, I'll mark out a few."

Let's build some super cheap, scrap material terrain - the well known corrugated steel barracks.

Materials: Oversized tin cans, thick card / mdf, duct tape, masking tape, sand, wood glue, spray paint, cheap acryllics
Tools: Metal shears / grinder, hot glue gun (optional), knife, cheap brushes.

Step 1 - Cutting the can
Get your oversized tin cans. These are the ones they use at the pizza place, deli or restaurants. I found my first in dumpsters at the store and then got some from my pizza guy. Mark them in half and cut them with metal shears (it's a bit tricky at the bottom). You can also use a grinder, it's faster but it's a two man job.

The tin cans will bend when doing this (either way), but it's easy enough to fix, so don't be alarmed when they're out of shape.

Step 2 - Making a base
Time to make some bases. Not much to it. Use mdf, cardboard or whatever else you have lying around. I found some discarded board in my school's arts and craft room.

Make an X on the back of the base with duct tape. Do this on all your terrain, always. The X will add some tension to the base and it prevents a lot of the warping you often get from using wood / pva glue on bases. All my homemade terrain has this X underneath.

Use a sharp knife to angle the base edge, we don't want that steep 3mm edge. Angle it out, nevermind it not being completely even.

Step 3: Gluing it down

Place the half can on the base and draw around it with a pencil. I used a hot glue gun for mine. Contact glue will work as well or PVA (though this is not the best option). If using pva, use a lot, at pressure on the barracks and let it dry completely.

Sand up the edge of the base. Use this time to strengthen the bind, I added lots of glue and sand on the edge of the barracks (inside and out) - to keep it in place. Perhaps add more than one layer. My hard board had some nice texture, using that as concrete in this build.

Part 4: Painting made easy

All my terrain is nearly completed with cheap spray paint. Saves time and is damn quick. Paint the inside and floor grey first. Then use paper to mask the floor and paint the barracks green. Then mask with paper and paint the sand brown. Five minutes and you terrain looks decent.

I wanted one to be a medical bay, so using masking tape I made a square - spray white. Then using smaller pieces of masking tape made out a cross - spray red. Make sure previous layers is completely dry before adding masking tape.

Step 5: It's all in the details
Repair the outline of any stencil with a finer brush and hobby paints. I've also added some details to the barracks with chess piece markings, painted free hand. In Escape from Tarkov the military base buildings have call signs based on chess pieces - making for easy identification. Fun little detail.

We need to blend and tone this spray paint layer. I use a homemade brown wash for all my terrain. Cheap brown and black acryllics, dishwash soap (a few drops), water and PVA. Splash the entire thing in it, a few layers. Flick that paint brush as well for some stains.

Lastly add whatever static grass and tufts you want to the base.

All finished up! Here's some quick to build, super cheap terrain pieces that'll fill out a lot of space on your board. This build is easy to make for other settings as well. I plan on making both a couple of all white red cross ones and some yellow / blue FEMA ones.

If you enjoyed this, please check out my blog: Bloodbeard's Garage for more cheap scrap material builds.

Let's see a couple of stalkers getting into trouble at an abandoned army FOB.