Okay, so now you have a room filled with parts and bits. What do you want to make of them? For your first piece of scenery, I recommend starting with something small. It's easier to build, detail and paint a small piece of scenery, and you can field it that much sooner. Also important is to select something you really have an interest in -that interest will help you complete your model. Is it that refinery, with loads of pipes, drums and tanks? Or that Imperial bunker, with firing slits and sloped walls? Or even a simple pile of drums and crates to loot or hide behind? For ideas and inspiration,You might look at the scenery that appears in Games Workshop'sWhite Dwarf magazine. Owen Branham has done a nice job of making detailed, interesting scenery that really captures the war torn, gothic feel of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

Second, grab a camera and watch out for real scenery that you particularly like- the local Church, the back of a warehouse, that auto factory. Travel by rail if you want to really see the gritty, industrial side of your surroundings. Then put your Gothic Reference and Industrial Reference photos in an album, so you can refer to them for ideas (and to prove to your friends that buildings really DO have giant ventilators and pipes and gargoyles on them).

Third, check out the set dressing in almost any Sci-Fi, Horror, or Fantasy film. Some of my favorites are listed below.
DARK FUTURE: Matrix Trilogy, Fifth Element,  Brazil, 12 Monkeys, Max Headroom, Alien, Ghost in the Shell, Batman, Akira
URBAN DECAY:  Judge Dredd, Blade Runner, Robocop 1 & 2, Escape from New York, The Crow, Enemy at the Gates
GORKA MORKA:  Road Warrior, Razorback, Tank Girl, any good western
FANTASY: Time Bandits, Dark Crystal, The Mummy 1 & 2, Dreamscape, Harry Potter series
MORDHEIM:  Lord of the Rings, Army of Darkness, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Van Helsing. Leage of Exraordinary Gentlemen, Pirates of the Carribean
HORROR (good for Chaos scenery):  Mortal Kombat 1 & 2, Blade 2, Dagon, Hellraiser 2, Into the Mouth of Madness, Event Horizon

Once you are inspired, start gathering materials that are appropriate. You'll want a basic shape to start with that you can add detail to, usually a rectangle (though any shape will do). Draw a few quick sketches if you want to plan ahead before you start gluing things on. Also, remember these four basic guidelines for any good scenery design:

1. FLAT ROOF- always put a flat roof on your buildings! You'll want to put models and markers up there, and a pointy roof is only going to cause trouble. Flat roofs also allow you to design modular scenery that can be stacked on top of each other to form multi-story buildings. Catwalks are also easier to set up if you have a flat surface for them to rest on. You can make a roof just by gluing a sheet of plastic on the top of your building and adding a few bits of detail like pipes, vents, or edging.

2. COVER- Make sure your building has at least a couple of bits that stick out an inch or more away from the walls, preferably at ground level. An open door, a fuel tank, a stack of crates, or maintenance box can provide side cover that will protect your miniatures when they are near the building. Also, assume any models placed on the roof are inside, and grant them full cover.

3. PLASTIC MARINE- keep an assembled marine handy at all times during construction (it does not have to be painted), especially for unusual outdoor scenery, like barricades or rubble. You want to create as many areas as possible for your marine to fit into or be able to stand on. Provide waist or chest-high cover from as many directions as possible. Add solid railings and floor plates where needed. Remember, if your scenery doesn't provide enough room or enough cover, no one will use it!

4. AVOID LARGE CURVES- if you want to make a huge fuel tank or water tower, be sure to add some supporting buttresses that stick out or a square base to it at least 1" high. Large curves make it extremely hard to draw line of sight and determine whether a model has cover or not , so be careful.

GW's models are about 30 millimeters in height for the average man- and bases only make them look  taller.   The figures are not proportional though- everything's much chunkier, especially weapons.  If you plan to use real models for anything (particularly military models), be aware that although 1/48 scale is most accurate, it is extremely hard to find- you're better off starting with 1/35 scale and selecting smaller vehicles (World War I and II tanks are smaller than modern tanks, for example).  Ideally, an unarmored figure(Imperial Guard or Necromunda)  should look good in one of the doors or hatches of a vehicle. You may have to replace the existing doors or hatches with your own (the hatch on the Vehicle Accessory Sprue is great for this job!).  You will almost always want to replace personal weapons with 40K bolters, etc, and bulk up vehicle weapons with larger tubes to make them look right.  For accessories like gas cans and oil drums, 1/35 is slightly oversized, but it looks great (and provides more cover!).
 SCALE METHODS: Historical Figures Model Trains Military Models
WARHAMMER, WH40K 30MM (not 25!) "O" scale is almost perfect 1/48 (hard to find though).

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