Terrain Spotlight: Light-up Grill
Posted on Monday Sep 28, 2020 at 05:00PM in Tutorials
I've had a bunch of battery-powered 'tealights' sitting in my 'cut this up for something interesting' pile for some time now. They're cheap and dodgy, and would be absolutely useless as an actual light source, but I thought they might be useful for making some illuminated explosion markers, or something similarly unnecessary but pretty. Being Australian, the thought of standing outside, cremating anything within reach on a hot barbeque is always present in my mind, and so it occurred to me that a lit up grill would be a fun modeling project.
The tealights in question are a plastic shell with an extremely convincing and lifelike 'flame' on top, containing an orange LED hooked up to a large button cell and a basic switch that just moves a wire on and off the side of the battery. The first step was to extract the useful parts from the outer shell.
Rather than pulling all of the parts out and rewiring everything, I decided to leave the interior of the candle mostly intact, just trimming away as much as possible of the protruding parts to slim it down. Then I build a platform using parts from the Maelstrom's Edge Terrain Sprue #2 to make a platform, under which the battery compartment would be concealed.
For the grill, I used an assortment of parts taken from the terrain sprue. A generator piece with a hole cut in the middle for the LED to poke through formed the main section of the grill. This left the LED a fraction too tall, so I used a razor saw to trim the top off the clear outer casing, being careful to leave the working parts of the LED intact.
I cut a matching hole in the platform's floor, and painted the candle parts black, so that they would hide more-or-less invisibly underneath the platform.
The LED isn't particularly bright, so to give it a helping hand I lined the inside of the generator with some aluminium foil to serve as a reflector. My hope was that with another small piece of foil glued on top of the LED, this would bounce the light around enough to spread the glow down the length of the grill interior. To go over the top, I took a piece of clear plastic, painted it with transparent red paint, and glued some gravel sprinkled across one side.
With some more transparent red on the outside of the LED, it was time to get some colour on the parts before gluing everything together. I also added a little putty around the LED, to close up any gaps where the light could shine back down where it doesn't belong.
With the top glued on, and the final rust effect layer in place, the platform wound up looking like this:
The glow doesn't show up particularly well under the photographic lights, but less bright, ambient light, it looks something like this:
The next step will be to see what else I can add to the platform to bring it to life a little. Stay tuned!
To build your own cookplate of charcoaled doom, you can pick up the terrain sprue along with the rest of the Maelstrom's Edge model range from the webstore here.
For other building ideas, modeling tutorials, army spotlights and conversion walkthroughs, check out the Hobby section of the Maelstrom's Edge website here.
What are you working on? We would love to see your models and terrain in the Comm Guild Facebook group!