Car Wars 

Car Wars is an autoduelling game of a dark, post-apocalytpic future. The basic premise is similar to that of the Road Warrior, with perhaps a smattering more of civilization. It's quite a fun game to play and it's even more fun at Matchbox scale. Here I talk about some modelling I performed to create some playing areas for Car Wars.

WARNING: You should not attempt these procedures without an adult present.

Temple Project #1 Riverwalk Arena: Central Overpass

Finished picture will go here.

OK, some more hot wire magic. I was trying to create an overpass for my Riverwalk arena (a fictitious autoduelling arena positioned over the Riverwalk in San Antonio). So I needed a design first. The basic layout was to be this:

I wanted something wide enough for two cars, which called for 3". I wanted the features to be reasonably longe, so 12"-15" would be good. I had some material that was about 13" long and a little over an inch thick, so I declared the long overpass sections to be ~12" long. Similarly, I had some large chunks of 5" thick foam that was about 12" so I declared the ramp supports to be ~12" long as well.


  • T-square for measuring and marking reasonably straight lines
  • Foam (I used expanded bead polystyrene)
  • Hot wire scroll table and engraving tool
  • large paint brush (1" wide head)
  • minatures brush, I used a size 4
  • texture paint (Behr Premium Plus, Sand Finish)
  • Behr Premium Plus Flat Finish - Custom Color match from Delta Ceramcoat Storm Grey*
  • Craft paints (for highlighting and small stuff)
    • Delta Ceramcoat Storm Grey
    • Delta Ceramcoat Rain Grey
    • Delta Ceramcoat Quaker Grey


1. Using a hot wire scroll table, I first cut out the road sections, four sections 3" wide and 12" long, and four sections about 1.5" long. I will only need 3 long and 2 short in the end, but for now, it was easy to create these pieces and accidents do happen.

2. Then I cut the ramp supports with a hot wire scroll table. I started by cutting down a block until it was 3" wide, 2 5/8" thick/high, and 12" long. Note: the thick/high dimension was determined by where the 3" wide road would intersect a 30º angle from the base of the ramp support. I then made the 30º angle cuts, again with the hot wire scroll table.

3. Then I laid the ramp support upside down, butted a road section against it and marked the outline for the gap in which the road would sit. I then used the scroll table to make free hand cuts (no cutting guide) to cut the gap. The gap was expanded slowly and carefully with tiny cuts until it was 3 1/16" wide.

4. I set a guide and trimmed the roads down to a uniform 2 15/16". Why wait until now? It's easy to leave the hot wire in some odd configuration and it's easier to manage the pieces once the primary cuts are done. This allows me to make a very precise final trimming cut. These steps resulted in piece that fit loosely enough to allow for the paint I would apply, but not so loosely that it looked silly.

5. Test the pieces before continuing. This is just a good habit. I'd hate for this to not work *after* I finished painting, sealing, etc.

6. Apply some battle damage. Pull some chunks out with your finger, then use a hot wire engraving tool to make quick repeated strokes out from the center of the supposed blast. Also, some simple deep holes in a gently curving line make good automatic weapon damage. Be careful to make the holes the full thickness of the engraving tool. If they are too small, they will be filled in with the texture paint and subsequent paint layers, defeating the purpose.

7. Apply texture paint. Be careful not to fill in your battle damage.

8. Paint the pieces with latex paint matched to Storm Grey. After drying, touch up white spots with a smaller miniature brush (I used a size 4) and Delta Ceramcoat Storm Grey.

9. Highlight the pieces by drybrushing with Delta Ceramcoat Rain Grey. By the time you cycle through a few of these pieces, the starting piece will be ready for the second highlight of Delta Ceramcoat Hippo Grey.

From left to right, basecoat only, first highlight, both highlights.

To be continued...


Questions? Comments? Please let me know via my questions/comments form!