Tag Archives: scenery

Hab Module LV4-26, Part One

This shop front/apartment facade for my ongoing Infinity space station project has been inspired mostly by the depiction of some of the habitat levels of Ceres in the TV show The Expanse. If you haven’t watched The Expanse I highly recommend it, it’s good quality TV (not something I say regularly!) that depicts a hard science fiction fairly near future that nods to classic SF like Bladerunner while carving out it’s own niche.

There’s a great article on some of the concept art from Season One of The Expanse over on ArtStation, Behind The Scenes: The Concept Art of The Expanse. The piece that really inspired me was this painting showing the better-quality habitat levels on Ceres, with their stacked, clearly modular apartment blocks with small shops at ground level.

Hab levels, Ceres. Image via ArtStation. Click for larger.
Hab levels, Ceres. Image via ArtStation. Click for larger.

With the limits of storage and transport of tabletop scenery (as well as the consideration of being able to play around whatever I create!) obviously the soaring multilevel terraces of Ceres will get scaled down a bit… or a lot. I decided to stick with the 12″ long, 6″ high size of my existing big wall modules and roughly the same thickness, creating a two-story facade piece intended to go on one edge of the table.

Basic construction finished. See text for details; click for larger.
Basic construction finished. See text for details; click for larger.

The basic unit has four modules per level, each roughly 3″x3″. Left to Right on the ground floor we have a bar or fast food joint, the entry doors for the hab module itself, some sort of offices, and then a small medical clinic. The top floor is all apartments, three of which have balconies. The roofs are deliberately inaccessible to figures.

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The basic construction is mostly 1/8″ foamed PVC (Sintra board) which is great stuff to work with, easy to cut cleanly, sandable, and will glue with either white glue or superglue. The rest is almost all 1/16″ mattboard, the high quality cardboard used in framing pictures. I get my PVC from the offcuts bin at our local plastics supplier, and the mattboard from a local art supply/picture framing store.

With Haqqislam Muyib infantry for scale. Some detailing and lots of paint to go! Click for larger.
With Haqqislam Muyib infantry for scale. Some detailing and lots of paint to go! Click for larger.

Detailing is mostly scraps and offcuts of PVC and mattboard, with some lighter card for the window frames, tiles, and elsewhere. I still need to add bar stools around the outdoor bar on the left, a few more window frames, and some other details.

More soon, I hope to get this piece basecoated today and some more detail over the next few days!

More Space Station Pieces

One of the big wall modules I built for my Infinity space station tabletop set has a door three inches off the ground, intended to connect to catwalks or other elevated terrain. The problem with it has been that I have no catwalks or other elevated terrain, so most of the time that door just kind of hangs in space and looks weird…

I decided to start with at least one module for one side of the elevated door. I was thinking about an open stairwell, but keeping stairs inside a small enough footprint when you have 3″ vertical to cover is challenging. Instead I went with one of the acrylic kit ladders I got from Warsenal earlier this year. The rest of the construction is 1/16th mattboard – picture-framing cardboard – which is what I make almost all of my terrain from.

The vertical beams are 6″ tall, same height as the big wall modules, and the whole thing is 2″ deep (1.5″ at the platform) and 3″ long overall. I had intended to install one of my big 5″ tall by 3″ wide advertising displays across the front of the piece but looking at it, I might run a series of smaller ad displays up the two vertical pillars, because part of the point of these elevated pieces is to make the space station board more three dimensional and complex to play on.

I’ve also got a new round of advertising and other graphics in progress, including new versions of the utility and emergency lockers. More on all of that soon!

Adding Detail To The Space Station

I’ve been using my big space station walls and the associated scatter terrain for over a year now, and while all the wall modules are fully painted and physically finished (doors and such) I’ve never considered that part of the project “finished” in the full sense of the word. I really wanted that full colour, cluttered feel to the walls, with lots of bright ads on the white (“civilian”) sides of the walls and warning labels, directional graphics, and some ads on the grey (“industrial bay”) side of the walls.

I’ve done some ad graphics for Infinity before and spent a few minutes printing more of those existing graphics, including resized versions. I also scrounged some nice stuff from other users on the Infinity forums and Topsolitario, among other sources.

All six space station wall units with ads and other graphics added. Maghariba Guard for "scale", it's on a 70mm wide base... Click for larger.
All six space station wall units with ads and other graphics added. Maghariba Guard for “scale”, it’s on a 70mm wide base… Click for larger.

For the elevated control booth that’s the main feature of one of the wall modules, I’ve added plastic sheet as glass to both windows, and plan on doing some control panels and such inside and around the booth.

Glass added to the control booth. Haqq trooper for scale. Click for larger.
Glass added to the control booth. Haqq trooper for scale. Click for larger.

The colour on the ladders and window frame in the photo above is from my new favourite simple terrain colouring method: Sharpie permanent markers! My girlfriend has one of the big Sharpie art sets with lots and lots of bright colours, and I’ve been borrowing them for easy, quick edging and spot colours on this scenery project. All the posters and ads are edged in Sharpie as well, to avoid having the white edges of the underlying paper stand out so much.

Finally, I got a set of the Games Workshop forest trees (currently sold with their fantasy elf stuff, far as I can tell) a while ago and have finally starting doing something with them. Here’s the Maghariba Guard TAG posing among the trees… if you go into these woods today, you’re in for a TAG surprise!

Maggie playing in the woods! Click for larger.
Maggie playing in the woods! Click for larger.

More soon, I’ve made some more progress on detailing the control booth and elsewhere.

Crashed Shuttle, Part One

Doing a bit of cleaning up in my boxes of wargaming supplies I rediscovered a shuttle I built at least ten years ago. It was nominally for 15mm science fiction gaming, but was built without visible windows or any other really obvious scale indicators, and it’s big enough to look like a small craft in 28/32mm SF scenery!

Shuttle retrieved from the box it's been half-forgotten in for ages. Landing gear next to it; Infinity figure on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger, as usual.
Shuttle retrieved from the box it’s been half-forgotten in for ages. Landing gear next to it; Infinity figure on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger, as usual.

It’s suffered some damage in storage; one of the stabilizer fins is missing and the landing gear was loose and damaged. Rather than fix it up I figured I’d run with it as a damaged crashlanded shuttle that’s suffered a hard landing but is still basically intact. I added some more damage with a file, then chopped part of the underside away so it would sit slightly nose-down.

Hole in the nose. The original shape was a mouthwash bottle built up with styrene plastic sheet and putty. Click for larger.
Hole in the nose. The original shape was a mouthwash bottle built up with styrene plastic sheet and putty. Click for larger.

I used hot glue to stick the shuttle down to the base, then packed the gap between the ground and the shuttle with a few bits of scrap card, slices of foam from a miniatures blister, and a lot more hot glue.

Shuttle with foam and scraps packed into the gap between the body and the ground. Click for larger.
Shuttle with foam and scraps packed into the gap between the body and the ground. Click for larger.
Other side of the shuttle, also showing the missing tail fin and the extra damage I scratched into it. Click for larger.
Other side of the shuttle, also showing the missing tail fin and the extra damage I scratched into it. Click for larger.

Finally I put a layer of white glue over the foam and base then dumped sand over it. It might need another layer of sand to touch everything up; we’ll see in a day or two once everything dries!

Sand in place; Infinity Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Sand in place; Infinity Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

More soon once I get the base painted up and touch up the damaged parts of the shuttle!

Yet Another Hill

I mentioned in the last post that I’ve been working on a third large hill, with a roughly 12″x15″ footprint, that being the maximum interior size of a banker’s box. This one is a more complex outline than the previous two and was a fair bit more work to assemble, as I wound up using a lot of smaller pieces of styrofoam to piece the hill together.

Most recent hill in progress, missing the top couple of layers of foam. Infinity Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Most recent hill in progress, missing the top couple of layers of foam. Infinity Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

The “gully” up the centre of this hill is designed to allow 40mm wide based figures – many of the mid-sized or larger Infinity figures – to access it. There are a number of other areas on this hill that will allow 25mm based figures to stand and access.

Construction finished. 40mm base in the centre, 25mm base to the right, and a 25mm-based figure in the foreground. Click for larger.
Construction finished. 40mm base in the centre, 25mm base to the right, and a 25mm-based figure in the foreground. Click for larger.
Sloped end of the latest hill, with Daylami on a 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Sloped end of the latest hill, with Daylami on a 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.

The sloped end of this hill still needs to be sanded, then I need to mix up a new batch of glue/sand/paint/plaster “goop” to texture the thing before proceeding with painting and flocking.

I’m not planning any more hills this large right now, but I do want to do a group of smaller hills, including some half hills that are explicitly designed to go against the edges of the table to help break up the long lines of sight that can happen on the sides or back edges of too many tables.

A Pair of Hills, Part Two

I’ve finished the first two hills I started a while back, and built a third large hill to finish up the set for now.

After the first coat of glue/sand/paint “goop” dried I added a second layer to a few areas of both hills, just to smooth out a few seams and such.

After the second coat of "goop". Click for larger, as usual.
After the second coat of “goop”. Click for larger, as usual.

I mentioned in the first hill post that I was piecing these hills together out of pieces of styrofoam instead of using solid sheets for every single layer, to stretch my current supply of the stuff just that little bit further. Here’s what the underside of the two hills looks like:

Underside of the two hills, showing layers and pieces of styrofoam. Click for larger.
Underside of the two hills, showing layers and pieces of styrofoam. Click for larger.

Before I started painting, here’s what the two hills and the smaller cork piece looked like.

All three initial pieces together, with an Infinity figure on a 25mm wide base for scale. Click for larger.
All three initial pieces together, with an Infinity figure on a 25mm wide base for scale. Click for larger.

Painting

Painting these was pretty straightforward. I started with a flat black basecoat, to thoroughly hide any hints of pink styrofoam that managed to peek through the texture goop layer(s).

Black basecoat done and drying. Click for larger.
Black basecoat done and drying. Click for larger.

The earth areas got a heavy brown drybrushing, then a sloppy wash of thin brown paint, and finally a drybrush of brown mixed with a bit of white.

Brown done on the earth sections. Click for larger.
Brown done on the earth sections. Click for larger.

After that I did a couple of layers of grey drybrush on the rock areas; the initial drybrush was grey mixed with a bit of black, then straight grey, and finally grey mixed with a good dollop of white. The final drybrush mostly got applied on the upper edges of the rocks and on protruding corners and such.

Grey drybrushing done. Click for larger.
Grey drybrushing done. Click for larger.
Grey drybrushing done. Click for larger.
Grey drybrushing done. Click for larger.

Finally I flocked random areas of the earth parts, let everything dry, and called it all done!

Smaller cork piece with flocking and Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Smaller cork piece with flocking and Daylami on 25mm base for scale. Click for larger.
Larger hills all flocked and finished. Click for larger.
Larger hills all flocked and finished. Click for larger.

I’ve started making a third large hill, and I’ll get photos of that up in the next day or so!

A Pair of Hills

Still quiet around here this summer, but wargaming has been taking place, as has figure painting, and finally, just for a change, a bit of scenery building!

I broke out my stockpile of half-inch insulation board last week and spent and couple of hours with a razor knife, hot glue gun, and the styrofoam. I wanted a pair of relatively large hills that were tall enough and complex enough to make for an interesting game of Infinity, a game that tends to be very demanding of cover and alive to the tactical possibilities of good, complex scenery.

Each hill is roughly 15″ long, 12″ wide, and about 4 or 5″ tall. The footprint means they’ll fit in a banker’s box, my standard unit of terrain storage and transport, and the height means they’ll provide total cover to even the biggest units in an Infinity game.

Basic construction finished, with standard sized CD for scale.
Basic construction finished, with standard sized CD for scale.

To save on foam I cut the bottom layer or two of each hill as a ring instead of a solid slab of foam, and quite a lot of the upper sections of each hill are pieced together from random sized foam chunks.

As a base layer before painting, I mixed a “goop” of white glue, fine sand, and paint and slathered it on with a small housepainting brush that was already beat to heck.

With "goop" on as a base layer to protect and strengthen the foam.
With “goop” on as a base layer to protect and strengthen the foam.

The goop layer isn’t quite dry, it’s going to need about 24 hours to dry out entirely before I proceed with the final painting.

The hills with a trio of Infinity figures on 25mm wide bases for scale.
The hills with a trio of Infinity figures on 25mm wide bases for scale.

The third piece of scenery in the photos is a small hill/rocky area I made years ago from a half inch thick cork kitchen hot mat. I was never happy with the colour and flocking I’d put on it, so it got covered in leftover texture goop as well and will be re-finished in the same style as the two new big hills.

Now the next question: go with a conventional Earth-like paint and flock covering, with grey rocks, brown earth, and green foliage, or go with a stark foliage-free moon- or asteroid-like look? Decisions, decisions…

The Workbench This Weekend, 7 May 2016

My girlfriend is out of town with friends so I’ve had a bachelor/wargamer weekend and gotten a lot done on my Infinity figures.

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The workbench – planters in the foreground, various Haqqislam figures behind, and the usual clutter around the edges! Click for larger.

The planters are foamed PVC sheet and mat board offcuts, and the trees are from Games Workshop — at one point they produced a rather nice set of modular plastic “tropical trees” that vaguely resemble palm trees and are a lot of fun to put together. Like pretty much everything that GW ever does that’s actually interesting, these seem to have vanished from their website, which is a shame. I picked up most of a set a while ago when I bought a whole mixed batch of wargaming stuff off someone locally who was having to downsize.

Closeup of the planters - done with the old GW palm trees - and CB Haqq figures in progress. Click for larger, as usual.
Closeup of the planters – done with the old GW palm trees – and CB Haqq figures in progress. Click for larger, as usual.

Closeup of the figures and planters. The dark blue figures in the background are various Hassassin Bahram soldiers including three of the infamous Fiday assassins. The figures closer to the camera include a pair of Remotes on the left, an al’Hawwa sniper and al’Hawwa hacker, a pair of Hafza infantry in lower left, and a quintet of Djanzaban medium infantry on the right – two rifles, a sniper, an HMG, and a hacker, all stalwarts of the Qapu Khalqi sectorial force in Haqq.

PlastCraft Curved Modular Building

While at Trumpeter Salute I picked up one of PlastCraft’s Designed-For-Infinity plastic pre-coloured buildings, the Curved Modular Building, from the awesome folks at Imperial Hobbies, BC’s greatest wargaming store, and the only reason I do anything in Richmond other than change buses…

Anyway, the Curved Modular Building is a small building, with a footprint about 4″x4″ (not including the ramps) and about 3″ tall. It’s only 16 parts, six of which are for the two ramps off each end of the building.

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Curved building parts all laid out. Click for bigger, see text for details.

The material is all 2mm foamed PVC board (Sintra is one common brand name) that’s been colour printed on one side, presumably by computer. The printing seems very solid, certainly enough to handle transport and use on a gaming table, and foamed PVC is good solid material for gaming terrain. My space station walls are built mostly with thicker Sintra (1/8″ or about 3.5mm) that I picked up at our local plastics supply place.

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Assembled, with ramps. Infinity (28/30mm) Hassassin Bahram Fiday for scale. Click for larger.

Assembly is pretty straightforward, with the small caveat that you do need to be slightly careful with the curved pieces so you don’t kink them. I glued the two end walls into the floor with superglue, let them cure for a bit, and gently pre-curved the main roof piece with my hands and over the top of one thigh before fitting it in place. Secure one end of the roof with superglue and work patiently around the curve of the piece, adding glue an inch or two at at time along the top edge of the two walls. Once you get the whole roof glued, hold the whole assembly for a minute or two to give the superglue a chance to cure.

Pre-curve and dry fit the two end roof pieces before tacking them into place with superglue, then add the two short end walls on each porch. Glue the two ramp assemblies together and you’re done, one piece of terrain ready to go on the table. I elected to leave the ramps separate from the building to make transportation and storage slightly easier; they tuck nicely into one porch for storage.

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End with two CB Infinity figures for scale and the ramp in place. Click for larger, as usual

I like these buildings, they’re super easy to assemble and it’s kind of nice not to have to paint and detail everything yourself. The use of foamed PVC instead of the more usual MDF or cardboard allows the interesting curved roof, and the curved features in some of the other PlastCraft ColorED range. PlastCraft has just announced an expansion of their ColorED Infinity line, and they have a couple of other lines in the same range, some of which could make for fun Infinity tables. They also do most of the range in plain white foamed PVC if you want to paint them yourself.

Bring Me… A Shrubbery!

Having moved at the start of this year I’ve been sorting and reorganizing gaming stuff, as one does, and working on actually using some of the stockpile of stuff I’ve accumulated.

Part of the stockpile was a much wider array of greenery and model plant type material than I had thought I had. I also had a batch of sci-fi planters I had started back in January 2015, painted, and used a lot during Infinity games without ever putting greenery in.

A few minutes with the hot glue gun has finally fixed that!

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Shrubbery in progress. Click for larger, see text for details!

The little trees are from Woodland Scenics; I won them as a door prize at Trumpeter Salute a couple of weeks ago. Most of the bushes are just various shades of green foliage foam also from Woodland Scenics, while the spiky looking blueish bushes are actually furnace filter material, spraypainted green, and with fine ground foliage foam sprinkled onto them. Many years ago (like, in the early 1990s…) we had a family model train layout and our background trees were made from furnace filter. The stuff I’m using is from a bag of the surviving, salvaged railroad trees, finally back in service after a couple of decades off!

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Completed shrubbery, with Infinity Hassassin Bahram figures observing. Click for larger, as usual.

Looking forward to getting these onto our Infinity tables; Infinity has a bunch of cool terrain rules that are often ignored but can really make the game more interesting.