I’ve previously shown my urban scatter terrain for Infinity, and after getting that assembled I decided to tackle something more challenging and larger.
Quite a bit larger, actually. It’s a two-storey building that wound up being about 10″ long, 6″ wide and almost 7″ tall!
The building is entirely made of mat board, usually used as picture framing board. It’s good quality cardboard, easy to work with and it takes paint and glue well. Our local art supply place, Island Blue, sells the offcuts from their framing business off cheap! The roof and second storey come off to allow full access to the entire building during games, and I think I’ve managed to make the building tactically interesting for games of Infinity.
Check out the gallery below; the captions have a lot more detail.
If you’re interested in doing similar buildings for Infinity or any other skirmish game, I really like the ongoing “Cardbuilding” series of articles over on the Infinity news site Data Sphere: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 3.5, Part 4. Errhile is much more organized than I am, designing a whole system so that his buildings nest and stack for storage and reconfiguration, and he’s got lots of great techniques and ideas in his lavishly illustrated articles. I might well do some similar modular buildings, but for now it’s fun to just bust out a big, complex building — I haven’t done much terrain building recently!
So I’ve been persuaded (OK, it didn’t take much…) to get into Infinity, the fast and lethal science fiction skirmish game from Corvus Belli. I’ve been vaguely interested in Infinity for years, both by the high quality sculpting and because of the background and basic look of the game with it’s obvious influence from awesome sources like Ghost in the Shell, Bladerunner, cyberpunk, and a generally “hard science fiction” future – no skullz, no rusty Gothic goofiness, etc!
I’ve picked up a small Haqqislam force and started painting them up; they’re really neat figures that I’ll show progress pictures of later.
Being the sort of gamer I am, though, I also immediately started producing bits of terrain for the game. Infinity is a fast lethal game that demands a fairly high density of terrain on the table. Most of our terrain is fairly urban, lots of shiny new lasercut MDF buildings owned by the other players, so I decided to do some mixed scatter terrain to go along with that.
Planters seemed like a good choice – straightforward to build, plausible in an urban environment, a good chance to introduce some greenery and colour to an urban board, and a chance to use up some of my stockpile of scrap and offcut mounting board leftover from older, larger projects.
The largest piece is 6″ wide and 3.5″ across, mostly because that’s the size of a scrap of foamcore in my leftovers bin. The four smaller planters are 4″ long and 1″ across at the wide end. The small piece at the end is based on a 3″ circle of mounting board I cut as an experiment — yes, my circle cutter will cut mounting board. But not happily…
I’ll probably do another two or three of the long narrow planters, and then start exploring other shapes.
I did have to get into my uncut stockpile of large mounting board sheets for the end plates on the large raised piece, but basically everything else is from offcuts – total material cost so far about as close to zero as you can get!
I’ll get these painted this weekend, then break out the greenery to fill them in.
Still loads of things to finish on the project, but after doing the crocodile head logo in the centre of the pitch this evening I just had to lay everything out on the dining room table and see it all together for the first time!
The pitch still needs white field lines at both endzones, as well as possible decoration in the end zones – I’m thinking of doing a coloured background in each endzone, probably red at one end and blue in the other. I might also do the name of my Lizardman team, the Saltwater Slaughter, across the endzones as you see in a lot of American football fields, “Saltwater” across one endzone and “Slaughter” across the other.
Left to right behind the pitch, there’s the newest dugout/tracker temple, still bare styrofoam with decoration just barely started. Next to the right is the dice tower temple, which has been basecoated and still needs more paint. The plan is to have rare earth magnets built in to hold the temple itself and the sacred pool/dice catch tray in front of it together when it’s in use, so that’ll be some putty work to get the magnets mounted.
The scoreboard temple next is basically complete, except that I’m modifying the centre socket above the stairs with the scatter diagram so it holds the weather indicator cube more securely.
Finally on the far right is the first of the dugout temples, which still needs decoration and detailing on the roof but at least is partially painted on the rest of the building.
Much done and much left to do, but it’s nice to see it all set up!
IN the local Bloodbowl league I’m currently involved in, there’s a pair of Lizardman teams, one using the regular GW figures for the team and my crocodile dudes from Impact Miniatures. Our League Commissioner is also playing with an Orc team, and will occasionally write a game report in the persona of his Orcish coaching counterpart. After thumping on the league’s other Lizard team 2-0, the Orcish coach was heard to say, “Herd der is some dat look like those Crocodiles on dem Golf shirts everyone is wearing dees days; CHOMP!!! CHOMP!!!!”
I was, at about the same time, wondering what to do for decoration on the dugout temple. A little bit of Google Image Searching and a little bit of Inkscape fiddling later to produce a basic image to guide my carving, I sat down with the completed temple, a very sharp Xacto blade, and this resulted.
I printed out a simple line-art version of the relevant logo, taped it down across the foam, and went at it carefully with the brand-new very sharp Xacto blade.
On the front of the dugout above the three actual dugout areas, I put the logo of my lizardman team, as seen in earlier in the year. Same procedure, taped the printout down and carefully went at it with an Xacto.
Doing some shopping last week, I found a batch of LED tea candles for sale, 6 for $5.95. I’ve been meaning to pick some up to play with them for ages, as I’ve seen some neat stuff done with flickering LEDs on the tabletop!
The first thing I whipped up was a pair of large fire & smoke markers, big ones suitable for a building fire or big bonfire! The LED tea lights are about 1.5″ across, 5/8ths of an inch high at the base, and 1.5″ to the top of the “flame”, which on these ones is just a white bit roughly flame-shaped.
The bases contain the LED, battery and switch and unscrew easily from the upper part of the base, and the flame pops easily out of the upper part. I eventually want to get my soldering iron out and do various sorts of more advanced work with the flickering LEDs, but for now I just used the stock base and setup.
Using hot glue, I glued a doubled-over length of soft iron hobby wire around the rim of the base and up past the flame to support the smoke plume. The smoke plume is just cotton batting I salvaged from a pillow I was throwing away – waste not, etc!
I speared the cotton batting on the wire, then used more small beads of hot glue around the LED base to fasten the batting down. I added more hot glue on the wire, then pushed the batting up against the wire to secure it. As I pushed the batting against the wire, I gave the whole piece of batting a twist with my hand, to make the smoke plume more interesting.
The plumes got grey then black spraypaint, and might get a second coat of spraypaint – I’ll see what they look like after they dry. The LED lights still work (the switches are on the underside) and if I ever need to replace the battery, it’ll be easy to tug the batting aside and then fix things after with a bit of hot glue.
The whole project only took a couple of minutes, and should look good on the tabletop in the ruins of a building or as a bonfire. Here’s a short (11 second long) out-of-focus phone camera vid of the two smoke plumes and one original, unmodified tea light all flickering away.
Finally got a can of green spraypaint at the local hardware place and laid my fabric BB pitch out to blotch green across it, just to break up the brown fabric. It looks a lot better with green on it now, and the dot grid that lays out the field is still visible.
I’ve got an Amazon BB team on the painting table right now, as well.
Finally have the Sarissa CityBlock 28mm lasercut MDF buildings to a table-ready state, including another hand-painted advertising sign on the side of one of them.
Here’s all seven buildings (six CityBlock plus one Narrow Townhouse from the Gaslamp Alley range) stacked up somewhat awkwardly:
In one of my earlier posts, Chris had asked in comments about how these buildings came apart, so here’s the Hotel Atlantic spread open:
You can see I haven’t (yet) done anything with the insides of any of these buildings; beyond possibly splashing a coat of plain paint in, I’m not sure how much I’ll do inside them.
So, having built seven of the things but not actually written a full review, what did I think? First off, I like them, and will definitely be ordering more of Sarissa Precision’s buildings at some point. They’re solidly built, well designed, have enough detail to look good right out of the box, and are also easy to add extra detail to. Everything fits together very well, the laser-cutting is crisp and precise, and the CityBlock & Gaslamp Alley buildings are good generic city filler buildings, similar to thousands of real-world buildings all over the world, pretty much anywhere Europeans influenced architecture. Use them as-is, you could be nearly anywhere in North America, the UK or much of Europe; add a few “local” touches (different street furniture, a few different buildings for flavour, etc) and you could be in Shanghai, Cairo or Singapore just as easily!
I’ll do a couple of things differently on the next batch of MDF buildings I build, though. First of all, painting MDF is like painting a sponge. The stuff absorbs paint and water like crazy, and is actually quite hard to paint as a result. You go through a surprising amount of paint to get decent coverage; and because of the absorbency you can get streaky or blotchy paint coverage very easily. A couple of my buildings required a second coat of their base colour, and painting details like windowframes and the signs was harder than it should have been because you needed thin, wet paints and a well-loaded brush to get good coverage. So I’ll be doing as much painting as possible before assembly next time, instead of rushing assembly this time just for the joy of having complete buildings sitting around!
Spray cans or an airbrush might actually work better than brushes for basecoats on MDF, if you have access to an airbrush or a better selection of spraypaint colours than I do currently.
I’ve got a whole pile of small scenery detail bits that have been building up on the edges of my painting desk recently, so with these buildings out of the way it’s on to them to get them done and into play, then onto more figures! We’re having a Pulp Alley game tomorrow that should feature all my new buildings, so look for photos of that soon too.
Progress continues on my seven Sarissa Precision buildings, albeit at a slower pace than I’d intended!
Basecoat and drybrushing is done on all seven buildings, gravel roof details likewise in place on all seven, most of the doors and windowframes are painted, and I’ve started cleanup and finishing.
I’ve always liked the looks of the big hand-painted signs and advertisements on the sides of older buildings, so given the wide blank side walls of the Sasrissa CityBlock buildings, it seemed natural to break out the smaller paintbrushes and go to it!
Still some cleanup to be done on the basic lettering, and I might yet redo the red ornamenting in both top corners, but the basics are done and I like how it turned out. This was all done freehand with a brush over some light pencil lines for guides, after I used Inkscape on the computer initially to play with letter sizes and spacing and figure out some basic guides. The “Hotel Atlantic” seemed like a good generic name, likely to occur anywhere in the English-speaking world, or even in non-English-speaking areas as the hotel set up to cater to English-speaking travellers.
One of the other buildings has a blank white square on it currently; later this week I’ll figure out what sort of sign or ad I want on it, too.
Having assembled my new Sarrisa Precision lasercut buildings, it was time to consider adding some extra details to really make these buildings “pop” and bring them to life. One of the things I wanted to do was add detail to the fronts of the buildings, especially the cornices at the roofline, which are often quite elaborate on brick or stone urban buildings built in the late 19th or early 20th Century.
As I’d assembled these buildings I’d reflexively kept the bits of MDF from inside the windows and other openings in the models, and looking at the little pile of lasercut leftovers, I realized they’d be perfect for basic detailing and adding some relief to the fronts of my new buildings.
There were more than enough bits and pieces to do the fronts of five of the seven buildings, with leftovers to keep going on the remaining two if I decide, although I’d like to use some light card in layers for a slightly different look on the last CityBlock building and the Gaslamp Alley townhouse.
Here’s all six of the CityBlock buildings stacked up, five of them with basic ornamentation added with “scrap” MDF.
Next step is chimmneys and other rooftop detail. I’ll use basswood and plastic tubing for chimmneys, and create roof hatches, vents and roofwalks from basswood and card. Masking tape for tarpaper or paint and fine gravel will complete the roofs, then there’s painting to be done!
In my last post (two+ weeks ago!) I mentioned I’d bought a bundle of Sarissa Precision’s lasercut 28mm CityBlock buildings to bring our pulp gaming into an urban realm. I’ve finally got all seven buildings assembled; here they are on the counter.
The six similar buildings are from Sarissa’s CityBlock bundle, with one extra floor purchased to give me five two-storey buildings and one three-storey building. The seventh building is the Narrow Townhouse from Sarissa’s Gaslamp Alley Victoria SF line.
The CityBlock buildings go together quickly and easily; the walls and floors are 3mm MDF, and the window frames are seperate sheets of 2mm MDF designed to slot in behind the walls. The first several buildings I put together with more enthusiasm than consideration and glued the windows in right away; for the ones I’ve finished more recently have had the windows left out for now to make them easier to paint.
The floors and roof all come apart to allow access to the interiors of the buildings during games, and the simple tab-and-slot system should survive many games with no issues. The buildings all feel very solid once assembled.
The Narrow Townhouse from the Gaslamp Alley range is one of Sarissa’s most recent releases, and there’s a number of tweaks, refinements, and added details compared to the older CityBlock buildings. The interior floors have wood planking engraved on them, some of the etched and cut detail is a bit finer, and instead of 3mm & 2mm MDF, the Gaslamp buildings use 2mm MDF and laser-cut light cardstock, called “greyboard” on Sarissa’s website. This makes the Gaslamp buildings lighter than the CityBlock ones (although just as solid) and somewhat more detailed. The windows have both inner and outer frames lasercut from cardstock, for example.
Having assembled the basic buildings, I’m now turning toward detailing them before painting. I want to add some details and bits on the front facades and cornices of the buildings, and to the roofs. I’ll use fine modelling gravel on some roofs for a tar-and-gravel roof, and narrow masking tape on others for tarpaper roofs, and add details like chimmneys, roof walks and possibly even rooftop signs.
After that it’ll be time for paint. The engraving on the CityBlock walls is too large to “realistically” be brick, but I’ll likely paint several of them up in traditional red bricks anyway, as well as some as stone.
Detailing photos and writeup in the next couple of days!