Tag Archives: scenery

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!

shrub1
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!

shrub2
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.

Quick Infinity Terrain: Food Booths

One of the goals with the space station terrain set was to make the whole thing look like not just a collection of tactically interesting obstacles but also a (relatively) sensible, lived-in/working facility. Right now the non-cargo bay area is a bit plain, really just the Impudent Mortal walls in my collection arranged in various ways. I did up some lockers recently to add colour and interesting cover, and now I’ve found a really simple way to do food booths or other fairly small terrain pieces.

Rough cutting guide for one booth. See text for details, and click for larger.
Rough cutting guide for one booth. See text for details, and click for larger.

Start with a strip of card 3″ wide and at least 11″ long, or multiple 3″ wide pieces making up roughly the same length. I use 1/16″ mattboard, the stuff used by picture framers, but for this project you could use just about anything. There’s only one measurement in the whole thing that depends on the thickness of the material being used (the height of the front wall of the booth) and that’s easily adjustable or even avoidable if you tweak the design a bit.

You’re cutting as follows:

  • 1″ wide for the under-floor brace/foot. Cut this piece in half again.
  • 1 1/2″ floor
  • 1 1/2″ roof
  • 1 3/4″ back wall
  • 1 9/16″ front wall (NOTE)
  • 2″ end wall
  • 2″ end wall
One booth's worth of pieces. See text for details, and click for larger.
One booth’s worth of pieces. See text for details, and click for larger.

Start by gluing the two foot pieces to the underside of the floor. Centre it under the floor — exact placement isn’t important, they just exist to lift the front edge of the booth above ground level and add a bit of visual interest. Note that in the layout photo below, I forgot to allow for the foot pieces, as I’m using that scrap of 1/8″ foamed PVC plastic above the card strip instead.

While that dries a bit, cut the two end walls some more to make them interesting. They stand vertically, and you can see from the photos that I’ve cut each in a different way to add variety and provide support for the booth’s large overhead sign(s). You don’t need to get fancy, just a couple of angled cuts can do nicely, especially if you re-use the offcut pieces again as I’ve done on several of the roofs in my set.

Glue the back wall to the back of the floor, with the bottom edge of it resting on the ground. Use the end walls to make sure the back wall is vertical and square, then glue them on, again with the bottom edges resting on the ground.

Floor on it's foot and back wall in place, side walls cut. See text for details, and click for larger.
Floor on it’s foot and back wall in place, side walls cut. See text for details, and click for larger.

Fit the front wall in between the end walls, again making sure it’s square and vertical. Exact placement isn’t important and will depend on how you intend to detail the front wall. I’ve recessed all my front walls and used various offcuts of card to add a few bits of detail. I figure these are automated booths using various machinery to process FoodGoop9000 (or possibly Soylent Green…) into various forms of fast “food” by adding flavour, so there’s no order window or anything specific on the thing.

Basic assembly done, front wall and roof in place. See text for details, and click for larger.
Basic assembly done, front wall and roof in place. See text for details, and click for larger.

I’ll probably eventually do some graphics to add to the fronts and signs of these booths, including various fast food brands we all know and love like Ariadna Fried Chickenoid and such! They’ll get posted here to the blog when they happen!

Details on front wall and inside the sign supports on the roof, first layer of the sign in front. See text for details, and click for larger.
Details on front wall and inside the sign supports on the roof, first layer of the sign in front. See text for details, and click for larger.

Glue the roof on last, and put the resulting box aside for the glue to dry a bit. Time to move on to the overhead sign.

This could be as simple as a single strip of the same 3″ wide card you’ve used for the rest of the thing, or any number of more elaborate constructions. If you want a really, really striking sign, there’s H-Archive’s awesome how-to on making “holographic” displays, which I want to follow myself sometime soon!

Extra layers of the sign being held while the glue dries a bit. See text for details, and click for larger.
Extra layers of the sign being held while the glue dries a bit. See text for details, and click for larger.

The curved sign is simply three layers of light card (65lbs, I think it is) cut 1″ high and 3 1/8″ long, just slightly longer than the gap between the vertical bits of the end walls, so that it curves. I glued one strip in place, let it cure for a bit, then gently pushed the second and third strips into place and held them with clothspins until the glue dried. Pre-curving the strips by running them over the edge of my workbench helps.

All three autobooth designs together, with various Hassassin Bahram troopers posing for scale. Click for larger.
All three autobooth designs together, with various Hassassin Bahram troopers posing for scale. Click for larger.

The grid on the roofs of my booths is some sort of embroidery/craft mesh stuff that I got a leftover chunk of from my girlfriend. It adds interesting texture if you can get some, or something similar like the plastic mesh used in window and door screens.

The Manned Booth

The fourth and final booth is a variant design that is actually run by a person (or humanoid robot, you never know in Infinity) with a door in one end wall and an open order window/bar in one side wall.

Manned booth assembled, roof off. Click for larger.
Manned booth assembled, roof off. Click for larger.

Design is identical to the autobooths above except I cut two of the “back walls” and instead of cutting the roof 1.5″ I cut it 1 5/8ths” wide so it would go over the top edges of the walls properly.

Manned booth, roof on. Click for larger.
Manned booth, roof on. Click for larger.

The inside is outfitted with various bits of card for the bar counter, a side bar/prep table, and a whole bunch of cupboards along the walls.

The outside end walls will eventually be painted and decorated to look like drinks glasses, and there will be a sign of some sort on the roof, although of slightly different design than the autobooths because this roof actually comes off.

Any comments or suggestions please leave them below, I do read and reply to comments but due to the spam filters it might be a while before I approve your comment!

All four booths together. Click for larger.
All four booths together. Click for larger.

Space Station Wall Sections in Progress

Finally have all six of the big space station wall sections basically complete and primed. All the doors are installed (several sections have sliding doors), the basic layer of surface detail is down, and one side of each is primed dark grey and the other is white.

I’ll gradually add more coloured graphics like the corner piece has, both warning and info labels and ads. There’s also going to be more paint colour on various bits eventually, but for now white and grey is enough.

The control room module has ladders on either side from Warsenal, which they listed and sold separately as recently as late last year but don’t seem to have listed for separate sale anymore. Pity, because they’re nice little lasercut acrylic pieces and dress up the control room nicely – much easier than attempting to make my own damn ladders!

I’m really please with the new corner piece. It can be used both as a corner, as in two of the photos above, and as an angled offset to create more LOS breaks in long runs of the wall modules. It’s also the same footprint (3″x3″) as the elevator tower I’ve built for this set, so the two of them can offset each other. Fewer odd little gaps in the wall setups!

The only major pieces left to do are one or two more regular corner modules and a few more pillar pieces, but with major work done on the full set of big modules I can get to the extra bits and details in a slightly more relaxed way!

Infinity Space Station Terrain First Outing

Got my in-progress space station setup for Infinity games out on the table today, as one of two tables set up for a very small (four players!) local Infinity tournament.

Space station setup first outing at Everything Games. Click for larger.
Space station setup first outing at Everything Games. Click for larger.
Space station setup from a different corner. Click for larger.
Space station setup from a different corner. Click for larger.

It was well received and the other folks had some good ideas for finishing it – breaking up the line of sight down the access tunnels and making it clearer where the ladders are, for example, as well as an idea for a smaller module to offset some of the lines and make it less strongly linear, which I might incorporate.

I’ve got some grey felt that I’m probably going to cut a 4’x4′ mat out of, and I want to do a whole lot more painting and surface detailing of the big hangar wall modules. Need to get more grey spraypaint first, as my current can ran dry while I was putting a base coat on these pieces last night!

Infinity Space Station Hangar Walls

I’ve posted a test print of some printed space station walls previously but after finding a nice batch of Sintra (1/8th foamed PVC plastic board) in the offcuts bin at my useful local plastic supplier I decided to start that project with some larger, more space-consuming pieces and started building a set of six big wall modules.

These are 12″ long, 6″ high, and designed as hangar or cargo bay walls. Six of them plus a couple of pillars will allow me to section off a 2′ by 2′ area of table, run a line of wall clear across the table, or do a number of other interesting arrangements. I’ll also do a few end-cap pillars so we can have stub walls if desired.

The design incorporates an “access tunnel” across the top of each wall that is 30mm wide and 30mm deep; there will be hatchways on each wall module to access it. I wanted to provide alternate ways of getting around the table and give players options for moving through the walls aside from the doors. Similarly, each module except the one with one single huge 6″x4″ door has at least two doors in it. Doors are always going to be chokepoints in scenery like this, there’s no avoiding that, but at least with multiple doors and hatchways per module that effect is somewhat limited.

Basic construction is done on five of the six modules; the sixth is going to be a variant of the very first, with a huge 6″x4″ door in it. All of the large doorways will have built-in sliding doors installed, and I’m planning some freestanding doors on small stands for the human-sized doors. After that it’ll be on to the more human-scaled portions of the space station terrain, but this is a good start!