Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Modern City Terrain part 2: Building

In part one of this series, I showed the materials and tools I used to build my superhero terrain.  In this part I will show you how to go about the build.

1-  Plan.  Before you start plan out what you want to build and what cuts and pieces you will need.  This just makes it a lot easier to cut.

2- Using 5mm foamcore, cut out the wall pieces from your plan.  I make my building 3"-4" in height, with varying widths.  The larger auto-repair shop is 8" across and 5" deep for example.

3- Once the walls are cut out, measure and cut the doors and windows.  I've not really got a perfect size for doors as yet.  I think about 4cm wide by 5cm high is about right, but judge it yourself depending on the scale of the minis you are using.  Keep the off cut foamcore, it often comes in useful later on.

With the windows and doors cut out, use some all purpose filler to smooth out the inside of the windows and doors.  This helps protect the foam and looks better than leaving it bare.

4- To make sure the walls fit snugly together, on the front wall and rear wall interiors, measure a 5mm strip from each vertical edge.  Using your Stanley knife or hobby knife, cut through the top layer of plastic and along your 5mm line, then pick off the foam underneath just leaving the other layer of plastic card.  This is where the side walls will fit.

5- You can either add details at this point or after.  Let's assume you're doing it now as its a bit easier.  You will want to add things like window sills (using matchsticks), doors (using thin card), thing like that. You can also add damage to the building, by inscribing with something pointy but not too sharp like a sculpting tool or a Phillips screwdriver.  You can further add wear like I did on the abandoned building by pulling away the top layer of plasticard and stamping a brick pattern into the foam.  I used an old brush with the bristles cut off and then squashed the metal ferrule into a rough rectangle shape.  You can also add brick work detail using the self adhesive paving stones (glue them though with PVA, rather than relying on the self adhesive-ness).

6- Cut your cork tile next to shape.  I allow 2" in the front for a pavement and 1" around the sides and rear.  I've been using the sealed side up and I suspect it is probably stronger, but I don't know that it makes any difference.  I mark out these on the tile in pen so I can see where my walls need to go.

7- Ready to glue now!  I've been using UHU all purpose glue to glue the walls, but you could use PVA, hot glue gun etc.  Glue the walls together, and glue them to the base.  Leave it to dry.

8- Roof next.  If you roof is going to fit inside your building (see my auto-repair shop and abandoned block for an example), then you will need something to support the roof, which you can use foamcore (like the off cuts from the windows and doors) or balsa for example.  Use super glue to glue in foamcore supports onto the interior walls.  These should be 1-2cm from the top lip of the wall.  Measure the inside of the walls area, and knock off couple of millimetres of each side.  Cut out the roof from the artist mount board.  You may need to take a little more of each side so it fits inside the roof.  On the taco stand below the roof just fits on top here rather than lifting off.

9- Next step is to texture and fill the building.  This is done with the multipurpose filler and a coffee stirrer to smooth it out.  Fill in any gaps, such as on the corners and around the roof.  Texture the walls by mixing some filler with water and spreading it onto the walls and the base.  Once you've done that, with a large brush just poke the filler all over to add a random pattern all over.

And you are done!  In part 3 I will talk about painting.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Modern city terrain build part 1: Tool and materials

I've been building a lot  of terrain recently for a modern city board, it's a project I've actually been really fired up about.  I will be using the board to play Pulp City currently (my Kickstarter has arrived, and it looks great) as well as Batman Miniatures Game in the future.  They'd be nothing to stop me using it for a zombie game or something but I've no plans to do that yet.  Here's some pictures of the first 2 buildings, an abandoned block and an auto-repair shop:

I've shared the pictures on Twitter and on the "Citizen of Pulp City" FB group, and a few people have said they were interested in a tutorial on how I built them.  It's a fairly simple method (if I can do it, anyone can).  This will be the first part of the tutorial, where I will cover materials used, tools and paints.


This is most of the stuff I used I think in the photo:

-Pencil - Marking up foam core, cork and marking for freehand work.
-Rulers - Steel one for cutting against, plastic one for just measuring
-Square - Useful for getting straight lines when you're cutting
-Heavy blade- I use a heavy Stanley knife with a fixed blade for cutting foam core, cork, card etc.  Whatever your preferred knife is, it needs to be strong and sharp.
-Hobby knife - General blade for lighter cutting and scoring
-Green stuff - Used for making details like the bin bags, Coke can etc.
-Clay shapers - Used for green stuff sculpting.
-Superglue - For small scale gluing when I need something to stick quickly.  I use Loctite Ultra Gel by preference, but just use whatever your favourite brand is.
-General glue - This is the UHU stuff here, I've been using it to stick walls together as it dries a bit quicker than PVA and holds things together when drying.  Could easily use superglue, PVA or a hot glue gun here though.
-PVA glue - Large scale sticking of stuff and sealing surfaces.  Mine's from Poundland, works fine.

Not shown in the photo (as I forgot them):
-All purpose household filler - Poundland again.  I believe they call this spackle in the US.
-Fine point pen - 0.5mm tip black ink pen, I use this for marking the pavements.
-PC and printer
-Matt varnish - Sealing weathering powders
-Gloss varnish - For the bin bags
-Philips screwdriver - Used this for scoring the cracks into the buildings.


-5mm Foam core - This is what I used for the walls in all the buildings.  A1 sheet from Hobbycraft is £4 and you can get pretty much a whole table of terrain from it.
-Artist mount board - It's thick card basically.  £3 from Hobbycraft for an A1 sheet.  I use this for roofs mainly.
-5mm Cork floor tiles - These are used for basing mostly to give the foam core walls more strength from a solid base.  The only ones I can find in shops are sealed on one side, and unsealed on the other.  I haven't found a modelling difference between the two sides yet, I'm still experimenting on that.  These are £9 for 9 12"x12" tiles from Wickes, should be enough to do my whole board.
-Wire mesh - I used this for the windows on the repair shop.  Mine's from a peanut feeder for birds, Poundland purchased.
-Thin card - Cereal box.  This is used for doors and that kind thing.
-Coffee stirrers - Used for wood panelling and for making palettes.  Also useful for smoothing filler.  Easily borrowed from your favourite coffee chain.  I bought 1000 in fact, for the price of a coffee in Starbucks, on eBay.
-Match sticks - Window ledges and frames.  Got these on eBay for very little.

Not shown in the picture:
-Printer paper - For printing posters, signs etc.
-Self adhesive paving stones - Mine are from eBay and labelled as "OO Self Adhesive Stone Paving Slabs" by Metcalfe.  Not strictly required, you could use card instead, but I used these for the stone work on the buildings.

Paints and brushes:
-Grey spray paint - I'm using Plasticoat grey matt spray for this, but use your preferred brand.  I like the Plasticoat one as it's a fairly mid-tone grey, it covers well and it's very matt.  Foam core takes paint well so I think one can should be enough for the 7 building I have planned.
-Various greys - Some grey tones for drybrushing the sprayed building.  I use Dulux testor pots in 3 shades (mid-grey, light grey, white) for this as it is more economical to use household paint than model paint for terrain.
-Selection of model paints and washes - Your usual miniature paints for various details.
-Weathering powder - Used for soot effects, dirt round the building bases and the pavements.  I use Forge World Dark Earth and Black Soot, but lots of others are available.
-Selection of brushes - I used everything from a 000 point brush to a 1" paint brush.


Most of this stuff I already had.  I would estimate I've spent about £25 so far on materials, which should be enough to cover me for the whole table.

So that's part 1, I'll post a part 2 soon covering the build.