Saturday, December 11, 2010

Making 40k/Malifaux terrain

So now I live in a house instead of a damp bedsit (hurrah!). This means I can have my own gaming table and people can come to MY place for a bloody change and stop my having to traipse across town at all hours to get a game.

I did my market research first. GW terrain is nice - but pricey. The 40k ruins are perfect for both 40k and Malifaux, but I wasn't too thrilled about the 50-80 euro price-tag for the set. Ebay turned up some good results for a modest price, but also modest quality. Eventually I came to the conclusion that, if you want something done, always choose the cheapest option. Which meant make it myself. Luckily having just moved, there was (and still is) a lot of strong corrugated cardboard boxes lying around as well as some religious newspapers some nuns optimistically put through the door. At work the next day I scrounged a small box an order had come in, some drinking straws, some strong thin card from washing-up liquid refills (the same quality and quantity of card in the art shop would have put me back some 3-5 odd euro) and a large tin tomato can from the restaurant upstairs. I had superglue at home, but picked up some more as well as some masking tape and polyfilla (see previous post about the glues lack of chloroform) at the nearest 2euro shop. So far my list of ingredients were;

  • Thick corrugated cardboard
  • Thin cardboard
  • Small box
  • Superglue
  • Tin can
  • Straws
  • Masking tape
  • Pollyfilla
First I decided to build a factory. I used the small box, stuck it to the thin card, cut out a door from card and glued the can to the back as sort of a silo-thing. Some masking tape strengthened up the structure and I poked some holes in the back to insert the straws as pipes.

Just to make extra sure the masking tape would hold during painting I gave it a coat of the super-cheap super-glue. Right about then I noticed that there was no obvious way for models to climb up to the top so I opened up some paperclips I found on the table (I think the girlfriend got them for serious boring non toy soldier related grown up reasons) and used a modelling drill to make holes at regular intervals before I pushed the paperclips in and secured them with glue to form an industrial style ladder up the side. OK, so that's another ingredient. Here you go.

  • Paperclips.

Once the glue was all dried I roughly cut around the structure with some scissors to make a base. A liberal coating of polyfilla covered the masking tape and provided some texture. I've found that sand and superglue are like cement, so I squirted a load of glue around where the base met the structure and sprinkled this with rough sand to attach it all more firmly to the base. Next step will be to flock the rest of the base and undercoat, but more on that later...

You might notice I've made no mention of measurements, and that is because... I didn't make any. Everything by eye and so far it's been working just fine. My advice to anyone new to making terrain, but too lazy to measure, is to keep some models to hand so you can check and make sure doors are large enough, does my Rhino fit under there, will my master/terminator's base fit on that ledge etc. Using pre-made shapes like boxes also helps as they're designed to be square.

Feeling mightily pleased with myself  for making a serviceable factory, I decided to try my hand at making some ruins. Have you all played Fallout 3? If not, do. Awesome game with lots of nice ruins. So nice in fact that I decided to base mine (roughly) on theirs.
To start off I took a long strip of corrugated cardboard, then arbitrarily folded it in half with the "grain" of the cardboard running vertically.  Taking up my trusty kitchen scissors I hacked an irregular ruin shape making sure the point formed at the top of the fold (I know this isn't totally clear so just look at the pictures, OK?). To make the remains of floors I took the offcuts from making the walls and used a pen to mark more or less what height I wanted them to be, and more or less how far out they'd stick out. Again, scissors to hack a nice ruined shape, and again,  kept models nearby the make sure I didn't get over zealous and hack off so much it was useless. After much swearing I managed to get the walls to stay in a right angle and fixed the floors on with masking tape and glue. To cover the ends of the cardboard I used more masking tape and glue (seems like I didn't use anything else huh).
Now for the clever part. To create the appearance of broken support beams and girders in my ruins, I cut in half some cocktail sticks and poked them through the ends of the cardboard in the direction of the corrugation and secured them with, you guessed it, superglue. The ruins then got a coating of polyfilla same as the factory.
Add ingredient;

  • Cocktail sticks

About this time I started to notice a design flaw in my ruins. Since I want them to be free standing they were top heavy - but built of light materials, and I don't know about you, but I'll be damned if one of my models is going to fall onto the table, or worse, the floor, to be damaged because someone sneezed during a game. That  would make me a sad panda.
Again I ended up in the local 2euro shop, and came home with a pack of nails which I stuck into the bottom (giggidy) of the ruins and glued to add weight. So far it seems to have done the trick.
I am a genius.

photos courtesy of the very lovely Anna Soares

1 comment:

  1. I am very lovely indeed! Though every time you wrote polyfilla I read pedophilia. Guess I'm hanging out with you guys waaaaay too much...