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Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

My wife's due with our first child any day now, so between preparations for that and general panic, I've been trying to distract myself from going mad by finishing up alot of started projects (plus, once the baby's here, my modeling time will likely be zero for quite some time). Amongst those projects is the modular city I never quite finished. I just got around to starting to paint it (which, for now, is about as far as it'll go) so figured I'd post the results. I may eventually turn this into an article, but for now I'd like to get it out there for feedback & comments.

This is a very basic & relatively inexpensive option for city terrain. If I were more talented or had more time, this plan could be used to make a pretty wicked city. All the parts are readily available at any large home improvement store and/or craft store (I got everything here between Home Depot and Michael's Arts & Crafts Store).

First step is to get some foam insulation. They usually sell in 4'x8' sheets in various thicknesses. I bought 2 sheets- one 2" thick, the second 1/2" thick. While there, I also bought a drywall T (a T shaped metal tool used for cutting drywall at right angles) and a utility knife. I used these to measure & cut my foam in the parking lot into 4'x2' sections- both for easy transport in my car & because this makes a nice size for modular table sections. The T & utility knife are both essential tools for the project- the T made the job a breeze.

The other useful tools are wood glue (or school glue- both are pretty much the same thing), a tape measure, a marker, masking tape, toothpicks (I prefer round to flat), and a foam cutter- if it's the straight kind pictured below, it'll save you loads of work when cutting out windows.

The next few posts will break down the process I used to make the terrain.
[Thumb - P4250004_01.JPG]
Pink insulation sheets 1/2" thick & 2" thick

[Thumb - P4250001_01.JPG]
All my tools except the drywall T

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2010/09/14 20:14:25


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City Terrain!
Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
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Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

Making a Window Template

Let's start with the window template. This is one of the most measurement heavy parts of the project, but if you take your time here, it'll pay off.

Take a look at your figures & decide how tall you want each story in the buildings- in general 3-4 inches is pretty reasonable (I went with 3" for my 40k city here). Now, on a piece of thin card stock, measure out increments of this height (let's say 3"). From there, decide how tall you want your windows & how high off the floor you want them (with 3" stories, I went with 1 1/2" high windows 1/2" from the floor). Remember to take into account how thick of a floor you'll be using (1/2" in my case). So, using the example figures, we'll mark lines at 1/2" (bottom of window), 2" (top of window), 3 1/2" (bottom of the next window up), 5" (top of 2nd window up), etc., until you reach the top of the sheet. Horizontally, you'll want measure the width of the windows- for our windows, 1" wide should look nice. Also, figure out how far apart you want the windows. I liked the look of the windows being spaced as far as they were wide, so I used 1" spacing.
As a tip, take into account how wide your building walls will be when making this template. My walls are built with 1/2" foam, so I would start the first window 1 1/2" from the edge of the card (I made the mistake of not taking his into account when making my template & ended up having to measure out an extra 1/2" every time I lined the template up)
You may want to make more templates with different sized windows to mix up the look of your city.

Once the template is made, you can tape it directly to the foam you intent to cut windows into. If you have a straight wire foam cutter, you can follow the inner edges of the template- the cutter will cut the foam, but not the card stock. If you plan on using a utility knife to cut the windows, simply trace the template onto the foam with a marker, remove the template, & cut away.
[Thumb - P4250003_01.JPG]
My well-used template in from of a foam sheet.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/04/25 20:51:45


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City Terrain!
Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
-Sam Strange
 
   
Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

City Layout

Assuming you've followed the steps above, you should have eight 2'x4' sheets of foam- four 2" thick, four 1/2" thick. The 2" will be the base board and the 1/2" will be used to make the buildings.

Before starting, you hopefully have an idea of how you want your city to look. Ideally, you've sketched out a plan. To help things along, get out your drywall T and start drawing lines on your 2" base boards. I like to measure out a line every 1' in one color (red for me) to use as a refernce point. If you have sketches on graph paper, super- you can now transfer the idea in full(miniature) scale onto the board.

No formalized plan? That's just fine, we'll work from that assumption.
Figure that at some point, you or someone you play agianst will have tanks- they'll be bent if they can't fit down any of the streets. A few back alleys that only troopers can get down is great, but you'll want to plan on some wide paths for the big guys to get through. Using 40k as a basis again, to accomadate most stuff you'll want 4-5 inches, for Land Raiders & the like, 5-6 inches. If you're planning on playing Apocalypse, best to keep a few 8" roads. Figure, too, that usually at least 2 of your board sections will be abutting, so you can always build a road half your max width on one long side of each board- where they meet, you can fit a Baneblade!
Once you've got your roads mapped out, figuring out positions for buildings is easy: they go everywhere a road isn't. Of course, you'll want to put a few ruined buildings & rubble blocks in there, so not EVERY block needs a building- the density really depends on your taste (and your play style- you're building it, why not put some nice sniper spots in for your Ratlings )

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Made in gb
Squishy Oil Squig





I was just wondering, I've never used the pink insulation sheets and was wondering is it the same as white insulation sheets? well is it made out of polystyrene i mean?

Current army (it's ded killy)



 
   
Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

Making Buildings

This is the meat of the matter & where you'll be spending the most time. Once you've got it down, it's maybe the easiest part, but you'll be making ALOT of buildings & ruins.

Now that you've got an idea where you want buildings, decide how big you want them. For large buildings on a sparse board, figure 12-16" to a side. Smaller buidings may only be 6-10" wide. Always keep in mind, though, that you've got to play on this board. No matter how cool the scyscraper garden may look, if you can't reach between the dense buildings to move your figures, it's useless.

To make a useable ruined building, you'll probably want at least 1 wall broken down to allow easy acess. So, for each building you planned on in the step above, figure out how many intact sides you want and measure them out on the 1/2" insulation sheet. To maximize your materials, I've found it's best to measure the largest intact walls out first, then use the leftover pieces to build the ruined & half-smashed walls.
Cutting out the walls is a simple matter of lining up the drywall T along the line you want to cut and cutting along its edge with the utility knife. Even if you don't cut all the way through, the foam will snap neatly along the line you cut with just a little pressure.
For the ruined sides, measure out the highest point they will match to the intact wall, and cut diagonally from there to make a triangle. Tape the edges together to see if they match- if not, keep trimming until they do.

Before you go any further, you'll want to cut out your windows as described above in "Making a Window Template"

To make floors in the buildings, take some corner pieces from the 1/2" board and line them up between the walls. Mark where the walls meet the floor & cut the board between these marks. If the floor doesn't match perfectly against the walls, that's fine- you can trim the edges to get a better match, but the floors will be reinforced when we glue them in.

Gluing the buildings together is simple: just spread some wooodglue where the walls meet & press them together. Stick a toothpick in the joint through the flat edge into the long edge of the meeting wall. Do this while the glue is still wet- the toothpick will take some glue with it & make for a very strong joint once dried. Be careful, though, to stick the toothpick in straight- if stuck in skewed, they will stick out of the wall. You can also break the toothpick in two and just stick half the toothpick in- this will be plenty of reinforcement for a foam building. As a final step, you can put masking tape over the joint for extra sturdiness & to hide any gap in the match point. You may want to put extra glue under the tape- ask masking tape ages, it tends to losed it's adhesiveness & come away (I learned this the hard way- AFTER I'd already primed my buildings )

This method of gluing works well for the floors of the buildings, too. You may want to glue the floors in before you glue all the walls on- especially for large floors in building with 3 or more walls.
[Thumb - 1228082025.jpg]
Buildings walls laid out on the board.

[Thumb - 1217082026.jpg]
Skyscraper- this building method makes a very sturdy 7 story building!


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Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

Pigeon616 wrote:I was just wondering, I've never used the pink insulation sheets and was wondering is it the same as white insulation sheets? well is it made out of polystyrene i mean?


The pink is alot denser & easier to work with than the white. The white is made up of small balls- the pink & blue are made from a liquid foam that is poured into sheets (the blue is pretty much the same as the pink- I think just different manufacturers)

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City Terrain!
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Made in us
Deadly Dire Avenger




Portland, OR

Pigeon616 wrote:I was just wondering, I've never used the pink insulation sheets and was wondering is it the same as white insulation sheets? well is it made out of polystyrene i mean?

After a fashion..... Yes, it it polystyrene, and more appropriately, it is officially Styrofoam. But polystyrene comes in many forms. Namely extruded and expanded. The pink foam you see there is extruded polystyrene, it is much more expensive, but higher quality for what you want it for. Extruded polystyrene has smaller, more uniform cells and does not tend to flake like the expanded stuff, it also has better thermal and acoustic insulating properties.

Expanded polystyrene is the white, beaded, low-quality foam that you see so very, very often in packaging and the like.

I think the white stuff your talking about is expanded polystyrene... However, if it isn't beaded, it might be what you're looking for, but usually that stuff comes in pink or blue.
   
Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

Details & Finishing touches

Once you've got some glued buildings, you'll want to "rough them up". To easily accomplish this, simply go along all the "ruined" edges and tear at the foam. By pulling little bits off all along the edge, you'll dramatically change the look of the building. If you have a long straight edge, tear off bigger pieces to make the wall look rough and bombed out.

To make rubble, save all those pieces you ripped off the edges and glue them to the base board- just a few pieces can make for some nice difficult terrain.

If you have the foam cutter, you can make some nice craters very easily. Securely tape a roughly round piece of 1/2" thick foam board on the base board. Cut out a cone shape into the 1/2" and the base board, being careful not to cut completely through the base board. Then, remove the 1/2" pice and cut the outside so the sides slope up and for a lip to the crater. Glue the crater back down & scatter some foam bit around it.
[Thumb - 1228081416b.jpg]
The build & "weathered" skyscraper

[Thumb - 0215091222b.jpg]
Dense block- note the craters

[Thumb - 1228081416a.jpg]
Figures added to show the scale of the buildings

[Thumb - 0215091644.jpg]
Two 2'x4' blocks together & ready to paint!


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Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

Painting

This is one of the biggest problems with doing a foam city: spray paint melts foam. Not in a cool, "it makes it look ruined" kind of way, but in a "AIEEEE! My work is RUINED!" kind of way. DO NOT USE STANDARD SPRAY PAINT ON THE FOAM CITY YOU JUST WORKED SO HARD ON!

Fortunately there are some solutions:

1. Paint everything by hand. Buy some paint and brushes and paint the whole city by hand. Of course, this can be tedious and leave unsightly brush marks, so be careful.
2. Coat the foam. If you coat the foam with watered down wood glue, you can then paint it safely. However, this is even more tedious than painting the city by hand and if you miss any spots, they will melt. On the other hand, with practice and care, this can be used to your advantage- uncoated spots with a light spray of paint can cause some unique crater effects.
3. Get foam safe spray paint. I know of only one source for spray paint that is safe for foam- a paint called "H20" made by Krylon. Unfortunately, it's a bit more expensive that regular spray (but not by alot), and much harder to find. Some craft stores do carry it, though. They only make one flat variety (the rest are glossy), and it's even HARDER to find. In the piece below, I've used the gloss black H2O. The glossiness can be eliminated by spraying a flat paint over the gloss.

Once you've got an initial coat down, you can paint the buildings as you normally would. In the examples below, one board section is still black, while the second was lightly sparayed with a flat grey to highlight the buildings.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for slogging through my lengthy, rambling post- I hope to add some final details to the buildings below (between working on other projects) and get the pictures up. In the meantime, I'd love to hear comments and criticisms on my techniques. Thank you!
[Thumb - P4250001.JPG]
Two blocks side by side

[Thumb - P4250006.JPG]
Sentinels move through the ruins

[Thumb - P4250009.JPG]
Forces meeting in the ruins

[Thumb - P4250015.JPG]
Leman Russ level view of the city (didn

[Thumb - P4250005.JPG]
Notice the tape coming off the corner here- that

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/07/29 00:15:18


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City Terrain!
Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
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Made in ca
Guard Heavy Weapon Crewman





Canada and Proud !

Love the scale and the building types.... you've totally inspired me to take my next projects to a larger level .... great going on the buildings, I really like their structre etc... I also like working with the foam board... but I don't have a hot wire cutter (just starting back in with the whole hobby).

Hey, I have a question re: buildings and playing (for I have yet to actually play). Do the different floors need something connecting them? ie: stairs or a ladder ? or do we just use the same movement measurements and our imagination? In the buildings I have/am building I have not put those things in.... is that ok ?

I notice you have not textured your buildings (yet)? will you at a later date? or is this setup only concerned with playability? I think you could do some really cool stuf to this set-up.

Great work and thanks for sharing

P.S. Congrads on the little one, and soon to be a father tough, but rewarding job....

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/04/26 00:15:29


'Paranoia is a very comforting state of mind. If you think they're out to get you, it means you think you matter.

Gilbran Quail, Collected Essays
 
   
Made in ca
Regular Dakkanaut





Canada

10/10, this is awesome terrain. Could you maybe provide some more pics of the finished product? What do you spray that styrofoam with to prevent it from getting dissolved by the aerosol?

Nuclear: Properly pronounced new-clear, not new-cue-lir. There is no 'u' between the c and l, so stop saying it because it just makes you sound like a dumbass. This includes nucleolus, and all other derivatives of the word.
 
   
Made in gb
Squishy Oil Squig





This is awesome, in fact I'm going out to buy everything mentioned above tomorrow (actually its past midnight where i am so today i guess). Great tutorial

And thanks for clearing up my confusion.

Current army (it's ded killy)



 
   
Made in us
Servoarm Flailing Magos





Alaska

Great stuff LuigiX, and don't worry, you will still get plenty of modelling time after the baby is born. In fact, that is the main reason I returned to this hobby... After the baby goes to bed, quiet painting or terrain building occupies a lot of time since I can't listen to loud music, movies, or video games!

http://www.teun135miniaturewargaming.blogspot.com/ https://www.instagram.com/teun135/
Foxphoenix135: Successful Trades: 21
With: romulus571, hisdudeness, Old Man Ultramarine, JHall, carldooley, Kav122, chriachris, gmpoto, Jhall, Nurglitch, steamdragon, DispatchDave, Gavin Thorne, Shenra, RustyKnight, rodt777, DeathReaper, LittleCizur, fett14622, syypher, Maxstreel 
   
Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

Thanks all for the comments & support!

@sallad101: In the newest rules(and in the Cityfight book, for that matter), it specifies that it can be assumed that troops can get from one floor to another (which is super for me- I've tried building ladders & its a pain ). Changing level just requires 3" of movement.
I may texture the buildings & do a better paint job on them at some point- for now, I just wanted to get them looking good enough to play on. I've got plans for a few more board sections that I hope to make much more detailed (sewage treatment plant, park, & cathedral are all in planning stages)
I'll try to find a link to the foam cutter I use- @$20

@karmaiko: I'll get some more pics up tommorrow- for now, I'll put a few more below
With the H2O, there's no need to precoat the foam- it's safe to spray right on. Otherwise, I'd rub on a coating of watered down wood glue, but be sure to get 100% coverage. I've heard that some airbrushes can be used on foam, but I don't know for sure. Suppposedly, it's the accelerant in spray paint that causes foam to dissolve.

@FoxPhoenix135: Yeah, I've got to practice my painting, before the baby hits 7 and starts painting better than I do Can't have the little one showing up her old man too bad
[Thumb - P4250002.JPG]

[Thumb - P4250003.JPG]
Couple more angles of the whole thing so far

[Thumb - P4250016.JPG]
Sentinels by a crater (I love how those craters turned out...)

[Thumb - P4250012.JPG]
Another view of the Greensteela Kult attacking the IG

[Thumb - P4250010.JPG]
I like this view of the Leman Russ through the ruined window

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2009/04/26 02:00:36


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City Terrain!
Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
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Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

Pigeon616 wrote:This is awesome, in fact I'm going out to buy everything mentioned above tomorrow (actually its past midnight where i am so today i guess). Great tutorial

And thanks for clearing up my confusion.


Glad I could help! I look forward to seeing what you make- please post your results so I can check it out!

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City Terrain!
Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
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Made in eg
[MOD]
Otiose in a Niche






Cairo, Egypt

Fantastic results!

The best thing is once your child is walking you can play Godzilla on it!

 
   
Made in au
Nimble Pistolier





Ipswich, Queensland

Thats awesome, i look the ruined city scapes.

that pink foam is all well and good, but i can't find it anywhere near where i live!

anyone know where you can buy that stuff in the brisbane, australia area??

Too many armies to count now.. mainly all 40k and AoS

Cleanse, Purge, Kill.  
   
Made in gb
Lone Wolf Sentinel Pilot





London, England

I really love your city -- that foam is tremendously useful. Very desolate, Stalingrad-esque. If I said one thing, I think the craters look too artificial, and perhaps should be wider and flatter.

How does 40k Play across vertical battlezones like this?

sA

My Loyalist P&M Log, Irkutsk 24th

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Never-Miss Nightwing Pilot






Kid_Kyoto wrote:...once your child is walking you can play Godzilla on it!


You mean, play GHIDORAH on it.



Ghidorah

   
Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

Kid_Kyoto wrote:Fantastic results!

The best thing is once your child is walking you can play Godzilla on it!


Actually, thinking I can kit her out as a Titan...

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Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
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Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

smiling Assassin wrote:I really love your city -- that foam is tremendously useful. Very desolate, Stalingrad-esque. If I said one thing, I think the craters look too artificial, and perhaps should be wider and flatter.

Thanks for the compliments. And yeah, they're definitely a different kind of craters- I may try out a few more craters as you describe- the ones I have (while I like the look of them) are difficult to fit figs in to use as cover.

smiling Assassin wrote:How does 40k Play across vertical battlezones like this?


I've tried it out a few times & it seems to work well. Though, honestly, the highest floors of the tallest building are rarely used- about 3-4 stories up is about as high as we've played. I've found that the higher buildings are most useful for long range squads like snipers or heavy weapons teams (and even then, range becomes an issue when the squad is 24" from ground level) . We had a cool game with Necron Scarab Swarms racing up to the 4th floor to reach a Devastator Squad before it could cause too much damage to the rest of the army.
One problem we did find with the design through play, though was that if the floors are too close together & go too deep into the building, it can be tough to move and position models. This was solved by making every other floor in the tall buildings much smaller (more of the floor "blown away" & crumbled)

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Made in us
Martial Arts Fiday






Nashville, TN

Love this! I must do one myself...when my 80 other projects are done!

Thanks for adding to my list...lol

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Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

I painted the black board section's buildings. I drybrushed them with cheap acrylic craft paint using a 3" house painting brush with the softest bristles I could find (still a bit stiff). Found another tip: if you're planning on painting like this, make sure all your rubble is well glued down- a few pieces of rubble came off for me during the drybrushing. In order to get the buildings to take the paint, I did a light spray of flat black primer over the H2O coat (as the H2O is a gloss, I needed a slightly rougher surface to paint on).
In the pictures below, you can see a comparison of 2 painting techniques: the tall buildings painted with a light spray of gray over the black base coat, and the dense block painted with hand drybrushing.
[Thumb - P4260005.JPG]
On the left, hand painted buildings. On the right, painted with a dusting of gray spraypaint.

[Thumb - P4260006.JPG]

[Thumb - P4260007.JPG]
Overhead pics of the hand painted section

[Thumb - P4260008.JPG]

[Thumb - P4260009.JPG]
Two views of the skyscraper block

[Thumb - P4260013.JPG]
A sniper's view from the tallest building

[Thumb - P4260011.JPG]
Necrons advance through the ruins

[Thumb - P4260014.JPG]
SM Bikers navigate through the craters

[Thumb - P4260015.JPG]
Wraiths assault a Scout squad


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City Terrain!
Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
-Sam Strange
 
   
Made in gb
Yellin' Yoof






norfolk : england

Wow !!! ... i wish my polystirene buildings turned out like that !!!

DEFFSKULLZ FTW
 
   
Made in us
Hurr! Ogryn Bone 'Ead!





Conroe, TX

Amazing, just amazing.

The pen is mightier then the sword, but you must keep a sword handy for when the pen runs out of ink.
 
   
Made in us
Crazed Spirit of the Defiler





Two Rivers, WI

I think my favorite part is the walk way between the two buildings. Great work!

   
Made in us
Angry Blood Angel Assault marine





Bella Napoli

This looks great. You have inspired me. I will try it some time in the near future.

Great work, and great tutorial.


pitchedbattle.blogspot.com  
   
Made in gb
Boom! Leman Russ Commander






These are great looking buildings, I'm a sucker for City fight style games, nothing beats concentrated fire power down a corridor

i should start building some like this i think !

cant wait to see more

   
Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

I got my 3rd section mostly done today. I'm planning it as a water treatment/ reservoir block. I've never used water effects before, so this will be my trial by fire. I plan to have thin layers of water in each of the 3 reservoirs and in the short canal. I may also put in some sections of fencing around the perimeter.
The reservoirs are made from craft boxes I got at a craft store and the pipes are simply PVC piping bought from a home supply store & cut to size. The canal was probably the most tedious part I've done so far- it was a pain to dig out the foam without punching through or going beyond my marked borders. If I had it to do over, I probably would just buy another sheet of 1/2" thick foam and cut & stack it up to 2" thick, leaving a gap for the canal.
Overall, I like the layout. It's a bit more open than the other two sections, but with more impassable terrain- should make for interesting play.
[Thumb - P4280021.JPG]
Section 3 overview

[Thumb - P4280023.JPG]

[Thumb - P4280022.JPG]
Closer views of the section


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City Terrain!
Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
-Sam Strange
 
   
Made in us
Raging Ravener






Pittsburgh, PA

BTW, found a link to a foam cutter very similar to the one I've been using http://www.thewarstore.com/product187.html
Not the exact model, but looks to be pretty much the same. Be careful, though- with just a little too much pressure, the tip will snap- I'm on my second one due to hasty cutting.

We all love getting gallery votes...

City Terrain!
Greensteela Kult!
"If God fought Satan in real life, people would still switch channels twenty minutes in, even if God attacked with sharp rainbows and the Devil with exploding porn."
-Sam Strange
 
   
 
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