3D Printed Terrain - Check this Out

3D Printed Terrain - Check this Out

Terrain – 3D printing is all the rage these days. There are some amazing designers selling stuff on Shapeways, super creative generous people that upload designs to thingiverse and a plethora of etsy shops that specialize in table top accessories. In fact there’s so much cool stuff out there it’s sometimes hard to cut through the clutter and find the best stuff.

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Blade Runner-esque City Scape

Blade Runner-esque City Scape

Terrain Building – Blade Runner really set the tone for me as to what a dystopian future would look like. Dirty, crowded and dark. Ultimately that's the look I'm going for with my city table. Ideally this terrain will be "useable" across several different rules sets like 40K, Necromunda and Batman as well as any other random "near-future" sci-fi games I might find myself interested in. 

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Breaking the Bat ... Bane

Breaking the Bat ... Bane

Batman Miniatures Game – Back in the 90's I remember reading the Preview Catalog about the Knightfall Story Arc and being so excited. Back then everyone was going to get rich off collectiong comics with all the "ground-breaking" stories being told. Paralyzing heroes leads to killing heroes leads to crazy-ass costumes with tons of pouches and extra pointy bits the 90's were EXTREME. 

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Welcome to Chinatown - MDF Terrain

Welcome to Chinatown - MDF Terrain

Terrain Building – Last Christmas I received several buildings from Knights of Dice in their Sentry City Chinatown Range. For some reason I had shelved these with some other "rainy-day" projects. I pulled these out while I was looking for another box and decided to make some time to get a simple paint job on them and assemble the buildings so I can use them for some games.

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I got wood in my stocking ... it's so great!

I got wood in my stocking ... it's so great!

Modern Tabletop – I love amazon wishlist. As a gamer it's very difficult for my friends and family to understand the things I like. To avoid getting another shirt I may or may not fit into or wear I started using amazon wish list a few years ago.  Now I keep one for myself and the kids, if someone is looking for a gift idea I send them a link of they can search amazon to find it themself. For the kids it's help to keep their gifts age appropriate, within their interests and most importantly not duplicated so I don't have to return stuff.

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On the painting table ... Bat Family

On the painting table ... Bat Family

Batman: The Miniatures Game – I finally picked up the rule book for this and my Suicide Squad starter box arrived so I'm trying to get models to at least a basic minimum paint job before I put it on the table. It's not the most efficient way to paint but for getting things on the table it's quick to block in the colors and put down a wash. Then I can go back and birng them up to a higher level at a later date.

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The Dark Knight ... wrapping up more Batman Miniatures Game

The Dark Knight ... wrapping up more Batman Miniatures Game

Batman: The Miniature Game – Moving right along I just finished up a Dark Knight Trilogy Batman model, this is a pretty cool model, of course when a model is primarily black it's tricky to make it stand out (one of the reasons for the Blue/Grey Batman Costume). In the films and "Real Life" all black makes perfect sense when you want to see what the character is doing or to see the details other colors make a bit more sense. I think I might stick with the black and gray scheme of the Bat-Fleck version.

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In the darkest night ... City Scenics from TT Combat

In the darkest night ... City Scenics from TT Combat

Terrain – So I've been bit by the Batman bug (I hope it didn't have rabies.) The idea of a dirty dark city appeals to me (maybe that's why I live in Metro-Detroit) so when I started painting some models for a client for the Batman Miniatures game I started doing some research and found some pretty nice MDF terrain. I know, I know groan sigh more crap that needs to be air-brushed to show any detail right? In fact sir that would be where you're wrong.

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Soooo ... Batman Miniatures Game ... hmm ... interesting

Soooo ...  Batman Miniatures Game ... hmm ... interesting

Batman Miniatures Game – Ok so I've painted a few of these crews for a client and really liked the models, in fact I like them so much that I started doing so research into the game and feeling out what models I would like for my own collection. Of course then they released a Suicide Squad box set based on the film and I jumped in. The character design from the movie was really unique and fits my tastes better than some of the more outlandish traditional batman villain costumes.

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I need a drink ... Burn In Designs El Tarasco

I need a drink ... Burn In Designs El Tarasco

Terrain Review – Awhile back I picked up the El Tarasco Bar from Burn In Designs. This is a cool laser cut MDF kit that is part of his Old West Rock Ridge line. I'm not going to be using it for that but will rather use it as part of my desert board as a random back water outpost. 

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XYZ 3D Printer ... Dumpster Printing

Terrain Making – A while back a friend was kind enough to gift me a 3D Printer, up until recently I haven't had time to really do much more with it than take it out of the box. (Initially the issue was my old ass Mac wouldn't run the software which turned into not having time to mess with it). Last weekend I finally got it up and running and downloaded a few designs from thingiverse.com to try printing.

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Come into my room ... more bug hunt

Come into my room ... more bug hunt

Terrain Making – Next up in my quest to complete this giant terrain set are a few of the standard side rooms. These attach to a corridor section and swap out with the narrow side rooms (for if you need to put a bunch of rooms next to each other.) Painting these uses the same technique as the other sections which you can read about here

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Go Big or .... Near Future 4'x6' Board Progress

Terrain Making – After making the initial 3'x3' city block board with 3"x3" squares I decided that I needed to go all out and do a 4'x6' table. Between the two smaller near future boards I've been working on I have enough buildings to populate a larger area. I've always wanted to do a full city so I decided now is the time to do it. Having been successful with the smaller board I have a good grasp of what works and what doesn't. I made a quick trip to Home Depot to pick up a 1" thick sheet of insulation foam to act as the topper for my 4'x6' table. A quick stop at Michael's for some clean sheets of foam core and I was ready to go.

After trimming the insulation foam to fit within my tabletop I then measured out a 3"x3" grid over the entire surface. Once the grid was in place I moved the buildings I have around on the board until I was happy with the layout. My goal was to have some straight road sections without have a clear shot straight across the board. From prior experience, city blocks set up on a standard grid make for boring battlefields as their are to many "kill zones" that allow over watchers or snipers to control to much of the board. With the layout I settled on there are enough blind spots to offer cover from the various sniper nests.

The tedious part of the job took me two nights of cutting 3"x3" squares of foam core. While I probably could have just painted the grid on to these I find having the physical separation of the individual blocks to be more visually pleasing. Once I cut them all to size I set off with a large bottle of tacky glue and began gluing down the foam core to the insulation foam base. This process took another night of tedious work but the final result fit exactly what I had in mind.

I then cut out storm drains from granny grate and glued them in place at various points along the street sections. Little details like this help to bring the whole city to life. I opted to not include sewer drain covers at this time. I may change my mind before painting begins but right now I don't think I want to add them.

Once everything had dried overnight I took the sheet out to the garage and began applying the sand texture. For this I use a gallon of wood glue. I've found that wood glue adheres to the foam pretty good and dries solid enough to withstand the rigors of gaming. Working in sections I paint the glue down with a wide brush and then liberally coat the glue with sand. More is better at this point, you want to have the sand piled on thick enough so it will sink into the sand and give you the texture you want.

After this dries for a few days (you have to be sure the glue has set otherwise you'll get weird marks in the final texture) I use a shop vac to remove the excess sand. If you're smart and clean the shop vac prior to vacuuming the sand you'll be able to salvage the excess for the next project. 

After everything dried I painted the whole board with Behr Premium Paint + Primer. I find this covers well, is durable and comes in colors that match my other paints. After the base coat I went in with my airbrush and painted everything else. Starting with black I slowly worked up highlights to get a decent transition for the concrete slabs. Overall I'm happy with the results thus far.

Paving the Way - City Block Painting

Paving the Way - City Block Painting

Terrain Making – I seem to be getting better with the airbrush, after the primer dried on the 3x3 city board I went in and air brushed the city streets and the the blocks. The trick is to apply the paint in layers starting with the darkest and then building up to get a smooth transition between colors. 

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In the year 2000 ... Building a Near Future Board

Terrain – I've begun the groundwork for my near future board. After doing a few sketches and looking at the large amount of laser cut terrain available in the market today I decided to pull some inspiration from these designs. While I really like the look of the laser cut mdf I can't justify the cost when I can build eactly what i want myself. Sure it might be easier to just buy and glue together a kit (probably will go that route in the future...) but I'd like to build everything from scratch for this board.

After laying out some paper shapes on my Zuzzy mat I got a rough idea of what type of layout I wanted to create. My thought is to create a slum/industrial area and I drove around Detroit for some inspiration. In many seedier neighborhoods you have truck depots/shipping yards that but up against residential areas and also feature some of the less desirable businesses. For my purposes this is going to be the ideal battleground. The structures I have planned are a three-story apartment building, liquor store, gentleman's club and a fenced in shipping yard; combined with the variety of 1:43 scale cars I've found I'll be able to detail out the neighborhood easily.

The first step was determining a size for my buildings as there are several different systems I plan on using this board for it was important to make sure the scale made sense for everything. In MERCS the movement cards are about 3.5" long, so I used that as my basis for the height of a standard wall, this way it's easy to determine how many MP it takes for a model to ascend a level. Most other systems have 4"-6" as a standard move so this size will work with them as well.

I happen to have a bunch of 1/2" gator board that I saved from a dumpster (technically) which I decided to used as the basis for my walls. The nice thing about gator board is it has a styrene skin which holds up better than paper. This board is very dense and provides a sturdy foundation for the walls, especially when cut down to small sections like these buildings. It is however difficult to cut as the plastic skin is so durable it will take a few passes with the blade before you get to the foam.

After messing around with a few designs I came up with a look I like for the apartment building and have begun cutting out the windows and cutting cardstock to detail the exterior of the building. I'm going to give the impression of concrete formed material with some geometric patterns. I think this will look futuristic enough without going over the top.

I also cut out the walls for the club. I went with an "L" shape that can break up the table in some interesting ways. My plan is to fully detail out the interiors of these buildings and add removable roofs so you can easily enter and exit them.

Next steps are to continue detailing the building exteriors and devise a method for stacking them that won't be to difficult to remove during game play.