Choo Choo Catchu ... Tunnel of Love

Malifaux - Having sanded down the rough shape of the downtown streets, it's time to work on the actual plan and making it work. I want to add the train (which is still unfinished...) that I was working on for a possible Breach location (lost interest in that project ... for now) to this project. As I fleshed in the rough shape of the mountain/hill I left an area for a tunnel. 

To build the tunnel I'm using the Hirst Arts gothic bridge mold. This mold can create a nice arch which will serve as the tunnel opening. 

Before I can build the tunnel however I need to blast out the interior. So out comes the trusty dremel to bore out the tunnel from the green foam block. You're probably wondering why I didn't just cut the arch out of the foam before I glued it into place. Well there are two good reasons: 1. I'm trying to create this board in a somewhat organic way so that it feels more like the city filled in around the existing terrain (in other words I didn't have a solid plan and got impatient) 2. By building a solid block to begin with it should in theory be stronger than if I had cut a glued an empty arch into place.

The question that come up next is do I bore al the way through to the other side or do I make it a faux tunnel that isn't functional. As the "bridge" over top is about 6" wide I don't think making the tunnel functional is going to have much effect on game play as it's to wide to comfortably move models under. However if it goes all the way through there is the coolness factor of having the train coming through the tunnel.

Ultimately coolness wins out. My initial though was to smooth and finish the sides of the board edge to match the black base, but I think it's potential more of an enjoyable experience to see the edge of the board as rough earth. Maybe...

Downtown Malifaux - Stage 2

Malifaux – I'm getting ready to move into stage two of my downtown board. I still have several other items that I'm going to need to cast and/or sculpt but I'm getting antsy to start the larger portion of the project. 

Because this is going to be a fixed terrain board I need to do some prior planning before moving ahead with it. A few rough sketches give me the general idea of how I want the board to lay out. I'm not going to go into detail with the buildings at this point because I'm more of a hands on visualizer.

I have a base board that I built previously, I was never really happy with the way it turned out so rather than build a new base I'm going to reuse this one (much like a painter with a canvas). Step one is to build up the elevations to fit what I'm envisioning.

The goal is to have a gently sloping winding road traversing the center of the board. One side of the board will be a higher elevation than the other and I want to work a railroad tunnel into that side of the board as well. The far side of the board will be at ground level with a number of staircase in the alleyways. 

The trick is going to be fitting everything I want on the board while maintaining playability. I'm not sure if finishing the building interiors is going to work or not. While I'd love to detail out each structure interior it seems like it may make the board more difficult to use. From past experience lifting a level makes things shift and slide. 


Downtown Malifaux - Stage One ... Revisited

Malifaux – So I came to the realization I suck at using a rolling pin. After several attempts I've broken down and bought a "craft" pasta machine. Luckily as was able to pick it up for 40% off retail and I think I'm going to get quite a bit of use out of this tool.

While I was at the craft store I also picked up a brick of sculpty to try out with the machine. I'm a little nervous that milliput or greenstuff will get stuck in the machine. 

Working the machine is simple enough you set how thick you want the clay, stick a blob on top and turn the crank. Voila perfectly uniform flat clay. Of course there's a bit more to it than that but the basic idea is that simple.

So now that I can produce uniform flat sheets of clay it's time to go back to the drawing board and create the cobblestone sheets. I used the same technique as before, bent pipes to create the bricks. Patience is key as if you screw up the pattern you'll wind up starting over from scratch. After two tries, I slowed down and got the results I wanted.

After baking the clay for 15 min. it's ready to mold. Well, almost ... the baking/cooling process caused the edges to curl slightly. So I stored the dry baked sheets under a stack of old text books for a few days to eliminate the curl. 

Next the master for the mold must be glued down to the casting box to prevent it from floating up during the molding process. Because this is a large flat surface area the odds are it will float in the silicone mixture so to save myself from that potential headache I'm going to be sure to glue this down to a sheet of plasticard the exact size of my mold box (a 5x7 acrylic box frame)


Downtown Malifaux - Stage One

Malifaux – After this year's family vacation I have a boatload of inspiration images for the next big project I'm going to do. My goal is to build a super detailed fixed board based on the town of Eureaka Springs, AK. During my visit to the town I was really impressed with the cramped vertical feel of the town. I think it will make for an interesting game board. I've been leery of doing a fixed terrain board since the tend to get boring after a while. However I think I'll only bring this one out for special events or con demos. 

This time around I'm going to plan ahead and build all the individual components before I begin.  I want the cobblestone to match the bases I've used for my Ressurectionist forces, so first things first I need a way to create lots of cobblestones that can be used for the street. Having learned my lesson with the sewer board, I ruled out cutting individual stones. The process was far to time consuming and won't give me exactly the look I want.

So off to the craft store. After looking around at various options that might work I settled on some brass tubing. The tube is of course a tube, so I had to carefully bend it into a rectangular shape. I did this with two different size tubes so I could create some variety in the pattern. 

I then mixed up some miliput (apoxy sculpt might be a better choice but this was 40% off) and roll it out into a large smooth flat area. Once that's done it's a simple matter of taking the tube and pressing the pattern. Repeat until the area is covered.

This didn't work out as well as I had hoped so before I move on I need to research a better way to flatten the putty. I think a clay roller might work ... unless we have a pasta maker lying around.

Once I solve the flatness issue, the next step will be to cut this into squares (or a large section) and make a mold. This will allow me to quickly duplicate the process to cover the streets. I'll also create some optional pieces to create more interest like man-hole covers and grates.