I have to admit that I have not been doing much hobby related recently. I have had some things on the painting/building table though. As the father of a three and a half year old, both Halloween and Legos have been big all around the house lately, including in my hobby/music room. I figured that since those things have taken up time and space in my hobby room, they might as well take up some time and space on my blog… so here we go!
Up to this point, this blog has focused pretty exclusively on table-top games and the miniatures that are used with these games. But now that I am the parent of a three and a half year old, Legos have entered the house in full force. On occasion I have used Lego pieces in making Mordheim terrain, but now we have plastic drawers full of Legos and a little guy who loves to spend seconds pulling apart pieces that daddy puts together over the course of a hour or more. Yea me… I have to admit though, I have started to have fun with the Legos too.
Finally! A freaking update! OK, so I will not bore you with details as to why I have not posted an update to the tutorial in while. I have just been busy. That is all there is to it. But now, I have an update to share with you! So, here we go!
The last update ended with us working on details, and interestingly enough, that is where we pick up with this update. Just to add a little flair, I decided to add a couple of small rubble piles to the floor of the buildings. Nothing too large as I did not want the piles to get into the way of the functionality of the piece. Rubble piles are pretty easy. We just want to drop a few small wood strips, and layer them with some small pieces of foamcore, or other make shift pieces of debris. On one of the piles, I used foamcore, on another I took a plaster Hurts Arts mold brick that a friend gave me, and I broke it into chunks of various size. Both methods worked well for me.
After creating our “piles” we need to add a little grit and dirt to make it look as natural as possible.
Along with the small barrels that I regularly use in my terrain, I also had a couple of larger barrels that I had not used before, that are large enough to be big beer casks that you might find in some medieval tavern. I built a small stand for one of them and placed it in the corner. It is not an ideal location for for where it might be realistically placed if the building were real, but it was the best spot I could find to make painting the inside also viable, Sometimes you just have to make compromises.
At this point, we have enough detailing on the building to move on to the next step.
And that step is that our building needs a roof! We will use a simple but effective method for this piece. First, we will glue down a piece for our roof sections to attach to. I like to use thin cardboard from cereal, or soda boxes. This is also the material we will make our shingles out of. We just measure out pieces to fit on top of our roof sections, that have the basic shape we want the roof to take.
Once we have the pieces that go under the roof glued down, it is time to make some shingles. Shingles are simple, but slightly time consuming. We just measure out some strips of thin cardboard, 3/4 of an inch wide, and as long as we need to cover the roof. Once the strip is cut out, we just need to cut the individual shingles out. Using random widths, we just cut most of the way, but not ALL of the way, through the strip so that we end up with a string of shingles that are still attached along the top.
Now comes the fun part. Trim the ends of each shingle to give them slightly random lengths.
Once that is done, cut the corners off of each shingle.
Rough up the ends of the shingles, and glue the strip down to the sub roof, starting at the bottom.
Repeat over and over until the whole roof is covered. Just make sure to stagger the shingle sections to increase the “damaged” look of the building. Once we are done, our building should look something like this…
We are almost there. One last important step before we start to paint our building. We need to texture the walls. Texture is important for terrain because the texture is what is going to help us create the illusion of depth when we paint.
There are many methods to texturing. Some people add sand to black acrylic paint and brush that on for their base coat. Others use store bought textured paint. I use stucco patch. Stucco patch can be bought from any home improvement store, and is fairly cheap. The brand I use only cost $8 and the container is about a quart of patch. I have textured about 10 good sized buildings with it, so far, and I have only used about a third of it. If you use stucco patch, just be sure to water it down just a little. The more dry it is, the more it sticks to you paint brush, but DOES NOT transfer to the foamcore. When it is wet, it sticks to the foamcore REALLY easily.
Here is what I use…
Applying it is simple. We grab an old, cheap brush, and basically just paint it on. We want to apply it to all the sections of bare wall in the building, both “inside” and outside.” We will also add some to the base all the way around. Stucco patch is great and looks realistic as both wall texture, and dirt. We just use different paint colors to separate the two. Be sure to wipe it off of any wooden sections, but do not worry about it looking sloppy. Making it look sloppy actually adds to the “gritty” look that I believe Mordheim buildings should always have.
After the texture has been applied to the whole terrain piece, we just have to let it dry overnight, and then we are ready for painting.
I make no promises, but I REALLY hope to have the piece painted this week. If I can manage it, then we should have the final post to the tutorial by sometime next weekend. Until then, comments are welcome.
I really did not expect to have another update quite so soon, but after working on the piece for a while last night and tonight, I realized that I had done enough work, that I should probably go ahead and make another update. What prompted this update was simply looking at the terrain piece yesterday afternoon and realizing that I had not done NEARLY enough detailing on this terrain piece yet. So I got busy last night and I really like where I am at now.
To start, here is the piece as it was at the end of the last update.
It is starting to look good, but it is still a bit bland… We REALLY want terrain to come alive to add to the atmosphere of the game, so we need to grab some balsa strips, and a hobby knife, and get to work. First we need to add some supports to the underside of the second floor of the building on the right.
It is really easy to do. Cut a few pieces to length, shape the sides, and glue them underneath. Next, we should add some angle pieces for a little character…
As you can see, these little pieces go a long way towards really taking things to the next level. A lot of people make ok terrain that you find on gaming tables, but I like the saying, “Go big or go home.” I can apply that saying to a lot of aspects of life, and it definitely applies to making terrain.
If you are like me and do not have a hobby sized miter box, use a carpenter square, if you have one, to make sure that you get good 45 degree angles on your cuts, and cut nice and SLOW to make sure everything is straight. If your cuts on angled pieces is not straight, it is very difficult to make things fit right.
Next, I decided that I wanted a hanging sign in front of one of the buildings. These kinds of details are a little risky because they break off easily, but they look SO good. I had to have one on this piece. First, we just want to take a piece of sheet balsa wood and cut out a small rectangle. I believe I cut mine at one inch by half an inch. Then we will take a hobby knife, and simply scrape away at the edges of the rectangle to give it an appropriately worn look.
I also broke off a very small piece on one corner to give the sign a slightly uneven look. It worked out well.
To hang the sign, we will cut a strip of 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch balsa about an inch and a half long. There are a couple of different ways to hang something like this, the way I chose to do it, was I used my pin vise drill to drill two holes in both the sign and the sign post itself. I then drilled a hole all the way through the wall, and pinned the sign post to the wall. (Sorry, no pictures.) Then I used some small string to run through all the holes, and hang the sign to the wall.
If you use this method of hanging a sign, you will want to add drops of super glue to the top of the string so it does not get pulled through the holes of the sign post, and more drops to the knots on the sign itself to make sure it does not get untied. Now, assuming we are all on the same page… We simply need to trim off the excess string and our sign looks more realistic.
Now, this looks good, but it is unlikely a sign post would simply stick out from the wall like this. It needs a support, so we need to add one. We just cut another angled piece just like we did for the floor supports already and glue it to the bottom of the sign post.
One more quick step to finish off our sign… I have found that simply spray painting string with a black base coat and dry brushing it makes it fuzz up really bad, and it does not take paint well. We need to “seal” the string a little so it holds it’s braid a little more. This is a simple, but important step. We need to put a small drop of white glue on a finger, and smear it around.
Then just rub the glue on the string. And we are done with the sign…
(sorry for the blurry picture.)
The rest of what I have for tonight is pretty much just simple detailing. So I will just show the pictures…
A makeshift bridge spanning a missing wall section.
Some nice repurposed Hirst Arts pieces.
A few Warhammer Fantasy plastic shield emblems.
A quick, homemade crate, and couple of CHEAP doll house barrels. I get them for $1.49 for a pack of NINE barrels. They are not super detailed, but they paint up very nicely.
Then I added a little sand around the base of all the walls to simulate the accumulated crap floating around Mordheim that you would expect to pile up in corners.
That is it for tonight. I said in the last update that I hoped to have the piece finished by the end of the weekend, but I forgot that I will be taking the family on a nice vacation all next week, so the finally installments will have to wait until we get back. I MIGHT squeeze in another update before we leave Friday night, but honestly, I doubt it. Until next time…….
Ok, so it has been, what, two months since my last update on this tutorial? Yeah, I know, I REALLY suck at this blogging thing… Anyway, I have some real life things that kept me very busy lately, and so the terrain piece just sat on my table gathering dust… until now. This update will be kind of quick, mostly because I did not get a too much done tonight, but I still want to post what I did finish to hopefully motivate me to finish this bad boy. Here we go…
At the end of part two, we had just started detailing the piece. Now, the only real rule on detailing is that there really is no such thing as too much. I stopped where I did in order to not make things too complicated for this tutorial, but I could have easily gone much farther with the detailing. It really is the details that make the difference in terrain, and really take things to the next level. I will probably still do a little more embellishment with plastic bits once I have added the roof sections. Maybe I will even whip up one or two scratch built goodies. As I have said before, I never plan too much because I like to be a little surprised by the way things take shape as I go.
Anyway, the construction details basically consist of cutting lengths of popsicle sticks and gluing them all over the place. I glue strips along the bottom of each floor, around doors as door frames, and in random spots here and there to simulate support framing. Just glue them everywhere… Once the piece is textured and painted, it will look really cool.
One thing I like to do that might seem trivial, but I think adds a lot to the piece, is I also glue strips on the INSIDE of the doors as well, completely framing out the door. I did not always do it that way. when I first started, I would just glue the frame piece to the outside of the door, then texture on the inside pieces, but I think doing it this way looks much better. This is what I mean…
It may seem simple, but it’s all these simple things that add up to make really big things.
Now, you might also notice, in the bottom of that picture, the mount piece for my modular bridges. The mounts are actually really simple. I make them from two different sizes of bass wood strips. 1/4 x 1/4 inch, and 1/4 x 1/8 inch. I mark the length of the 1/4 x 1/4 strip to the same length as the door frame, specifically, two inches long. Then I cut a one inch piece and then two 1/4 inch pieces from the 1/4 x 1/8 strip. I glue the 1/4 inch pieces to the ends of the 1/4 x /14 section, and the one inch piece to the center. If measured correctly, that should leave a 1/4 gap on either side of the one inch piece. Cut 1/4 inch notches out of the 1/4 x 1/4 piece where the 1/4 inch gaps are, and the mount is done. All we need to do is glue it to the wall, nice and centered on the door. Once it is glued to the wall, we are going to put a pin through it for a little added strength. On the back side of the wall, I used another piece of bass wood as a support for the floor. Usually, I would use balsa wood since the floors should not ever need to support much weight, but since I knew I was going to put a bridge mount here, I used the bass wood for extra support. First, I drilled a hole with my pin vise drill.
Once the hole was drilled all the way through, I used a straightened paper clip with some super glue on the end for my pin. Here is the finished product.
It should be good enough to support the bridge and hopefully not come apart with casual table bumping.
The next step could, and honestly, probably should be done much earlier, but I always just seem to wait until the last minute to do it. We need to roughen up the edges of our base. It is really simple to do with hard board. Just turn the piece upside down, and use a utility knife to score line around the underside of the piece. The line does not have to be straight, in fact, it is probably better and more natural looking the less straight it is.
Once we have our score all the way around the base, we will just take a pair of wide pliers, I like kleins personally, and bend the outer edge upward. this creates a nice, rough, layered edge that looks pretty natural.
Once we have done this all the way around the base, the piece will really start to look like something.
Well, that is about it for today. My intent is to make roof sections, do finishing details and texture the piece in the next few days. Hopefully, there will be an update but the end of the week, and I might even be able to paint and finish the piece by the end of the weekend. Only time will tell!
As always, comments and criticisms are always welcome.
OK folks, I am back with my Mordheim Terrain Tutorial – Part Deux! If anyone missed Part 1, you can read it here. Since I am laid up in bed with massive neck pain, I figured I would use the time to write another installment in this tutorial… that and watch Big Bang Theory on blu-ray. 🙂
So, we ended Part 1 with gluing our wall sections together. Here is a shot for a reminder:
The second and thrid floor of the section on the right overhangs the first floor, but since the wall piece on the left, which forms the right wall of the center piece, stretches to the ground, it can support the weight of the upper floors without first adding a floor under the overhang. If your piece overhangs all the way around, you will need to support the upper floors first. Also, we will not worry about any small gaps in the seems of our walls at this point. We will address those later with detailing pieces and texture before painting.
Now, at this point, lets go ahead and prepare to insert our Lego windows. When we first get our Lego pieces, they will look like this:
What we need to do in order to get the windows ready to add to our terrain, is remove the pieces on top that allow Legos to connect to each other. We can cut them off with a hobby knife, file them off, or do use my favorite method, fire up the dremel! A dremel, or any other rotary tool, with a sanding drum attached will make very short work of the connector pieces, but be careful not to remove too much. Unless we want to reate a really damaged look to our windows, we want to be sure not to change the shape of the window itself. When done, our windows should look like this:
Now our windows should just slide straight into the openings we already cut:
Add a little white glue and our windows are in for good.
Now we can start adding floor sections to the buildings. Over the years, I have trried numerous methods of making wooden flooring for my buildings. I think the absolute BEST looking method I have found is using individually cut, shaped, and glued craft popsicle sticks about 1/4 inch wide. Unfortunately, that method takes for freaking EVER, so I gave it up a fw months ago.The method we are going to use for these buildings is MUCH faster, and while the results are not QUITE as nice, they still look good. We are going to use 1/8 inch thick sheet balsa wood. You can get it from most craft stores for a few dollars. We will start with the bttom floors as they will be full squares.
First, we have to measure our INSIDE dimensions for our floor sections. If we use the outside dimensions, our floors will be 3/8 inch to long and too wide. Once we have our measurements, we can cut out the sheet balsa with a hobby knife. Then we measure out 1/4 strips to serve as our “individual” boards, and draw them with a fine point marker:
Once our lines are drawn, we can do two things. We can simply go over the lines with a ball point pen, pressing harder each time to create indentions into the balsa, but I find that once you start to add paint, the balsa soaks it up and swells just slightly making the lines a little less defined. What I prefer to do, is take a hobby knife and make angled cuts from two directions to remove a “V” shaped section where my line was. This way, there is no wood left to swell back out, leaving our “individual” boards more defined.
In progress shots:
As can be seen in the above photo, any edge that is not concealed by a wall section, I also like to notch the piece on the end. This continues the illusion that each floor board is seperate. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
We can also go ahead and make the floor for the stepped sectioned of our right side building. This piece will keep our upper floors squared and support the weight of the rest of the building. We basically start the same way. measure out a nice square piece and cut our “individual” boards. Then, since the building is partially destroyed, we will go ahead and decide how much of our floor to break off to simulate building damage. I use the length of the wall sections to gauge the floor dimensions, and since we went ahead and measured a full square, we have some extra left over for any other section that have the same dimensions:
To add the floors to the terrain, we start by simply gluing down the bottom floor squares. Then we move on to the lower floor of the stepped section. All we need to do, is glue the edge of the floor piece where it is flush with the bottom of the wall, and everthing should line up perfect. With other upper floors, we will just use some balsa strips glued to the walls to support the floors themselves. Nice and easy peasy:
Now it is time to add our corner beams. Because we only partially cut through our foamcore walls, and folded them around, we obviously have a gap where our corners folded away from each other. 1/4 inch square balsa strips fit PERFECTLY into those gaps. First we cut them to length with a hobby knife. At this point, our balsa strips are the right length, but they are a little too perfectly square for the period we are trying to capture. We really want a more “rough hewn” look here, so what we are going to do, is we are going to take our hobby knife and slightly shave off three side. The fourth side will be left sqaure because it will be hidden within the wall gap. Leaving the third side square also increases surface area for gluing. Once shaped, our corner pieces should look something like this:
This paints up REALLY well.
When our corner braces are cut and shaped, we simply need to glue them into place. That leaves us with this:
On to the next piece!
Since our roof will not be flat, we need to make some angled wall sections to hold the roof up. Now, you CAN do this when originally drawing out the wall sections, but I seem to ALWAYS forget to do that, so we are adding them now. Do not judge me… 🙂
This is pretty easy, we can just use a piece of cutoff laying around to lay the angled pieces out. We can just use the normal floor height of two inches, measure out half of length of the wall section, and draw a diagonal line across to establish our roof angle. Like this:
We just draw a jgged line, as shown to simulate our building damage, and cut the piece out with a hobby knife:
Rinse and repeat for the two end building wall sections that will support roof pieces. For the building in the center, we will just use balsa strips to support the roof sections. Glue them in place, and BING!
Do not worry about the slight seems created by gluing on the top pieces. We will cover those with detailing and texturing later.
Now come the funnest, and most time cunsuming part of the project. DETAILING! For me, there is one simple rule to detailing. There really is no such thing as too much. Seriously.
We will start with craft popsicle sticks:
We use these to give the buildings a real “Tudor” style look. We can add them all over the place. The more the better. Again, we want a real rough hewn look, so we will shave down the edges of the sticks with a hobby knife after we have measured, and cut them to length. Then it is just a matter of gluing them everywhere:
Since I have a LOT more detailing to do still, we will end this part of the tutorial here. I hope to have detailing and texturing done by the weekend. If so, then I will also post the next part of the tutorial.
Again, feel free to let me know what you think of my tutorial in the comments.
So, a while back, someone asked me to do a terrain tutorial. I have never done a tutorial of any kind before, so this will be a little bit of an experiment for me. I will try to explain each piece as best I can, but if I manage to skip anything, or if there is anything anyone does not understand, just post a comment, and I will explain further. One of the things that I love about wargaming terrain, is that there is really no one right way to do anything. There are almost as many ways of making terrain, and styles as there are people who make terrain. What I am about to show you is not the only way to make terrain, by any stretch. It is just how I do it. I also learn something new with almost every terrain piece, so the way I show you to make terrain in this tutorial may not be the way I make terrain a year from now. Whow knows… Well,on that note, on with the tutorial.
The first thing you need to build terrain is tools and materials. This is, by now means, an exhaustive list, it is just what I use most often.
Rulers/Straight Edge (multiple recommended)
Rotary Tool (recommended)
Pin Vice (recommended)
Jigsaw (recommended for basing)
Balsa Strips (Various Sizes)
1/8 Inch Sheet Balsa
Craft Popsicle Sticks
Lego Windows (recommended)
Cheap Acrylic Paints
Cereal Box Cardboard
1/8 Inch Hardboard/Fiberboard (for basing)
Building a piece of terrain always starts with an idea. My ideas come from various places, movies, pictures, other pieces of terrain… lots of different sources. In the case of this particular piece, I was watching the movie, A Knight’s Tale, and I liked some of the buildings I saw in the set pieces. They inspired me to get up and make a new piece, and here we are. The idea for this piece is for three seperate “buildings” all attached together as a single piece. I did not want each section to be identical with the others, because that is just boring. As I thought about it, I decided that two of the three buildings would be three floors, and the third would be two floors. It made sense to put the two taller pieces on the outside, and place the shorter piece in the center. I also wanted to play with widths a little, so the left outer pieces would be five inches wide all the way up, the center piece would be four inches wide, and the right piece would start at four inches, and step outward to five inches on the second floor.
I start with a sheet of foamcore. I have a two inch wide, yard long straight edge that is perfect for measuring out floors. I use the Games Workshop standard of two inches per floor. So, I lay the straight edge down and draw a bunch of two inch wide lines across the foamcore sheet. With that, all my floors are already measured out. Easy peasy.
Next, I measure out the length that I want each wall to be. We want good, full access to as much of the building as possible for playing purposes, so we are only going to make three of the four walls. We will draw all three walls as one piece. When we measure the walls out, we will make each wall seection 3/8 of an inch shorter than however long we want our outside measurements to be. I will explain why shortly. Once measured and drawn out, we cut them out with a hobby knife, like this:
Sorry, but I never got a picture before cutting the whole piece out.
Before I do any further cutting, I like to decide on, and draw out my windows and doors. For ease of building, I like to use Lego windows. They look good, are the right size, can be ordered directly from the Lego website, and are super cheap. Decide on where you want to place them, and you can then just trace out the windows onto the foamcore:
Once we have all of the window and door placement figured out, and drawn on, go ahead and cut them out.
Now, we are ready to cut the individual walls. What we are going to do here, is cut through the first layer of paper along our wall lines, and about halfway through the foam, leaving the second paper layer completely intact. By doing this, we can just fold the walls around, while keeping them attached to each other. This makes assembling the buildings much easier than if the walls were completely seperated. This is also why we made each wall section 3/8 inch shorter than our desired outer wall dimensions. We have to account for the width the foamcore itself adds to the wall dimensions once folded outward. Foamcore is about 3/16 of an inch wide, so if you count one folded section on each side, that adds 3/8 inch to the overall wall length.
Basing. Now, there are two schools of thought on terrain basing. Some like no bases at all so that all of their terrain sits directly on any table style with no aesthetic irregularities. Others, like me, prefer to make bases for their terrain for various reasons, including increased stability. If we want to make a base, now is the time. We draw the dimensions of the building floor out, and add 1/2 inch all the way around our outer dimensions.
Once everything is drawn out, cut the base out with a jigsaw. We do not have to worry about our cuts being perfect, as we are going to rough up the edges later anyway, to simulate a more natural look.
Once the base is cut out, we can glue our wall pieces down. We can use superglue for immediate adhesion, or we can use white glue if there is no superglue. Foamcore actually adheres using white glue VERY quickly, so it is almost as good as superglue. If our measurements are good on our base, we should be able to line our walls up almost perfectly using our measurement lines for gluing.
Since this particular piece has mulitple wall sections, we will go ahead and place the rest as well.
This is probably a good stopping point for the tutorial. I will post part two in the next day or so. If you like the tutorial so far, great! If you would like more, or less, of anything in particular, please let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading,
Been a little while since I have had anything new to show off, but I finally got some terrain time over the holidays, so it is officially time to post something! I was asked to do a tutorial post, but since I was already way too far into this build to try and do a real step-by-step sort of thing, the full tutorial post will be my next project. So if you are interested in that, stay tuned!
These buildings were made as a set to prototype the modular bridge and balcony idea I had a few months ago. The set consisted of a small, two floor building that was mostly ruin, a longer, three floor building with the bridge opening on the third floor, and a five floor behemoth guard tower with openings and mounts on the third and fourth floors. Almost right away I realized that my design for the two floor building would not work because I found that I needed a flat wall below the bridge mount for support. I finished the piece anyway, though, because I had already put a bit of work into it, and it is still a good enough piece to sit on my table. Here are a few pictures of that piece.
All three buildings are foamcore walls, and balsa wood sticks for corner supports. I tried something different with these buildings and for the floors used sheet balsa wood, cut and scored to make the individual boards. Not sure if I will continue to do it this way. It saves HOURS but honestly, it just does not look as good as individually cut and shapes craft popsicle sticks. Maybe I just need to work with it some more and perfect the technique. Anyway, the windows are Lego windows, which are AWESOME, and the walls and base are textured with stucco patch.
Next up is the three floor building.
This building has pretty much the exact same construction as the first except for some cardboard roof tiles. Here are a couple of close up pictures of one of the modular balconies in place on this building.
As you can see, the balconies fit in nice and snug. You probably would not ever be able to tell that they are removable. Any of the balconies that I have made can fit onto any mount on any building.
Finally, we have the big guard tower…
And close ups of the balconies…
I did not use any Lego windows on this one, but the shields on either side of the front door, and the banner pole are all modified Lego pieces. Lego pieces are cheap, easy to cut and modify, and close enough in scale that they are worth looking at as additions to anyone’s bitz box.
Now that you have seen the buildings with the balconies in place, now it’s time to see the bridge. Sorry for the blurry pictures…
Again, much like the balconies, the bridge fits in snuggly, and flush. Someone would be hard pressed to know it was removable if I did not tell or show them. Only time and gaming will tell if my rudimentary engineering skills will hold up on the table top. Wish me luck!
Quick post today… just wanted to share a nifty tip I picked up on Tom’s Boring Mordheim Forum. Use Lego windows in your terrain projects. You can buy individual pieces from the Lego website for dirt cheap and have them shipped right to your house. I think I paid $.20 a piece for the window that I ordered. They also have a couple of different window options, and one of the two different types I ordered actually open. Not critical by any means, but it could add a fun little dimension. Check it out…
Just cut/file/dremel the pieces off of the tops of the window frames and they slide right into the foamcore. You could also skip the window frames if you wanted, but personally, I like the way that they look.
Here they are placed in a new piece of terrain that I am currently working on.
Very good looking windows, cheap and easy.
I do not plan on using them in every building I make as I do not like all my buildings to look too uniform, but I will definitely use them here and there.