For years I’ve wanted to build a terrain board based on a city center and dockside district. Early on in the winter of 2011 while I was completely sucked into Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, I was totally inspired to finally get up off of my ass and build one.
Running around in Constantinople (not Instanbul) in ACR provided a lot of eye candy to study and mimic. All of the little details were like fuel for my project and I was happy that I was finally going to do this.
I spent a lot of time scouring the message boards over at The Miniatures Page looking for tutorials and tips. I’d be remiss if I failed to credit the excellent tutorial over at Quindia Studios’ web site. His terrain boards were the basis for the construction of this project. I must have spent a good two weeks’ worth of late evenings reading and studying his step-by-step walk through on how he created a series of terrain boards for an event he was running at Historicon.
I have to apologize before going on. I took a three-year hiatus from gaming, and all things gaming related, to go back to school, focus on raising my son, and spend more time with the family. This isn’t really a “how-to” tutorial. It’s not a tutorial at all, in fact, but more of a visual documentation of a project that I really enjoyed working on. I suppose that if I got enough requests I would post the blow-by-blow details of the process, but truly–I just followed the tutorial I listed above.
I did some initial sketches on graph paper and worked out the scale but as with how those things go, I decided to just draft out the outlines on a 4′ x 6′ sheet of 3/4″ oak plywood so I could see firsthand how the layout would look at actual size.
To help visualize the design even more, I grabbed some models, terrain bits, and some foam (as seen in the picture to the right) and moved them around in a lot of different configurations. I’m glad I did this as it really helped me work out a solid plan for how I was going to measure, cut, and execute the design. Next steps where drawing out the lines where the foam would need to be cut, and then simply cutting it.
In the image to the right, you can see the two levels I mentioned earlier: the lower dock level and the upper city streets area.
The two jetties would wind up being removable to keep the “ocean” space a bit more flexible with respect to configuration. The lower (long) dock section will be adhered into place though. The area where the “ocean” will be is going to be a textured acrylic fluorescent light cover, painted on one side.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the height of the levels but wish that the upper level was just a tad bit higher. I could have layered the foam to build up the height but that would have meant screwing around with higher rails on the sides of the plywood and I didn’t want a giant “pocket” on the ocean side of the table (you’ll see what I’m talking about in later pictures of the finished table).
You can see in this shot (to the right) that the mini’s head just pokes up over the top of the upper level. The latex cobblestone mat that will get adhered to the surface of the upper level will give a little more height, but not much.
That’s OK though–I’ll be adding a low, stone wall as a barrier along the edge of the upper level.
I dug up some old (but great!) Gothic style walls from Armorcast that I had in a box of unpainted scenery bits. Imagine that, a gamer with a box of unpainted stuff. ;-}~
Once my Zuzzy Flagstone Paven mat arrived I wasted no time measuring, cutting, fitting, and adjusting the mat.
Before I glued the mat to the foam, I did a test on a smaller piece of the material that Zuzzy sends along with the product.
The spare piece was roughly 4″ x 6″ or so and I cut a smaller section of that to glue to a spare piece of pink insulation foam.
I used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive to glue the mat to the foam and was happy with the results. The foam didn’t dissolve and after about two minutes or so, the bond between the spray adhesive and the latex was really firm. The shot above shows the mat fixed in place and without any paint on it. The edges of the foam have a base coat of a dark gray.
I did this by myself when my wife was gone. She can’t stand the smell of the Super 77, and rightfully so. I highly recommend using a good respirator and well ventilated area when using this stuff.
I laid down a large, plastic painter’s drop cloth in the area where I used the adhesive. The over spray is messy, sticks to everything, and will pick up dust, pet hair, and other debris like nobody’s business.
In the next update, we’ll cover some of the details that I’ve added to the board.