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> [Terrain] River dock table for PAX-AUS demo games, All finished - for now...
morsla
post Mar 25 2014, 12:03 PM
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This is a project log for some terrain I've wanted to make for ages: an Iron Kingdoms dock table. I'm making it for two major reasons: firstly, it will be used as a demo board for Warmachine learn-to-play games at PAX Australia later this year. It'll also be a handy bit of terrain for my Iron Kingdoms RPG group, as the Red Shields mercenary company spend a lot of their time getting into trouble on the Ordic waterfront...

Dave's working on another PAX demo table (Underground Caverns), and we should have others in the works over the next few months. If you're making something to bring along to PAX, let me know! The more awesome tables we have, the more new miniature gamers we can draw in to the hobby.

It's early days yet on this project: a bunch of the parts I want are currently in transit, so I've started off by sketching out some ideas and planning it all out. The table will be 2' x 2' to remove those early-game turns of running everyone forwards. That also conveniently reduces the surface area I'm working on, and lets me put more detail into it.

Textures and surfaces that I want to include:
- Aged (silvered) timber
- Water ripples
- Stone blocks
- Brickwork
- Rusted metal

Next post will have some of the sketches - I'm still sorting out what it'll look like, but I really like the idea of a tiered board that runs from a high city backdrop down to the water level. The buildings will sit at the back of the table (so the people running demo games can stand behind it), while the players will deploy opposite each other on the same level... playing left to right, or vice versa.

So, what might it look like?

Something like this:

IPB Image

With a few ideas for reference material and details:

IPB Image


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morsla
post Mar 25 2014, 12:13 PM
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Over the weekend it occurred to me that I need to find a way of storing this, as even a 2x2 board could be awkward to fit in a wardrobe if it has too much detail on it. Then I remembered about Back 2 Base-ix and their modular terrain boards.

I still want to glue most sections together so I can have a seamless stretch of water at the front, but I like the idea of potentially adding other pieces over time - so having magnets built into the frame is a great idea. If I get really tricky, I could even magnetise some pieces of bevelled picture framing timber... that way the board could have a "finished" edge on it, removable when expansion is needed.

Being a nerd who never really used that Geology degree for much, I started drawing cross sections of elevation across the board...

IPB Image

I think I'll use 16mm boards for the front of the table, keeping the water level as low as possible. Then, I want to use a few 63mm boards at the back of the table. That will really lift up the higher road, and give me an excuse to make some stairs for the centre of the table wink.gif

I mucked around with graph paper trying to sort out 300x300, 300x100 and 150x150 shapes - if I remember to take a picture of the result, I'll add that in here later on. The basic plan is to have two sections, each made of four boards glued together.

The front section (water, dock and low ground) will be 600mm x 400mm, built up from the 16mm base boards.

The rear section will be 600mm x 200mm, built from a 63mm base. This will have an overhang at the front: both for the stone texture on that large retaining wall (shown above), and for the stairwell. The whole piece should sit neatly on the flat docks, and it's narrow enough to fit on a high bookshelf without too much overhang.


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morsla
post Mar 25 2014, 12:22 PM
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The design changed a bit after that top sketch, and I decided on a broad wooden dock for most of the low ground (as shown in the plan view on that image). That seems a bit more natural, but also requires a whole lot of wooden bits cut and glued in place.

So, a trip to Riot happened, and I bought (and promptly hacked up) a packet of wooden craft sticks. Wider and thinner than icypole sticks; more like the kind of thing a doctor would use to help peer down your throat. They were easy enough to cut with a craft knife, scoring (both sides!) and snapping them across the grain - or just scoring them twice when cutting lengthwise.

I fell into a bit of a trance while my daughter was asleep during the afternoon, and eventually churned out a couple of hundred pieces of trimmed-down timber...

This shows the ends being cut off, and a few variant widths. Having a few narrower planks helps to break up the monotony, and produces handy offcuts that I'll use in a minute.
IPB Image

I then started gluing them down to a supporting framework. Some planks have been cut more-or-less in half - that gives the total length I needed, and lets me alternate short-long, long-short across the structure.
IPB Image

After trimming the ragged edge (I did say my cutting was more-or-less accurate), I added more pieces to help stop the ends from warping. I've had to split some sticks in half for this, as I actually used up the entire packet in one go...
IPB Image


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Bloodbrotherdave
post Mar 25 2014, 12:27 PM
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was chatting to Gez from Geelong and he recommend making 16" squares for the segmented table tops. being that 3x3 makes a 48" square table and 2x2 makes for a nice big demo board. still trying to decide if I follow that advice or not?


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morsla
post Mar 25 2014, 12:31 PM
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Details will be important for helping fix the scale of this terrain, so I decided to add some nail holes with a pin vice:
IPB Image

The dock is still going to be the largest flat area on the table, but I'm hoping I can break it up a bit with scatter terrain and some uneven, weathered painting.

Remember those offcuts from earlier? I used them on the upper surface, helping to sandwich the edges in place. It also gives the impression of a slightly thicker dock, which helps a bit... the models in the game will be multi-tonne Warjacks, and I don't want them stomping around on a flimsy bit of balsa wood.
IPB Image

This is as far as I've gotten over the weekend. I needed to get a clearer image of just how big things will be, so I've used some foam offcuts to make a rough mockup of where the elevation changes happen.
IPB Image

Now, back to work again... I'll keep chipping away at this one during evenings and lunchbreaks. If you have any terrain-making links bookmarked, feel free to send them my way - I'm slowly building up a library of reference images and techniques to try on this project...

Dave - 16" squares would be interesting. Easy to spot the centre for demo games, and no seam lines on the centre for more competitive games on the full table wink.gif

I'm keeping this one to 2x2 (well, 600mm x 600mm) as I'm not intending to make it a full-size table any time soon. I want to work on the details, not get too bored trying to replicate textures across huge stretches of tabletop smile.gif


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Shady_Character
post Mar 25 2014, 12:41 PM
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What about making a sewer entrance which leads to a separate sewer section which adjoins a certain underground cavern?

You could also have a dock at either end of the water. This would break up the straight line (visual interest), provide a little (but not too much) protection for ranged units and it would boarder your water to help seal it when pouring and create a seamless transition if you ever expanded the board along the waterfront.

Keen to see this project progress.
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Krefey
post Mar 25 2014, 12:43 PM
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Nice Ben. I love a good terrain project and am keen to see how this pans out smile.gif


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pancreasboy
post Mar 25 2014, 12:58 PM
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Oooh gonna follow this one, especially on how you paint the rust areas.


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morsla
post Mar 25 2014, 01:31 PM
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Hmm. I like the sewer entrance idea - I'll have a think about how (or if) it can fit in with the other ideas. After building a 60cm dock, I'm now starting to think that I'll end up taking a hacksaw to it at some stage... I keep thinking of other things that I could add.

Water and sewage pipes would make sense to run under the boardwalk though, and in a relatively well-built city (straight embankments and docks, rather than following terrain contours) I think that adding too many exposed pipes might look out of place. Breaking the dock in half also risks adding a large dead zone across the play area: the water is designed to be an automatic "out of play" zone if models are thrown or slammed into it.

I think I may need to abandon my original plans of pouring clear resin for the water, as I would need to add a rim across ~80cm of table edge to stop it all pouring off. Current plan is to experiment with a painted base and some glossy clear gel medium (Mod Podge or Liquitex), aiming for something like the surface level of DoktorVivi's amazing water here:

IPB Image
(click on the image to see his whole diary - it's fantastic!)


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Shady_Character
post Mar 25 2014, 02:21 PM
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That DoktorVivi stuff is amazing.

I did a quick sketchup concept to show you what I was talking about.

IPB Image

That means you would only have to seal the front edge temporarily. It can be done though I have never tried so I can't remember how off hand.

Alternatively you could bring the water back further but cover it with your wooden boardwalk, keeping the stone edges. It would let you put a lot of nice detail (floating debris etc) underneath that you could see through the odd broken plank.

IPB Image

This post has been edited by Shady_Character: Mar 25 2014, 02:32 PM
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Chaplain_Fortis
post Mar 25 2014, 02:33 PM
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Looks great. Are you going to use plasticard stonework or carve your own?

I've been turning over the idea to make a similar sort of table for Cutlass.


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morsla
post Mar 25 2014, 02:53 PM
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Ah, gotcha. That would definitely make it easier to expand on later - thanks for the pictures!

I like the way that it also shows an exposed retaining wall right up against the water, instead of covering the whole lot with timber. That would give me some scope to add sewer gratings... and really, who doesn't like that kind of detail on a river or canal table wink.gif

Scott - I'll be carving my own textures for this one. I want to buy a bit of brass pipe to try making a brick stamp, as it seems much quicker than carving four sides on each surface... though I've seen a few examples of pen scribing, single (perpendicular) cuts with or without a pen to widen the channels, and V-shaped cuts. The V-cuts are ridiculously time consuming but look amazing - for example, in menace's Khador table here: http://privateerpressforums.com/showthread...%92jack-factory

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post Mar 25 2014, 02:57 PM
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Very cool sounding project. I'm looking forward to seeing it progress...yeah, that water effect in the pic above is fantastic!!! It'd be great to aim for something like that I reckon....


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marius
post Mar 25 2014, 03:01 PM
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Ben

That water effect is amazing. Given your skills and talent it should be an amazing board when done.
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awesomeshotdude
post Mar 25 2014, 03:07 PM
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I wonder if you could make a single stamp of brickwork by buying a sheet of the plastic brickwork from a model railway shop, moulding it and casting your own thicker resin sheet (this would be stronger and firmer than the sheet from the shop). Then push it down hard on a flat piece of foam and place weights on it over night. I wonder if this would create a good brickwork look, that would be easy to replicate across the entire sheet of foam. Then just cut the foam to whatever size you want for the walls once it is all stamped.


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pancreasboy
post Mar 25 2014, 03:13 PM
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You've seen my lemax matting right? See my signature if not.


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morsla
post Mar 25 2014, 04:00 PM
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I have - I spent a few Boxing Day sales looking for the stuff among Myer's discount Christmas decorations after first seeing your cobblestone board wink.gif I think I'd use something sturdier (vinyl mats, Hirst Arts tiles, etc) on a board that would see general use, but I'm hoping that the small demo board will be okay with just blue foam for the playing surfaces.

I may end up adding some estapol varnish over the top, after painting it - I'm relying on the foam to take some textured imprints to help with drybrushing it, but should be able to add a hard coat on top once it's done.

awesomeshotdude - I think that could work, but the texture on the plastic sheets is very shallow. You'd need a lot of very evenly applied pressure to transfer it properly, and even then you might miss out on some of the relief. I like the idea of taking small wall sections to work on while watching TV - it's become one of the parts that I'm most looking forward to in this project wink.gif

marius - thanks! Hopefully I'll be able to get the ideas out of my head and onto the tabletop. I've been fascinated by water effects since seeing a modular canal terrain piece by one of the Perry twins in a White Dwarf magazine some time in the mid 90's... that one just used gloss varnish ("keep dabbing on layers until you get bored") so I'm keen to see what I can do with the products available now.


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marius
post Mar 26 2014, 08:58 AM
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I remember the warhammer quest diorma done by McVey with a troll living under a bridge eating rats.

Inspiring me to get into doing some terrain.
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thabear00
post Apr 1 2014, 07:56 AM
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That looks like a great set up so far , the docks add a good opportunity for more street terrain and detail.
This is my 1.2 square table I use at home for WM and a few other games.
Have you thought about including a ship ? I picked up two at a toy shop and quickly repainted them to get them on the table . They actually do get used for cover in our games too . Sorry if this appears to be thread hijack , just wanted to show you the ships can add quite a bit more depth to the docks table .
IPB Image
IPB Image
You can see the two ships in the background of second picture .

cheers Tom
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post Apr 1 2014, 08:14 AM
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Sweet jeebuz, so much awesome is contained in this thread.


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