Monday, August 22, 2016

Test Dungeon Terrain Section

 Dungeon Terrain?  On a Historical Miniatures blog?  Blasphemy I say!

Well, no, it's not really blasphemy.  I just need a change of pace and am thinking about doing something a bit daft for next year's Historicon game that may mix historical and fantasy - shall we say "Muskets and Dragons" or even "Bolt-Grave"?  But more on that another time....

If one is going to do a fantasy game, one needs some dungeon terrain.   There a lot of commercially available terrain sets out there which are all patterned of the 2x2x2inch cube format used by Dwarven Forge.  DF makes great stuff but it's expensive and also "small".  I wanted to have a bit bigger feel, so I decided to mock up a sectional piece.

 After some deliberation, I'm going to try out building 6x6 inch sectional pieces and want to test the concept with a simple corridor section.  It's made out of 1 inch think extruded polystyrene insulation foam (EPS).  I cut 3 4x6" pieces to form the floor and walls.  I went with one inch for several reasons: (i) its strong so will resit wear and tear, (ii) it comes in easy to work with 2x2ft sections from home depot and (iii) having one inch to work with on the floor sections will allow some ability to add "depth" for canyons/crevices and maybe even some LED lighting.  For the test I mounted the EPS on matt board but will likely move to 1/8 inch hard board for the "real" sections.

 A shot with a 28mm figure for scale.  I like the look of the four inch wide corridor.  You can also see some experiments for detailing .  Before glueing I marked the stone "blocks" using a sharpie marker and ruler.  One inch squares for the floor and 1x2 inch blocks for the walls.  I tried several methods to make the indentations between the blocks and found using a 1/8 inch wide kabob skewer worked best when going with the grain of the EPS.  When going against the grain I used an exact knife and cut a very sallow "v" groove - a bit tedious but it worked.

The section was primed with black acrylic paint.

 Another fascinating shot of the black primed test section.  When working with EPS only use acrylic (water based) paints.  Non-acrylics just end up melting the EPS.

After waiting a few hours for the primer to dry the next step was to paint on a basic very and then highlight with white.
The completed test piece with some figures to show how it looks "in action" with some of my Saga Vikings vs a random GW Troll.  It did strike me that if you have a few saga armies, you've got more than enough dungeon explores for classic D&D.

I think the test section came out rather well but the walls are two high.  It would be difficult to get a measuring tape or fingers in there.  I think if I reduced the effective wall height from 3 inches to 2 the playability will increase sharply with out loosing to much of the dungeon feel.

My preliminary plan for the HCON game needs 6x4 feet of dungeon, which means a minimum of 96 tiles to build.  I think that may be a fun project for the winter.

What do you think?

In planning this little project, I did stumble over a lot of helpful you tube videos

Storm the Castle 3D Dungeon Terrain

The DMGInfo

While the game concept is a bit silly from a historical viewpoint, the terrain making will be a lot of fun and its' still you soldiers.  I just need a break from big, set-piece battles for a bit.


TamsinP said...

An interesting project - look forward to seeing more of this departure from the historical :)

For "engraving" the floors and walls, the nib of a ballpoint pen works well

Michael Mills said...

Looks good! I agree that a shorter wall will improve things. You're only trying to suggest height and playability is an important factor.

Eric Lott said...

Slow day at work so I am stalking through your blog. One thing I have seen people do to give the stone work a bit of texture is to take a crumpled up ball of tin foil and roll it on foam. It leaves a great slight rough texture. Also if you need any assistance with this amazing sounding project let me know.

Eric Lott said...

Wyloch and the DMsCraft are great youtubers as well.