Thursday, October 29, 2015

Zone Mortalis Tiles Project - Fun with Mold #321

The pipes mold sure is a lot of fun to work with.
It doesn't have to make sense. It only has to look cool.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Zone Mortalis Tiles Project - One down, 15 to go!

The first official tile for my Zone Mortalis set is complete. This will mark 1 of 16, and set the precedence for the remaining tiles. This one is rather plain, as it just needs to be the basis for the design of the others. Some key features of this tile are the repeating pattern of the bulkheads that jut onto the floor, and the pipeworks that line the tops of the walls. Those are supposed to line up with other tiles so it looks like a continuous work of pipes throughout the board.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Zone Mortalis Tiles Project - Planning

Casting is well underway for all the bits needed for my grand Zone Mortalis tile project. Above is about 10-12 casts of the 5 molds I am working with. It's not enough for everything, so I still have a ways to go.
I found a better medium than cheap plaster. It is Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty that I can get at Home Depot. Ideally the best casting material  for this stuff is the dental plaster, but that stuff is really expensive because you generally need to order it in bulk and online. I prefer to get things locally if I can because it's easier to budget for it and I don't like to pay for the shipping. This stuff is superior to plaster of paris in every way.

After several initial failures and test casts, I think I have found the right mixture and amounts to fill the 5 molds. I've been doing about 2 casts a day. This stuff takes some time to set, so I will fill the molds in the morning, pop them out at night, and fill them again before I go to bed, and repeat.

So here are the 5 molds I bought for this project, and a general idea of what I plan on doing with them. These can all be found here.
It's pretty obvious that #273 here will be floor tiles. I wanted to keep the floor tiles 1" squares instead of some of the bigger 1.5" squares they have. The reason being is for movement and range with your miniatures. The corridors of Zone Mortalis are cramped enough that any way I can limit using your measuring tape is good. Since this is intended mostly for 40k, I wanted to keep with the dirty industrial look that can be commonly found on the forgeworlds and space ships of the dark millennium. So the diamond plate and floor piping I thought would fill the niche.
While mold #274 is actually a bridge building mold, I saw much potential for the bits. These can be used to make the bulkheads and buttresses within the zone, and even parts for the larger doors. Also some of these bits will be used for floor tiles to break up the monotony of the last mold. And if I feel the need to build a few bridges for standard 40k terrain, I can.
Mold #301 is originally designed for sleeker futuristic scifi tiles, but again, I saw potential in a lot of the bits. I need some standard wall panels, and a lot of these pieces will be used to create some of the various bits of machinery found throughout any space hulk or installation. Besides, no matter what bits I use, as long as they are painted in the dark theme of Warhmmer 40,000, they should fit the bill.
What is a piece of Warhammer industrial terrain without exposed piping? And a lot of it. Again to fit the theme these are to be used to embellish the walls and floors. Forgeworld's Zone Mortalis tiles don't have a lot of accessorizing elements, naturally to keep things simple for the tabletop, but I want to definitely make things interesting. I don't want any tile to be the same. When your minis are moving through an area, I don't want you to think "Oh look, more halls and corridors", instead I want your imagination to explore. "This could be near the water purification plant. Or this could be where the Xenos specimens are kept in statis."
This mold was made specifically for Warhammer. The Space Hulk boardgame to be exact. The website provides plans on duplicating the original Space Hulk tiles and these are meant to line the floor tiles for decorative effect. This is one of the molds that excites me the most because it definitely fits the theme. I will be using these as floor moulding, where the floor squares meet the walls. Some can even be used to embellish the machinery scattered throughout the hulk.

Now for the floor plans. I want to follow Forgeworld's Zone Mortalis tile styles because I think they are well designed. They are 1 foot tiles with some walls. When the tiles are laid out, generally in a 4x4 board, the walls naturally create the halls and rooms of the complex. When you look at each tile individually, you may be disappointed because there really isn't that much in the way of walls and rooms, but when all the tiles are put together, that's when the big picture forms. They keep the walls sparse on the tiles so your forces still have room to maneuver and don't obscure vision too much. You still get the claustrophobic feel of a futuristic installation, without the extremely narrow corridors most scifi tiles projects try to create.
Here are the 8 different tile designs by Forgeworld. The above uses 1" squares in 1 foot tiles. The walls are about 2" thick, but for me that will include the floor moulding and any space hulk decor. I will try not to encroach too much on the playing area. I will also need to design some doors (narror and wide doors, which are about 2" and 4" respectively). In order to make a planned 4x4 Zone Mortalis set, I will need 2 of each of the above designs, so that's 16 tiles in total. Since each tile is 12"x12", meaning 144 squares, it will amount to 2304 square inches.

I oviously still have a lot of bits to cast, so it will take me a while, but I will build the first couple test tiles soon so I can get an idea of what I will need the most of.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Zone Mortalis Tiles Project, the first castings.

As a wise someone on the internet once said: "If you are not building dollhouses for your little plastic men, then you are missing half of the hobby."
These are the first experimental castings I did of some Hirst Arts Molds I am doing for a Zone Mortalis tiles project. This is going to be a long process as I need to cast a lot of bits to get a working board. So all these bits are pretty brittle because I am using cheap plaster, so not worthy for wargaming. But I will be experimenting with different mediums soon. All these bits pictured are just dry fitted. I haven't glued anything. I just started playing with them like Lego to see what kind of interior I could be looking at with the molds I bought. I gotta say, I am pretty stoked about this project.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Warmachine/Hordes - Legion of Everblight Extreme Scythean (Complete)

The conversion is complete. Here is the Extreme Scythean heavy warbeast. Note I am not gluing the arms and limbs back on that broke off because I know the client wants to strip the mini and repaint it all anyway. So right now the pieces are held on with sticky-tack and twist-ties.
And a little additional touch, a custom box to deliver it to the client in.
All in all I am really proud of the work here. The greenstuffing flesh was the biggest challenge. I look forward to see what he thinks of it.