Thursday, April 27, 2017

City Ruins Terrain

I completed several pieces of terrain in time for our game of Song of Blades and Heroes coming up tomorrow. I got the game mat from Frontline Gaming when they had a big sale going on. It was a decent price at the time, but an odd size of 30"x30". I guess it's used for a Warmachine/Hordes game format, but I knew it could be used for small skirmish games like this. The good thing is all this terrain I made was extremely cheap. Most of the stuff I needed I already had from past terrain projects.
First we take some 1/2" blue foam board (extruded polystyrene) and cut it into 1/2" wide strips. The board actually turned out to be a little thicker than 1/2", so these were not perfectly square, but as long as all your strips are cut 1/2" wide, you should be fine for creating ruins.
Next on the strips, you mark out 1" marks and cut them on those marks. This should create your little bricks. You will need a lot of them.
In making all the bricks, I realized they were cut too square and sharply, making for unrealistic ruins. So I started sanding off the edges of them, but gave up halfway through. It was a lot of work and I figured half of them helps sell the old look well enough.
Now we have all our little bricks done, you essentially have a bucket of Lego that you can use to build your structures.
I had spare pieces of MDF board that I initially bought for my Zone Mortalis project. They were not cut square enough for the tiles, but decent for this. I jigsawed out some shapes that seemed like they would work on the game mat, and sanded off the edges.
Using a hotglue gun because it's quick and easy, you start by laying out the base stones for your ruins. Then you build up from them, keeping in mind how things will look finished. It was hard not to try completing the walls and structures, instead make sure they end up looking dilapidated and ruined.
Here they are built up. At about 4 blocks high, I decided to add wood flooring to create other levels. I didn't do it on all of them, but some to create some dynamic terrain. I used popsicle sticks hotglued between some of the brick layers. Scraping along the grain of the sticks with a serrated knife, and generally breaking them off where they need to end in length helps sell the ruined look of them.
Last step before painting is gluing down sand. I did some on top of the bricks as well.
And lastly you paint and decorate.

For painting I just used cheap craft paints.
  • For the ground I base coated it with a medium gray, washed with black, and drybrushed in a forest green in a blotchy pattern.
  • For the stones and walls I based them with a dark grey and washed with black. Then I sponged a medium gray allover the bricks for texture. Finally I drybrushed a light gray especially around the edges.
  • The wooden floors were based with a chocolate brown, washed with black, then drybrushed with a light brown (almost tan).
  • Next I did some creeping vines using a very similar technique shown here (scroll down to Finishing Touches).
  • Once the vines are dry, I gave everything a coat of Mod Podge. After the Mod Podge dries, it had a slightly satin or glossy sheen, so I did a final coat of a spray on matte varnish.
  • Final step is hotglue on some cheap aquarium plants to create colorful vegetation.
    Thane Dunhill and his crew begin their expedition in the mysterious ruins. Ancestors know what dangers lurk therein.

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