Thursday, 20 October 2011

Building Club Terrain: Cambridge Sons of War

A selection of new, WIP terrain pieces expanding the club collection
Just over 1 week to go til the launch of our very own gaming club in Cambridge. As a reminder, it's opening night is the 26th October at the 28th Scout Hut, Flamsteed Rd, Cambridge CB1 3QU, doors open 6pm.
Check the post HERE for more details.. as well as the page on the top bar of the blog...

Anyway, one of the most important factors for me when launching this club is to make sure that the gaming experience is absolutely spot on.

We have the largest number of gaming tables up and running compared to anywhere currently active in Cambridge!!
Before the doors open we have 9 gaming tables.
This will only ever get bigger.
We WILL build more tables.
The aim by the end of the first year is to double that number and have 18 gaming tables ready to roll.
Yes, large foam cocks are funny..
The venue is ready for us, we just need the people. So this part of the experience is ready..

Build it and they will come.

A critical part of the gaming experience is the terrain.
Too little and the games cannot be played correctly.
Too shitty and no one enjoys it...egg boxes are NOT terrain. Yes, I went to a independent club that had shoddily painted egg boxes as terrain.

Surprisingly, there were only 6 people there and I never went back. I'm not slating that club, merely stating it was not for me.

So one of our main missions is to create good quality, durable terrain in large quantities.
So far, we have increased our terrain collection to include 2 boards worth of pink foam hills and rocky outcrops, built a half dozen more 40k plastic ruins and began experimenting with foamboard...

Lets have a look:

First up we have the foamcore stuff...we do have a hot wire cutter for this, but to be honest, it is a bit shit. So we got stuck in with stanley knives and old cutlery that I stole from school...

So how did the old cutlery get used?

Once the rough shape of a hill or rock are cut from the pink foam we then use the old knives from the canteen at school to roughen the edges of the terrain piece.

This creates a very cool looking surface, that will look very good from tabletop height with a simple drybrush and some flocking.

Foamboard buildings were next. I began with simple shapes and resourcing images from the internet for ideas.
This building is scaled for Infinity (28mm) and to be 2 floors high. The long fire window on the ground floor is at perfect waist to chest height for guys to fire from and to remain obscured and in cover from return fire. Whilst the second floor has no real function in game, the height of the building is important. It is necessary to block the line of fire from high snipers nests and other advantageous positions, meaning that these high points do not dictate the game. In addition, whilst it cannot be seen from this angle the roof is set low with a 'rampart' (or something...) around the sides, in this manner a mini can be on top of the bulding and shoot down into the roads/killing ground/whatever below maintaining its cover.. The ramp will eventually extend around the back of the building, leading to an access point for the roof.

Having completed this first simple shape, which took around an hour and a half, I copied it once again and then experimented with a larger piece, with a removable roof and first floor building.

Having achieved the build of this larger building, I then set about creating a wider selection of habitats, small and single storey, which will be textured to resemble a single person dwelling. The kind of small and compact 'house' that I imagine our future generations will be forced to live in due to over population etc..

After these guys, I decided to have a pop at a very large building.. almost a church style building.

The idea here was to create a building that could truly be interactive, in the sense that guys could run around inside and a significant part of the battle could in fact take place in the 'neo-church' structure..

I think this has been reasonably successful.

The interior of the building allows for movement and interaction, for fire positions to the outside and within.

The walls have a selection of fire points, whilst the northern wall has no windows at all, meaning that the outside world cannnot interact with this section, however, this is reciprocal..
This was a shot before I put in the interior walls, leaving just a large space that did not really want to be 'played' with.. the next job after creating all of this lot was to come up with a way of texturing the walls and adding detail simply and quickly, whilst also maintaining the quality of the terrain pieces.
This was a tricky process and took some time to find the correct source. It was actually my gorgeous other half that suggested the use of CG Textures, a web site that provides hi-res images of all sorts of structures...I found this one and printed off a crap load...all on school ink of course...

I think this has worked very well, it simply required a thin layer of PVA glue to be stuck onto the surface, then smoothed over with a careful and lightly pressed finger..

A final touch I have begun to implement as I texture the buildings is to also add windows.

These are built from a simple cut of blister pack plastic. A square is cut, large enough to cover the entire window space and then some, it is stuck down with PVA.

NOTE: I have found this not to be perfect at all, as if too much is used, it will spread and seep down onto the 'pane' intself, leaving visible smears of glue on the glass.. ah well, I got better after the first..

So this is the first chunk of terrain to be added to the club pool.

It will all be textured and the pink foam stuff will be painted and flocked for the opening night.

Just in case you were reading this and thinking, "shit, is this ALL they have", well, no it isn't.. we feel we have enough terrain already to cover all the boards to sufficient quantity, but we are preperaing ourselves for a busy night and to be prepared is to ensure that we can succeed, there would be nothing worse than a hall full of geeks showing up with no terrain to play on the enrich the experience.

This is the whole point of our new club, to give the community an excellent, fully enriched gaming experience...


  1. Nice - I guess Andy is going to rope me into making some terrain for his board, so some good tips.

    I want the return of walkways to 40K, anyone remember RT/2nd Ed with the cardboard terrain pieces they provided, and how you could interlock them with necromunda and make insane walkways across the 6ft board and just put your marines on over watch and do sweet fuck all for the rest of the game lol

  2. very cool stuff. love the paper textures as well!

    you will certainly be roped into helping when this busy patch at work is over next week! I will be building a LOT of walkways and stuff so never fear!

  3. Looking good bro, with your club was closer though :(

  4. I think playing just against you Andy might be the best thing for me, I wont get angry at bad dice letting one of the seals beat me, and I can tinker with lists and not worry if it doesnt work (see previous statement for why I'd hate experimental stuff ... nothing worse than it not working against a crappy player!).

    Plus we can play some skirmish games (necromunda!) In fact I might actually eBay/buy some necromunda gang models. They were awesome.

  5. MANY years ago, I think that I went to a similar club and it really bums you out. Having said that, most of the clubs around here (Melbourne, Australia) have some good stocks of terrain for a multitude of games. I think that the start you have is definitely going to help build the reputation and membership of your club. Kudos and good luck!