Thursday, 16 July 2015

Cobblestones and Broken Asphalt


Zombicide minis shamble across the pavement.
 Quite a while back in the blog I mentioned I was considering a modular terrain project.  I'm still in the prototyping phase but I have completed the two samples and hoping to get some feedback on how either project looks and on the best methods you the reader might suggest for the final design.



A top down view of the cobblestone tile.
The cobblestone tile that I hope to use for future games of Frostgrave is built from a block of pink foam insulation mounted on a 12"x12".  I made the impressions of the cobbles by repeatedly embedding a squared piece of copper tube that I had kicking around into the surface repeatedly.  To try and make the surface more interesting and to hide some of the really terrible "bricklaying" I did I tore some sections out and textured them with sand and added some miniature bricks.  Once it was marked up I brush painted the foam with craftsmart acrylic black (remember aerosol and foam= bad) then layered lightening greys over top.  I did a simple earth drybrush over the exposed ground and called it done.

Overeager, unpainted mercs plod on cobblestone stree........plain :(.
I like using the pink foam as part of the construction.  The additional depth would allow me to "dig" features into the surface and present some depth in the tiles.  This would allow me to build more convincing canals or a waterfront if I wanted to somewhere down the line and would look pretty cool if I wanted to add a stairway descending into the earth or maybe a ruined cellar.  I'm not so sure I want to surface the top with the foam though.  It shapes well when working with cut pieces but the skin is resilient and has poor "memory"; It doesn't take the cobble impressions as well as I would like.  For this reason I'm considering actually making a tile sandwich and topping the pink foam with an additional layer or white foamboard which is far more cooperative.

Fully realized, awesome urban terrain from World's End Publishing for This is Not a Test.  Dicks :)
I would like to use the asphalt tile for zombie, modern or maybe This is Not a Test.  The latter looks awesome!  If you liked Mordheim or Fallout you should check it out.  I'd like to give a shout out to Guerilla Minature Games for bringing this to my attention (Thanks Ash!).  They have some beautiful urban scenery in their gallery and I am very jealous.

Small wire brush for scarring foamboard.  Works great.
 Yeah, the tile.  I layered a piece of foamboard that I soaked one of the paper faces off of onto another 12"x12" MDF tile.  I then scoured it with a brass wire brush to add some texture.  You can scrawl across the surface or press pocks but the method I though best emulated pavement wash a back/forth motion as though you were brushing your teeth.  Brushing isn't a time consuming pain in the ass like cobbles but mixing the two effects would probably look really cool and make for a dynamic play surface.  Once I was happy with that I drew on some lines break up the surface and simulates seams/joins in the paving then added some cracks for wear.  I used a pencil to make these impressions.

Zombies still mugging for camera.
Like the cobble piece I brushpainted the foam black and mixed a dark blue grey from the slimey pile of cheap craft acrylics.  I sponged two lighter shades onto the black leaving the cracks black and making it lighter as I moved away from them.  I finished the pavement by taking a light blue grey paint and partially edging the seams.

Top down ashphalt.
 I liked how this turned out.  It could be improved by making those seams more subtle next time around and by adding some lines to the roadway.  I think I could get away with the lines because I would like to build any buildings on city blocks that include sidewalks and curbs that will form the next layer of any urban board I build.  That's it for now.  If you have any questions or better yet suggestions or opinions on what I should be doing post-prototype I would love to hear them.  


6 comments:

  1. They both look great. I think a combination of both techniques would look best. Are you making one solid piece or modular segments that connect?

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    1. The plan is to do 1'x1' modules/tiles. I think it's a better option than a solid 4'x4' because it's easier for storage/portability and more versatile for layouts. The variation would really shine through if I built more than the 16 tiles required for the 4'x4' and could switch in extras to change things up. If I can get the full compliment done I plan to build a table with folding legs and leaves (with an open top where the tiles could be plugged in). Using a minimalist frame rather than a proper tabletop should keep the weight low which like the tiles would make it easy to stow.

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  2. I'm a fan of the asphalt more then the cobblestone. I do think you could go a bit fun times with some green and gunky washes on both. With that type of cracking, stuff doesn't stay grey for long!

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    1. I agree Greg. I was quite a bit happier with the pavement tile than the cobble tile. I think the cobbles would be cleaner if I pressed them into the foam board rather than the foam insulation's skin. The linear layout and uniformity of the cobbles were detrimental to the aesthetic. I think that it would be a match for the asphalt if I varied the size of the stones and did a more haphazard or more organic layout (maybe a curve?). Both tiles would look better with weathering. I'm considering adding some snow to the cobbled tile as well to tie it to the Frostgrave setting.

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    2. Hmm...could throw in some yellows, for dead grass from the cold in some of the cracks. Kinda of a tundra type setting. Looks like something fun to experiment with, that's for sure!

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    3. Some scrub grass or lichen would be appropriate and a great way to introduce more colour. I like the idea of tundra rather than full on winter wonderland.

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