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TUTORIAL: INFINITY ‘DO IT YOURSELF’ GAMING TERRAIN

TUTORIAL: INFINITY ‘DO IT YOURSELF’ GAMING TERRAIN

In this tutorial I will show you a shortcut to some awesome Terrain Making. Together we will plunge head on into the distant future of ‘Infinity the Game’. We end up knee deep in terrain pieces, surrounded by half cheved bitz of plasticard, with our fingertips bleeding, clothes devastated by super glue and wallets full of unspent cash! A truly manly adventure awaits us and that’s why I’ve prepared some Terrain Making theory to prepare you for what is to come and remodel the way you think about it.

THEORETICAL

Terrain Making is a topic to write a book about. There is just so many different aproaches a modeller can take on a road to create some awesome gaming terrain. I would be lying if I told you that I am able to cover all of that here, in this tutorial. Instead I will concentrate on some key points of Terrain Making that I keep in mind whenever I happen to make some scenery.

PLANNING:

The first thing to do is planning. I’m not a big fan of this part and usually skip it, still some key points of planning take place almost unconsciously. Just sort the ideas, prepare funds for eventual purchases, set a theme and go for it!

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– Price of beauty. Long years of gaming and terrain making showed me that a nice looking table may look even better if pumped with some pre-made stuff. Just throw some money into this project and see how much it changed when it comes to how it looks. Think of a sum that you would like to invest in your gaming table – have in mind that except for some necessary stuff like paints, glue, spray, your gaming table can still be built with 0 cash involved.

– Avoid Expensive stuff. I just told you to spend some cash but be thoughtful with that. Try to pinpoint the most expensive elements of your future gaming table and substitute them with some cheap alternatives. This way you not only save some cash but also will not brind huge visual diversity to your terrain set. [A good example of an expensive terrain piece that could be easily replaced.]

A good example of an expensive terrain piece that could be easily replaced.

– Be a pragmatist. Keep it fast and simple to build. I too had a boner when seeing this gaming table but hey – it’s like a billion € and countless hours spent on putting these things together. Remember that cash equals time and vice versa. If earning cash to purchase a terrain piece and putting that piece together will take you less time than making one yourself – just go for it. Otherwise it’s worth to keep it at speed. A nice looking gaming table can be built and painted in less than 16 hours!

– Select a theme. A ravaged battlefield, futuristic city, space hulk hallways, huge magazines, train station, rich district – what you will choose will affect the materials you will need and a level of complexity ergo ‘time’ you will need to build your gaming table. A good theme is an average between price, time of build and LOOKS. Low on cash and time? Try out Magazine space full of barrels and containers. Plenty of cash and time? Go for a pristine Rich Quarters with fountains, streets, bridges and detailed buildings.

MATERIAL:

In order to create a gaming table you will need a lot of different materials. Plasticard, cardboard, thin wood are considered to be ‘common’ while bitz and parts of particular shapes are more difficult to obtain.

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– Have an open mind. There’s plenty awesome items surrounding you all of the time. Most of them end up as trash while they might be used as modelling material of exceptional value. Just go to the kitchen and look around. Plastic bottle caps of different shapes and sizes, coffee jar lids – these are the tip of an iceberg!

– Ride the outside world. Home ‘trash’ is your brick and mortar when it comes to Terrain Making but true pearls belong to the world outside. Just outside your doors you can find some nice looking stones and sticks but further you venture the better your loot will get. Go ahead and visit a supermarket. Toys, hair utensils, cheap (crappy) plastic jewelry, tools section, decorations – these places are marked with ‘X’ for ‘treasure’!

– Be like modern China, steal blueprints. Many different companies created a variety of splendid gaming terrain. Once you type “Infinity Gaming Terrain” in google you will find a lot of great inspiration to draw your ideas from. You can even purchase some and use leftovers to pimp the visual effect of your home made terrains or go even further and rearrange purchased terrain to have some additional spare bitz left!

CONSTRUCTION:

Finally a part of raw hard work! If you picked a theme that goes along with your funds and time that you are willing to invest – this part will be a lot of fun for you.

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– Durability. Gaming terrain should be tough as otherwise you risk games ended up being forced to do some repairs. Try to create terrain that is well ballanced and easy to game with. I recommend that you base all of the smaller terrain pieces as this will improve their balance along with visuals. Just remember to never use cardboard for basing as it usually bends over time. The recommended materials are: plasticard, plywood (both can be seen in the picture above).

– Utility. Gaming terrain is supposed to be gamed upon. I know – some small, sweet looking, extremely detailed pieces makes me wanna cry with joy, but are they as playable as simple, angular blocks of terrain? The answer is NO and have that in mind. Additionally it is worth to measure some heights to better fit the miniatures. For example: A barrel of the same height as a miniature will usually force you to wonder if a miniature standing behind it has LOF to other miniatures? Well usually it does due to use of silhouettes so it’s better to build barrels that are half the miniature’s height. Etc.

[Once again a good example of an expensive and not very playable terrain piece.]This building is looking great but it is expensive, the cover it provides on the ground level is limited, it is too high for some miniatures to go to the roof in a single action forcing you to remember where the miniature is left hanging.

– Clusters. When it comes to small terrain pieces it is the best to keep them clustered on a single base. They will stay in place and provide a wide cover instead of falling apart and moving around the table each time someone ccidentally pushes it.

– Clones. I’m an enemy of a ruler. I just hate to spend lots of time measuring plasticard/cardboard pieces of same dimensions. I preffer to measure up one piece, then cut the rest using the ‘primary’ piece as a template. Even if some pieces get a bit different from one another this will only add some extra touch to the overall looks of my gaming terrain. [Use this technique at your own discretion.]

– Production line. Plan your work accordingly. Start by preparing all the necessary pieces, put them together and base all the terrain pieces. Do not start to paint before all the terrain is ready for it. This way your work will be a bit less rewarding but you will save a lot of time. Same goes for painting: Do not paint a single terrain piece but paint them in droves instead. Just as you end up applying a layer to the last piece, the first one will get dry and ready for the next layer.

So here’s a shortcut recipee for you:
– Prepare funds then cut the expensives off,
– Plan what to buy/build and how long it’ll take, (be a pragmatist),
– Choose a theme according to your capabilities,
– Pillage your house for free trash material,
– Pillage nearby supermarket for some key material pieces, [keep it cheap.]
– Use some purchased terrain and leftovers to create your own variations,
– Make your terrains durable, balanced and playable,
– Keep small terrain pieces based together,
– Save time while preparing particular bitz by using one as a template to cut the rest out,
– End one stage before moving to the next one,

PRACTICAL:

I feel your pain. That wall of text above is probably as hard to read for you as it was for me and I read it more than thrice. Let’s go to the Practical part of this Tutorial with some examples and more pictures. I will use my own gaming table prepared last year as an example of how to do it in accordance to above tips.

PLANNING:

Back then I was short of time and wanted to create a gaming table designed for Infinity ASAP. I love Micro Art Studio’s terrain and wanted to purchase a whole set of it along with some Spartan Scenics. Cash was not an issue but once a test purchase was delivered I almost dropped the project due to time consuming process of putting these terrains together. It was a hell of a boredome so I decided to go ahead and prepare my own gaming table. I choose something between Mass Effect ‘Citadel’ and Death Star outer surface style Theme and already owning a Micro Art Studio’s catwalk set I decided tu cut off the most expensive thing: Buildings. Small part of the surplus cash was to be used on static grass and a Battle Mat that would eventually pump the visual effect of the gaming table.

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MATS/CONSTRUCTION:

Being a pragmatist I decided to use a hard cardboard boxes as the main bodies on the gaming board. Easy to obtain in friendly local hobby store, easy to prepare, light (transportaion), stable, very playable – the cardboard boxes prove to be an extrmely good pick. Some spare parts from catwalk set let me upgrade my ‘buildings’ with a nice set of futuristic ladders. The plan was to improve the visual effect by adding some facture with paintjob.

Once I was done with the buildings I moved to all the other stuff. Less futuristic but very playable and bringing some colour to my gaming table came Barrels, Trash Containers, Holograms, inner walls and some key terrain pieces. Here’s an example:

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PARTICULAR TERRAIN PIECES:

Barrels: Plastic bottle caps of coca cola, milk and water. I find the ones with less facture being the best as the paint looks much better on irregular flat areas. I drink a lot of Coca Cola Zero in addition to milk and water so I used most of the caps being kept in home 🙂

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Trash Containers: Tic-tac pack upper parts. Some were additionally converted but looking past I think that I should leave them be as they have a perfect shape on their own.

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Holograms: Old Warhammer 40,000 tokens, easy to obtain at second hand market and as these are rarely used – they come in cheap. I had some left from my own Warhammer 40,000 collection and purchased another set from a friend.

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Inner Walls: Rectangle Chessex Dice packs being emptied and thrown away by a local hobby store. Some walls were also made of wooden blocks. Some have been updated with facture made of wooden spare parts left from Micro Art’s catwalk set.

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All the leftovers were used to build this Relay Beacon, leaving not a single bitz unused.

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This particular gaming board was made with rush thus I had to update it from time to time adding extra touch with new sets of scenery. Just recently I wandered into the Supermarket in search of some final pieces to strengthen the theme of Sci-fi quarters. I found these cool items:

Plastic hair holder / 1,5€is a masterpiese of both architecture and art. A fine centerpiece for my gaming table. I bought two of these and made them into this:

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Decorative beads / 2€ will one day be used to make a set of awesome light globes all around my flat white buildings. For now they served as additional facture for new set of Trash Containers.

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So here we are. My gaming table took less than 24hrs in total to complete and that if all the add-ons are being counted. The overall cost of this project is Micro Art catwalk set, Micro Art hologram banner set, Micro Art gaming mat, warhammer 40,000 tokens, two hair holders, a pack of decorative beads, a can of white spray, some paints, glue, brushes. It’s around 150€ + 24hrs worth of my work (which could be much less if I only made all these stuff in one go). All the other items I’ve managed to get for free. Now I have a very playable and rather nice looking gaming table, designed for Infinity and fully packable into a single box XD

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!  If i haven't purchased Micro Art Studio's awesome stuff the overall cost of this gaming table would be close to 50€

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I hope that you will find this tutorial both helpful and inspiring. In case of any questions just leave me a comment in the comment section below.

PS: The pictures below were made couple of days ago in a local mall, which was modernized recently. Now it looks just as my vision of what this gaming table is supposed to represent 🙂 Welcome to the future – few years from now and we will see some Heavy Infantry in live action 🙂

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Nazroth
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3 Comments so far

OrlacienPosted on  8:40 am - Mar 5, 2016

Tic-tac bins with lids possible to open are cherry on the top of this article! 😀 Awesome prefabricated and easy to obtain scrap just perfect for a trash bin. I need to find some 😉
You also convinced me to glue bottle caps into barrels – it looks much better than I thought.
As always, great article and good looking job effects. Keep up the great work and have a nice day! 😉

HisoPosted on  1:18 pm - Mar 21, 2016

Awsome work! You have a lot of imagination, i will take all of your ideas ^^
Now, i just want to know how you did the buildings and i’m planning to get the same table!
Thanks a lot.

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