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Custom Terrain & Obstacles For Custom terrain, buildings, and other misc. obstacles


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Old June 7th, 2016, 11:19 AM
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IshMEL IshMEL is offline
 
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IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Below, my first foray into custom terrain!

My lack of Ticalla Jungle terrain has been nagging me for some time now. I'm not a completionist -- I am perfectly happy to never own Wo-Sa-Ga, and the thought of spending a lot of money on Tundra leaves me, well, cold. But the jungle -- it just looks so cool, and there are so many great maps that use it! And yet I just couldn't bring myself to plunk down that much money.

I'm no artist, but am moderately crafty, so I decided to make my own. Many others have done so here, of course. Here's what I used, this was enough for two sets of Ersatz Jungle™:

Ingredients:
  • Activa Plus Clay White, 2.2 lb pack, $9. This is "air-dry" clay -- obviously you can't stick your plastic into the oven! I used about 2/3 of the pack.
  • Woodland Scenic Palm Trees, pack of 6, $10. They're good for height, but the fronds don't have much spread to them. I gave them a little wash.
  • Unidentified palm trees from my kids' toy sets, free! I really don't know what these were from -- some pirate play set? They had two trunks attached to one base, and some fairly garish green fronds which I attempted to darken somewhat.
  • Acrylic green paint, ~$1
  • 18 extra glyphs, $3 or $4
  • Various aquarium plants -- $25?

All told, the two sets probably set me back around $50 or $60. Which, considering that one set goes for three times that amount on eBay, isn't too bad.

What I did:

Sorry, no step by step photos. It's kind of hard to take pictures with clay all over your hands! I think the method is pretty straightforward, though.

Instead of starting with a hex and affixing the flora, I started with a glyph. Glyphs are cheap! The plan was to put clay on top of the glyph to serve as a base for the flora and hold it in place. Then, have the whole thing just sit on top of a regular grass or swamp hex. That way, I didn't have to sacrifice any precious hexes. I probably got the idea from someone here, but can't remember, so kudos to whoever you are.

I thought about embedding a washer or something in the clay just above the glyph, and then putting a magnet on the underside of the hex to help hold it in place. I hotglued washers to the glyphs, but the clay is pretty heavy, so I don't think it will be necessary.

Here is a bush on its side, so you can see the glyph at the base:



Here's the same bush, upright.



In a few cases the glyph fell out after the clay dried, but it's not strictly necessary, mostly there to ensure a flat base of the right shape. You could cut your own out of wood for this project, that might be cheaper.

For the trees, I initially tried gluing the trees to the glyph, but it quickly became apparent that the clay was going to hold everything in place and the glue wasn't necessary. I molded the clay around the base of the trees, building it up into a small vaguely conical blob, adding in aquarium plants as needed, and shaping the result into a hillock.

The clay base building wasn't too hard, just messy. I found adding a little water to the mix (but not too much!) helped make it more workable. Also, make sure to remove the clay from the side of the glyphs so it retains its hexagonicality.

I let them dry for a couple days, and then painted the white clay a dark green.

My next planned step was to put glue all over the base and then "flock" it with some terrarium moss that I had picked up a stoop sale. I attempted this. Let's just say there's a reason you use flocking for models and moss for terrariums, and not vice versa. With patience I might have been able to make it work, but I pictured pieces of moss falling off of these for the next n years and getting everywhere. I looked at the painted green bases and said "eh, it looks good enough." You know, there is a definition of an artist as "someone who can do more, but chooses not to." So I'm just telling myself that I took the artistic route.

So how did they turn out? Well, no one will mistake them for the real thing, to be sure, but I think they look pretty much OK.

Here's a comparison of the two kinds of trees. The Woodland Scenics are probably the more realistic of the two, while the cheap toys look more like TJ.



Wolves in the jungle!



Behind Khamanu the Darklord is a papercraft obelisk designed by @Cavalier and glued inexpertly by yours truly. It's misshapen because of years of decay -- that must be it!



More wolves, these with the taller trees.



I also had some Playmobil trees, rescued from the pile of toys the kids have outgrown. I applied a little wash to them and here's the result, along with some aquarium columns.





Useless as LOS blockers but they do look good and give some texture to the board. (Plus, I have lots of customs that like being next to trees.) As you can see they are pretty light and too easily shifted from their designated hex. I'm going to have to find something to weigh them down.

Thanks for taking a look!

Last edited by IshMEL; April 4th, 2017 at 02:53 PM. Reason: Fixed image links
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  #2  
Old June 7th, 2016, 12:14 PM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Uh-Oh, he's getting into terrain! ; )

The trees look great!! The shot of the wolves in the jungle is awesome and it showcases how nicely you've integrated the custom terrain into 'Scape.

I'm not a crafts, do-it-yourself guy but my only suggestion would be using swamp water hexes instead of glyphs so you can 'lock' the trees into place. I have a lot of extra 2nd edition water and swamp water if you want - I can send you some.

And I like the playmobil trees, too.
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Old June 7th, 2016, 07:11 PM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

There are lots of cool ways to buckle those trees down to the hexes. Good to see you delving into terrain. I find the terrain of heroscape to be the real signature of the game. I may be posting some new tutorials to help you out with this soon enough. I have been throwing terrain together for a while now and have a bunch of stuff that just needs a good posting. I haven't put too much on here in a while because for every 50 people that may like your stuff, only a couple mention anything about it. Again, nice to see more custom terrain.

Edit: and it says I can't rep you yet either. If anybody could rep Ishmel for me for his dive into custom terrain, it'd be appreciated.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 11:11 AM
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IshMEL IshMEL is offline
 
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Thanks guys! @obfuscatedhippo -- if you have extra swamp water tiles, I wouldn't say no! Would be glad to send you some figures in exchange. @TREX -- thanks for the "rep" and I look forward to seeing your thread for ideas on "rooting" those trees.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 11:23 AM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Great to see the custom terrain bug bite another victim, er, gamer! Custom terrain can be both very rewarding and a lot of fun. Good stuff!

My advice? Keep everything as modular as you can. That way you can use the terrain in a wide variety of instances.

Hmm…. so, did playing on my custom Star Wars terrain encourage you a bit here?! I hope so!

My Custom Terrain Thread: http://www.heroscapers.com/community...read.php?t=448
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Old June 8th, 2016, 11:52 AM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Using clay can help weight it down some. If the trees are hollow see if you can fill the bottoms or insides a bit. Also with the ones you used clay to hold the base together, try carving a bit of texture into them. It's clay, if you don't like it, smudge it with your finger and start over. For aquarium plants, try the dollar store or better yet a thrift store. I found a bag of plants about the size of a football packed full for under $3 at a thrift store. That was years ago and I still haven't used more than half the bag. Great start. Have fun with it.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 01:55 PM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grishnakh View Post
Hmm…. so, did playing on my custom Star Wars terrain encourage you a bit here?! I hope so!
It did indeed encourage me to get off my duff and make these. I've had the materials sitting around for ages!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigThumbToe View Post
Using clay can help weight it down some. If the trees are hollow see if you can fill the bottoms or insides a bit. Also with the ones you used clay to hold the base together, try carving a bit of texture into them.
Thanks! I may try using the leftover clay I have to create weightier bases, that's a good idea. Also on the carving of the clay bases I made. I should have thought of that before they all dried... well perhaps I can do something so they don't look so much like a blob of Play-Dough.

I got the FatDragon paper terrain when it was on sale, but have not yet attempted. I guess that's my next project!
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Old July 5th, 2016, 12:07 PM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

I thought I would try my hand at some more papercraft terrain. First, a Woodsman's Hut which is a free download from WOTC.



It's not too hard to put together. I mounted it on a grass 7-hex cardstock base, and can slip a magnet inside to hold it in place. The "open door" is my own addition, but as there is no way to use the interior (the roof is glued on) it's just there for show. (And to get a magnet inside.) The octagonal hut just about fits on the base, a few corners stick out a bit but I don't think placement will be an issue.



I think it looks pretty good. There's no usable rooftop so it's just a big LOS and set decoration. It could be converted to have a removable roof, I suppose?

The set also comes with a "ruined hut." I first tried something different with the layout, turning the octagon into a square:



As you can see from the top down view, it has 3 usable hexes on the inside, and 3 mostly-usable hexes on the outside. Finn is squeezing onto one of the exterior hexes here.



It's OK but the half-hexes bother me. But what if we put the ruined wall on the outside edge, like a battlement?

I did some resizing / kit bashing on the model, and here's the result:



Each wall covers 7 sides, and there's a 2 hex entry on two sides.





I've written the height of each section on the interior wall -- in my next version I will print them on the inside base floor. There are hash marks on the outside for height but they are too hard to see.

I like how it came out. Fortunately all the black sharpie used to cover up the white paper looks like char marks. The "bent door" is a little odd but hey, it's a ruin, right?

The design is flexible: it could be used to cover different configurations of sides. (I was originally planning on covering 16 of the 18 sides, but decided I need two 2-hex entries. Easy enough: tear off a side! Use more sharpie!) If folks are interested I can share the files and write up proper directions.

Last edited by IshMEL; April 4th, 2017 at 02:56 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2016, 12:25 PM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Nice. Very nice.

Great work Ish.

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Old July 5th, 2016, 02:18 PM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Looks good man.
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Old July 5th, 2016, 06:35 PM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

Quote:
Originally Posted by IshMEL View Post
As you can see from the top down view, it has 3 usable hexes on the inside, and 3 mostly-usable hexes on the outside. Finn is squeezing onto one of the exterior hexes here.

It's OK but the half-hexes bother me. But what if we put the ruined wall on the outside edge, like a battlement?
It looks odd and creates some distortion with corner-to-corner distances, but one alternative to the way that rectilinear structures wind up with unusable half-hexes is to distort the buildings into trapezoids to fit the hex grid. SPI did that with their boardgame Sniper! in 1973, using wall thickness to indicate how many stories high a building was:



If you want to have right-angle corners on your buildings, you're going to get half hexes from the nature of the hex grid, but laying out buildings this way preserves whole hexes at the cost of looking funny.
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Old July 5th, 2016, 06:42 PM
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Re: IshMEL's foray into custom terrain

That is freaking genius. Thank you!

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