Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hardcore Foamcore: Ruins II

Continuing the series on *reasonably* realistic terrain made mostly out of foam core. Here is a picture of that first test building with the parts all assembled. 

The building went together pretty easily with some white glue and paper clip pins for strength. I am pretty happy with how the stone work is looking. I't not perfect, of coarse; you can see the line where the two foam layers come together, making the wall look as though it were made of two rows of stones. However, I feel that this minor flaw is balanced by how easy the stonework effect is to achieve. I'm also hoping that the painting stage will help to sell it.

As you  can see, I also textured the CD base with some sand:

You can see the foundation for a second section lurking in the background, alongside the omnipresent cairns.

I half built another section before realizing I should probably cut out all the components so I could build everything at once:

Two assembled ruins and 'various bits and pieces,' as Niel Shuck would say...
I traced the building parts onto the foam core sheet using a template I drew on graphing paper. I actually designed four unique corners...the templates just made it easier to draw the pieces to scale. Also, if I ever decide that my hobby will include resin casting, it would be handy to have those templates around to make a 'Fantasy Ruins' garage kit.

As anyone who has worked with foam core will tell you, the toughest part is actually cutting the bits out of the sheet, what with having to cut through three layers. Having a design that was full of greebly nooks and corners didn't help, but I felt they were essential to the feeling of detail. Next time I might just try peeling the paper off of one side of the sheet before I cut out the bits. Then, in theory at least, I might be able to cut each component out in one go.

Finally, it was time to add some further detail. I splintered up some coffee stirrers to use as broken rafters and scattered some of the splinters on the flags. Then I took a walk. And discretely made off with some bits of my neighbor's gravel driveway. This was for larger rubble to represent masonry that had fallen from the wall more recently, but had not yet been carried away by scavenging masons, or otherwise disturbed.

Stay tuned next time for the final details, some creative texturing, and pics of the other three sections. And as always, please comment. I like questions. I like criticisms. I also like jokes.

Leave your jokes here:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hardcore Foamcore: Ruins I

This post is the first in a short series on some terrain that I've been making using foamcore. Today, I'll show you the first part in my take on that wargaming terrain staple, the ruined building.

This whole idea began when I stumbled across this amazing modeling project.

I realized this was the perfect opportunity to push my own limits of 'realism' in terrain, as well as an opportunity to prove that another cheap, readily available material can be used in place of harder-to-find media like EPS, or 'blue foam.'

What follows was my first test building. The plan was to make three more like this and base them on CDs so that they could be placed as individual ruins or together as one building.

A door wall, a window wall, a section for flagstones, and some buttresses.

The main problems with a lot of foamcore buildings that I see are that the surface often ends up featureless, and the edges tend to show. This bothers me because it breaks the realism.

To fix this, I decided I would peel the paper off, as suggested in the above article, so that I could scribe textures into the foam itself. However, in experiments I found that the foam became dangerously thin and fragile when I peeled the paper off of both sides. I decided that the best way to deal with this was to cut two of each piece and then peel the paper off of the opposite sides.

The exception, of course, was the floor. Only needed one of those.

Peeling the paper was a bit of a pain, but with patience and the blade of an exacto, I eventually lifted off the majority. Once that was done, I glued the paper sides together.

My walls in progress hanging out with my cairns in progress.
Once the walls had dried, I began scribing the lines of the bricks with the back of my exacto blade. I took this opportunity to also cut a slot for the window sill, which I made by cutting a coffee stirrer to size.

You can see that I've blocked out the spot for the buttress to the left of the window. I would later push this section in with the butt of my pencil for a more realistic join.
I then went through my brick layers and scored the lines for the individual bricks. I did my best to make them match up along the edges. I then went back through with a pencil and gently widened each of the scored lines. Finally, I went over each piece with a chunk of porous stone, to add some textural variance.

Here is the result so far. Stay tuned to see the rest of the building come together.