With planning complete (see Part 1 here) I moved on to the early stage of construction for my skirmish terrain boards. This is my first stab at terrain boards and I'm learning as I go. Check out my progress after the jump.
My terrain boards are built from two layers of pink insulation foam board (each .75" thick), sheathed round the edges by .06" styrene strips for protection. Unfortunately my local hardware store had nothing but severely warped foam boards. I hoped that glueing them in layers, pulling against each other would straighten out the warp.
|When they aren't sandwiched between sheets of MDF, you can see the warped foam boards I was working with.|
Using layers also gives me the opportunity to cut through the top layer when carving the rivers, stopping at the second layer so the riverbed remains a constant depth across all terrain boards.
Cutting the Foam Boards to Size
I had to roughly cut each 2 x 8 foot board in half at the store to get them into my car. Once home I sandwiched them between two 2x4 foot MDF boards to serve as guides so I could use my hot wire cutter to slice off any irregularities.
Edge TemplatesWhen stacked, each terrain board will be 1.5" high, but for edges where the river exits the board or a hill runs right to the edge, the board height will deviate from that 1.5 inches. I needed a repeatable outline to allow each board edge to match when those terrain features ran from one board to the other, so I created a foam core template to use when cutting the styrene edges.
I wanted to make sure figures would be stable on the slope so I designed the hill and river templates at a 3:1 ratio. For each inch of height, there'd be at least 3 inches of depth. I also gave them an undulating outline so they'd appear a bit more natural than a simple incline.
Glueing the Foam BoardsI used my edge templates to sketch out the river entrance/exit points on each board and drew some likely river courses on the lower foam board. I spread Liquid Nails glue on the lower foam board (giving my "likely river courses" a wide berth so I won't have to cut the foam board off it later), placed my upper foam board on top, and clamped them between two sheets of MDF.
To ensure the bond would be tight, I gave the glue several days to dry before unclamping the foam boards. Everything was looking good. Even the severe warp had disappeared!
Styrene EdgesThe terrain boards are 2 feet by 4 feet, and each of my styrene sheets was 24 inches wide. For the long sides I needed two strips of styrene, resulting in 6 styrene strips per terrain board.
I used my foam card guide to trace the outline of the hill and river elevation changes and carefully scribed the styrene before snapping the shape free. Despite my careful measuring there were a number of length issues that crept in. Many of the corners needed additional strips of styrene to shore them up, and gaps on the long sides needed even larger strips to fill in.
|Gaps at the corner had to be filled with extra strips of styrene|
|There were pretty large gaps in the middle of the long 4' sides |
that needed additional strips of styrene too.
Even worse, I failed to account for the width of the the styrene edges when the two of the three boards were rotated into one of the alternate configurations. If the boards were squares, this wouldn't have been issue, but because I went rectangular boards the gaps were noticeable. (maybe extra seams on the board aren't so bad after all!)
|Whoops! A big overhang when two of the boards are rotated 90 degrees!|
A minor hiccup, but recoverable. I had to add an additional strip to the short ends of each board to make everything the same length (in the future I'll use strips of 0.125" styrene for the ends).
Polishing Up the EdgesI checked the height of the boards in the various configurations they could be assembled and sanded down mismatched heights with fine grit sandpaper.
Areas where the foam board dipped below the styrene edges got an application of dry wall spackle, sanded after drying to smooth out the transition from styrene to foam board.
I even filled the gaps on the bottom so the styrene edges won't catch when slid across the table during initial positioning.
With the prep work done I'm looking forward to digging into carving out the river sections and building the hills and undulations, and after that painting, texturing and flocking!