Friday, 2 November 2012

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men....

I said in my last post that I had Plans™ for this week. Did they come to fruition?

Well, sort of. I had envisaged making great swathes of progress, getting loads done and emerging into this weekend with a glowing feeling of satisfaction at a job well done. That was obviously overly optimistic and unrealistic but, while I have made good progress, I somehow feel like I should have done more!

But this is all very negative. There are lots of positives, so let's backtrack and start over!

As I said in my last post, the primary "objective" for the past week was to begin work on a Mines of Moria-themed game board for LotR games (specifically those between Dwarves and Moria Goblins, being as those are the two forces me and my brother most often play with, when he's not slaughtering my Uruk-Hai with his Fellowship...)

I'm happy to report that work has indeed begun on such a game board; in fact, it's more than just begun, it's a fair way through! We settled on making a 4'x4' modular game board (made up of 4 x 2'x2' square boards)

This was our plan for roughly how we wanted the boards to look (if you click the picture, you can get a larger version where you can actually read the labels for everything...). One advantage of making the board modular is that we can rearrange the boards for several different combinations of terrain, although there are obviously a couple of features that are limited in where they can be placed.

We began construction work with two sheets of 6mm MDF measuring 4'x2'...

...and cut them in half to create four 2'x2' "quarters":

It was at this point that I discovered that the big sheet of 5cm polystyrene I'd bought to use as the basis of the game boards wasn't quite 2' wide (it was about an inch short). Annoying.

And so my solution was to construct a frame from thinner pieces of polystyrene around the edges of the MDF boards:

The main polystyrene 'board' was then cut to fit each of the framed boards:

The polystyrene "tile" fitted into the frame and glued down on each of the boards, before any gaps were smoothed over with filler. The edges of each board were taped round with two or three layers of masking tape, which was then covered with a couple of coats of PVA to stiffen the tape and provide a reasonably solid edge to prevent any particularly bad damage to the edges of the polystyrene boards.

I forgot to photograph this stage, so here's a picture of a Goblin instead

Once the filler and glue had thoroughly dried, the fun parts could begin. First, each board had the rough plan drawn on to get an idea of where the various terrain features would be built on. Then we began cutting out the various hill levels we needed:

Slave labour at it's best...
The various hill levels (each hill ended up with at least three bits of polystyrene cut for it) were glued together separately before being glued and pinned with cocktail sticks to the boards themselves:

Two of the boards together, showing the "coming together" of the overall plan!
And then, before I went back to work today, I set about gouging out the chasm that will run across the corner of one of the boards:

I have to admit, making this much mess was a lot of fun...

And this is currently where we stand!

The next stage is to finish off the terrain features - the edges of the chasm and the hills all need "texturing" (i.e. carving great chunks out of them to make them look like rock...) and various bits of rubble and debris need adding.

After that, I'm planning on texturing each of the boards with fine sand (much like the bases of my LotR Dwarves and Goblins) and then painting can begin!

~ ~ ~

In addition to all of that, in the gaps where we waited for filler and glue to dry, I got on with painting figures (predictably, Dwarves and Goblins...) while my brother set about making various bits of removable terrain to add to the boards. I'll come back with pictures of those, along with more progress on the boards, next time!

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