Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Opening doors to new experiences

A quite evident issue about building the sci-fi mining town is that you need it to look like an actual place to live. Not necessarily to live decently (this is a Rogue Trader-WH40K kind of project after all!), but at least to have something more than mere square boxes and line of sight blockers. A part of it, of course, is to add some doors to the boxes, so they upgrade to houses :P

Remember, this pic says it all for me. This is what I am aiming for
Back in the day I got some of the Trash Bash sci-fi doors by RoeBeast, but I used all of them. I tried to look if I could get a few more, but I wasn't able. Besides, I was thinking I would need quite a lot! So what could I do?
The solution came in the form of card and foamboard...

The Ikea approach
Right, the only reasonable way was to make my own doors!

I wasn't sure of how to get the right design. In the end I think they look too much Tatooine-like, but I think subconscious references cannot be underestimated!

If this doesn't scream sci-fi in desert, I don't know what will do
I added rivets. You can never go wrong with an excess of rivets
I can hear you. 'So, your solution is to make dozens of doors, one by one'. Though that sounds like me indeed, I currently lack both time and motivation to do so. What I would need here is the way to cast these. I've been interested in learning resin casting for ages, but it always looked overwhelming for my puny skills. But a few weeks ago I discovered this acrylic resin for dummies, by Green Stuff World. The 'dummies' is mine, but it's an accurate description, trust me. Make a mould, mix the powder with water and ta-da, it's done. Witchcraft!

So there we go! I press moulded the doors:

Ooops! Unexpected setbacks
The oyumaru mould was good, but the original doors were ruined when I put them out of it. So well, apparently I have a single shot to discover if I'm doing this right...

This is all you need. Oh, and water, sure
Drum roll...
About half an hour later...

It works! IT WORKS! Mwahahahahaha!!
I'm happy with the result; the frame finally got the adobe like texture, the control pad looks reasonably good and the door itself will work. Of course this is but my first experiment, but I hope I'll get better with practice.

In fact I've done this third, simple door
And I'm about to experiment with control pads and an electric box
Well, but for the moment, after a lot of half an hours... :P

I hope I have enough doors for a few buildings!!
Well, let's see how they fit in the town! I had to blend them in with some das putty and I had to fix some minor texture and filling issues:

Now this looks more like a thriving neighbourhood
I also remembered I had a few MDF doors by MadMechaGuy. I got them ages ago and totally forgot about them until the other day. I hope the mix works in the end.

Doors! Doors everywhere!
Ehm. Yes, right. There's a door leading to nowhere up there. Not that I just needed to fill that empty surface. Let me elaborate. I'm also making this:

A comm array? A void shield control pad? Who knows!
Still in progress, I want to add some details
So the thing is that I cut a tiny gap just under the frame of the door, allowing me to place the walkway this way:

It's a precautionary measure about storage to avoid unnecesary damages
It's not the only weird door I have...

Yeah, I should really call for a professional architect
I guess I'll have to properly texture and paint the wall before I add all the stuff I'm planning, but you get an idea
This is all I have right now. I'm quite happy with the discovery of the resin, it's super easy to handle and opens a whole world of possibilities. Of course the doors are not perfect, but they work fine at tabletop distance, so I cannot ask for more.

More stuff coming soon!

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Rock-cut houses

This mining town project (I really should think of a proper name) is incredibly time consuming, but at least I can show some progress. If the first section of the board was a huge bulk, I wanted just the opposite for the next part. Thinking of the Anasazi Cliff Palace (or something in that fashion), I wanted to try a rock-cut section. So in fact, instead of Anasazi, I should really be talking about some fabulous Indian structures.

Whatever the case is, here you can see what I mean:

This will be the front part
The general idea is something like this:

Central section of the board
Of course in due time I'll have to deal with those flat surfaces and square angles, but this serves my purposes for now. So next step is to build that inner structure...

This was the time consuming stuff
Nothing too complicated, but at least with different volumes
Well, this is more or less what I'm trying to get
Working with foamboard has pros and cons. Of course it's super easy to work with and I don't think I could have achieved these results using any other material. But on the other hand, warping is quite an issue. It's become my main problem by now. All the delicate measures and planning have faded away and I have to deal with pieces that don't match and stuff of the like. Besides, the rear panel has also warped; not significantly, but enough to be a concern. Lesson identified. I didn't think that MDF was a suitable solution for the back, for weight and structural purposes, but I may have to consider it for future boards (ahem).
Anyway, I hope that future pieces I have in mind will bring a solution for this unexpected problem. Time will tell. For now I have other issues to think about.

You can see there is an arch down right. I built this to give some depth there:

A store? The entrance of a house?
If the whole board is going to look like adobe, desert rock or something like that, I wanted something to break that monochrome look. So I gave it a whitewash appearance, kind of Mediterranean villages. To give it another touch I browsed and printed Andalusian tiles:

The other piece of paper will be glued on the main structure
The sign over the door makes this board suitable for any Firefly themed game too ;-) (not the first time I use this kind of stuff).

OK, so let's see the next stage. I had to paint the rock-cut houses before I glued the whole section, or else it would be harder later. But hey, once I had the spray I said 'I really don't fancy all this white foamboard, let's make a full colour test'.

Lots of details will vary in the final version
I should have built more different shapes and levels here, but it's done
I'll need a table, chairs and things of the like
General overview of the board so far
 I'll give it another hand when I add details, this was but a colour test. The spray is somehow darker than I expected, but I'm not dissatisfied, I think I can work with this. I'll have to think how will I add different tones to such large, flat surfaces (and make it all look natural), but that will be a problem for the future me. The most pressing issue now is dealing with warping foamboard (oh, and thinking of a name for this town), I'll see what I can do...

Friday, 10 May 2019

Takeaway building

This is an scenery side project, unrelated to my ongoing vertical board, but which could fit in with little effort. It all came up one day, after realising my takeaway meal bowl had an interesting shape...

Remember. Always eat your meal before turning the bowl upside down
 The first step was building an entrance:

Easiest way possible

I prepared the access door before glueing it all
 The structure being transparent can be alittle bit confusing when you have to work on its surface, so I primed the building to make it all easier.

I painted the door before
 Well, it is time to add stuff. MDF bits, a piece from a bubble gun... whatever you can find:

It doesn't mind where you glue it. It will work
 I primed it all and then used some Das putty for the base
Kind of Dragon Ball Capsule house :D
 Brown wash to everything and hen I worked on other details, such as wires, cables and stuff

No much left to do
  I added a relay antenna using the cap of an old ballpen:

Didn't glue it to the top of the building for storage purposes
 So this is how it looks like in the end:

It was really easy to build, but it took me some time, as I can only steal like ten minutes here and there. The paintjob is consistent with my Moisture Vaporator, so it was but copying what I had previously done.

The start of a settlement? Hmmm...
I think I can combine these with my ongoing board, so I may have to think about integrating this kind of sci-fi aesthetics into that. Well, that will come eventually; for now I'm happy with how this turned out. I'll be back with the large board soon!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Mining town. First outer buildings

Descriptive, dull title, yet it really shows what this update will be about. I've been working on little structures, being adobe like buildings for the front part of the huge spaceport. My goal here is to somehow break the monolithic appearance of the big bulk by adding irregular structures with different volumes. In doing so, I also pretend to get familiar with this kind of buildings, as they will be populating the whole board.

It shouldn't be that difficult, as all I'm trying to do is different square boxes and little more. But let's stay a little on that 'more'. At some point I found myself staring at this finished duct tape and a plastic sphere from a toy from some kind of vending machine. I cut the ball and got this:

They fit in properly, at least for my purposes
I also cut the card of the duct tape in two and got this little tower:

Mushroom tower
I added a few foamboard pieces on the top to build the viewpoint.

Kind of Jabba-esque, but it works
I'll place the tower on this terrace:

Rough shape, still in progress
I thought of having a door, but when I cut the front part of the cardboard I had another idea:

I put this part slightly rearwards

So the entrance looks this way
Of course I didn't want it all to look just the same, mere dull blocks, so I tried this archway:

This is getting out of control quickly
This kind of arch is evocative to me, and I though it could look nice here. Of course cutting those out from the foamboard was a hell of a work for my limited skills, but for sure I'll improve with practice. Eventually.

Worse than desired, yet better than expected
This will be the wall for the inner part:

Keeping it simple
So this is more or less what I am getting:

It works so far
I planned a taller block over that terrace (so in the future it can be connected with a catwalk to the other side of the building; that will be another story to tell). But this time I tried this open stairs thing, so it wouldn't look so boring:

You get the point, I hope

I had to paint the stairs before!
So the catwalk will come from the other side and end on this rooftop. I planned a closed access to the building with some kind of hut on the rooftop. But I gave it a second thought. In doing so, you would have to imagine the whole thing; I mean, a mini going through the upper access and making its way down to the open stairs. Then I knew.

Nope. This is not what I'm building here. That is the opposite of what I'm doing on this board. That idea is unimaginative, this block offers a boring shape and it isn't worth building. So I'm doing this shit properly:

Much better now
I had to heavily improvise, but it worked in the end. I cut the whole upper part away and made the stairs visible. Now you can follow the whole path and it's still playable.

Now imagine a whole board like this
Of course you can only see the rough shape of it. I won't add new buildings here (the upper part is the very spaceport!), but my plan is to add lots of details. Vents, wires, doors and stuff. But you can at least get an idea of what's in my mind.
Now these buildings have to be glued to the main structure, the warping issues have to be dealt with and so on. I may have to paint at least some parts before I add the catwalks, but that is a problem for the future me. This is it for now; the project keeps going on!