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 Post subject: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:57 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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Lobo asked me to share some of the custom terrain and maps that I have made for my Saga campaigns. I am running two Dawn of Defiance campaigns and these pieces are built from some of the drawings provided in the modules. I won't give too much detail on the specifics of each piece, but if you are running the campaigns these should look fairly familiar to you.

A little about the terrain. Most of it is made from the Hirst Art molds. You cast what is basically lego blocks and then assemble and paint them. I also use a number of other mediums also to fit what I am trying to make and I will give explainations as I post them. And yes, those are 1 inch squares you are seeing.

First up is my arena:
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The arena floor is made from the Cracked Floor mold by Hirst Arts. You really do not want to know how many times I had to cast that mold to get enough tile pieces. Once the floor was assembled, I glued it on a one inch thick sheet of pink insultation foam. You can find this at any Home Depot or Lowes. I used a tan coat of paint on the floor and then sprayed the entire map with one of those natural stone texture paints. This gave the floor a sandy feel to it that I thought suited the arena well. The walls in the arena are made from air-hardening clay which was painted in the same manner as the floor once completely hardened. The walls are not attached and can be placed in any manner you wish.

Here's a few more pics of the arena and some close ups on the walls:
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Next up: The Audience Chamber....


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:11 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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The Audience Chamber

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This particular piece I wanted to over look the Arena. Instead of designing some kind of window, I decided to leave the space open where the characters could look down on the arena. Also, since I wanted to show some height to this piece, I decided to mount the map on a 2 inch thick sheet of pink insultation foam instead of the 1 inch I used for the Arena. The model is made primarily from the basic Castle brick mold with the floor tiles comprised of the basic floor tiles. The carpet in near the middle of the floor is the Gothic floor mold. The walls and floor were painted with a thick coat of dark grey and then dry brushed with a light grey to bring out the textures. The carpet was painted with a blood red with a gold trim.

Some additional pictures of the Chamber and stairs:

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Next up: Guest Quarters!


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:17 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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The Guest Quarters

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The Guest Quarters was the first 3D model I attempted for my DoD campaign. Looking back, I wished I left enough room on the far right side to close in the Lift Tube over there. This model incorporated a number of the Hirst Art molds. Hopefully I am not forgetting any. The walls, windows and arches were made from the basic Fieldstone mold. The window slits are from the Fieldstone Accessory mold. The hallway floor is the basic Floor Tiles and the carpet is actually tiles from the Egyptian Decorative Floor Tiles mold. The floors inside the rooms are the carpet tiles from the Starship Deck Tiles. The door is from the Laboratory Floor mold. The door posts are from the Cargo Bay mold andn the top piece of the door frame is from the Starship Wall mold. Lastly, the bed are from the Med Bay mold. Like I said, quite a few of the different molds went into this model.

The walls and hallway floor were painted a dark brown base and then dry brushed with pumpkin pie to give it an earthy texture and pull out some of the highlights in the textures there. The carpets (both in the hallway and in the rooms) were painted with a forest green and then trimmed with gold. The room floors were painted a light grey. Lastly, the doors and door posts were painted in a gun metal tone.

The top portion of each doorway is not glued down and can be lifted up to allow you to remove the door. This lets me depict either a closed door or an open door. You will find the same techique used for the Lift Tubes as well. Below are some more pictures of the Guest Quarters:

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Next up: The Dungeon!


Last edited by Lackey on Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:39 pm 
Sith Apprentice
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Those all look great. I know how long those molds can take for even a small floor area. Nicely done and good paint schemes, too. Looks to be a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:33 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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The Dungeon!

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Every bad guy's hideout had to have some kind of dungeon, right? I wanted this dungeon to feel like it was build right into the earth, so I used the Egyptian Basic block mold for the walls. It has a nice sandstone texture to it. The floor tiles are from the Egpytian Decorated Floor Tiles. I used the tiles in the mold that had no decorations. The floors inside the 4 smaller cells are from the Cracked Floor tiles and the tiles with trim are from the Egyptian Weave Floor mold. The largest cell has floor tiles from the Starship Deck mold including the small grate you see. Again, the top of the door post is from the Starship Wall mold. Inside of using a normal door, I decided to go for an energy door. This was done by trimming a clear colored binder index tab to the right size of the door. I left it just a little bigger than the space so you have to bend it slightly to have it fit. This allows the plastic to actually hold itself in place. In this model, I finally made the lift tube exactly how I wanted it.

The walls and floors were painted a base coat of tan. The base looked good so I left it as is. The largest cell floor and the lift tube's walls and floor were painted in a light gray. The lift tube door and the top door posts were all painted in gun metal. Here's some more pictures of the dungeon:

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Next up: The Guard Room!


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:32 am 
Unnamed Wookiee
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you guys are making me jealous, guess I am gonna have to give this 3-D method a try, looks like way to much fun. Great job.

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:50 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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Thanks guys. Here's the next model - the Guard Room.

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This was the hardest of the models for me to layout. I had the basics of the room on the map provided from the module, but for a guard room to look good, I needed to add details not included in the map diagram. As a result, I decided that this guard room had space for guards to be there 24 hours. There are beds on side, lockers on the other. Several displays to watch the dungeons and a control desk for the lucky one in charge.

This model incorporated a number of Hirst Art molds too. Looking over the model, I think it is safe to say that every one of the Sci-Fi molds were used here with the exception of the pryamid. The model had a light grey base with the carpet and wall trimming painted in a dark grey. The desk, chair and bench are painted in a semi-gloss black and the large doors are painted in gun metel. The controls are an assortment of colors. The displays are actually images that I printed and then added while gluing the pieces together. Lastly, the beds are light grey underneath with leather for the mattress and pillow.

Below are some additional pictures of the model. I included a few close-ups of the furniture and structures in the room and there is also a picture of the large door assembly and how it works.

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Next up: Landing Platforms!


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:44 pm 
One of the Sith on Malgus' Shuttle
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So are we going to experience any of these amazing things in our RPG? ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:54 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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You just might if you show up this evening..... :r2line:


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:00 pm 
Jedi Knight
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Hey Lackey. Great terrain. I too have recently bought from Hirst Arts, and I was wondering what your overall thoughts of it are. I plan on doing 2 different ships (you may find one familiar if you've ever watched the opening battle in Episode 4, ahem...) and 1 map of a city. I plan on making the ships and city out of the Hirst molds. What sort of things should I expect? Like do I need a HUGE area to work in, how time-consuming is it, etc?

The city I want to make will have a landing platform on one side, a few buildings (gonna use the pipe molds :) , a jail, a city wall, and then a forest. The streets will be 5 wide, with a sidewalk maybe 1 or 2 wide. I'll keep in touch with you as the project proceeds.

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 12:56 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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Hothie - Some advise on the Hirst Arts molds: 1) Plan for plenty of time to cast the molds. It will take you three times as long to make the blocks you need as it will to assemble the models. I typically cast 5-6 molds at time and stock pile the extra pieces for later. 2) If you are going to use a specific mold many times, it is worth investing in a second mold. Your projects will get done quicker this way. 3) For your ship, definitely use Bruce's wet method as it will keep your blocks smooth and you will not have too many bubble pockets. If I am concerned about bubble pockets, I will soak my molds in the wet solution inbetween castings (just don't let them sit in there for days... :oops: ).

Hope that helps - let me know if you have any other questions. I've been very happy with the Hirst Arts molds. They take some time, but the end result is worth it.


The Landing Platform

This model was a little challenging as it required mutliple levels and anti-gravity lifts. I decided that the platforms would be too heavy if I used the Hirst Arts mold, so I opted for foam board. I picked one out that have a stony texture on it (I don't think the photos will reflect that though). Once I have cut out the platforms and added the 1-inch grid to them, I build the lift-tube from the Hirst Arts molds. The heavy lift tube gives the model some stability, but the lift tube itself wasn't heavy enough to keep the large platforms in place. The further stabilize the model, I use a fluorescent light bulb protector cut at the right heights for each platform. The protectors can be found in any Home Depot or Lowes for about $4. Very reasonable considering they are about 8 feet long.

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Updated photos with Miniatures:

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Next up: The Plaza


Last edited by Lackey on Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2008 1:15 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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The Plaza

This small plaza was a fairly easy model for me. The layout I broke down to 8 smaller pieces that can be fit together. This prevent any ackward trimming and less-than-stable structures. As this plaza was on the higher - better class levels of the city, I went for a lighter paint using a light gray called concrete that I found on WalMart's paint display (whoever picks this color for a room though, should be shot!).

I made several benches using some of the extra smaller floor tiles that I had laying around and painted them black. I thought the darker color went well with the lighter floor and those benches can be used in some of my interior maps later on (you already saw one of them from the Control Room above).

The fountain was made from the Hirst Arts Turret mold and glued on to a piece of cardboard, which I painted light blue. I used a 5-minute epoxy to seal the cardboard to the bricks. Once dried, I poured Envirotex Lite to provide the water effect. Envirotex Lite is a furniture varnish that dries nice and hard and crystal clear. You can find it at Michael's and other craft stores in various amounts. I bought a the 7oz bottles for about $15 and was able to make a number of models before running out. This is great stuff to make bacta tanks! I will post mine later.

The statue is made in two sections, the base and then the statue. For the base, I used the Hirst Arts Turret mold again utilizing the smooth pieces that I did not need for the fountain. For the statue, I used one of those blue holo figures that were packed in some of the older Star Wars Action Figures. My kids have numerous of these lying around and I grabbed an Amidala for this statue. I had to cut the base of the figure to make a nice fit. Once fully assembled, I painted the whole statue a lighter grey that is called Weatered Tin (again found in WalMart's paint display).

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Next up: The Skywalk!


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:41 pm 
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Lady H and I love the Amidala statue.

Got my molds today. Lady H's parents will be in town from St Louis this weekend, so I won't start til next week.

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:26 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:44 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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My group meets again this Friday. I will pack my camera and snap a few pics with the minis on the models for you. Until then, the floors all have a 1 inch grid to them and the walls are two inches tall.


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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:00 am 
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I'm glad you've found time to get around to posting these, Bryan. I think people other than just us here in Cincinnati in your RPG groups need to have a chance to experience how awesome these things are, even if it's just through pictures on a screen.

It really makes an enormous difference in how much more real the RPG feels when you've got this great terrain to play on. Even the times where we're just using a blank grid with lines, adding the crates, bacta tanks, desks, computers, benches, etc. all make the experience so much more fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:15 am 
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Wow that is awesome. I would love to be able to do that but the thought alone of all that work - especially when you say things like "you don't want to know how long this took me" - just makes me tired. :P

Maybe I will have to hire someone to design the terrain for me. ;)
What's the going rate for something like that?

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:46 pm 
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Well, I've just taken my first step into a larger world (literally...at least from a minis standpoint :) I poured and made my first molds today. I started with #301, and also did 270, 271, and 273. I think they turned out okay, although apparently I need to pound the desk better to get all of the bubbles out. Also my #301 doorframe top broke, but I think I can glue it, or possibly use it for "damaged door" or something.

I did the 6 minutes thing with the first one, and it was still runny, so I waited a little longer on the others and they turned out great. Popped them out after 25 mins.

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:56 pm 
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I haven't put anything together yet, or painted anything, so they are just plaster tiles/pieces right now. I'll post when I get a lot more and actually start building well, a building...:)

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 Post subject: Re: Custom 3D Terrain for my SWSE Campaigns
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:46 pm 
Imperial Dignitaries
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It's been a while since I last updated this. I had some weapon malfunctions...I mean camera malfunctions but finally have that cleared up. I also made sure to include minis in the photos for scaling. I will be updating my previous posts with photos with miniatures as I get them uploaded.

The Walkway

The walkway was an interesting and one of the largest models that I have made (at least length-wise). With the multiple levels needed in this model, I decided to switch from Hirst Arts bricks (which are heavy) for foamboard, which is strong enough to support miniatures, but light enough to lift into the air fairly easy. I disected the map into about 12 pieces and measured out the 1 inch grids. The foramboard pieces were then attached to one another using two toothpicks per joint. Each toothpick is inserted into the foam about halfway on each side. You can remove them keeping the hole created for easy reassemble. Make sure though that first insertion is exactly where you need it. This method worked great and makes transporting such a large model very easy. For the height, I use the fluorescent light bulb protector again from the landing platform. Since you get about 6 to 8 feet of tubing, you can make a lot of stands for your models with only one. The lowest level of the model I left right on the ground and then simply measured each height shift and cut stands from the bulb protector to the needed height. It is the landing platforms that need the most stands (each of mine has 4 stands per platform. I only needed two stands to support the rest of the elevated walkway, positioned under the wider walkway piece.

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