Monday, February 25, 2019

The Great Terrain Adventure - Part 4

This is it - the post you've all been waiting for!  The post that talks about the sewers!

Exciting, I know.

For the town section of the table I really wanted to have a place for rats and spiders and zombies to live and crawl up from. I spent way too much time on the internet looking at photos of medieval European sewer systems and mulling over how I could make something that could even come close.

While I really wanted curved walls and floors like the picture below (because circles are cool), I quickly realized that the options available to me for making them would either be too expensive or too much of a challenge to make look decent.

Lovely curves, wet stuff at the low points, perfect for encountering horrible evil dark creatures, but not so perfect for me to actually make. [heavy sigh]

What I did have though is some molds from Hirst Arts and some Lightweight Hydrocal. That could make me a whole bunch of brick shapes and some floor tiles.  [I have not received any compensation from either Hirst Arts or Woodland Scenics for these blog posts ... though I am open to the idea]

I bought the molds and plaster years ago with the intent of making my own modular dungeon stuff like Dwarven Forge (I have a bunch of their stuff as well and have plans for incorporating it in the table). However I realized that it wasn't the little dungeon pieces I lacked but a better way to use them (which indirectly lead to this whole big project).

So for the sewers I started with a 2.5-inch wide trench in the base foam. Rand the 1-inch floor tiles around the edges which left a half-inch strip of bare hardboard down the middle of the sewer. Then I built up all the walls with bricks. This used up an amazing amount of plaster and the casting step consumed the vast majority of the time.

The brick and tile got a fairly standard paint job (black, gray, dry-brushing, etc.). The bare strip down the middle was painted dark brown with a little bit of green. I then glued clumps of flocking here and there to be moss and slime and such.

Then came the fun part - I added some resin to be sewer water. I used Gorilla Glue two-part epoxy with a bit of green paint mixed in. This stuff has an advantage of being reasonably cheap and viscous enough to not leak out through tiny cracks. The big drawback however is that IT STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN!!!!!  I probably lost a bunch of critical brain cells working with it to fill in the sewer water. Worse, it made my wife cranky until I moved everything out to the garage overnight. I won't be using it again.

The clumps of slimy stuff and the sewer water turned out pretty well though (once it stopped stinking). It's durable enough to withstand game use and always looks wet and ... slimy.

I decided to build some sections of cobbled street to cover over the sewers when they're not being used. For this I took some foam core board and peeled off the paper backing from one side (this is a pain in the butt). Then I used a highly technical sculpting tool (see photo below) to make cobble impressions on the bare foam.  After the typical painting and dry-brushing it turned out really well. I glued this down to hardboard to give it the needed strength and such.

Yes, it's a pencil that had lost its eraser. I used needle-nose pliers to make it brick-shaped. There are actual tools for stamping our brick and cobble textures but the extreme low cost of this solution makes it well worth the tedium.

In addition to the regular sewer part of the town section, I included a couple other underground portions. There's a sort of storeroom off of the sewer (still need to make a door for it) which in turn has a broken wall that leads to a dark tunnel.

Here's the town section with the streets in place. The little fountain in the center is made from more Hirst Arts pieces. It looks a bit odd having the street there by itself, but when start to add buildings it looks really nice. 

 You'll have to wait to hear about the buildings though.