Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Initial WIP on Terrain, Part 2

Yesterday I posted up a discussion on some of the materials I'm using in terrain building for my current project(s). Today I'll begin discussing various topics about buildings for wargaming. My current project I'm calling 'Sinner's Respite' a mildly Japanese influenced 'gentlemans club' building for use in my local Infinity league. This project isn't limited to the one building, as I will also be working on at least 2 small shop/homes (store on bottom, apartment/home above), a relatively large warehouse (12-18" by 18-24" still deciding), and possibly a Japanese influenced Inn.

I will be interspersing images from my second day of 'work' and first actual day of assembly/design.

I've decided to use hardboard as the primary material for this project, though what I will discuss can be adapted for foamboard, foamed pvc sheeting, plasticard and other materials with a little thought.

The first thing to consider when building buildings for use with miniature gaming is that each miniature is on a base. These bases range in size, but a fairly typical 'infantry' base is 25-30mm. So keeping that in mind, any doorway for use by infantry needs to be able to accept the a miniature standing in it. I decided that it was a good idea to go roughly 31mm (1 1/2") for 'typical' doorways, and 50mm (2") for double doors or larger access ways.

This image shows the main entrance to the club, it is 50mm (2") wide. It also has 2 1"x1" windows, which I'm still deciding if they will be windows or marquee display boxes. This brings up another issue with buildings for wargaming, windows. If you build windows to scale, they can tend to be far to large, giving massive firing access into a building; while also severely reducing cover for models inside of the building. This being the case I've settled on 1" widths and 3/4" height on 'typical' windows. Larger windows I will use for storefronts and such where I plan to build interior LoF blocking terrain (shelves, cabinets, etc.).

Another major issue when working on the design of any building for wargaming is hallways, rooms, and accessibility. One key thing that comes into this is wall height. I use 2 1/2" as a standard for wall height for each level of a building. This allows me to cut a large number of walls with a table saw to the same height, which reduced the amount of work in the long run. 2 1/2" allows larger miniatures to be used in the building without many problems (Many of the Infinity TAGs are less than 2 1/2" tall).

With wall height determined (and in my case standardized), hallways are the next issue to deal with. In a 25-28mm scale 1" is 'roughly' 1 meter (somewhat more than 3 feet). A 1" hallway will in the vast majority of cases be entirely to small for based figures to move in, as the base will get stuck (and 30mm bases won't even fit). That being the case I would suggest that hallways intended for 'typical infantry' be 1 1/2" wide (38mm), and hallways for use by larger figs or multiple figs (without blocking LoF for the next fig) being 2" wide (50mm). Keep in mind, if you are playing a game system like... oh... Warhammer 40k... You'll need even larger hallways and likely 3" walls, seeing as they are 'heroic scale' which really means 'big guys for no real reason than coolness'.

Another issue at this point is a means to move from level to level. In my current case I'm using stairways as my vertical access way. With stairways you have 3 main issues. 1) What size miniatures (bases) do you want to use the stairs without issue. 2) How 'deep' to make each stair (By depth I mean if looking straight at it front to back measure). 3) How high must it go to reach the next level.

Issue 1 is the easiest to deal with, if you want 25-30mm bases to fit easily, then make them 5 or so millimeters wider. For 40mm bases I tend to go 2" (50mm), as figs on 40mm bases also tend to overhang them a bit with arms/weapons. For this club I decided early on to use 2" (50mm) wide hallways and staircases.

Issue 2 depends on how much room on the building you want the stairs to take. I am using 1" deep (25mm) stairs built so that each stair has a gap between it and the next to allow larger bases to slide into the gap. This trick is helpful as it allows larger bases to fit on the stairs comfortably and with little fear of falling off (which can break some figs glue joins).

Issue 3 goes hand in hand with issue two, as the rise of a staircase can totally change its look (rise is a term used to talk about angle and spacing of stairs). In my case I went with 3/8" upward rise for each stairs top. So that the top of a stair will be 3/8" higher than the next. And I decided not to overlap the stairs, so in my case the stairs are much longer than they might have been (6" long actually). I could have made this staircase take up only 4" of length, but felt that the longer stairs fit the buildings aesthetics a bit better.

Note that this picture is actually of the underside of the second floor. I have measured in to the farthest interior corners of the ground floor and on the underside of the next floor put in stop blocks. These are just small off-cuts that are glued in place, this allows the roof to be put in place and when playing the second floor won't shift much if any when/if the table is bumped. It also makes it easy to get the second floor aligned correctly with the ground floor.

This is the interior of the ground floor of the club (undetailed). I made sure when designing the interior of the club ground floor to include several ways to move about in the club. The 'dance floor/main hall' is made up of craft sticks, which I glued to paper (3 full rows of them), let them dry overnight then cut with my scroll saw into roughly 1"x1" squares. I then glued them in place with wood glue so that each square was either N<>S or E<>W in orientation, giving it a somewhat checkerboard appearance.

The club 'rest rooms' are the rectangular area on the right. They are not going to be accessible for play, but will have doors marked with the generic man or woman images on them (I'm going a bit excessive on my level of detail with this build). As you can see in the picture each area of the club seems to have windows. You may think it is odd (my wife sure did). But here is the explanation: I'm not going to use them all, but any building for a wargame needs places to shoot out of buildings. So I evenly spaced windows on each side, but at least 2 from each side will be 'covered' when I detail the exterior and interior.

Looking at the picture above this is the layout. Left to Right: Entrance/Lobby, (middle top) Dressing Area for Dancers, (middle bottom) Stage & Club Floor, Access Hallway to 'Patrons' exit (access to upper stories and 'private' rooms).

The entrance/lobby area is roughly 3" by 10" and will have some couches and a small bar. The dressing area will have several armoires and makeup tables. The stage & club floor will get some Japanese style tables w/cushions, the entrance from the dressing room is getting a cloth entry cover, and the stage will be getting a 'dancing pole' made from brass rod. The patrons access hallway will be getting some plants and minor things to make it look like the patrons are 'high class' or at least think they are.

When I get to detailing the interior I will be printing out wall coverings to glue in place on cardstock, floor coverings as well. Some greenstuff, plasticard, and other materials will go into the various furniture. And I will be wood staining the checkerboard flooring as well. On the exterior I will be going with a mix of wood and high tech materials, and painting them... well I'm working on that.

Part 3 will be up tomorrow night, feel free to comment!

Until Later!

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