Home Forums Terrain and Scenery My adventures in building buildings

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    Avatar photoSpurious

    Being somewhat of a frugal fellow with a lack of finance to fund procuring a whole load of laser cut wooden kit buildings to furnish my latest board with, I’ve had to have a go at building stuff myself. As a project, this actually started late last year then stalled for months by various things including a lot of ill health so I kinda had to work out what I’d been attempting and had trouble with from the incomplete parts left over, so that was fun. A couple of things differentiate it from the usual foamboard city stuff, starting with the lack of ruins.

    Frequenters of the Moderns board might have seen my board project turn up in a couple of AARs over there. This in itself was a response to trying to get a nice fairly modular board for having some urban shootouts on. Nothing particularly special here, just a sheet of some type of fibre board carved into slightly under 2′ squares and then painted, with sheet cork and a bit of etched foamboard for the detailing. The cork is fairly handy because I’ve also used it for bases on the buildings. It’s a little prone to warping but given the buildings cover most of the surface area it’s not really a problem in this case. The road grid is asymmetrically aligned to make it a little more … I dunno, it just looks nice to me that way

    As for the foamboard buildings, I am going with the aim of having everything accessible in an easy manner  during a game. Not an easy thing with intact buildings, but I don’t like not being able to stick troops everywhere they should be reasonably able to be in modern stuff. Also house-to-house fights are fun. What I’ve tried out is using those plastic corner bits that can be had at DIY stores. I assume their purpose is for decorating or protecting edges of things and so that’s exactly what I have done with them. Sort of. Can’t use it on all the corners but my initial idea was to have a slight overlap between layers. This proved kinda wonky on my first attempt, so I’ll use a system of support/plug bits on the inside edges where appropriate. There’s probably a technical term I am missing here.

    Learning my lesson for the  second attempt at it was with far less of an overlap, and instead of clippers I used a saw this time to quickly and straightly (more or less) carve up the bits. Definitely mark things with a pen if you try this, trying to sort out which bit matches up where can be frustrating.  As part of my attempting to make stuff accessible I also went with a lot of open roof-space. The fencing around the edges is made of so-called ladders I got from an ebay store who does Necromunda styled terrain in laser cut wood. They seemed fitting, and looked more interesting than just having more foamboard up around the edges. The building below was also not supposed to look like that, but due to materials shortage it ended up being a more interesting shape overall, even it it was a bit of a pig to put together.

    I have a feeling there will be a lot of card panelling featuring in the external detailing of these. They’re just a little bit too wonky for me to be happy with just painting or putting printed textures on except maybe internally and for the obligatory signs and posters.


    Avatar photoJJ Parus

    I like them a lot – any and all lessons learned are welcome, as I know that I for one will be getting into the “real estate” business this year!



    Avatar photoJozisTinMan

    Looks great!  Thank you for sharing!

    I like the asymmetrical street layout by the way.  I wind up doing that too every time I set up an urban board, it help break up the line of sight a bit.


    Avatar photoAnonymous

    pretty neat if i do say so myself

    Avatar photoFredd Bloggs

    Love the corners idea, I am going to steal it! But with refinements, you can also get corner edging like that in various sizes in wood as well and I would be tempted to fit some into the internal corners as extra bracing for each floor. And a further point to consider, work out the lifting points for each floor and reinforce that point, you would be amazed how fast such things can wear.


    Otherwise, love it!

    Avatar photoSpurious

    Small update, thought I’d show what I meant by “a system of support/plug bits on the inside edges”. That and internal walls are being added all over the place.

    It’s just that, some extra bits stuck in the corners and occasionally edges. Probably should be something more durable than foamboard but they’re not load-bearing.

    Avatar photoSpurious

    I am surprised my last post on this wasn’t longer ago. Feels like I’ve been working on this forever!

    Anyway I felt I should share where I am at with this.

    Detailing with panelling took a long time. Painting even longer. it’s the kind of thing that if spent more time in planning that it could have been templated out along with the rest of the buildings. For the later panneling stuff I drew around the side of the building onto card, marking out the windows and such, then simply cut that out, removed the window holes and cut the panels out of the remaining area, where as my earlier method was far more inefficient – measuring out the sizes of panels then drawing, cutting and fitting.

    The 3-level building got cut down to a 2 level one and a companion in the same style but still under construction help fill out. elevated blocks provide a kind of half-level hill and a ton of printed out little adverts and posters of all kinds have been added, still lacks building main name sign plate doodahwotsit thingies though. The main colouration used to break up the grey but keep things muted was a mix of cream and grey. Bright colour added for keeping things interesting/modern looking.

    Most of what really needs adding is street debris in the forms of all sorts of junk like advert boards, signs and whatever. Still not found a good source of cars though. I could easily spend another hundred+ hours on just crafting and adding detail bits but really, I’m just going to move onto the next project soon because this one has worn me right out.

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    You did a great job on these !!!

    Avatar photoWar Panda

    Super nice work 🙂

    “The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”

    Avatar photoshelldrake

    very nice work indeed! I will have to use this as inspiration to make more myself.

    Avatar photoAlexander Wasberg

    looking really good!

    Avatar photopaintpig

    They work for me Spurious, nice little project. Have a ball gaming on it.

    I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel
    Slowly Over A Low Flame

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    I’m jealous! Oh, the gaming that I could do with a set-up like that…

    Avatar photoPatrice

    Very good!

    I am often frustrated with the buildings I try to make, I find myself unable to cut regular and identical windows etc, there’s always something wrong. For medieval houses that’s not a problem, but modern buildings are more difficult.


    Avatar photoSpurious

    I find myself unable to cut regular and identical windows etc, there’s always something wrong.

    Don’t look too closely at these then :p

    The panelling thing was used to try and mitigate my wonky cutting through visual trickery and covering up stuff. There’s also a criminal lack of detailing in certain areas, but then part of building terrain is knowing when to stop adding to it. Detailing is usually the first thing to suffer from that, because it can be so susceptible to being broken through use or just disappearing into visual clutter.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    There’s also a criminal lack of detailing in certain areas, but then part of building terrain is knowing when to stop adding to it. Detailing is usually the first thing to suffer from that, because it can be so susceptible to being broken through use or just disappearing into visual clutter.

    That’s a good mentality. Urban terrain is no different to wilderness terrain in that respect. Many, if not most, sorts of wilderness are really impractical for gaming and difficult to model if modelled to look properly realistic, so a degree of abstraction and representationality (if that’s a word) is required. No reason the same shouldn’t apply for built-up areas. For my part, if I ever get around to making an urban terrain board for real (I’ve had a few false starts), I’ll probably omit the road stripes.

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