Home Forums Terrain and Scenery Sally 4th Terra-Formers

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  • #85064
    cmnash
    Participant

    Seeing the news piece about Sally 4th’s Terra-Former Passageway Tile Kit yesterday finally led to me to take the plunge and buy 4 of the standard tile kit as a ‘tester’

    I was wondering if anyone else uses them, and if they have any advice to share?

    TIA, Colin

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    #85102
    malc johnston
    Participant

    That pretty cool, nope never used it but i can see many ideas coming from this…Nam tunnel rats springs to mind.

    Willyoupleasehelpmefixmykeyboard?Thespacebarisbroken!

    #85145
    cmnash
    Participant

    I got an 8′ by 2′ (2400mm x 600mm in modern terms) polystyrene sheet from Wickes for £9.29  ready for the formers to arrive …

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    #85147
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Is that sheet actually polystyrene or is it that blue/pink insulation foam stuff?

    #85152
    cmnash
    Participant

    Is that sheet actually polystyrene or is it that blue/pink insulation foam stuff?

    honest-to-goodness genuine 100% squeaky and crumbly polystyrene!

    https://www.wickes.co.uk/Kay-Metzeler-General-Purpose-Polystyrene-EPS70—2400mm-x-600mm-x-50mm/p/210802

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    #85154
    Radar
    Participant

    A little confused, it doesn’t take much.

    Is the terra-forma basically an MDF frame with magnets that you put your own ‘terrain’ into?

    #85155
    cmnash
    Participant

    A little confused, it doesn’t take much. Is the terra-forma basically an MDF frame with magnets that you put your own ‘terrain’ into?

    a) I know exactly how you feel!

    b) Yup – the frames are designed to hold the 50mm deep polystyrene, which you can then shape & texture as desired. Looking at Sally 4th’s site, they do a range of frame types (e.g. with detachable bits for roads/rivers)

    I’d been thinking about getting some for quite a while.  The advantages of the magnets and the protection that the mdf will give the edges is what fianlly convinced me to get some rather than TSS tiles … that said it would be interesting to know if TSS files fit directly into the frames …

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    #85562
    cmnash
    Participant

    The formers arrived on monday evening.  Will try and get them assembled before Saturday so I can get the polystyrene cut & fitted on Saturday

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    #85648
    cmnash
    Participant

    I glued the first 2 together this morning, so still on target at the moment!

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    #85803
    cmnash
    Participant

    All four assembled now:

    Any advice on cutting 50mm polystyrene?

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    #85816
    Ampersand Andy
    Participant

    If the extent of your project is the four pieces you have already purchased then I would suggest marking off your squares with a sharpie from each of the corners of the sheet of polystyrene. Use a snap off blade knife with blade extended and cut trying to maintain a right angle. The important thing is that the top side of each square is the correct size and well, square. Use the rest of the polystyrene to insulate your car in case the Beast from the East tries to grab you again. 

    You’ve got me wanting to try  the Terra-Formers myself.

    #86106
    Noel
    Participant

    I’m going to keep my eye on this thread.

    #86125
    cmnash
    Participant

    If the extent of your project is the four pieces you have already purchased then I would suggest marking off your squares with a sharpie from each of the corners of the sheet of polystyrene. Use a snap off blade knife with blade extended and cut trying to maintain a right angle. The important thing is that the top side of each square is the correct size and well, square. Use the rest of the polystyrene to insulate your car in case the Beast from the East tries to grab you again. You’ve got me wanting to try the Terra-Formers myself.

    If all goes well, then I intend to get more squares – the polystyrene I bought is 600mm x 2400mm, so that should be enough for 16 squares, but I expect that, given my normal attempts to cut straight lines, I’ll be lucky to get 14 …

    However, having spent 6.5 hours travelling around 24 miles last Thursday to get home, perhaps insulating the car is not such a bad idea!

    Back to the project … unfortunately a bout of ill health, combined with daughter’s birthday, has meant I’ve made no further progress yet.

    I have also encountered a stumbling block – the polarity of the magnets. I have (currently) 3 ideas on this.

    1. Do 1 square with all north poles out, the next with all south poles out. This will mean that half the squares will stick to the other half in any combination
    2. On each square, on 2 sides, put both magnets north pole out and the other 2 sides, south pole out. With this configuration all the tiles would adhere to each other, but with only 2 combinations …
    3. Don’t use the magnets at all, so none of the tiles adhere, but all the tiles can be in any configuration …

    1+2 limit the possible combinations of the tiles, while 3 removes one of the advantages of the whole system – resulting in a £7.50 protective frame for the polystyrene …

    Any other combinations that I’ve missed that occur to anyone?

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    #86136
    Geof Downton
    Participant

    Like this, from above, pole shown outwards, as long as the faces are aligned each will stick to every other.

     

    One who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off.
    Ahab, King of Israel; 1 Kings 20:11

    #86140
    cmnash
    Participant

    Like this, from above, pole shown outwards, as long as the faces are aligned each will stick to every other.

    D’oh! Of course!  Thanks Geof.  I really should have figured that out for myself …

    Although I am glad that I posted the question here and someone pointed out the obvious solution! (not obvious to me though … err … obviously)

    I’ll get my coat ….

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    #86154
    Ampersand Andy
    Participant

    I’ve just noticed Sally 4th sell a polystyrene cutting template for £3.50. Think I’ll add one to the small order I’ll be placing. I can’t cut a straight line to save my life. Last night I tried to cut a line between impressions on a new silicone mould just so it would fit in a storage box. It did not end well. Now I need to make a trip to MB Fibreglass for more silicone and make a mould box inside a mould box.

    Chris Abbey also has a couple of videos and an instruction PDF on Terra-formers. Best of luck with your cutting. I watch with interest.

    #86523
    cmnash
    Participant

    Well, with a burst of energy that came from I know not where last night, I actually cut the polystyrene for two of the squares:

    BUT – and it’s a big but! – the frame is not deep enough for the polystyrene:

    I checked the measurements – the polystyrene is 50mm thick; the frame is 50mm tall …

    It appears that the design does not take into account the thickness of the parts inset into it at the bottom – they are 3mm thick mdf and that is the amount the polystyrene is above the frame …

    I find it hard to believe that such a basic flaw could have got through Sally 4th’s process of releasing these formers.  Is there a specific brand of ‘two inch polystyrene’ that is only 47mm thick?  is it supposed to be above the edges?

    I guess I’m going to have to look at their videos to see if this is part of a cunning plan …

    and make some kind of hot wire cutter ….

    This is really annoying. I was looking forward to getting on with these.

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    #86647
    Noel
    Participant

    Huh.

    #87082
    cmnash
    Participant

    Just an update to say no update really …

    I bought a hot wire cutter on amazon, but it didn’t have the accessories that the product picture showed, so I returned it and got another one, which arrived last weekend, but I’ve been too busy reading Hammer’s Slammers, so have not tried it out yet

    Having finished volume 3 of the collection this morning, hopefully, I’ll get something done this weekend

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    #88843
    cmnash
    Participant

    My new hot wire cutter arrived and after a couple of weeks staring at me balefully from the kitchen table, I finally got it out of the packet and used it to ‘level off” the polystyrene in the terra former …  here is a pic of one of the tiles after that:

    I’m not sure how well the picture conveys it, but the length of the cutter (20cm) meant that it was quite difficult to keep it straight with the top of the former. Despite its heat, it did slide along the top of the mdf without burning it, but the end of the cutter had a tendency to bend down into the polystyrene, creating the dips in it.  At first I was annoyed about this, but then I thought, “What’s the point of doing all this if I didn’t want ‘3D’ terrain? After the application of liberal amounts of filler and some paint, I now have these:

    It’s difficult to see, but I’ve smoothed out the edges of the dips and filled some in.  I’m quite pleased with the results.  The next stage is a PVA solution followed by sand.

    In case it’s of interest, this is the cutter I’ve used:

    Amazon hot wire cutter £18.99

    I’m thinking of shortening the wire slightly to see if that helps – the wire is 20cm long and I need 15cm to reach the centre of the tile …

    It’s also a damn sight easier to use to cut the polystyrene to size

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by cmnash. Reason: spelling mistook

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    #89361
    cmnash
    Participant

    This morning I put all the magnets into the 4 formers that I’ve made

    As you can see, I followed Sally 4th’s recommendations and used masking tape.  I didn’t use superglue though – I just pushed the magnets in and then put tape over them. The magnets are a snug fit into the holes and they work well with just the masking tape:

    The magnets will keep all 4 formers together just by holding the corner of 1 former, but I couldn’t get a picture of that, so the above will have to do!

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