Chamon, the Realm of Metal

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Construction on my first of twelve tables is now complete with only a Realmgate to go which is being generously assembled by Clint from Heralds of War (along with 11 other Realmgates and a dozen Citadel Woods).

I’ve been sneaking a few pictures onto Twitter as I went along and I’ve had a few questions about how I did certain things so without further introduction let’s get to the good bit.

General info

A few points to get us started that are common to all the pieces you see here:

  1. The bases of each terrain piece is 6mm MDF board. I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again, if you are going to cut or sand MDF board please use appropriate safety equipment. You absolutely should not be breathing the dust it creates.
  2. Unless otherwise noted below, all the gluing was done with Liquid Nails. It’s an all-purpose construction adhesive that will glue just about anything to anything else.

‘Tree’ stands

As I’ve mentioned several times before I’ve had my eyes on the 3D printed scenery pieces by @garrisimo (you can see the full range at ageofhobby.com) and I was particularly interested in the Metal Spires for this table. I traced the standard Citadel Wood base piece and the rest was fairly straight forward.

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Once the 3D pieces were glued to the board in roughly the same position as the trees normally go in a standard Citadel Wood I used plasterboard filler to blend it together.

Hexagon Hills

I wanted some hills on this board, but I didn’t want them to just be basic rounded over foam hills. I wanted it to fit with the aesthetic I had in mind (basically, angled edges rather than rounded organic shapes).

I had an idea, but I needed a few things to make it happen:

  1. Hexagon Floor molds from http://www.hirstarts.com/molds/molds.html. I bought two sizes – 1.5 inch and 2 inch.
  2. Dental Plaster for the molds. You can use ordinary plaster but dental plaster is both stronger and lighter. A 20kg bag of Dental Plaster from my local hardware store set me back $36 and I’ve used maybe 20% of the bag and made more piece than I need.
  3. Blue foam which I already had in bulk.
  4. A hot wire foam cutter table. This I’ll use for several tables. It set me back about $120 on eBay.

First I molded up a couple of hundred hexagon floor pieces. To speed up the drying process you can chuck them in a cheap food dehydrator. Cuts the drying time from a couple of weeks for a fully dried out piece to a couple of days.

Next I glued enough of the molded pieces to strips of blue foam of different thicknesses. PVA glue is just fine for sticking the molded pieces to the foam. It takes a couple of hours to dry so if you’re in a hurry you probably want to use something else.

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Once this was dry I put my shiny new hot wire table to use. As you can possibly tell this is a high quality brand name product… I have no idea what any of labeling says and the power plug is a bit iffy but it gets the job done.

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I used the foam wire table to cut around each hexagon floor tile so that basically I had pieces raised to different heights.

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A few hours later, you have a lovely pile of hexagon tiles of assorted heights.

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Next up I assembled the hills by mixing a bunch of different heights together. I made two ‘small’ hills that are roughly eight inches in diameter and one ‘large’ hill that is about twelve inches across.

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Next up a bit of filler to blend in the edges and some random lines drawn into the foam with a pen.

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Finally I needed to add a little texture to the foam so I gave the foam and some of the hexagon floor tiles a coating of tile grout. I use tile grout because it’s cheap, comes in colours so a nice dark colour like the one below is handy, and has a nice texture to it. Just ignore the instructions on the pack and add a lot more water than normal.

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Crystal formations

Sticking with the hexagon theme I decided to put together some crystal formations for the final pieces on the table. Cue the handy new foam wire table again.

It’s a little bit hard to tell from this photo, but the table I bought can be adjusted to cut at different angles. I set it to cut at 30 degrees and then ran pieces of blue foam through with the guide set at various widths.

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It’s a bit tedious, but the end result is several hexagonal lengths of blue foam.

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I skipped a few steps here in terms of photos but this is the end result.

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In terms of steps involved in getting here:

  1. Cut some of the hexagonal lengths to different sizes including angled ends. A bit of arrangement is required here to get them looking nice.
  2. Cut angled pieces off the top of each ‘crystal’ with a sharp knife.
  3. Use a fine grit sanding paper (I used 1200) to side the foam smooth and found off the edges a little.
  4. Glue it all together and then again some filler to blend it all together (not shown here).

Bringing it all together

Final step is to get some texture on the base pieces. I mentioned in a previous post about different materials you can get your hands on. I used two different products here. On the left is some bonsai pebbles and on the right aquarium sand.

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A light sprinkle of the bonsai pebbles and a coating of the sand gives a nice texture to work with later on. After painting I’ll be adding some flock and static grass so it won’t be 100% sand around the edges.

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Some finished pieces, ready for painting:

…and a family shot of the table as a whole including a set of the 3mm boards that I’ve painted previously:

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The only missing piece is a Realmgate which will be coming my way in a few weeks. After that arrives it’ll be time for paint.

The next table I’ll be starting construction on will be an Aztec / Lizardman themed table.

Until then, thanks for stopping by and reading.

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