Monday, September 19, 2016

Hirst Arts 3D Map making

So I moved on from overland hex maps to full 3D Interiors again. Some of you who have been with this blog for a long time might remember ages ago I bought a bunch of Hirst Arts 3D plaster moulds and was going to create a 3D plaster space station interior?

I did a bit of casting back then but didn't get very far. Part of the problem was that I was making it with full height walls, and gluing pieces together to make whole rooms as a single 'map piece', and after making a single room and a passage segment, it took up SOOO much storage space.

So I've changed tack. I'm back to casting plaster 3D scenery - but I'm doing it as a 'cut-away' 'invisible walls' style, and I'm not gluing pieces together - they're all loose and separate so they can be arranged in any way and packed up easily.

Sorry about the quality of the photo, it was hand-held snapped with my ipad.


So basically what we see here, is 1.5" floor tiles, and dividing the rooms and passageways are half an inch thick dividers. The dividers mark the walls of my map, but they are only half an inch wide and stand only half an inch higher than the floor. This means the 'walls' don't block a player's vision.

I can then sit 3D scenery objects, figures, counters, and so forth, and the walls don't get in the way, but they are still visible and 3D enough that you can clearly make out the boundaries of rooms and passageways.

The other thing I did, is nothing is glued together or attached to template boards. Every individual floor tile is an individual piece, so I can just stack them on a shelf for storage without it taking up space. The dividers are lots and lots of small pieces that I can lay out around the edge of floor tiles to make different shapes. None of the pieces are glued to each other, so its all loose and easy to pack away or to lay out on the table in a different shape.

My goal at the moment is to make enough floor tiles and wall dividers and scenery objects to cover half of my rectangular gaming table, then on the other half I can have dice rolling, stat sheets, rule books, and so forth. So it should be good once it's all done up!

My painting method for map pieces is:

1) Coat all plaster objects with Finish - Classic Victorian gray acrylic house paint. Yes - house paint! After years using tiny bottles of miniatures paint, I realised I could mix up a whole tin of house paint for just $10 at the local hardware store. So I've got things like medium-gray in BULK now, and while the tin smells a lot while painting, and takes longer to dry than miniatures-specific paints, once something has dried, it works just great, and I've only used about 10% of the tin of paint in the last six years, so it's definitely worth the money!

2) paint the cables running around the wall dividers in bright orange.

3) wash everything in 'badab black' Games Workshop's black wash.

4) drybrush the top-surfaces of the wall dividers in a medium gray to brighten it up and set it apart more from the floors.

I'm also planning to paint a lot of the scenery objects in a kind of 'construction yellow' look, but I'm still thinking about that.

The door, computer console, yellow crate, and storage locker, are also plaster pieces cast from the Hirst Arts moulds. There's all kinds of cool stuff to make out of plaster in the moulds I bought. One thing I'll be casting some of, is there are floor tiles with metal grills in them, to represet hatches that can be opened to enter crawl-spaces. So maps might have access shafts or ventilation shafts that people can hop down into, and then after a number of turns, pop up through a hatch somewhere else on the ship! I thought that could be fun :)

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