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Thursday, September 24, 2015

+ inload: Worldbuilding: mean streets +

+ Progress on the gameboard +

+ I've used strips of pine to add the shapes of the roads, pavements and to add some structure to the board. Not an exciting-looking stage, but I hope putting in multiple levels like this will go a long way to helping the finished board look more realistic. +


+ I bought some 7/8ft strips of pine from B&Q for a couple of quid each. Pine is cheap, easy to cut, and comes in lots of different shapes. After measuring and cutting the pieces, I secured them to the board with wood glue and held them down with some dumbbell weights overnight. +

+ The next stage was to run PVA down the gutters and fill them with sand. I used a pot of sand that I've pre-dyed by pouring in brown ink and swirling it around. It's lasted years, and gives a nice dark base to paint upon – useful for hiding gaps in recesses when priming or minimising the effect of chipped paint or damage. +


+ This close-up detail shows the road (the broad strip of lighter wood on the left), the gutter (filled with PVA and pre-dyed sand), the pavement (the double-layered section on the right. The pavement is currently lower than the road, and this is because I'll be paving this with thick card, which will bring it up to the same height. The D-shaped  section adds detail and helps to provide a step between the pediments (the original big square board panels, which are the dark wood on the right), and the paving. +


+ Here's one of the broader 'hard shoulder' gutters that border the central strip of road. I could have had a double-width road, but I think this will add more visual interest, and keep a bit of consistency.  I imagine this area would be used by market stalls, people parking their horses, travellers and the like. A little bit of inefficient use of space is both realistic (look at the waste ground on any industrial or housing estate, for example) and interesting from both an aesthetic and gaming point of view. These areas can be left open, or filled with scatter terrain barriers like trashpiles, parked cars, barricades or decorative flowerbeds, which should help keep things fresh. +

+ Durability and playability are important considerations. I've tried to ensure the pavements are at least 25mm wide so that most infantry bases sit securely on each of the five levels (squares, pavement step, low pavement, gutter, road). You'll also notice a glossy effect in the picture above. This is diluted PVA. Once the sand was glued in place with pure PVA, I let it dry then ran a diluted mix of warm water and PVA over the gutter areas, encouraging it to spread and settle. This should provide one more layer of security by flowing between the sand and binding it together. +

+ Paving +

+ The next stage is to pave the streets. I'm using this tutorial [+noospheric inload embedded+] from the fantastic Rob Hawkins Hobby Blog in order to prepare the paving slabs. On the left of the picture you'll see a red-textured panel. This is one of the 'bases' I had cut, which are intended to provide variety of ground height (some are 3mm thick, some 6mm). +


+ Ground height is a bit of a weird concept, but one I think adds to the ground-level aesthetic. A perfectly flat board has the advantages of being completely stable (for terrain and models) and more compact for storage (particularly if your board is modular or on a mat). Conversely, having a variety of ground heights has the advantage of visual interest and realism. Balancing the two is important to get a good game – I don't want my models to tip over and get chipped in the middle of a game; let alone my guest's! +

+ In this instance, the table will vary from gutter level (the lowest point), paving and road level (2mm off the ground), step level (4mm), pediments (6mm), low building bases (9mm) large building bases (12mm), and large building bases with low building bases on top (15mm). That's before we add any terrain! These are small increments, but I think they will add up and both look and 'feel' good when playing. +

+ Perhaps more importantly, I'll be able to add details like leaf litter, rubbish etc. safely in the lower recesses while protecting them a little so they won't get knocked off in storage. +

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