Saturday, May 17, 2014

Road Terrain Construction (that awkward time between editions)

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Well as I believe I've played my last game of 6th edition, I've been vacillating on how to spend my hobbying time. So many questions, so few answers until my preorder 7th edition rulebook (plus $5.95 sales tax, thanks Indiana politicians) arrives next week. Questions like:

1) Do I upgrade all my IG sergeants and officers to bolters?

2) Do I give all my traitor guard sergeants and officers power axes?

3) Will the Hydra still suck in 7th edition? Should I buy some?

4) Should I run my IG as vets with camocloaks or as blob squads (depends on how kill points work)

As I try to limit my gaming expenditures to a predetermined monthly budget, May's allowance is pretty much shot thanks to GW inflation. With all the uncertainty, I've focused my efforts into terrain. Terrain is recession and inflation proof: it's always needed for games, rarely gets nerfed, goes out of style, or gets squatted. My current gaming board is a generic green felt surface which, with the right additions, can represent a jungle death-world, an agriworld, or a forested terrain. 

This week's project is the addition of a road network to the terrain options. Here are the steps to completing these roads.

1) Buy a sheet of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard, 1/4") from the local big box lumber yard.

2) Cut it into 12"x"12 squares for ease of use. I used my dad's table saw. I lost some length on a few of the squares because sawing removes some material, an amount equal to the thickness of the blade. This adds up over a big sheet, so you'll have to make some "fudge strips" one or 2 inches long. 

3) Plan out your road network. My big sections are 12"x6" wide, with 2 6"x6" . I have intersection pieces that are 6"x6", a few diagonal pieces for placing roads at a 45-degree angle on the battlefield, and some 2" and 1" fudge strips.

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Diagonal pieces

4) Cut out those pieces with any saw. I used a Jigsaw. Make sure to sand the edges before moving on to the next phase.

5) Add texture. I used basic sand from the hardware store. It has a few big rocks but is pretty consistent. You can use elmer's glue, diluted with some water, and just paint it on with a 1" or larger cheap brush. Then flock it just like you do when basing a model. Let this dry 24 hours before moving on to the painting. 

6) After the roads dry, paint them with a coat or 2 of glossy black spray paint. Glossy looks the most like asphalt on the highway. Let this dry for 8-24 hours or so. That gets you to the stage below:

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Textured and painted black
7) Now comes the difficult part. While the black paint is drying, make some stencils. If you made the roads like I did, you'll want one stencil 14" or 15" long and 5.5" wide. This is your white stencil. The yellow stencil is harder. I razorbladed a old oven pizza box in half, cut out small pieces 1" long and 0.25" wide in one half of the box, and then taped it back together. This is for the center lines on the road. 
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Yellow Stencil
8) Using your stencil, spray the white side lines. Place the stencil in the center of the road piece, leaving the far edges exposed. Do all the white lines, then go back and do the yellow stripes. This allows the white paint to dry. The yellow one is harder, because you have to make sure it is centered on the road piece. I cut out the corners to visually see everything was lined up before I painted. When spraying, spray straight on, not to the side like you do when you primer models. Side spraying will result in non-crisp lines. 

9) That's it, you are done! If you want to do some touch up, use your model paints to cover up any drips.

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