Sunday, February 26, 2017

Blue's Modular Table Part II we go with phase two of the modular terrain building.

Now that the individual base tiles are complete I started adding on the design features that I had drawn up on the post it notes earlier.  This I simply did with a large Sharpie marker.  As I want these tiles to be as modular as possible I insured that the road sections all entered and left the tiles at a set distance from a corner...I opted for the center of the road to be 5" inches from the corner and for the road to be a consistent 3" wide at the interfaces.

Here is how things are shaping up.

Open Terrain....this one was easy...

Large Castle Hill

Small Castle Hill

Large Hill and Pond

S-Curve Road
Farmstead Road

With the designs in mind I started cutting out and shaping hills for the three tiles that have them.  Sadly I forgot to take pictures of the castle hills until I was gluing them down...The castle hills I made out of a 1/2-inch thick foam plank that I found at Lowes.  Initially I had tried to make these hills out of 1" thick foam put it proved to be too thick...with the hill can castle coming so close to the edge of the board there was no room to "slope" the hills enough to make it realistic...the 1/2" board was much better.

Shaping of the hills was mostly done with the hot wire cutter and and a sanding block with 100 grit sandpaper.  Here is the large hill for the tile with the pond, it was carved from a piece of 1" thick was glued down with Wood Glue and weighed down overnight to insure a good bond.

Next I turned my attention to creating the pond feature at the end of the hill.  To carve out the depression for the pond I turned to my Dremel tool with a grinding stone attached.  The stone carves the foam quite easily but created a tremendous amount of dust so I did most of this work with the shop vac running and capturing as much of that as can't be good to breathe.

The grinding wheel left the foam a little jagged so I smoothed it out a bit more with sand paper.

At this point all the tiles are now "built" with major features attached and carved.  I did set them all up together just to get an idea of where things are headed.

Next I will move onto applying the surface to the tiles.




  1. You're castle hill is going to be very steep at some points - not that that's a bad thing for a fortification! You may find you need to make the hills larger where you can to make slopes that models can stand on as you'll want to be able to use the hills without the fort as well.

    The reason I settled on the stupidly heavy 2x4' tiles was that it gave me more room to work. I'm going to try a hybrid technique next time - foam boards with only a wooden frame glued to them, leaving off the MDF base. Maybe I can lighten the things and still combat the warping that foam alone tends to result in.

    Always fun stumbling through this kind of thing!

    1. Thanks for your input Clarence. The slopes on the narrow sides of the castle hill are certainly pushing the limits of being too steep...are were ridiculous when I was trying to do it with the 1-inch foam...the sloops on the other two sides I extended beyond the inked line I had drawn on this panels to allow more tapering of the slope and those I think will work fine. this process certainly brought up lots of thoughts about whether it is better to used Terraced hills (like I used to in the 80's) or hills with actual slopes, like I'm working on now. I can see advantages in both systems.

      I'm very interested in seeing how your new system works out...I image that those 2x4 panels can be pretty unwieldy. On the LAF there is a member who does all his builds on 2" thick foam planks and doesn't use any backer boards or frames and seems to have there are always new options to try.

      And yes...this is very much a learning process...I'm a total noob at terrain...but I'm having alot of fun working thru it all.

  2. Looking great! When's the event in Vermont?

  3. Glad that the stone worked and didn't just melt the foam. Lots of interesting solutions to particular problems. I'm enjoying learning from your process.

  4. I love the way you laid it out. I feel the itch for a terrain project and maybe some two by two tiles are the way to go. I've always used mats of one kind or other, but you can get quite a lot more elaborate with tiles.