OK… plans…

So I’ve been really lazy lately. I haven’t been doing nothing at all but I haven’t been doing anything structured or organized. And I tend to not get much done when I’m not organized…

So I’m going to start getting organized. Or trying to. Which means I need to put a plan together to get back on track with my terrain goals.


Here is what I’m going to do. Instead of just piling up Hirst building blocks but not building much with them, I’m going to complete my current half-done projects. So, that means I will be wrapping up the following projects in the following order:

1. Fort Pringles. It’s really silly that I haven’t finished this. It’s so close to done really. This is pre-Hirst blocks so is just foam core poster board combined with Pringles and nut cans. I just need to put some rooms in the first floor and make a couple more floors, and maybe a short “tower” for the top. Probably no more than a couple days to complete the construction and another day or two to paint. Just gotta get it done.

2. Rovelle Palace. This is the palace needed for my (currently on hold) Pathfinder campaign. I’ve got the first floor complete, but have two more floors to finish. Again, much like Fort Pringles, this is just foam core posterboard. Probably two or three more days of construction and then two or three days of painting (this is more complex than Fort Pringles so will take more work to paint).

3. Hut village. I’ve got about half a dozen huts made from foam. They are perfectly usable huts, but they are currently pink and need to be painted. I’ve got multiple sizes of these huts. I’ve also got a couple of foam core “wood slat” huts that are easy to make. I just need to make a roof, cut a door and some windows and glue them down to some base material. These range in size from a few inches in diameter to six inches in diameter. The six inch huts would work well for Ogre huts.

4. Cavern prototype. This will be my next Hirst blocks project. So far I have four terrain elements I’ve made with Hirst blocks. Those are the bridge, the wizard tower, the fountain and a six-inch “hut” which may become the base for a taller tower. The bridge and wizard tower were pretty major work efforts and are undoubtedly my most “impressive” terrain elements. But they aren’t really great gaming items. What I really need to make are dungeons, caverns or catacombs. So, I’ve been working on a two-level cavern and have dry-fit Hirst blocks a couple of times and it looks really nice, but I haven’t actually glued anything down yet. I just need to get this done.

5. Swamp fortress. This will be my first major Hirst block project. It will be based in part on the Cavern prototype. The goal for this is to have a serious campaign-level set of terrain elements that allow for outdoor adventuring, tactical battles with cover, concealment and room to room navigation. Then there will be openings into caverns which will have multiple rooms, large open areas, underground rivers and/or lakes, etc.

That’s probably enough for now.

I still want to create some generic tavern/inn terrain, along with a sort of “main street” collection of stores, etc. But for now I just want to get some things completed that have been hanging out there for a while.

Terrain vs miniatures

I have come to realize that, at least in the way I do it, making miniatures is a sort of “sprint” where making terrain is more of a “marathon.”

That’s why when I was working on miniatures I was posting several messages a week, but now that I’m working on terrain, I post maybe once or twice a week.

I don’t like that, it makes the blog feel stale. But I don’t want to just make stuff up to post either.

I have been making floor tiles lately. You need a LOT of floor tiles. Much, much more than you realize. A typical Hirst arts mold has about seven full 1″ tiles and maybe another six or eight partial tiles. The partial tiles are meant to create designs or else to allow some flexibility in how you position walls and other terrain. But for the most part creating floors is an exercise in assembling 1″ floor tiles until you’ve covered the area you need.

So let’s say you want to make a fairly reasonably sized cavern. Let’s say 20″x15″ (or 100 feet by 75 feet). That’s really pretty small in real-world terms. You could fit four of those on a football field (five if you count the end zones). So not very big.

However, to completely floor it you need 300 floor tiles. At seven tiles per casting, that means 42 separate castings of the floor tiles are needed. Each casting takes at least an hour, so you can see why my posts are so far apart. I’m not even close to having 300 floor tiles. At best I’ve got maybe 120 or so, so I’m not even halfway there. Thus the slow posting… At my current rate of casting floor tiles (maybe three casts per night) it’s going to be a while yet before I have 300 tiles.

However, by being clever I can reduce the need for tiles. The biggest way to be clever is to have underground rivers or lakes which are created by putting plastic or resin on the base in place of a floor tile. I’m pretty close to having enough tiles to make my cavern prototype with the middle being a large body of water.

To help with future terrain I am casting at least four different floor tiles each time I cast, so as I’m building my tiles for the cavern, I am also creating tiles for castles, dungeons and cobblestone village squares. So hopefully once I get into this, it won’t be as long to create future terrain elements as it has been to create these first ones.