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.

2 thoughts on “Terrain vs miniatures

  1. The swampy stuff is all custom made. That’s actually easier than the cast stuff. Based on the prototype, the swampy encounter is mostly a matter of paint and glue. My biggest issue at the moment is the foam core paper separating from the foam core.

    For the swampy encounter you and I discussed, I am more interested in figuring out how to deal with what is under the swamp. The swamp itself is not nearly as much of a challenge.

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