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Entries in Terrain (4)


Making the Las Vegas Open Grymkin themed finals table

It is that time again! This year for Las Vegas Open I decided to go with a Grymkin themed table. I had other plans, but as always I ended up waiting to long to start and would not have had enough time. So hopefully you will see it next year.

Typically, I start with some of the smaller pieces on the table so I can get a feel for how it is going to end up. I will have a picture of what I want in my head, but getting it to that point can be challanging sometimes. I wanted a night sceen for this table, so lots of blues, pruples and desaturated highlights.

A little bit before I starting working on this table I got a 3d printer. I though it would be great fun using it to make cool stuff for the table! I wanted to have a cool pumking monster or burning whicker man on the table. I ended up going with a pumkin head monster. He fits right in with the Grymin theme nicely.

Here is my printer, a Creality CR-10S. I got it partially because it has a very large build volume for the price. It requires a little more TLC than some more expensive printers, but it's worth it for the build volume for terrain.

Here is the pumpkin monster printed and primed. It is approximately gargantuan sized! It will need some sanding and re-priming to get it to a nice smooth finish for painting. I am thinking about making another one to proxy as a Death Knell.

I bounce around quite a bit between different parts of this project, but for clarity in this tutorial I will try to keep the appropriate parts of it together.

I want the pumpkin monster to have smoke coming out of it's face. The easiest way to do that is to use a mini mist fogger. By putting it in a tupperware, connecting a fish tank air pump to it, and then having a tube outlet that runs to the pumkins' head.

And with the head lit and "smoking".

 Time for some paint!

The head was based using an airbrush with (GC) Game Color Parasite Brown. I also painted the inside of the head after this picture.

Next was shading the cracks of the head with GC Beastly Brown.

Then highlighted with P3 Bogrin Brown. I have moved a lot of my newer P3 paints to dropper bottles with stainless steel balls in them. The paintes last longer, don't collect dried paint from the lid and the tops don't break!

And a final airbrush highlight with P3 Meaty Ochre. Keeping it more to just the top half of the head.

Mixing in a little P3 Menoth White Highlight with the Meart Ochre I add some highlights and texture to the pumpkin head with a brush. This is the same way I paint all the little pumpkins later on.

His body started out with a base coat of light burnt umber. With terrain boards I will use what ever random paints I have around and will usually try and use cheaper paints than what we use for typical miniatures. It gets expensive if you start painting terrain with fancy paint :) His body is going to end up green, but since he is plant based, brown is a good place to start as it will show though in the recesses.

The brown color was a little too vibrant for me to be a "night time" theme table. I had purchased a bunch or acylic paints at the hobby store for this project. I picked up some nice desaturated colors to us. So I thinned down Burnt Umber and took some of the warmth out of it.

With an airbrush I used Badger Miniature Air paint Swamp Ground to start highlighting. Making sure to leave some of the brown showing through in the cracks.

Using a mix of P3 Coal Black and a dark purple I shaded with a brush the recesses of it which is appropriate with the table being a night theme.

Time for some highlights! Using the same base of Swamp Ground and some P3 Cryx bane highlight to make a desaturated green I highlighted with a series of thick horizontal lines. This will help give the vines on it's body some texture.

Using mostly Cryx Bane Highlight, with just a little bit of green, it gets highlighted again. A final highlight with just Menoth White Highlight is applied sparingly.

I am just going to run the fog tube into the back of his head along with the light. Once it is all painted it will look just like another vine rope. It had a channel for the smoke to run through going in the middle of it's body, but it just was not working very well.

As an obstruction on the table I am going to have a house. I picked up one of the great Table Top World resin houses. Broke Egg Games sells them too. ;)

No farm house at night is complete without a smoking chimney and flickering lights in the windows. To that end, it is time to break out the drill and dremmel! 

I am using a model train smoke stack for the house. It runs on 12-18v. So I will need a stack of batteries in the house between the lights (that run on 3v) and the smoke maker.

To test it I just plugged it into a 12v power supply. The smoker needs a few drops of oil to make the smoke.

It makes cool little smoke rings too!

The windows were solid resin, so they need to be drilled out too. Then using an exacto blade and file, square out the holes in the windows.

With all the stuff inside the top is going to need to come off. Using a few 1/8" dia rare earth magnets it will be strong enough not to be casually knocked off.

Time for some paint! After it had been primed grey I painted the wood a desaturated brown. Everything then gets washed with a watered down mix of purple, grey, and armor wash. I am going to coat everything to bring the house inline with a desaturated night theme and the general purple tint of the table.

Here it is with everything washed with the purple mix.

To highlight the stone I used P3 Cryx bane Highlight for the first highlight, then mixed in some P3 Underbelly Blue for the final highlight. I am keeping the highlights to an upper direction on the stone, kind of what moonlight would give you. Also the choice of highlighting colors will keep everything cool and desaturated. 

The wood is highlighted by mixing Cryx Bane Highlight into the base brown color, then a tiny bit of underbelly blue too.

I want something with a little "pop" for the roof tiles to make it intersecting. Starting with P3 Coal Black the shingles get a base coat. 

To highlight the shingles I start mixing in Cryx Bane Base to the Coal Black and apply streaks highlighting the lower parts of each shingle. The second step is adding some P3 Underbelly Blue to the mix and add another streaked highlight lower on the shingle. Then using just Underbelly Blue I pick out a few edge highlight details. (this picture is from a little later on though)

The window panes were made using some squares of plastic and fogging them with some spray can dull coat. You can use cut up blister packs for this. Krylon also makes a fogging spray that would probably work well too. I used white glue to attached it to the inside. If you use supper glue it will fog the plastic. This would be a cool effect if you had a snow scene going, but that was not what I wanted on this house.

To add the lights I purchased some 3v candle flicker LEDs off ebay. A little soldering later we have lights in the windows! Running off two AA batteries this will last all weekend at a Con. They were stuck into the house using hotmelt glue.

It gives a nice warm inviting glow to contrast the horrors that will be happening around it on the table...

I can't have the smoking chimney running all weekend. It uses its' juice too fast for that. So I have rigged up a timer for it. Using a mini time delay relay timer that is programmable, I have the chimney run for 1.5 minutes then turn off for 15 minutes. It will keep running this cycle as long as it has power. The LED in the picture is there so I can check that the programming was running correctly.

The themed objectives are going to be glowing wells. I am not sure what kind of wishes they will grant though...
Using some hollow bases I have made to hold battery harness I wired up 3v pink micro LEDs and solder them to the battery mount.

 The wells were painted the same way as the house. I used thick tacky glue and super glue to attach them to the base. The thick white craft glue to to seal the inside of the well so I could pour in clear resin after (though I did not end up doing that).

I used some hot melt glue to tack down the wires under the base.

Here are the finished wells with the lights and painted pumpkin scatter terrain. The pumpkins will be the toppers for the flat terrain rubble areas. 

Now the time consuming part. Trees! Oh the trees...a forest full of them....><
I am using galvanized electrical fence wire for the tree armatures. It is tough to work with because it is very stiff when bundled together, but it will give me strong trees. It only cost $30 for a half mile of it.  If you want something a little easier to use, aluminum wire work well. Salvage yards quite offten will have a bunch of it pretty cheap.

Using my arms as a measure I cut batches of 10-12 wires and straighten them out. Sticking one end in a vice and the other end in a drill I am going to twist them together. Eventually I would have me with a pair a pliers and my wife run the drill. The wires like to pop out of the vice, and using plyers ended up being easier. 

Make sure to wear gloves. The sharp ends of the wire will do a good job slicing up your hands.

Hold on tight and don't go too fast!

Using bolt cutters (about the only thing that will cut though the bundle of wrapped wire) I cut it down into sections to make trees out of.

Using pliers and needle nose pliers I unwind some of the wire and bend it around to make some scragagly looking tree shapes. 

The final skin of the trees will be made with sculpey, so to bulk out the trees I will be using aluminum foil as sculpty gets baked in the oven to harden.

Ripping up strips of foil I wrap them them around the tree armatures. Making sure to squish it on nice and tight so when I skin it with sculpey they don't get soft.

Using 50% off cupons at Michael's I slowly built up 4 boxes of Sculpey. I used 3.5 of them over this project. 

 Once you warm up the sculpey in you hands it gets quite soft. I wear latex gloves for working with stuff. It slowly builds up on your hands and does not clean off easily.

Also, holding the base of the trees without a glove scratched up my hand pretty good.

Using varrious sculpting tools, rollers, and texture tools I make some bark like textur and shapes. There will be a lot of trees, so I am keeping the tree textures pretty simple as I don't have all year to make them. At this point I have three weeks till LVO... and most of the tutorial you have read so far actually happens after this part.

More trees and more trees... I am making a ton of them a will figure out how to fit them all on the table later.

 I really like the portal idea they had on the L&L table last year, so I wanted to do something similar. Though I wanted mine to be lit and rotating. 

I am going to make my portal built up on a CD. First I covered it with epoxy putty, then sanded it flat. This was to thicken it up for casting later. Once the first layer was clear I went back with more epoxy putty and built up a swirl.

Since we are at the portal, I'll just go ahead a little and show the rotating assembly for it. Here it is cast clear resin tinted with purple ink and a little bit of pink glow powder.

I will be using a slow rmp (5 rpm) motor that runs off 12v. Using 3v, 9v, & 12v for the different lights and motors make it super easy to use those small transformers that come with say your wireless router, and they are pretty cheap to purchase separeately. 
I made a simple mount for the motor with a scrap of 2x4 and a hole saw. 

Using another CD I mark the center of the portal for where I will attached the clear acrylic rod. The stand-off rod will give me some space for lights and to keep the motor mount from showing through the portal. 

Unfortunately in my haste to do this the post is not perfect and the portal wobbles a little when it rotates.

Now back to the BIG tree. Typicaly I try to have a large focal point on the table, which this tree is going to be. I did not have an exact plan for the tree except it was going to be big. Here is the start of the tree, a lonely portal... I am using the master while the clear cast is curing. The clear casting takes quite a few days before it is not sticky anymore. 

Here is the start of the tree arch opening that goes around the portal. If I had more time I would have built a housing that the portal fit up to and all the lights and motor would fit in, then build the tree around that.

After some time, twisting, and bleeding the tree starts taking shape.

And with the portal. I spend a lot of time bending branches around, standing back, and rebending to get something that looks decent.

Time to start wrapping and building out the tree with foil.

There were some gaps between the larger branches that I want to fill with putty to stiffen the tree up. Using magic sculpt works well for this as it gets pretty hard and is cheap. 

And all wrapped up with foil. I am going to be using a lot of Sculpey on this...


Checking the portal.

Time to start in with the Sculpey and make it look more like a tree. I will be using a heat gun to "cook" the sculpey as the tree will not fit in my oven like the little ones. Optimally I would have had time to take it to a pottery place and have them cook it for me. It only takes 20 minutes or so at 275F.

We experimented with a few bark textures.

The second patern is the dirrection we ended up going. So first we pressed in a random texture using cork chunks.

Then went through with a harder sculpting tool to add the bark pattern. This is going to take a long time....

We slowly worked our way up adding sculpey, adding little details, and doing the bark texture. Once the lower half was finished I cooked it with the heat gun so if we bumped it we would not mess up what we had already done.


At this point all the texturing is done. So off to the garage, 2 heat guns and 5 hours later the sculpey is all cooked. 

Now it's time for some paint! I am going to use spray paint on this as it is pretty easy to work with. Though using a brush and latex paint would not be bad for the base coat, it would just take longer. 

First the tress (and all the little trees) are base coated a dark brown. Next they get a sparatic purple/red and blue shading. 

Now I can actually start turning this into something that looks like a gaming table! The table will have 3 sections. The middle section which will be the play area and two side boards that are decorative. This makes it easier to transport the table around to different events and to store. 

Setting the portal with it's mount. The tree gets lifted and set over it.

While that is drying it is time to drybrush some highlights onto the trees. I mixed up some brown and grey together for a good night time highlight. Then add a little more grey for a final highlight.

The pumpkin monster's new home under the tree.

To attached the trees I am using construction adhesive. This stuff is super tough once it cures and is nice and thick to fill all the gaps. Before I started gluing down the trees, I placed them around the table, and push them around until I liked how everything worked. I did not get a picture of them all laid out.

To go with the night theme I wanted to have a back drop for the table. Using the same purple and blue spray paint I shaded a board that is going to be the back drop.

I wanted to have a road going through the middle of the table. Maybe something like you would find outside a city and the big tree popping up in the middle of the road to start disgorging horrors. I had found a broken stone pattern for cake decoration at the hobby store which I used to make resin road sections. I did not use plaster on this table as the thinner plaster road parts would break and chip pretty easily. I started with a straight road, but it looked very plain. I added a wiggle in it and it looked much better. Also the road is the help break up the main board some. If it was just textured sand it would be very borring. It helps tie the side boards into the center section too.

Using a metal spackle knife to spread it around.

Interspurced arond the side board will be glowing fungus stuff. Using 12v pre wired LEDs I drilled out the bottom of the fungi and using hot melt glue stuck in the lights.

Using the hot melt glue again I stuck fungi around the side board. Mostly near trees. They will add a spooky glow to the forrest. I will group up the wires, tape them down and putty over them. The wires are very thin, so the patch compound should cover them well.

I also placed some wire pairs in the side baord so I can wire in my Grymkin models and they can light up all weekend too.

I use ready-mix concrete patch to cover them. It is tough stuff, wont crack and has a little bit a texture too.

Getting in between all the tree with the branches in the way is quite the pain.

Before adding the sand texture to the table I'll get the road painted. First some primer, then a grey latex paint base coat. I will use flat latex house paint quite a bit on my tables. It is relatively cheap. Can be tinted what ever color you want, and is quite tough campared to acyclic paint. 

The road then gets a dark purple/black wash. Then highlighted back up with some grey. Also in the following picture I have put down the first layer of sand. Typically I will put down a thick layer of latex house paint then cover it with play yard sand. You can get 40lb bags of  sand for less than $5 at the hardware store. It will be clean and a consistent size. Once that has dried a while, brush the excess off and cover it with another thick layer of latex house paint. I mixed some brown into my grey house paint to get a desaturated grey/brown ground color. Put it on thick, this will seal in the sand, and it is also going to be your final play surrface. You want it to be tough.

Once the base coat of the sand was all dry I gave it a splotchy wash with purple and then green to make it a little more intersting.

First highlight on the table is the base grey/brown with just a tad of light blue mixed in to lighten it up. Then a finial patchy highlight with a little more of the light blue mixed in. This will help break up the flatness of the table. 

 Meanwhile Courtney, my wife, was working on the back drop. It is a little hard to see with the reflected light in these pictures. She did a great job, and this project never would have been finished without her help!

Next up is adding some grass to the table. I am using a lighter green static grass to stick with the night time theme. Using white glue to stick it to the table. Just squirt some out and spread it around with an old art brush (or fingers).

I worked in sections so the glue would not dry at all. 

Using some hanging moss I got at the craft store we decorated the trees.

At this point I cut some foam supports under the longer branches and slid it into the back of the truck. Early that next morning we left for LVO! Cutting it close as always....

But there is still more to show. Before everything was packed I was working on some of the other terrain for the table. I wanted 3d trenches for the table, but to not have the problem of models tipping over and trying to bridge the edge. To that endever I made the walls of the trenches movable. The water will be a deep purple/blue color and the forrest/rubble templates will be sanded mdf templates.

A little black primer on everything. Or a lot in the case of the plaster parts.

 The shallow water. I painted it with spraypaint, then once that had dried a nice gloss coat to keep it shiny. 

Painted the trenches grey and brown then applied a dark purple/black wash on them similar to the house.


They trenches were then highlighted back up with grey, then with some light blue mixed in for the final highlight. You can also see one of the fog bank clouds here in this picture too.

One of the movable trees that go on the center of the table. Some of them have spooky faces too!

I also made some corn rows for the rubble templates.

Here are a few pictures for the event. I still have a lot to do on the tables. I need to add all the foliage to the trees, crows, bushes, and fabric cover that will have stars hanging from it too!

The zones were cut out of plasticard then painted so their color would fit in with the table.

I should have the rest of the pictures up soon. Hopefully you found this tutorial helpful and informative. If you were able to make it to LVO thankyou for showing your support! I look forward to seeing everyone that can make it next year!


Making the Las Vegas Open 2017 Cephalyx Finals table.

Each year I try to make a finals table for the Las Vegas Open Warmachine events I run. This year I went for a Cephalyx underground bio factory.

First up is the general layout that will be laser cut out. The smaller red square are etch patterns that will be getting drudge bio pods on them.

Here are some of the side board panels along with some misc parts.

And all the parts laid out to be laser cut.

While things are getting cut I am working on the other terrain bits that will accompany the table. First up is the Cephalyx colossal along with its' bio chamber.

I am making the colossal by kit bashing a Skaven monstrosity with some Cephalyx monstrosity bits.

Here it is all together with sculpting the even out the muscles and cover the skaven runes and such.

Now up is his bio tank.

1. Cutting plexi panels and gluing them together to form the walls of this bio chamber.

2. Walls glued together

3. The base of the chamber. Made of foam core with diamond plate plasticard glued on top.

4. Adding some pipes and vents to bottom of the bio chamber.

5. The bottom surround of the bio chamber assembled. 

6. The top lid of the bio chamber assembled. I plan on having lights in the bottom and top of the chamber, but those will not go in till it is pretty much finished.

7. Painting the board I want to go for a rusty dark metal look. To achieve that I am priming everything a rust red.


8. After that was dry I spray painted it a dark bronze color and then hit it in spots with an aluminum color spray. Once the table is mostly complete I am going to go back and add control panel glows, oil and blood stains.

9. I am going to seal the gap between the plexi panels and the base with thick craft glue. It is quite a bit easier to deal with than caulking for this application.

10. And with the exterior rim glued to it.

While this is drying it is time to paint the colossal! This is going to be a somewhat quick paint job as he is going to be in a somewhat clouded tank and does not need to be super fancy. 

1. Primed and ready to start painting.

2. Base coat of dark flesh airbrushed on, then a top highlight coat with the airbrush of a medium flesh.

3. Mixing in some bone white another airbrush highlight layer is applied.

4. After that I went back with the dark flesh and shaded the cracks/under areas. Then taking the bone white I put some hard highlights on it. This will help it "pop" in the bio tank.

5. Using a a clear red color, airbrush all the stitching to make it look a little inflamed and anywhere else I wanted it a little red. Adding in a little purple in spots would look good too, though I did not do that.

6. Fast forwarding a bit all the metal and wood is painted. The metal was painted silver, then heavily washed with GW nulin oil, then flesh wash. That is a pretty easy way to add some shading and weathering without spending a lot of time. Use a blow dryer to help keep the washes from pooling.

While things are drying with the colossal bio chamber I started working on the individual drudge bio pods. 

1. Making the master parts for the drudge bio pod bases and tops.

2. Using silicon rubber mold material I make a master mold so I can make a bunch of bio chambers.

3. I am going to need a bunch more drudges, so making a mold of a few too with an umbilical cord. 

4. Painting up some more drudges for the bio pods along with Cyphon

5. Test fitting a drudge in one of the pod chambers.

6. I air brushed some color to look like gunk build up in the bio tube, then glued it onto the base for the bio pod chamber

Here is one of the drudges that will be going into the bio pods.

To run the wires up to the top of the bio chamber I have hollow plastic tube. 

I painted then cut the tubing. Then fit it to the camber and figure out where to make the channel for the wire.

LED hot glued into the bottom of the bio pod. I have solid red LEDs and candle flicker LEDs to use on the pods/table.

The top of the bio pod with the LED glued in and wire through the post.

Testing out the LED with the mini inside.

I am using some old clear resin I have for the Bio pods. It is supposed to be clear, but it is a little old.....
It will be perfect for dirty bio pods, and if it does not dry all the way it does not matter as it will be all contained and no one will be touching it.

This stuff you can not degas and when you mix it get super bubbly. But they will mostly come out by the time it sets up.

And testing turning on the light.

Once the resin is all set up (the next day), it is time glue on the top.
I just used white glue to attach it. It should be strong enough and it is easy to work with vs super glue for this.

And lit up. IRL you can see the drudge in there much better. The camera has a hard time taking a picture of it. You can see the resin cleared up quite a bit too.

And a video of what the flicker LED looks like.


The pile of tubes for the rest of the bio pods

Working on the rest of the Bio pods I have where I need to drill my holes and cut channels. 

Working on the LEDs on the larger colossal bio tank.
This is the lid. I am cutting into the foam core lid to embed the LEDs. The wire will run inside of tubes inside the tank to get to the bottom.

Covered with putty.

Then I taped off the LEDs and painted the underside.

Cutting the bottom of the bio tank to make room for the wires.

LEDs glued in along with the posts for the wires from the lid.

Added a little smudging to the walls with the airbrush.

Colossal glued in.

I added just a little bid of "clear" resin to start. This way if there are any small holes they will get plugged before I will it up more. As it was starting to cure and get thick I dribbled some over the mini to there will be drips and runnels of water running down it.

I have been getting parts cut this week, and today I was able to get some time working on the table itself.
First are pics of stuff I was working on during the week.

Making all the bio tanks I cut up a long piece of tube.

All the tubes shaded some with an airbrush. This will make them look a little older and grimier. 

One of the drudges glued in and his back cable attached to him. The tooth pick is to help hold the cables as the glue dries. 

Big batch of that old resin mixed up to put into the large bio chamber and some of the bio pods.

Resin poured into the larger bio chamber. Most of all those bubbles will settle out of the resin by the times it cures. Though there is going to be a problem.....

But before that here is a sneak peak at Cyphon. He is going to be suspended up above the side board overseeing operations. The colors are a quite washed out. Reds, bright light and my phone don't mix too well.

This pictures is a little better.

Now back to the non-perfection that is the bio chamber. The first casting ended up tilted a little as the surface I had it on was not level....
You can also see how the resin pulled in at the corner.
I also poured some partially cured resin over the gargantuan. This added a nice sheen to him and some drips so he looks like he is splashing around in his tank some. 

So trying to fix it I added some more resin to level it out. But this resin (which was a different type) cured differently and pulled away from the plastic. So it looks like crap.

To make the waves I am using Woodland Scenics Water effects. It is a thick gel that you can sculpt into waves and shapes. It is the same stuff I used on my Guild Ball fishermen bases. 
I squeezed a bunch in there planning on spreading it around.

Using a sculpting tool I pushed it around into something that will look like waves when it drys. It will take a few days for the water effects to dry.

Now back to the board itself. 

Here is some of the parts as they are getting laser cut.

And some of the pile o parts that are left over. I should be able to find something to do with these either with this project or another in the future.

Back at home with the parts starting to lay everything out finally!

Some more of the cut table parts.

Some of the side board vertical parts.

Here is what the basics of the main play surface will look like. Everything when done will be flat and smooth for easy play. All the terrain will be movable.

Under this 1/8" thick top layer I will have a 1/4" mdf layer. This will stiffen it up quite a bit and help keep it from flexing as people lean on it when playing. 

With the table laid out I drew the areas I need to cut out onto the 1/4" mdf. You would actually see any of this sub mdf, so it can be a little more messily cut.

Everything cut out and the plasma panel set in to check the fit.

Now to glue it all together!

Using wood glue I attached the top laser cut panels to the 1/4" mdf sub layer.

One of the "hills" for the table. Having flat terrain at least for hills makes for much cleaner play on these fancy finals tables.

Here are some of the other parts going together for the table.

Movable walls for the table too.

For the side board I am going to have floating orbs with Cephalyx runes on them. I think these will be super cool all lit up red with runes, light and smoke around them.

And Starting to repaint them. Bonus, since they are magnetic I can just stick it to a nail and spray paint it.

Sunday morning back outside working on the table. 
Now that the table top is glued together it is time to build the box around it. 

This picture is of the box under the lower side board. Typically I make a 4x4 center table, then two removable side boards. This way everything fits in the back of the truck and the flat center tables can be stacked and the side boards can be stacked on their sides. If space was not such and issue, or I had a large space to store them making them as one piece would be easier. 

The interior of the table will have stand-off supports to help support the table top as people lean on it. 

Here the stand-offs are located and measured. I will need to drill holes in the top and the bottom to secure them. The table top will be removable just in case something needs to be fixed as some point.

Stand offs glued and screwed to the bottom of the table. 

Table tops mounted on the boxes.

This is the large center inset for the plasma panel.

Starting to lay out the larger side board.

Each one of these squares will have a bio pod in it with the larger bio chamber in the middle.

At this point I need more MDF so will have to wait to get some the next day.

Putting the top on the large bio chamber. I am just using thick craft glue. It bonds pretty well, especially on something that will not be knocked around a bunch. Super glue would cloud the plastic and epoxy is just a mess to work with in this application.

With it on it is not perfectly level. But it is good enough for the glue to hold.

Using some painted plexi card strip I am covering up the gap and adding a little extra strength to holding on the top.

Here are some of the more than 20 smaller bio pods the table will have on it.

Showing what the top looks like of the bio pod and where the top wire comes down through.

So I had some older polyester resin I wanted to use up on this project. Fortunately I tested it just one bio chamber. Lets just say the plastic did not like it at all....

That is the plastic itself actually cracking. Not due to heat or anything. Just some kind of chemical incompatibility between the two.

Definitely not going to use any more of this. Might still use the pod on the table. It could be a broken one or something.

For my next test I am using some smooth-on crystal clear two part resin. Hopefully this will work. I mixed too much though, and not wanting to waste any I filled three more bio pods.

Here is a picture of the rest of the Bio pods filled with clear resin.

Wiring up the two LEDs of each pod to each other after I put the tops on all of them.

So after years of drought here it finally started raining. But of coarse the three weeks right before LVO it has been raining a ton. My garage is only a single wide and there is not a ton of room inside to have tools out for working on the table. So fun times...

This is going to be the larger side board where most of the bio pods and the large bio chamber are going.

This is the first vertical face of the side board.

Testing the overlap using the smaller side board for how the larger side board will overlap the main table slightly.

Attaching the vertical face to the larger side board.

Clamping it all down to give it some time to dry.

On the smaller side board there are some larger vents. I am not running smoke to them, but they will have some flickering light under them. These boxes are to help make the light a little more visible and hide the rest of the inside of the small side board. There will be some smaller bio pods over here too that will be light.

This is the side board top plate upside down.

2nd step of the larger side board being attached.

The side board has doorways on each level. I built a little box for each that will attach to the back that will make it look like a hallway. They each have a light in them too.

It is dark and cold outside (at least for California, my god it is under 50 degrees) so time to move into the garage and work on the piping for the smoke machine.

Starting the layout the piping in the main board. This will pipe the smoke to cups that are under the 4 center vents on the table.

Here are the cups. I am using pvc pipe end caps for these.

The cups installed into the innards of the table.

Smoke from smoke machines comes out pretty hot. Thusly it will tend to rise. So to help the smoke "cling" to the table I am going to have a small insulated lunch box filled with dry ice that the smoke will run through first.
The lunch box and smoke machine will be living inside the larger side board.

Now to test out the smoke machine! I don't have any dry ice right now so I just have the smoke machine pushed up against the pipe for the main table. I am quite excited (at least for me, I had a little smile) to get this point as I had an idea in my head of what this would look like, but had no idea if it would actually work.

It looks to work quite well!

Once I cool the smoke down some it should stay lower to the table.
That is it for tonight. More pictures to come tomorrow night.

Now that I know the smoke is not a lost cause I painted the in the interior grey. It could have been black, but I had a can of grey laying around that could be used up.

Once the grey was dry I took the bronze rattle can spray paint and sprayed it around a little bit to break up the plain grey of the interior. You wont be able to see much of the interior, but it would hurt.

These are the back interior supports of the second level of the larger side board. The thinner mdf needs some kind of backing or support to keep it from sagging.

I used some clamps to help align the edge of the top 2nd level with the face below while the glue dried. 

Now it is time to do the piping in the larger side board. I flipped it upside down so I would not have to hold anything. This cups are attached to the underside of the vents on the second tier of the side board.

The assembly that attaches to the vertical vents on the side board. These will have lights in them eventually. I ran out of LED's and probably won't be able to get any before I have to leave for LVO.

All the vents piped up.

And the set up with the smoke machine and the cooler that will have the dry ice. All this will be enclosed inside the side board. 

And in case I don't want to use the cooler I can hook the smoke machine right up to the piping. Though the pipes do get kinda hot from the smoke.

The smoke comes out much slower now with all the extra piping added. I might try to add an inline fan at some point to help move the smoke along. But that will have to wait till after the Con.

Now back to working on the front of the side board. I build a backer that will be offset back from the vertical girders. The "U" shaped plastic parts are going to have magnetic floating balls that I pictured before in them.

The center circle in the above picture is going to have a lit recessed Cephalyx symbol in it. Also, the whole area between the vertical girders and the back panel will and piping and such too.

I was getting late so that is about as much as I got done on the table outside.

Back inside I worked on finishing wiring up my bio pods and chamber.

Here is the mess of wire coming out of the bottom the the large bio chamber.

Now cleaning up a bit so I can feed them into the board. I used hot melt to glue the wires in the channels on the bottom of the chamber.

And with lights on!

Here is hopefully a little better picture of the monstrosity. maybe in the future I will get some of the monstrosity heavies and put them in some bio chambers too.

I also painted the floating magnetic orbs. They have runes on them spelling something out... 

Test fitting the center Cephalyx logo on the side board. The logo is a metallic red color.

I am adding some piping behind the paneling of the side board. I would like to add more, but I don't really have the time right now for it. But at least it is something to add some interest.

With the girder panels in.

First coat of antique bronze spray paint.

Same thing on the main table. 

And a lighter coat of aluminum color spray paint.

Putting in the girder panels 

Here is Cyphon overseeing his bio factory. He is magnetized so he can be safe during transport. I am going to add some smaller tubes to the back of him that meld a little better into the larger tubing.

Here you can see the tubing coming up to him. I have an extra LED that I think I might add inside of Cyphon so he will glow too. I need to get a bunch more LEDs to outfit the rest of the table, but that will have to wait till after LVO.

The top put on the side board and weighted down while the glue dries.

Using strip LED lighting I am going to make the inside of the main table glow. The lighting unit can make it any color, flash and pulse. Just like the CoC table. Though it will probably just stay on red. If I am using just the main table and no side board I can always make it blue so it will match the blue of the plasma panel.

Here is the LED control unit with the IR remote receiver. 

With the play surface on and the vents glowing.

The Plasma panel inserted!

And here is a quick video of what the plasma panel and lights look like.

I am moving along on the table. I have to have it finished up by Monday! Here are two quick teaser pics. I don't have too much more I need to do. I have the terrain and smaller detailing to do then it should be all done.

I have to open up the hole a little for the plasma panel. 

Table is all finished up! I am packed up and headed to LVO in the morning for a few days of vacation before the con starts. 
I will finish up the tutorial part of this once I get back. But for now here are some finished pictures of it with the smoke and lights.

Working on some terrain for the table. These are going to be pools of processed liquid, blood and guts, or maybe food. Depends on what you want it to be....

I started off with painting the inside of the pool a mottled red. This will add some depth and texture to the pool once the resin is in. I tinted the clear resin with some red tamaya clear paint. The pouring liquid I have a support of fishing line.

Clear resin poured in and curing.

Resin set up and ready for some sculpting gel.

Using acrylic sculpting gel I made the pouring liquid, along with waves in the water.

And the acrylic gel on the other can.

Once it dried I painted over with some of the clear Tamaya red paint. IRL the pouring water is semi transparent.

I re-painted a chess clock to match the board too. I tried to make bloody finger prints on the clock paddles, but they just turned into smudges.

And the objectives and flags for the table.

Here are some pictures of it all together. The pictures are a little grainy because of the lower light in the garage and using a camera phone. Once I get back from LVO I am going to add a few more lights as I ran out, do some re-wiring and then take some better pictures.

With the smoke running.

The pipes on the round bases on the rectangles represent "forests".

Some pictures of the table being played on at LVO. There are more pictures of LVO at

Hope you guys enjoyed all the pictures!


Making an India themed finals table for Las Vegas Open

I will be doing a special board for the Las Vegas Open too! It will be similar in style to the WTC tables that had a main 4x4 play section and two side boards that are all built up and scenic. 

It will be and India temple themed board. So lots of temples that are overgrown with roots and cool statues. 

So something along this theme. 

And here are the statues I am making a bunch of.  I made a mold of some metal statues, then made Hydrostone copies of them. This will let me break them up too as needed.

On the left is going to be a large cliff that the statues will be carved into. On top of the cliff will be some trees. There will also be large trees on the side boards that look like this.

There will be a path way that leads up to the statues and the pool that is below the big face in the center.
On the right will be a valley entrance kinda setup with the cliffs and a path the leads between them flanked by statues.
There will also be ruined temples and such. The white pipe you see if the core of one of the trees for a sense of scale.
The main play area of the table is going to be flat with movable obstructions, walls, forests and such that are themed to the table. I plan on making themed zones for this table too if I have time. They would be thin laser cut zones with rune etching and they would match the feel of the board. So no brown felt zones to ruin the look!

The pathway is made with Hirst arts stone pavers. I broke them up and routered out depressions in the table for them to go into. 

Jumping ahead a little bit. After layering up the foam board, I carved it up using a compination of hot wire cutter and long sharp knife. After that I textured the faces with concreet patch. This will give it some texture along with toughening up the surface. 

The verticals trees are first made with 2" PVC pipe, then I used gauze bandage dipped in plaster and draped them around the pipes. To make the roots I twirled up the plaster gause and starting draping them on. As I would going along I used a brush and some water to help clean up the dripping plaster. 

Some of the statues in their alcoves. For the texture on the flat surfaces I put down a thick layer of paint and covered it with sand. I just use cheap latex house paint. It is nice and turable and thick enough for sand to stick to easily. 

So the terraining part of the side board is mostly done here.

First I painted the board with a coat of latex paint and covered it with sand. Once that was dry I brushed it off and covered it with another coat of paint. This seals in the sand nicely and makes the play surface nice and tough.

Adding some color variation to the table using green and brown washes. I made the washes with cheap craft paint and water. You don't need anything fance for terrain tables.

Dry brushed the surface sand to bring out the texture, along with painting the trees brown. 

Rocks washed and highlighted along with the trees highlight.

Shot of the table before grass and bushes.

The tables are almost finished up. I just have to finish the water effects and some small details. Pictures with the grass and clump foliage added.

Added some green flocking to the statues for some moss.

Side frame painted a dark green/black color. I like having something not pure black to paint the borders with so they don't contrast the table too badly.

The bottom of the pond painted and moss added where the water wil be trickling from the face.

Some of the terrain objstructions for the table. 

Got the scenic table to Las Vegas Open all finished up! One of the goals of it was to have an easily playable surface for it. So the play surface is a little simpler. 
For next year I REALLY liked the Cryx necrite mining field WMW did. So I might take direct inspiration from that. It would still be a "flat" playing surface but with all the recessed pipes with grating over them it would add a lot of depth to the table. Maybe even add some lights!


How to mass produce Plaster Terrain for Tournaments

For the Bay Area Open Tournaments this year I tasked myself with making a whole bunch of terrain for the Warmachine tournaments. I needed to make about 60 pieces in total: some for the tables, some for end of round giveaways, and some for prizes. So needless to say I needed to make a bunch of them quickly without costing too much either. 

So here is a quick tutorial on how I went about it.

I started out with a custom piece of terrain that I wanted to make a bunch of. :)

First up was to give it a few coats of primer to seal in the gravel and any loose pieces.

(Click on images to enlarge)


I don't have pictures for the next few parts, but I can at least describe them.

First off I glued it down to some hard board and built a dam around it so that I could build the skin up for the mold.

The mold was built up with a few layers of silicon mold rubber. The first layer was brushed on so it would get into all the cracks. The next two layers were built up with fiber mixed into the mold material to strengthen it. This allows me to keep the mold small and cheap. So after a few layers of build up this is what it looks like:

After everything was dry I wrapped it with another dam of plastic card and glued a piece of foam core on top. This is so I can lay it on its side and fill up half the dam with plaster. 

Once one side was dry, I broke off the foam core top and filled up the rest with plaster.

After that was all dry I broke off the dams, popped it off the base I had glued it too, and split the boot apart. Since it was poured in two parts, a little chisel tap to the seam and it popped right apart. 

I then used a razor and sliced up both sides of the mold so I can get the terrain piece out. As you can see some of the pieces came off with it. :)

To make more, I put the boot back together and popped the mold back into it.

 I mixed up some more plaster, poured it in and once it was dry de-molded it. This is what I ended up with.

And with a little clean-up and a little paint this is how it looked. :)

Hopefully this gives you an idea for how it would be possible to make a lot of terrain quickly for tournaments. If you have any questions feel free to ask.