Thursday, July 2, 2009

CR Tech Base | Building the Foundations [Part 2]

So Darren and I have planned and plotted, done our research. We head to to Lowes to get supplies and spend about $75 total on PVC, wood and other plastic boxes from the electrical department. Most electric boxes look outstanding as transformers or large human sized or larger electric equipment. I also have some other pieces from other landscapes that are going to get the recycle in this project, a large crane from a fire engine and the 4 car launcher for a Hot Wheels race car set, makes a fantastic looking metal factory assembly piece.

We place these over the Masonite to figure out the best locations for them. Also, part of placing items involves playability. We take extra time to make sure that all the characters that will be on the landscape can move around and not get stuck in one area. Another thing we look is giving everything placed a purpose, is it interactive, does it do anything..? I don't want anything that will never be used or seen. Over the course of placing elements, Darren realized that it would be impossible to play if there were elements right on the edge of all 4 sides of the map, so we decided to leave one side completely open, allowing players to reach and move their characters. Duh..!

The placed elements get the white wax pencil treatment which looks like a caulk outline. That helps in placing items, moving things around without everything on the table. Keeps us from breaking fragile big things and gives a overall view of the landscape. This can be seen in the part 1 post.

Next, we decide to start from the center then work our way out. First is to dig around in the pile of foam and finding a good candidate for the wall around the steam pipes. I decided on one that allowed for plenty of cover for the characters, alcoves for computers and control stations.

We placed the piece, pipes and some take some measurements to get it placed perfectly in the center. Darren also gets the size of the center and we begin working on the grating. We use grating used in knitting, common called "Granny" grating. You can get a pack of this at Wal-Mart for a few dollars.

The quick and dirty thing we could do is cut and place the grating. But that would look like crap. Taking a few measurements and the fact that the grating is a grid makes it easy to cut it square. Then adding a piece of foam core with a groove makes it fit flush when placed over the grating and hides its unsightly edge, giving it a polished look.

Finally, adding in the 3 holes for the vent pipes. Finding the center of the grating is easy, place a ruler from corner to corner and draw a line across the center. Do that process again with the oppisite corners and you should end up with an "X" in the center. That is where I placed the large 3in pipe. The 2 other pipes I roughly placed evenly from the edge of the big pipe and the edge of the grating, then measured it to presicely place them. Using a black marker I traced out the pipes and used scissors to cut the holes in the grating.

Lastly, using white PVA or Elmers glue, liberally coat the inside of the groove on the foam core and place the grating inside. It will take overnight to dry, but should be a strong hold. There still needs to be some beams placed across the grating to prevent warping and make it stronger for character placed on top, but that will have to wait until its dry.

The final product can be seen below with the vents, grating, edge and foam, all place next to a miniature to show the scale. Pretty good so far. We will return to this later to place beams and coat it for painting. Time to work on a few other items.

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