Thursday, July 9, 2009

In the Interim...

This is going to be a long one so get ready!

Though Jason and I are in the midst of creating and documenting the CR Tech project this is by no means the first piece he or I have ever built. As we document CR Tech I would like to begin including some posts on previous projects. Now, none of these were ever documented during the building stages so what you will see are the actual finished terrain pieces in the midst of play.

In a previous blog I mentioned the Inquisitor game I had written. Living by our motto (see below), I didn't want to just write out a set of rules. That would have been much to boring (and would have allowed me to get more than my customary 4 hours of sleep a night) .

I believe, to keep your players interested you must give them tangible things, things that make them go WOW! That being said, I spent close to two months building an entire 125 page supplement book (The same concept that Jason is in the midst of right now with his own game), I printed it and had a bound copy ready for each of my players. The cover you can see to the left.

For the benefit of the Games Workshop lawyers***
Please let me stress that many of the images and concepts I used were a
ll of original Games Workshop production. I simply took their fluff and art, combined it with the OGL D20 system and created a game. This was a fan based item produced for the players in my gaming group only for our private use and never sold or promoted as an official gaming supplement!

Of course to compliment the game I needed over the top set pieces, terrain that would stretch my abilities and take my players experience a step beyond what they were used to. Thus was born ATOLL 10.

This piece, baring a few items, was made completely of junk and scrounged items. Here is a list of the things I used (see if you can locate them, and don't cheat by looking below at some of my explanations): Various foam pieces from box packing, V8 cans, bendy straws, water bottles, super glue caps, old AAA batteries, an old Computer CPU, a Pringles can, various pieces from a destroyed blender, granny grating, various PVC pieces, metal grid fencing, tooth picks, cardboard, and Games Workshop 'City's of Death' bits

Here is what I bought:
1. An old Fisher Price parking garage set from a flea market [$5]
2. An old truck toy from the flea market [$1]
2. Transformers Jedi fighter toy [$10]
3. Transformers Truck toy [$10]
4. 2 GI Joe zodiac boats with big guns on the front - which I promptly ripped off [$5 each]
5. A pack of self contained LED lights from the Wedding section at Walmart [don't remember the $ amount but it wasn't much]

I use alot of superglue and super glue accelerant - these two things are probably the items I use most in my projects. They are absolutely invaluable and can save you ALOT of time!!

One of the first steps in creating a project like this is, of course, planning. I am a huge proponent of planning. And once you've got it planned out, plan some more. I literally measure everything. The last thing you want is to spend a large of amount of time on a project only to have it look sloppy because your walls don't meet or things aren't lined up and square. One of my rules to live by: "Pay attention to detail". Believe me, people will notice.

For instance, the picture below shows the top of the parking garage set. The placement of the four fuel tanks(V8 cans) you see were each measured out so they were symmetrical and evenly spaced. PVC caps were then placed atop each one then connected by bendy straws. Between each pair you will also see batteries. Using three batteries, I taped them together added random wiring and some gears on the front, painted them and had a very easy to make industrial piece. The more small interesting items you can place around your terrain the better. Just be sure you still have enough playable area.

Just to point out a few more features: To the left, a radar tower made from half a water bottle, its cap and two pieces from an old toy I found (a shield which I used for the dish and a gun which I used for its shaft).To the right you can see my landing pad with the Jedi fighter perched atop(I wish I had a better pic of this because it was my favorite feature of the piece). The 2 guns from the GI Joe toys you can see in the lower center and near the top placed on a tower made from a Pringles can, (banded with poster board strips at the top, middle and bottom) a foam core walkway topped with granny grating and the gun base made with parts of a blender lid.

Here is a closer pic:
More features you will notice: The ladder and railings are made from metal grid fencing you can find at Lowe's or Home Depot. In the top right you can see the old CPU power source I used for Atoll 10's main power generator, along with another half water bottle and some granny grating. The antenna on the water bottle is the advancer I cut out of the interior of a deodorant bottle. In the next picture you can see a PVC piece and the use of alot of super glue caps.

Also pictured is the Transformers truck toy I purchased and two small mining bins. (Atoll 10 was a mining station infested with the nasty green 40k Tyranid species you can see running around in a few of the pics). All of the items I bought had to succumb to a special paint job (along with everything else) so they would fit in with the setting. As you can see, a good paint job goes a long way in creating the realism of a piece. For this I used various coats and shades of brown along with a dry-brushed antique white for highlights. Also, my special ingredient: Wood stain. This stuff was a fantastic way to weather the terrain. I brushed it all over the walls, the vehicles, the ground, everything, to give it an oily, industrial look.

For the main structure of Atoll 10's walls I used the pre-formed foam made for electrical and appliance packing. Some pieces I cut to size, others were fine as-is. These I augmented with pieces of card board topped with granny grating for use as various defense platforms. All of this was glued onto a large piece of foam core. A few parts were modular: the Gun tower, the rear parking garage piece and the CPU generator. With those items remove the whole piece weighed about 5 pounds and could be leaned against a wall.

Below you will see a better pic of the 3 level parking garage. This was a great toy I found at a flea market for $5. The first thing I did was take it completely apart and remove all of the stickers and washed it(originally it was bright yellow and blue). One of the cooler features is it has a working elevator in the tower structure on the right . This I pulled completely apart as well and glued granny grating in the interior of all the windows ( and removed an annoying bell that would ring every time you raised the elevator). Along the front, bottom level I added a highly detailed wall made from GW's 'City's of Death" parts. Again, you can see the GI Joe gun mounted on the top level. This was glued down to a rotating platform set into the floor that you could turn with a small handle.

In the picture you will also see a map I made in Photoshop and mounted to foam core. I set it across the walls when the players actually entered the main structure of the parking garage. It was easy for them to play on and reach and if we moved back to any action outside all I had to do was lift it off.

Finally, no Inquisitor game would be complete without alot of gore. Remember my statement above, that you should add cool little items to your terrain whenever possible? This was one of those ideas. The players were basically entering a slaughter house, the workers of the mining station having been ripped apart by the Tyranid. Now these creatures are not the most hygienic of species. In fact, they are just downright slovenly! So they have a tendency not to clean up after dinner. So I of course had to make sure this was represented:

The body part are pieces of space marines with hot glue daubed between the truncated limbs and painted red. Pretty simple but cool effect.

Anyway, that's it for Atoll 10. I hope you enjoyed your tour and got some good ideas for your own piece. Stay tuned when we delve into the lower levels of the doomed mining station. Now those were a real @#$*!

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