Saturday, March 31, 2012
Looks like I am going to start casting some parts tomorrow!!! I'll probably start by making the Wizard tower.
Friday, March 30, 2012
The materials need to be easy to aquire.
They need to be cheap.
They need to come with as much detail as possible in the textures so I don't have to add that.
Lets start with the core/base of the city. To make this I am going to go with styrofoam insulation. It is relatively cheap as I can get it for between 15 and 30 dollars for a 4' x 8' sheet depending on the thickness. It is easy to work with and it is light. It is also a favorite material for people making modular terrain which is another requirement of this project.
To make all the buildings that will be attached to this foam I did a bit of research. I stumbled upon a site that has created a large variety of molds for casting parts called Hirst Arts (http://www.hirstarts.com/). Basically they have designed a bunch of molds for people to make lego like building pieces that they can then assemble into the structures that they design. Perfect!!! Since the molds are Silicone you can cast any plastic or plaster pieces you want.
I looked at a bunch of molds and did some research on the available materials. I could use a resin to do all of the casting which would save greatly on the weight and make the pieces incredibly more durable. However resin costs $120 for a 2 gallon (2 parts so 4 gallons total) system. In order to make enough pieces for this city I would probably need 6 gallons or more of the resin. On top of that you need to buy special mold release to protect the silicon molds from being eaten up durring the chemical process of the resin and eventually destroying the mold. Because of these issues I decided to go with Plaster of Paris. It is a fairly light plaster and you can get a 25lb bag for about $15, which makes it incredibly cheap as well. The one downside is that it is not as durable. However I don't forsee this piece being abused so hopefully that won't be a problem.
The final main product I am considering using are some rare earth magnets of various sizes. The intent here will be to mount these in the bases along with some metal. This will provide for a locking mechanism within the modular pieces. It will add to the cost but it will also help ensure everything stays aligned as intended.
I have already purchased a couple of the Hirst Arts molds. I have selected the Wizard Tower and Octagon Tower molds to start with. When they arrive I will be writing about constructing those terrain pieces and figuring out how I can apply the pieces to the Minas Tirith project.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
7) Lay one of the sheets of masonite on the frame. Make sure the smooth side is up and that the rough side is touching the frame. Line up all the edges so they are flush.
8) Using a counter sink bit pilot a hole in one of the corners. Make sure to offset enough so you don't run into one of the screws in the frame. I go in about 2 inches from each corner to do this.
9) Using a 1 inch screw drive it into the pilot hole so that the head of the screw is flush with the masonite. If the screw head is not flush it may show through the felt later.
10) Repeat step 8 and 9 applying screws every 8-12 inchs all around the border. Make sure the frame is flush with the edge as you do so.
11) Repeat steps 7-10 for the other frame and sheet of masonite.
13) Along on of the 4' sides aline the hinge so that the center of the hinge follows the seam between the 2 boards of masonite and screw it in. I suggest putting a screw in each end to start.
When complete you should have a table that looks like this.
Doing a search on google provided me with lots of good reference pictures to design around. One of my favorites is of a model that someone else is working on. It provided me with a very good idea of how things are laid out for the top tier of the city where the Citadel is.
Based on this image and the base size of a large model (50mm) I determined that the upper level of the city should be 250mm across. This would allow 5 large models to stand side by side. The Citadel itself would be 125mm across and about 200mm deep. Each of the next 3 levels would be 50mm across. This will provide that narrow feeling you see in the movies where the paths are just wide enough for a troll to make it up. Tier 5 is 75mm out from the tier above it. Tier 6 is 100mm. And tier 7 is 175mm out. This makes for an overall width of 1.2 meters, which is just under 4 feet wide.