Saturday, 17 May 2014

The City Heights Project

The start of a new level
I have had the pleasure of seeing many great boards at the Hall of Heroes and other places which enable a board with varying levels. It is an added challenge to consider fighting up ramps, down from upper stories, across and along trenches.  However, this normally comes with boards that are fixed, having been custom built with the underlying terrain in place.
We wanted to have a multi level board which is flexible and transportable.  Living in the country, our demo game events will always be elsewhere, which means we have to transport our men and scenery in the car and our home is a busy place which means we have to store everything away.
Our solution?  Make a multi level board with sections.
Start with a large block of Polystyrene Foam.  100mm (4in) x 600mm (24 in) x 1200mm (48in) cost $47.85 each from Clarke Rubber.  Laid flat, this gives us an upper level of 4 inches high.  To strengthen and protect the sheets we painted them with a grey paint.
The next challenge was to make a way to get from the lower level to the higher levels.  This could be by stairs or a roadway or a bridge.  Also, we needed an edge to the upper level with a wall to fire over.
A basic 6in (15cm) section
I decided to make sections in 6 inch widths.  This mean for a 4ft wide table, we could mix and match a number of elements nicely.
Start with solid insulation foam (we obtained ours from Austech, although we picked it up in person).  25mm (1in) thick probably allows for the most options in building.  The edges of the foam are cut so they can be joined together when laying them as insulation.  This worked out to be the perfect wall height and thickness.
Using my less than precise modelling skills, I cut the foam so it levelled up with the 100mm white foam edges.  Then I cut a similar width piece for the ground level.
Stairs are for running up and down.
This was glued to a 6in square piece of MDF to provide durability and a standard size.  PVA glue is fine to put it all together.  Craft glue is great for creating moon or shell craters, but not much good at actually keeping two bits attached!
To create a simple stairway, I cut an appropriate sized bit of foam and hacked some stairs out.  At the top of each stair I glued some craft sticks.  Initially I was going to use the craft stick for the edge but it looked poor.  So I used Foam Core card and made an appropriate edge and railing.
In this stairwell, I thought it would be nifty having an opening under the stairs for a store room of sorts.  So I cut in the opening and stairs and added a spare door from one of our 4Ground buildings.
Then we got more creative.
Should I go Left or right?
A stair with two exits and a little seat. Options for chappies to get down with varying types of cover and a little style. Once more the same combination of insulation foam, foam core and craft sticks all stuck together with PVA.
I then painted the whole thing completely.  When painting scenery we just get sample pots from the paint or hardware store.  In Australia Haymes sample pots are great quality and good value: 500ml for about $8.55.  You can get them in any colour and they cover all sorts of material - wood, MDF, cardboard and foam.
Once painted, I went the lazy man route and applied printed stonework, the same way we did for the cobblestone roads.
Brick and stonework - looking fine.
Pasting on the brickwork covered up most of my hackwork and gave me a fine finish.  I used brick work for the walls, and stone work (as I used for the cobblestone pavements) for the ground and steps.  I also used the stones for the railings and wall capping. (We used the High Ground Tiles Kit from Dave Graffam models - only $3.95)
As you can see from the photos, the less than precise cutting of the foam meant there are some gaps between pieces.  But I am not overly concerned.  The end result is still quite satisfactory.
The next challenge was to provide a way for vehicles to move between levels.
One of the large white poly sheets we cut in two.  This meant 2 x 2ft squares.  On the edge of one we cut a slope one inch up (to match the edge of the insulation foam) and back 18 inches. This gave us a suitable slope.
The end of the road.
Warning!  Do this outside as you will get white foam dust everywhere!
I made sure that this was solid as I could still place this square upside down and have a normal edge too, allowing me to have a road or not depending on the board requirements.
The road edge was more insulation foam cut accordingly, painted and then brick and stone work added.
The only thing remaining is to make some walls bordering the ramp using thick cardboard and more brick and stone paper.
The end result looks pretty cool.
More corners to hide around
The road fits our cobblestone sections nicely and we have flexible levels.
I am sure if you adopted a more careful approach and cut each piece of foam accurately they would fit together much better.  However the concept works great with relatively little effort to get great results.
Lots of places to take cover.
4 foot of heightened goodness.


  1. Le résultat est réaliste.

    Super l'idée de coller du papier imprimé façon briques est astucieux
    (mettre du vernis pour le protéger ?)

    Pour les règle de jeu :
    comment faire pour que le panther tire en contre-bas ?

    sinon super terrain pour utiliser des "rangers"

    Cela fait un terrain pour un scénario "mont Cassino"

    Bonne continuation

    The Frenchy from Asnières 92600

    1. We paint clear Satin varnish over the paper - once it is dry - which protects the paper and gives it a great finish. (It's tricky translating from French to English!)



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