Friday, February 19, 2016

40K Narrative Event - Creating the Planet and Moon

I had a couple requests from people to show how I turned a soccer ball into a planet for the 40k Narrative tournament I ran at Waaaghpaca.  Well, despite what people thought - it wasn't a soccer ball...

The planet was actually a half sphere from Hobby Lobby made of a hard Styrofoam.  As you can see in the picture below I also bought a full sphere which would be acting as the moon of Dacronoe.  This was the beginning of what would later become the planet.  

The first step was to outline what I wanted the map to look like for the tournament.  I ended up deciding on 24 tiles as I was planning for a max of 24 players to the tournament.  This meant 23 on the actual planet and left 1 for the moon.  I set up the original design on a scratch piece of paper and then measured the circumference of the globe to determine how big each of the hexagons could be and still fit on the planet.

Once I had determined the size of the hexagons I created a hexagon out of cardboard.  Now my first tip would be to make sure your hexagon you're using to outline all of the hexes was square.  Mine had a few irregularities and as I progressed towards the outer areas the small misses were exacerbated and left me with some pretty odd looking hexagons.  The end result doesn't matter for the purpose of outlining the different tiles, but it would look better.  (Afterwards I thought maybe using a settlers tile would have been a good choice).

Here you can see the hexes mapped out on the globe.  Due to the nature of how I planned this out I had some open spots on the four corners.

This picture shows how I developed the planet from a smooth globe into a planet with mountain ranges, a ravine and some bombardment damage.  The mountains were designed to run along the tile lines as natural breaks in tiles.  They were made with apoxiesculpt and a green stuff tool to draw in the cracks and valleys.  You can't see it in the picture but I cut a fissure into the sytrofoam to act as the ravine and some smaller holes to act as bombardment damage.  (Going back I would have made the lakes and rivers the same way with less deep holes and then filled them with two part resin to add to the effect.  You'll see I just painted them on.)

Here is the finished moon.  I did the same technique on the moon adding some mountains and a couple fissures.  The idea behind the moon was that it was volcanic in nature and was really only a place for the space command station tile.

With the tiles mapped out and the planet done I went over it with some textured paint in several places. This included along the edges of the mountains and some of the plains areas, thinking these would be like foothills.  I also used it along the ravine to cover up some of the uglier cut outs of the styrofoam which doesn't cut out cleanly.

After that I bought sytrofoam cover material from Hobby Lobby to protect the styrofoam for when I painted it.  Once this was done I used the same green stuff tool to gouge the lines of the hexagons back in.  At this point it was important to make sure your lines are very dark or that they are already grooved fairly deep to make sure you can see them after.  The other alternative would have been to put the cover material on first then design the hexes.
Here you can see that I have begun painting with the airbrush.  Initially I painted the entire planet in a brown spray paint and then went over it with the blue, green and gray.  Then gradually added lighter colors.  When approaching painting the planet I drew in some faint lines of where I wanted the ocean, lake and rivers and the grassy plains.
Another picture after the highlighting stage was done.  For the brown I stippled the paint on gradually building it up in several areas and I drybrushed the ravine.

The next step was to prepare the holes for the objective markers.  To do this I would recommend finding a way to heat up a pin and just pushing it through.  For me I ended up getting brass rod and just forcing it down gradually.  This left a little bit of pushback when the actual tile markers were pushed into the holes as the styrofoam gave when being forced and then bounced back once the pin was removed.
The objective markers of red, black and white were made using little wood pieces purchased from menards and then drilling a hole in them and adding the pin.  I think you get 24 for $1.99 so all told they cost me like $8 to make not including the spray paint which I already had.

This is a picture of my Map design outlining special locations and then for the tournament outlining which locations mapped to which table so I could have special terrain for each of the special locations.  It also directly matches the layout I used on the planet.

This is the map in action at the tournament.  You can see I developed a card for it to sit on which I could then use dry erase to update the current status of the map as well as add the rules for each of the 6 special locations.

Special locations - I don't have any close ups of these, but for the most part they were made with bits and pieces I had lying around.  The command station was made with a wood dowel and a wood half circle piece on top, the populous cities were just a bunch of sprue cut to form buildings, the armorium was a breastplate and helmet of a space marine and the manufactorum was a bolter and meltabomb.

Thanks to all those who made the tournament a success.  I am working on getting a campaign using this map going in my local area at the moment so I can use it again!


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