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Author Topic: Building a river  (Read 573 times)

Offline EccentricCircle

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Building a river
« on: August 31, 2018, 08:08:13 AM »
 I've been thinking of trying to build a modular river system for use on my gaming tables. The project is still at the early stages, but i've been sketching different sections, and feature ideas and trying to work out what it practical.

There are two approaches to take; The more traditional route involves copious amounts of papier mache, and would be reasonably cheap, with few restrictions on size.

The more extravagant route would be to use 3d printing. This would have the advantage that I can model different sections in sketchup or a similar program and make much more standardised elements, mixing and matching to produce a comprehensive set of parts.

I've got lots of ideas to start working up, but the thing i'm most wondering about is size. How wide does a river section need to be in order to be useful on a battlefield without dominating it.

I think a 10 cm wide channel would be achievable, but comparing this to the size of 28mm scale figures it seems a bit narrow. More a stream than a river. I could make sections with only one bank, so that they can be combined to create wider sections, so that isn't necessarily a problem.

Can anyone who has built terrain of this sort report on what sizes they chose, and what works well for a typical game. Also how many bridges or other crossings do you tend to include for different sizes to table?

Many thanks.

Offline warhammerlord_soth

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2018, 08:25:29 AM »
Have one  on Midaski's tab.  :::cheers:::
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Offline EccentricCircle

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2018, 06:55:16 PM »
Cool, Thanks for the link, that's a useful example to work from. I'm hoping to produce something a bit more ambitious, with a wider variety of bends and branches, but its good to see what is already available.

Offline ZeroTwentythree

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2018, 08:26:39 PM »

I bought a piece of MDF and cut it down into a variety of river segments in two widths (2" and 4") representing a small river and an even smaller stream. Anything larger seemed like it would dominate the battlefield unless played on a really huge table. I suspect the MDF option would fall somewhere between the two options you mention in terms of price. They're nice an durable.

Offline Rowsdower

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2018, 03:27:19 PM »
I find old white dwarfs from the early 90's to be great sources of improvised scenery

Offline EccentricCircle

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2018, 08:55:47 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, that all makes sense. I've got lots of battle games in middle earth magazines, which have some cool scenery articles, never got around to making many of the things they show though!
The wood approach makes sense. I agree that wood would be more durable than papier mache, although harder to work with (for me anyway). I've more or less decided to go with printed plastic, since I can make as many variations as I need to in the computer to make sure that everything works. Whereas once I start cutting wood I need to be sure where I'm going with it.

4 inches sounds sensible. I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that 10 cm (so about that) will work best for the majority of the pieces, and then I'll have some single bank elements which can be combined to make wider channels. As you say, they will need a large table to be practical, and will only work for certain scenarios, but it would be cool to have the capability for that sort of scenario as well. I like the idea of doing narrower streams too! It should be easy enough to make tapering pieces which can connect channels of different widths.

What I want to do, which I haven't seen done elsewhere, is make a mixture of square and hexagonal tiles, where the edges have the same length. That way straight pieces and gradual curves can use a straight element, while the hex tiles give more degrees of freedom for bends and confluences. Now I need to get to work in sketchup and see what i can design.

Offline Midaski

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2018, 01:00:55 PM »
Also don't forget to think about crossing points.
If you have ready-made bridges or will be making your own, and maybe pieces of river that are 'shallows' for fording.

I used pieces of hardboard and made the banks out of Polyfilla which was quite easy to bed brush bristles into for reeds etc. However it is important to make sure the edges on the individual sections line up.  :biggriin:
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Offline EccentricCircle

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2018, 06:03:55 PM »
Yes, I'll need to have some bridges and fords, maybe even some stepping stones on one of the thinner sections!
One question is whether to actually sculpt the river, or just make bank pieces which can be attached to felt or card.
Does anyone know of a good way to get a nice water effect besides painting it blue and putting a glossy varnish over the top?

Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2018, 06:59:17 PM »
Ha!  I like the idea of some stepping stones.  Maybe include a large flat boulder, too!
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Offline Von Kurst

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2018, 07:17:04 PM »
A little late. 

I used 1/8 inch plexiglass and sprayed it blue on the bottom



Bridge
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2018, 07:40:25 PM »
That sounds simple and looks great! :eusa_clap: :::cheers:::
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

"... my old suggestion is forget it, take two aspirins and go paint" steveb

Offline Artobans Ghost

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2018, 07:49:46 PM »
Incredible!
I have a crapload of plexiglass at work of various sizes. Rivers on the way.
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Mathi Alfblut Dec 9,2017
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Can we just take a hammer to it, smash it into little bits.

Offline EccentricCircle

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2018, 04:46:02 PM »
Wow, that looks really cool! I love the jungle plants and frog idol too!

Offline Rowsdower

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Re: Building a river
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2018, 05:20:07 AM »
Great job