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by SotF
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Author Topic: Simple 3D Mine/Tunnel system for 28mm gaming  (Read 7834 times)
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robh
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« on: April 10, 2015, 09:53:45 PM »

Having decided to back the wonderful looking "Broken Contract" PostApoc game ( www.kickstarter.com/projects/401223236/broken-contract-miniature-starter-set/description ) I was looking around my collection to see what I had to hand that would work for the game.

I already had the "Salvage Crew" figures from the Kickstarter campaign Johnny Lauck ran last year and other suitable Post Apoc figures in my lead mountain and a lot of resin skips, barrels, crates and such like collected over the years so was only lacking a suitable "mine" set. Not wanting to go with flat card floorplans I decided to make up some quick 3D modular sections.

I have not done an illustrated "step by step" as these are really pretty basic and consist of only a cardboard box (A4 Documenet storage box from the local Chinese Wholesale stockist), some chunks of off cut insulation foam (scrounged from a builders skip) and a mixture of sizes of grit and dried tealeaves and some rolls of the "Blue Peter" beloved sticky back plastic (to pretty them up).

A straight passage with abandoned spur and narrow fissure:


A 3 way T junction:


The openings are arranged so that the boxes will all connect along the length or width according to the game maps. Using the pre-made boxes ensures that everything remins modular in size and square....even though they are rectangles! (I have about a dozen of these to do)


Plus an obligatory "miners eye" view (featuring one of the robots from the Salvage Crew KS)


These two boxes took about 6 hours to build over the 3 days of the Easter long weekend.
Very simple and cheap, certainly not as impressive as the ones Nick did for the Broken Contract demo games, but I think quite effective.


 
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2015, 10:30:40 PM »

Very nice. I like how the boxes make it look like the support struts for a mining system. Great work Rob! Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2015, 11:17:46 PM »

Simple yet effective  Cool

cheers

James
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2015, 12:03:11 AM »

Yes! That is good. Love

The fissure and the spur look very natural. I like how you have 4 possible entrances each board but you don't need to use them. The tunnel system will look awesome.

How many boxes to go?

Cheers
Matt.
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robh
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2015, 10:58:21 AM »

Thanks guys, I am pleased with the way they came out.
I still want to add some minor details (piles of beams, rolls of cable etc) but not make them look too industrial so I can use them for fantasy games as well.

I have 6 more to do as basic passages, curves and junctions then 1 special with a control room and cargo lift. Maybe also a machine room as I have a bunch of Ramshackle mis-casts and broken pieces that I want to use. After that I will need to wait for the full set of game scenarios from Broken Contract to see if there is anything else.
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2015, 01:30:56 PM »

Those are awesome!! and will go great with that game
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2015, 05:29:56 PM »

A elegant solution.  Cool
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2015, 09:07:46 PM »

Consider the idea nicked!  don't know if I will do anything before I get distracted by the next shiny thing but it's still a good idea.
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robh
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2015, 07:25:21 PM »

I have been asked about the stages in construction of these, so as I started another couple of boxes yesterday:  

Making the structure.....

The document boxes come flat packed and have a built on folding lid. First stage is to cut off the lid top and lid sides. This offcut card is then used to double the thickness on the base and 4 sides of the now open box. Then cut out the openings/entrances as you need and glue everything together with a hot glue gun.
.
I then cover all the exposed edges of now double thick cardboard with masking (painters) tape.



I then mark the rough design I am aiming for onto the base so I can make sure I get the corner right angles in the correct place and can cut exactly to the openings as required.
The Insulation foam is cut with a simple 10" hacksaw blade, used without the handle. Held vertically and used with a sawing action. The blade is narrow enough that it will turn to cut fairly tight curves for the rock face. Where possible I use one single piece of foam for the long sections as hiding joins is quite difficult. If I have to have a join I tend to make that into a fissure. Any caves or deep cuts required can be roughly carved in at this time with a penknife.



On this one the foam sheet offcut I used was thinner than the previous one so I had to build up the height to match. Hence the grey strip at the bottom here which is foamcore with the paper cover stripped off the top.
Having checked the fit of pieces I paste the back of the walls with a thin layer of water reduced pva glue (pva glue that is left open for a week or so before using to evaporate off much of the water content). The base I glue with a hot glue gun so that I can stick the walls in place and use the fixed hot glue to hold them firmly in place while the stronger pva sets. That way there is no risk of them moving and no need for weights or dowels to hold them in place.

Once dry I start to texture the wall surfaces. I do not use filler pastes or sand/grit cover as the former is way too messy and with cardboard makes everything too wet, while the latter gives a very definite texture that I don't think looks like excavated rock.
I use an old household knife with a rounded end and lightly drag it across the foam wall in 2 or 3 directions to ripple the surface (using a round end knife leaves soft crescent shaped furrows rather than angular gouges). Then using the tip of the rounded blade to dig into the foam I tear out a small chunk with my thumb. Remember to create the texture from different angles and directions for a more realistic looking mined stone surface.
What you get:


What it really looks like:


Next up: scree rubble, texturing the floor and slapping on some paint.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2015, 07:32:24 PM by robh » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2015, 11:16:44 PM »

That knife tip was well received, thanks for that. It looks very good Cool Cool

More! We need more!

Any plans for mine carts On a few boards? Or a secret military base entrance? Wink

Cheers
Matt.
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2015, 09:22:10 AM »


More! We need more!

Any plans for mine carts On a few boards? Or a secret military base entrance? Wink

Cheers
Matt.

There will definitely be more, l am doing another at the same time as the one shown above and have 2 more boxes cut ready for foam.

Mine carts yes certainly, there is a design in one of the Broken Contract illustrations that is apparently going to be made as a model. But l have started a tractor unit converted from a Salvage Crew tracked security robot, just looking for some small wheeled trucks for it to tow........l do not intend any rails.

Base entrace?.......no. This is designed as a lower level accessed by cargo lift so l will make one box dedicated to the lift and control room, but that will be later as l need to buy some industrial looking plastic card and fittings for that.
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2015, 05:48:00 PM »

Rob, I've finally been approved to post!  Smiley

As you know, I think these look fantastic. I can't wait to see your additional sections.

I don't know if you ever saw the explanation of why my mine sections are straight but I based the layout off of room and pillar mining, which looks like this:



Which results in tunnels that look like this:



There's nothing wrong with how you did yours. They are probably more true to how this sort of mining would be by hand rather than by massive machines, but it might be worth doing a Google image search on room and pillar mines to get some additional ideas. I know that's where I'll be drawing some ideas off of. Smiley

For anyone curious what my mines look like:





Expect a lot more 3 and 4 way intersections to get the proper "room and pillar" effect. These "straights" were largely to test out techniques.

Broken Contract playtesting was originally done on posterboard sections like these:



If you're wondering what the different areas represented - the gray area was the freight elevator out. The black box I envisioned as being a giant fan to help move air up and out of the mines. I pictured there being air shafts on either side of the elevator. Incoming air forced down from above on the one side and outgoing air pushed up on the other.

Keep up the good work Rob! Beautiful stuff.

-Nick

http://brokencontract.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2015, 11:56:57 PM »

Amazing scenery Nick, anyone would think you had a game to sell or something  Tongue

Personally I think your modern look better suits the Broken Contract background but my boxes will have to do duty in several different game genres to earn their keep.
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2015, 12:34:39 AM »

So picking up from the last stage of the "how to"........texture and painting.

The bottom 10mm or so of the mine walls (on this box the added grey foamcore) is coated with a thick layer of the water reduced pva and then covered with medium sized grit to represent the scree chunks of rock loosened by the mining but not collected/cleared. (Medium sized being 2mm to 3mm grains).

Before that dries,  the whole floor area gets a light brushing of ordinary pva (the water reduced one drying too quickly over the large area) and an application of a mixture of 1 part fine grit (all the smaller than 2mm grains) and 2 parts dried used tea leaves over the floor and scree. This sticks better to the pva and gives a much less abrasive surface texture than sand/grit alone but still responds well to drybrush painting.



Once the texture has dried it can be painted, obviously any shades of greys, browns, reds or creams depending on the type of mine/tunnels you want to represent.
Using 2 different shades of your chosen colour tone paint the walls and floor area, the floor being at least 1 shade lighter than the walls to keep a visible distinction between them. The paint will need to be worked well into the surface texture by stippling and scrubbing with old 1/2" household brushes to avoid the foam colour showing through. This also helps texture the rock surface.



Then lightly drag the walls with successively lighter shades of your colour tone. So the floor colour becomes the first highlight. (Drag painting is using a large brush quite heavily loaded with paint and dragging it lightly in one direction and movement over the surface texture)
On the walls only drag in a vertical up/down application, do not be tempted to go sideways or in circles like you would when drybrushing.
The floor gets a drybrush technique as normal.



And bar final details that is the box finished. I will go back to the walls with burnt orange and pale grey paints and drag an irregular  45 degree diagonal stripe to represent different ore seams and end with a quick drybrush of very light colour over the scree where the wall/floor joins.
Then paint around the rim and openings with gloss black enamel paint and apply any sticky back plastic (or just paint) over the box sides to tidy them up......

Then make about a dozen more!
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2015, 05:08:20 AM »

 Love very nice stone mine lads!
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