View Full Version : First steps toward a playable bug colony

06-25-2012, 03:21 PM
I want to share the development of a 2x3' bug colony I' making for sci-fi bug hunts. I have decided even, to leave obvious markers to that genre out so that it may be used in other ways as well.

I have a 2x3' sheet of heavy paper left over from a school project by my son. I penciled in the outlines of the tunnels then went over that with permanent markers, adding a bit of texture just so that it's a bit easier to read for those of you who are looking at it for the first time.

I plan to build up the dark areas to about 2" with foam or paper then cover that with wood filler or something like that. Where originally it was going to have organic textures like the geigeresque stuff of Aliens, I'm going to stick with dirt and rock for the sake of flexibility.

I don't know if this will serve anyone else here, but I'm willing to share it under the creative commons license. Feel free to rework it. If you want, I will take a better photo so that I'm directly over the image and you don't have the taper toward the top.

Finally, I'm attaching it here, but would it be better to link to a photobucket image for viewing in the thread? What's the preference of the board and users?


06-26-2012, 12:01 PM
Nice work Ettrick. Cheap markers aren't easy to use, but you did a good job. Thanks for sharing!

06-26-2012, 12:50 PM
Thanks. Of course, the markers were just the quick and easy way to make the original pencil visible.

I think my next step is to use hot glue to attach styrofoam to the paper in the dark areas.

I'll build that up then cover it with acrylic molding paste. Using crumpled paper and glue would be too rigid and leave the map slightly curled. The hot glue and acrylic should be flexible enough that the whole thing will still lay flat.

Any ideas?

06-27-2012, 09:22 AM
I would definitely use styrofoam or other foamboard. It's used a lot in miniature wargaming, and there are plenty of tutorials around for it. It's light, fairly durable and easy to work with. This (http://www.3t-studios.com/archives/2642) is a fairly advanced tutorial, but I think for what you need something like this (http://www.miniwargaming.com/content/DVwRrqPIMyFr) might suffice. If you google around a bit you'll find dozens of other tutorials.

If I were you I would mount the paper on a piece of sturdier material before you go any further though. The paper is flexible and that would make the entire board very fragile. Curious to see what you end up with!

06-27-2012, 09:55 AM
Poison, that first link is a great site. I had never come across it before. Bookmark set. Cheers.

My challenge when I get into durable construction and hard board, I get more cautious and hesitant. By working on paper this time, I'm just going to blast it out. If I'm only using supplies that would otherwise go into the bin, I'm not concerned about a serious mistake. As soon as I've got good light I'll get a photo of the first round of foam. I made a lot of progress but blistered my hand with the high-temp glue.

06-27-2012, 10:55 AM
A double post, but here's the first session of foam documented. Some of the shapes are roughed out; some are simple blocks I'll hack a bit and add texture on later. I'm thinking of rounding the corners of the paper so they won't lift up as much. I've also considered simply building the raised area out to the edges even though that would not look at all natural. A rectangle with rounded corners don't very often appear in nature.


06-28-2012, 12:09 AM
Great idea! Especially for caverns and tunnels. Thanks for posting it and offering the outlines for creative commons. If I ever get a chance to use it with my group, I will take a picture and put it up. :)

06-28-2012, 02:23 AM
Thanks. I learned my lesson. Every stage should look good. When I first started shading the walls in 2d, I simply wanted to get colour down so viewers here could tell what was what. As I worked on that, I realised I could even give this stage visual texture and interest. I experimented from there with different techniques, but that left side looks so bad by comparison. I also got a better overhead shot of it. I guess now, that will have to wait for the later stages so the images are of a quality for others to use in their games.

06-30-2012, 04:51 PM
i've now done most of the hard acrylic paste over the foam. I've still got to hide a few very straight edges though. I will be doing more texturing and painting soon.


06-30-2012, 04:53 PM
Hmmm, I got the one post per 30 seconds message, so I thought that the above post hadn't gone. After I'd waited and reposted, I saw that it was already there. Apologies.

06-30-2012, 05:20 PM
This is looking very cool. Looking forward to seeing the final map.

06-30-2012, 06:14 PM
Thanks. It's been a lot of fun working with my sons on it, too.

I hope to get the replacement paste this weekend and have the whole thing done within a week. We'll see.

07-01-2012, 12:13 PM
looking great.. we actually had a build a map challenge early this year :) ... it is best when you post your pics here on the guild - that way functionality won't suffer if an external part isn't working, and if you'd ever decided to close that photobucket account the thread would suddenly be missing its pictures :)

07-01-2012, 12:23 PM
it is best when you post your pics here on the guild - that way functionality won't suffer if an external part isn't working, and if you'd ever decided to close that photobucket account the thread would suddenly be missing its pictures :)
Thanks. Good to know that cultural note. I will attach them here for the future.

Added: I like you Chevalia map on dA.

07-02-2012, 03:18 PM
thanks - it was fun to do :)

07-09-2012, 10:38 AM
Making a bit of progress. I've got more of the surface texturing done and put paint over the top of that to see if I can find holes more easily that way. This is darker than the final will be. I had to mix most of the pigment that ended up light, reddish brown since I didn't have enough of the dark stuff. I'm not really going for the Martian soil look, though it doesn't bother me too much.

I'm considering trimming the corners back since really, this is for playing on the inside and the exterior doesn't matter so much.

07-09-2012, 07:53 PM
This is looking great. What did you have in mind for the color of the bugs that will be hunted?

07-09-2012, 10:16 PM
Well, the colours Howard Whitehouse has chosen for the bugs he wrote games rules for are grey and yellow. I've done some bug pods in the same colours and with purple interior and feel it's as good as any. I've also done some from another company with matte black on fleshy areas and gloss black on hard shell and spiny bits. I like it at the table size view but when doing photography up close it doesn't look so good. I don't have any of the new ones so I'm not sure yet.