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  1. #1
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Corvis Inspired Table (Commissioned by Mike from Penny Arcade)

    Time for a little origin story:

    While we were at PAX East with Clockwork Cove we got the chance to meet Mike (Gabe) from Penny Arcade. As most of you probably know his group of friends are avid players of Warmachine/Hordes. He mentioned the possibility of commissioning a table from us and we would bring it to PAX Prime. We of course leaped at the chance to do it. This thread will contain pictures, tutorials and info on the table we made.

    Ok so a bit after PAX East we started to brainstorm about ideas mostly based on what we didn't like about Clockwork Cove. It is not terribly easy to move around and is not very modular. It has a ton of water (at least compared to what most players want). The electronics were cool but were too complicated and fragile. It didn't have enough variation in texture on the board itself or enough detail. Lastly, even with all the water it lacked elevation terrain (hills and trenches).

    So how would we address these things? After talking to Mike and his gaming group we knew we would switch from 4'x2' sections to 2'x2' sections. This would help with transport and modularity. We would have the illusion of pools of water that could be simply "wet ground" instead of shallow or deep water. We would simplify the electronics and run them off batteries. We would use more than just beans and wooden tiles. And to cover that last one we came up with (what we think) is a pretty innovative idea. We would cut holes into the table and create inserts that could be flat, hills, or trenches. Then the table could be customized not only in orientation and location of the 2'v2' parts but by where the inserts were placed.

    Here are our mock-up images:





    Pretty simple I know but you have to start somewhere.

    Now how is this Corvis inspired? Well Corvis is known to be a very old city with lots of sinking ruins and dark alleys. It would also be fairly soggy because of the rivers running through it. We collected some pictures for inspiration:





    Were we able to pull this look off? Stick around and find out (as I upload more pictures)
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:23 PM.
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  2. #2
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Saved for later (more pictures)
    Mercs Points Painted/Owned: 156/234
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  3. #3
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Saved for later (yet more pictures)
    Mercs Points Painted/Owned: 156/234
    Terrain Projects: Corvis, Clockwork Cove
    Co-founder of At-large Gamers, follow us on twitter @atlargegamers and facebook

  4. #4
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Last one I will save I promise (for now)
    Mercs Points Painted/Owned: 156/234
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  5. #5
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Just realized I put this in the main forum, someone want to move it to the Terrain forum.

    Thanks.
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  6. #6
    Destroyer of Worlds
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    I personally feel this is interesting enough to deserve a main forum spot. :P

  7. #7
    Conqueror Cowboy247's Avatar
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    Is the table already built and we are just awaiting the photo dump? Or should I book mark this page as its a WIP project?


    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderingalleycat View Post
    Winning with Legion takes..not rolling 1's

  8. #8
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    It is built and shipped out to Seattle. It will be at PAX Prime next weekend.

    I will be dumping a lot of in-progress photos in the next few days but we don't have a ton of finished shots yet (bit a rush to ship, didn't take a ton of pictures of everything done). During/after PAX I will post all the completed photos I can take.
    Mercs Points Painted/Owned: 156/234
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  9. #9
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Building the 2'v2' Table Sections

    Well lets begin at the beginning. After a bunch of time for design and more for discussions on scope of the project, budget, etc. we started work on Memorial Day weekend. All the work for this project was done on my tiny roof deck, our apartments, or in the alley outside my building. So the next time you want to use the excuse that you don't have space for a table project send me a PM and I will send you an internet motivational slap free of charge.

    Much like Clockwork Cove we used cheap floorboards as the strength in our 2'v2' sections. They fit together fairly well, are about the right size, cut easily, are pretty strong and light, and are well cheap. On top of the floorboards we adhered 2" pink foam with copious amounts of liquid nails. In fact more often than not in this project if there was a problem it was solved with copious amounts of something.


    Here you can see us working on the deck. Assembly line is the best way to go with this part of the project. We cut everything using a circular saw.


    As a speed increasing measure we each had a drill so that we did not have to change bits and we could be working at the same time (someone countersinking, someone drilling holes).


    We used pine 2x1 pieces for added strength, grip, and to prevent bowing.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:28 PM.
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  10. #10
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Building the 2'v2' Table Sections

    Now moving on to pink foam. We used 4" for Clockwork Cove and while that was great for the canals we created (and the boats that went in them) we wanted something shorter for this project so we used 2".

    We measured out the 2'v2' pieces of foam and used a circular saw to cut them. While it worked fine for us I am not sure I would recommend it. Later in the project (you will see in a few posts) we got a hot wire cutter and it cuts the foam very, very nicely.

    In these pictures you can also see the inserts that we cut out.


    The floorboards did not fit exactly but the foam was cut exactly to 2'v2' pieces.


    Dryfitting is another things you will hear a lot in this thread. While we tried to plan out as much as we could a fair amount was still done on the fly. The only way to pull this off is to double-check measurements and dryfit everything.


    Here you can see why I don't recommend the circular saw. The seam in the foam was something we had to go back and sand later. If we had used a hot wire properly that would not have been necessary.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:34 PM.
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  11. #11
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Building the 2'v2' Table Sections

    After cutting and dryfitting came the copious amounts of liquid nails. Spreading it can be an issue and it dries very fast in the mid-day summer sun so you need to be on the ball.


    Volume of glue is not as important as coverage. I got better at spreading it when I thought of it as frosting on a cake but maybe I was just hungry.


    To spread it we used some cheap spackle tools from the hardware store.


    Clamping them down to dry is very important to ensure that the pieces stay flat.


    For support and to avoid damage we clamped two pieces at a time. This also sped things up as we did not have enough clamps to do the pieces separately.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:36 PM.
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  12. #12
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Building the 2'v2' Table Sections

    After the foam was glued to the floorboards we cut some large holes in the voids where the inserts would be placed. We did this because at this point we were still unsure how we would design the inserts and if we wanted to pop them up from under the table we would need a way to do it without tipping the section over.





    All glued and mostly sanded.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:37 PM.
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  13. #13
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Building the 2'v2' Table Sections

    Pictures at the end of the first day:






    The 2'v2' sections are much more manageable than the 4'v2' sections we used on Clockwork Cove. Even though it was more cutting and measuring it was worth it. I doubt we will ever go back to 4'v2' unless its required for a project.


    At this point we fired up the grill you can see partially in the background of some of these pictures and enjoyed the rest of Memorial Day.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:39 PM.
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  14. #14
    Destroyer of Worlds juckto's Avatar
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    The holes have the added benefit of letting air out when you push the insets in.

    The only difference I would recommend for your next project is to make the insets slightly trapezoid in shape, so that there is less side friction when you push them into the hole. On the otherhand, it'd probably become harder to make exact fits.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantean View Post
    Well lets begin at the beginning. After a bunch of time for design and more for discussions on scope of the project, budget, etc. we started work on Memorial Day weekend. All the work for this project was done on my tiny roof deck, our apartments, or in the alley outside my building. So the next time you want to use the excuse that you don't have space for a table project send me a PM and I will send you an internet motivational slap free of charge.
    I heartily repeat this. Space concerns merely reflect an increased need to plan a bit in advance not a bar to making awesome terrain.

  16. #16
    Destroyer of Worlds malfred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantean View Post
    For support and to avoid damage we clamped two pieces at a time. This also sped things up as we did not have enough clamps to do the pieces separately.
    Reminds me of a joke.

    Q: How many clamps could you possibly ever need?

    A: One more.
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  17. #17
    Annihilator Greggle's Avatar
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    I want to thank you guys for putting this up, as I'm really interested in making a table of my own.

  18. #18
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juckto View Post
    The only difference I would recommend for your next project is to make the insets slightly trapezoid in shape, so that there is less side friction when you push them into the hole. On the otherhand, it'd probably become harder to make exact fits.
    We thought about this and about making a shape with a keyhole or something. They are good ideas. You will see when I go into the fabrication of the inserts that we didn't need a tight fit.

    Sam - Planning and protection are the biggest headaches with doing a project this large in a small space but it is still totally doable and I am glad you agree. The world needs more awesome terrain and less excuses.

    malfred - I got a good chuckle out of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greggle View Post
    I want to thank you guys for putting this up, as I'm really interested in making a table of my own.
    Check out Clockwork Cove as well (link in my sig). It uses a lot of the same techniques I will be showing here.
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  19. #19
    Destroyer of Worlds Brownboot's Avatar
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    I would have framed out each section more thoroughly to combat the inevitable warping.

    Your plan to add swappable inserts to the board is terrific! Definitely looking forward to more pics .
    --


  20. #20
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brownboot View Post
    I would have framed out each section more thoroughly to combat the inevitable warping.

    Your plan to add swappable inserts to the board is terrific! Definitely looking forward to more pics .
    We haven't had any issues with warping in our test pieces or our previous table yet (crosses fingers). We were also concerned with weight because we had to ship this across the country.

    I will have more pictures up on the table squares and inserts today.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 08-19-2011 at 08:06 AM.
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  21. #21
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Detailing the Table Squares

    Ok moving on. The work moved inside as we started the detail on the table squares. While we had discussed the design and made some mock-ups there is simply no replacement while working at scale then trying things 1:1. We got some 2'v2' paper and sketched out the placement of details on all the squares. Once we were happy with the sketches we transferred them to the foam.

    On a design note, one of the things we really wanted to convey with the table was a sense of depth. Corvis is an old, sunken city and we wanted to show that. It is a theme throughout the table squares and the inserts.

    Lets start with the square with the built-in trench. We cut away the 2" foam using a box cutter and hot wire cutter. Then using 1" foam created a slab with grate holes.




    Again, copious amounts of liquid nails.


    Here you can also see 2 vents built in to the table square and an erosion/explosion on one corner.


    We cut angled pieces of foam to make a ramp on either side. The trench is meant to be a dried and broken aqueduct.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:43 PM.
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  22. #22
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Detailing the Table Squares

    One of the other issues that worried us during this project was how to make the table squares cohesive while still being unique and interesting. You will notice that the edges of the table square in the previous post has a brick pattern sketched on the edges. This was for our old good friend: basswood tiles.

    We used these for the vast majority of Clockwork Cove. They are cheap, varied in size, uniform in thickness, and light. We used the tiles around the edges of all 4 table squares in this project which is why you will now see them in the pictures.

    Lets move on the table square with the built-in hill.

    Here you can see the basswood tiles as well as our sketch for the details and two move vents for depth. We glued the basswood tiles on with white glue and/or wood glue. We found both to work fine, so whichever you have on hand (we had both) you can use.


    Here is the hill. It was made using a hot wire cutter and then sanded smooth. we also used the classic technique of carving pink foam into bricks for the edges. Since this was to be an urban board we didn't want just dirt hills, we wanted them to appear to be man-made.


    We cut out some spaces for sewer type grate in the side of the hill. You will hear plenty about these later when I go into the custom casting we did for the table and the electronics.


    Bottom of the hill. Again, everything was cut using a hot wire or box cutter.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:48 PM.
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  23. #23
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Detailing the Table Squares

    One of our other tried and true table textures is beans. We did a bunch of testing when making Clockwork Cove and using beans makes a nice contrast to the tiles. The biggest problem with the beans is getting them flat. We used liquid nails (surprise, surprise) and then pushed the beans into them. After you get the hang of it, it is possible to not have to place each bean explicitly, but its hard.

    This square is meant to be more like a town square or the quad of Corvis:

    If you want to see our bean comparison check out the Clockwork Cove link in my sig, page 2.


    We also used round tiles, again to give contrast.


    Once we had the wooden tiles on the table squares we had to sand down the excess framing on the edges and the wooden tiles.


    Sanding in-progress.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:51 PM.
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  24. #24
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Detailing the Table Squares

    More pictures:






    An edge of the hill that had been eroded/exploded.


    One of the custom grates dry fit into the slots on the bottom of the hill.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 05:56 PM.
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  25. #25
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default The Inserts

    Ok lets talk inserts. We made several of each hill, flat, and trench. We started with the 2 inch foam and went from there depending on the height.

    Again we used a hot wire cutter, box cutter, and sander to make the desired shapes. Also a quick note because I can't say it enough: test anything and everything on a spare piece of foam first. The stuff is easy to work with but not exactly forgiving, so be careful.


    Raw cutout.


    Shaped and sanded.


    The oft-used technique of carving bricks into pink foam.


    We picked up this tip from this forum. Roll an aluminium foil ball on the foam to give it more of a rocky texture. Works awesome.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 06:04 PM.
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  26. #26
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default The Inserts

    More pics:


    As you will see we will fill in the slots in the inserts with steps.


    I am not a huge fan of the carving because I find it mind numbing, the results however speak for themselves.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 06:11 PM.
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  27. #27
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Inserts and Details

    This is pretty much all the info I have on this part of the process. Time for a photodump.


    Preliminary tiles placed.




    Flat and hill inserts placed. The trenches were more difficult and came later.

    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 06:30 PM.
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  28. #28
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Inserts and Details

    More pictures:


    You can see in these pictures the steps on the inserts as well as (hopefully) starting to get a feel for the depth.


    Couple models for scale.


    This cut will be used later.

    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 06:36 PM.
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  29. #29
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Inserts and Details

    More Pictures:





    Shots at the sewer grates to the undercity.
    Last edited by Atlantean; 07-28-2013 at 03:52 PM.
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  30. #30
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Default Inserts and Details

    Last pics for now. Hope you guys like them. Any questions feel free to post or PM me.







    Whew. Until next time...
    Last edited by Atlantean; 04-03-2013 at 06:40 PM.
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  31. #31
    Destroyer of Worlds Autumn Stone's Avatar
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    Umm...
    Sure - I'll start...

    WOW!

    Once again a whole world of Awesome. Inspiring.

    Looking forward to more.

    Cheers
    A.S.

  32. #32

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    Great read. Always nice to see how tables like this are made.

  33. #33
    Combatant
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    This is incredible. The miniatures are beautifully painted as well. I really love your idea, everything from the modular table to just the general theme of it. Those beans are a really good idea, they already look like a town square or something as-is. Are you going to coat them with anything before painting them? I mean, will they hold up against time OK?

  34. #34
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    Incredible work guys, looking forward to the next post.

  35. #35
    Destroyer of Worlds teejayv's Avatar
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    looks pretty awesome, can't wait to see it primed or painted. I'm one of those people who have a reeeeeeeally difficult time visualizing things that are multiple colors that they're not going to remain. When it gets primed, it makes it easier for me to see the semi-finished product and allows me to place the colors down that should be a whole lot easier.
    Quote Originally Posted by John of Arc View Post
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  36. #36

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    Truly beautiful work. Once I get my mercenaries completed I want to build a table and will probably go with 2x2 squares myself. Really inspiring stuff here.

  37. #37
    Annihilator Seventhprophet's Avatar
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    Looking good

  38. #38
    Destroyer of Worlds volt_ron's Avatar
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    Your tables and the threads you create for them are amazing. I love tons of pictures of the process (I'm visual) and you deliver.

    A blog.

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  39. #39
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    OMG! Thanks! I love your tables !
    "I have not failed, I've just found ten thousand ways that won't work." ? Thomas Edison



  40. #40
    Annihilator Atlantean's Avatar
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    Thanks for the posts guys.

    SymCL - We have not had any issues with protecting the beans. For this project (and future projects) we got a paint sprayer and that made coverage of the table and terrain so much easier (more on this later). Just make sure the beans are very dry and pull out any damaged ones before you starting placing them.

    teejayv - I am like you. There were several things on both this table and Clockwork Cove where we were having serious doubts about how it would look before it was primed/painted. The strategy (or delusion) we like to keep in mind is that the next step of the process will cover any previous mistakes. So a problem with the foam? Hide it with sand or something else. Problem with the sand? Hide it when it is primed/painted? Problem with the paint? Cover it with flock or something else. Etc.

    volt-ron - We took over 100 in-progress pictures so stick around.

    I will have more pictures on the inserts and details of the table squares later today.
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