Monday, November 28, 2011

Ancient Ruins Tutorial: Assembly

I thought it might be fun to write up a little tutorial on my method for creating the ancient ruins terrain pieces that I showed earlier. This, with some modifications, is the technique I use for making pretty much all of my terrain. I'm going to break this up over several parts to make it easier for me.

Part I: Assembly

The first step is to cut out some blocks to build the ruins out of. These come in two types the flatter flagstones and the more brick shaped wall blocks. I start with approximately 1/2 inch thick pink insulation foam. If this has any plastic film on it I strip that off of it and then cut it into strips from 1/2 inch to just over an inch and about 2 feet long. I then cut these into the blocks. I also cut some wider strips that I cut into the larger flagstones. These I then cut in half width wise to make two flagstones. Vary the sizes as you cut them, if each block is identical they will look more like bricks then stonework. I just eyeballed it as I cut them and it worked out fine.

Progression of blocks left to right from raw material to finished.

From these blanks I then roughly cut off the corners and cut in any details like gouges, nicks, and broken corners. Finally, they get a quick sanding to round them off and they are ready for assembling. Be careful to leave the bottom surface of the flagstones untouched so they lie flat when they are glued together, but get all sides of the blocks since you won't know which way they will be glued together. The more you sand the pieces the more worn and older the stones will look but if you go overboard they will end up looking like cylinders and not stone blocks.

I made a huge batch of stones while watching TV as it really doesn't require much concentration once you get use to it. In the end I should have made some more as my pile of stones quickly disappeared as I built each section.

Specific blocks were cut to make the archways stones.

Next up is assembling each ruin. I laid down the bottom layer of blocks to form the wall first. I decided on a pattern with a single thickness wall and a large squared off column at the corners and intervals along any straight walls. After test fitting the pieces together everything was glued together with carpenter's glue. To make my life a little easier I taped some plastic wrap down onto a flat piece of cardboard and built the ruins on it. That way I could just wait till everything dried and pop it off.

Small pieces can look just as good as large ones.
Once the first layer was in place I fitted and glued flagstones around them. Then I built each successive layer just like building a real wall. At this point it is just trial and error finding pieces and putting them together to get the ruin to look like you want.

Stones were placed askew in this column to give it the look of collapsing.
I like to build several at one time so I can move each along at the same stage. This stage is definitely the most time consuming and that isn't even counting making all of the little blocks to start with.
But when your done you should have several ruins that look like they belong in some kind of pink sugary fairy world. We'll take care of that in the next stages.

I glued the flagstones on asymmetrically for a more haphazard look.

Next Step: Texturing

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