Personal Blog and Miniature Game Journal

How I got more paint on my thumb than on the figure and learned to love it!

A blog about miniature wargames, miniature painting and related geeky topics.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Paper terrain

Readers of this blog will notice that I've started investing in more paper terrain.  Though paper walls and buildings do not compare to the excellent resin and plastic models, it certainly is a much more economical option.  Specifically when it comes to sci-fi scenery, which can be ridiculously expensive!  Just take a look at some of the Games Workshop models here Warhammer 40,000 Scenery | Warhammer 40,000 | Games Workshop.

So, I used some paper models in the last "Song of Blades and Heroes" game at MillenniumCon 16 and they worked out just fine. It even inspired a discussion after the game about paper modelling with some of the game participants.  Who knew there were other players out there trying to stretch their modelling budgets?
Paper Crypt Model in 25mm

My process for making the models starts with a good PDF file.  I get my models from Dave Graffam Models.  Most of his products are available for less than $4, and some basic models are free downloads! A nice feature of these PDF files is they allow you to print out walls with different textures.  He even includes instructions on how to adjust your printer settings to various model scales from 30mm all the way down to 6mm.  So for one purchase, you have the ability to create models for a large variety of game systems and scales.

Once I've selected the texture and size with Adobe Acrobat, I print the image on card stock paper.  If the model is a small scale wall or a piece of a larger model, I'll cut it and use it per the instructions.  But for larger scale walls, I'll paste the card stock to a sheet of mat board.  This will make the wall more rigid.
Walls pasted to mat board, waiting to be cut out.
Completed wall

However, the most time consuming part of the process is cutting the mat board.  Crumbled walls have many jagged edges and require lots of small cuts with a razor knife. It can take hours for me to cut just one wall. But, John Neff suggested to me that I should use an electronic craft cutter machine. It is a magical machine similar to a printer that can read the lines on a piece of paper and make the cuts with precision.  The machine needs to detect a small symbol on the edge of the paper to make sure it is lined up correctly, but it can make detailed cuts in just minutes!  John said he was able to buy a used Cricut machine on ebay and has been cutting all sorts of crafts.  He said he downloaded a paper version of Sauron's helmet, printed it, cut it, and used the helmet as part of his Halloween costume.

How awesome is that!?

I'll have many projects in future that will involve more traditional model making techniques, but whenever possible and practical, I'll use paper.

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