Matakishi's Tea House

A simple little site...

Part One

I had known about Infinity for quite some time and drooled over the miniatures and when the rulebook was released I could no longer resist the temptation. I bought the full range of Yu jing and Nomads only to realise that without proper terrain you cannot play a decent game. I am used to paint very large quantities of miniatures so I decided since you only need very few troops to play to invest my time in building terrain instead. Terrain worthy of the miniatures. Infinity gave me the opportunity to build a city with a clean, near future look. Something different from the bombed, gothic, grey, dull as hell, skull infested terrain you see everywhere.

For inspiration I watched the Ghost in the Shell animes again, looked on the internet. But the most usefull where the buildings I see everyday. New appartment blocks, modern office buildings, Car stores... Buildings with lots of glass and concrete.

The city had to be modular. You can build a better looking table when everything is in a fixed position but from a gamers pov modular is better. So the roads had to be on tiles that could be arranged in lots of different ways. The buildings had to be modular as well, appartment buildings can be lowered by removing floors, certain buildings consist of parts that can also be used independently.
Everything had to be fully accesible. When there is a door, the miniatures must be able to go to whatever there is behind. The combat indoors add another dimension to the game.

When you start with such a project it's very important to know your limits. You can start making hyper detailed buildings only to realise that after a few weeks hard work you still don't have enough terrain to fill a quarter of the battlefield. It's a tradeoff quality - quantity. I know I could have made this a lot more detailed than it is and with less messups but then I would have had a lot less terrain pieces. Burnout will happen! (at least to me) I decided on a simple design with a lot of window area (saves time) and every building would take about two days from start to finish. I made them in July during my holiday. Everything is made in the garden in the sun. It was great fun because I could see this thing growing day by day. After two weeks most of it was ready.

I will explain how I built the things and you will see that it is actually very easy. Everyone can do it. The only problem may be the availability of the materials and machines used.

The materials:

First of all Foamboard. This is essential. Architects use it for their scale models. It may cost more than cardboard but it is a far superior product. It is available in different thickness, I used one 5mm thick. It is also widely available.

Plasticcard. Every building and floor tile is covered with plastic. I got the material from my work where it is used for vacuum forming. I used several square meters of it. This plastic is about 2mm thick and comes in sheets. You can cut it very easily with a knife. You cut it about half way through and then you snap it. The problem is: where to get it? I know that trophy shops have it, they use it to engrave text on them. it's usually black or white with a cover in a different color. So when they engrave something, the white/black becomes visible.

Acetate. It's the same material as the holographic displays that come with hackers. It's available in different colours. Mine is a very dark brown. I used it to make the windows. I bought mine in a local store that sells artist supplies.

Hirst Arts Molds. Amazing products! I used Starship deck mold 270, Pipeline floor mold 273, Starship wall mold 301 and Cargo bay accessory mold 302. First I thought of making all my floor surfaces with them, but that is practically impossible, I would have had to cast the molds hundreds of times. So i only used them as a finishing touch to my buildings. I still had to cast them many many times. Whats fun about hirst arts molds is that they are all compatible with each other. For exemple: 2 small blocks of set A are just as wide as one block of set B. The combinations are endless. Plaster is also very cheap. With the cargo bay set you can also make small and big containers and cannisters, which are fantastic to create cover.

Accessories. With this I mean small stuff to add further detail to the buildings. I used pieces of toys to create airconditioning fans, computer panels etc. The Urban War builder sets are also a godsend. These are very cheap. I based my armies with them and used pieces of the sets to further enhance my buildings.

The machines:

Airbrush. Simply essential! The surface area that had to be covered was simply to big to paint it with a brush. It also looks a lot more professional. It saves a lot of time and also a lot of paint. Mine is a very cheap Badger.

Glue gun. For attaching the trees.

The following are very handy but you can manage without them.

Engraving machine. I used such a machine to engrave grids on my plasticcard in order to massively speed up the floor construction process. I also used it to make the designs of the road tiles.

Bevel appliance. This is a machine that can make beveled edges to the plasticcard forms. It gives the plasticcard a smoother look.

Next in Part Two: Roads, trees and fences.

There is a gallery of photographs showing the completed table here: