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Hexagonal Hive

Remeber these guys? Well, they are great figures, but a little homeless. Fortunately, we finally got around to building a hive for them. Nothing like a big waspsnest to liven up any bit of planetary terrain!

So we are starting with some good old balsa slats. And we really don't have to do much to them. I've marked them off to be cut into smaller segments: 11 9" ones, 7 6" ones, and 3 3" ones. It will be easier to explain why those sets of pieces later when you see them come together. For now, what is important is that hexagon template. The slats are 2" wide, so the hex has a 2" side, making it a 4" point to point diameter.

OK, I've cut all the smaller sections and piled them up on the right. I've also gone ahead and cut some hexes using the template. In the end, we will need three full hexes and nine half-hexes.

The slats are going to be taped together into a long runner. The tape (in this case, good old (quack, quack) duct tape) will serve both to hold the runner together, and as a hinge. Since we need the joint to bend in one direction, we are only taping on one side. But we also want the hinges to alternate in pairs, so we've taped them together in the following pattern: two on top, two on bottom, two on top, two on bottom, two on top.

If you've stuck with this unexplained weirdness so far, here's your reward. You can see how the hinges bend, and how the pairs of alternating directions on them make the hex pattern. Also, look down at the bottom. There are three pairs of half hexes put together with a cross lap joint in the middle. When we lay the runner down on the table, the runner will drape over those supports.

Now it's time for the next layer. We've mad the same type of support for the next floor, but this time with two full hexes and two half hexes as a base.

And now, it's just rinse and repeat for the top floor as well.

And a simple paintjob later, it looks good enough for the Space Marines to go into. Note the amount of room we have using the 2" base for this design. You could go with smaller hexes and longer slats, but remember that you will have to fit your hand in there to move minis around.

I put the Ascension game in the background so you could have a size reference for what it looks like folded up. I decided to tape my supports together for stability, but with a simple lap joint, you should be able to pull them apart and put them back together. If you want to do that, I recommend using sturdier materials than foamcore and cardboard. After a couple of times apart and together, the joints would start to have problems. Maybe some enterprising person with a C'n'C machine will make some MDF supports in 1.5" and 2" hex sizes (and send me some free ones for the idea ...).

Of course, once you have the basic idea, it is pretty simple to do your own variations. I think I am going to go for some 1.5" hex ones with a mecha theme - all silver with rivets. And you don't have to have it come apart if you want. If you glue the whole thing together, you would end up with a pretty strong and stable structure. There's a reason bees don't use squares for their hives.


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