Irrational Number Line Games, LLC

free-stuff   stuff-to-buy   about-us   home   contact  

Sci Fi Comm Stations

This is the first of three simple tutorials using some fancy M&M containers as a base for terrain conversions. This week, we will be exploiting the shape of the container to make a roof, a satellite dish, and an aboveground hatch for an underground missile silo.

The shell breaks apart into two pieces, a "bowl" half which looks like a shallow bowl, and a "cap" half, which has the press-fit fitting on it. We will use the cap half for the roof of the huts and the missile hatches. The bowl half will be the radar dish that goes along with the station.

The basic idea for the hut is to put the cap on top of a thin cardstock cylinder. Presto! Instant hut! We're going to go bare basic bones on these, so we will only augment them with a bottlecap on top as a vent and a tape door and window. You can see the EM-4 space marine we are using as a reference for drawing our door on the tape. Then we just cut them out and stick them on. This time we are not going to add hinges, rivets and such to the doors and windows, but you certainly could. The look we are going for is a sparse out-of-the-kit temporarily permanent hut. It should add to the minimalist, isolated feel we want for these waystation objectives.

The radar dish is just glued on to an old superglue bottle as a base. And our missile silo hatch gets some good old tractor feed from old (real old for some of you) computer paper. Again, we are going for minmalist to make them look like desolate, remote stations that will be objectives for assault/defense scenarios. Feel free to augment your own if you are looking for something different.

So, here's the kind of regular ground one. The hut and dish are mounted on a 6"x6" piece of thin card (cereal box) for stability. Note the use of the hole pattern in the container to hold the toothpics in place. Just a little detail to make the dish pop, but not too much. The ground was painted brown with some talus added to match other terrain board (you can see to the right). The missile silo hatches were made concrete (that is, grey paint with sand and PVA (Elemer's glue) in it) on a piece of 6"x6" thin card, with a yellow hazard strip around the outside border of each piece. Dr. Klau and his henchmen Mr. Wigglesworth seem right at home at this apocalypse-in-the-waiting site.

A slightly different set up, this one is for Mars. The baseboard is the same size, just painted to match the terrain. The dish for this one is empty, making it look more spartan than the other set up. The height of the door was measured to work with the EM-4 space marines, which are a fairly common height for ~28mm scifi minis. The overall height of the hutch was picked to look on par with the dish.

A white, snowy base for this last one, again to go with an austere environment. The baseboard and the hut/dish assembly both got a little Crayola Model Magic clay to make snow drifts. I also used gloss white paint ("white wicker") on the ground and snow drifts to make the pop a little. I think it adds a little to the piece but doesn't really contrast with the white felt ground -- at least not as much as the flat baseboard does with the slope of the hill (which would be larger and flatter for an actual gaming area). This third dish design gets a piece of tin foil liner from a can of peanuts. It just presses into the inside of the bowl to give a nice bit of added detail.

So, I think this gives a baseline of simple starters for using the M&M containers and how a few different ideas for the dishes can give some nice effects. I think the plain earth and Mars sets will get some add ons to the huts, but I like the bare effect for the arctic one. Of course, my daughter pointed out that I could have not glued the roofs on the huts so the inside could be accessed. After I had assembled them. Oh, well, the next holiday M&Ms will be Christmas ... something to look forward to. But INLGames will have two more weeks of ideas for these in the next two weeks. Stay tuned.


To the Archive of Ideas...