Irrational Number Line Games, LLC

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Alien Grown Terrain

This stuff is great. I know that because it says so on the label.

So I built a foam insert for our fireplace. It's basically just four sides of a doghouse (no front or floor) to insluate the fireplace opening. We're not going to burn fires in it, but it is still a nice space and we don't want the breeze coming in. To stop the breeze ... Great Stuff. It's a foam emulsion that you spray into gaps to fill them up. It firms up in about 15 min and hardens within an hour. Then it's basically like custom shaped estruded polymer foam.

But, as I remember from using it the last time years ago, the can says "Expect one time use". That means, while theoretically you could use part of it, put it on the shelf, and use more later ... well, yeah ... no, that isn't going to work. Look, you're getting custom hard foam filling without being exposed to toxic chemicals (unless you lick the stuff or spray it in your eyes), you have to give up something.

The point being, I was going to have a started can for a project that would take way less than one can of foam. So ... what to do? Prep some terrain CD's with stuff that would look good as scifi organic terrain.

Key tip ... newsprint paper under the pieces. The foam will stick to whatever surface it touches. It's supposed to. Now, its only hard foam, so you can remove it pretty easily. A kitchen knife will work. But: (1) that is going to be a lot of work, and (2) I would likely tear the pieces up while doing it. Now, I can just rip the paper up to the edge of the piece.

Back Row:

  • Empty cardboard tape roll (there was another one to the left that I already removed before I took the pic)
  • Cremaer cap glued to a spray paint cap (I use the a lot for scifi buildings, but it kinda looks like a bone thing, so ...)
  • Lesson on why you don't put cheap amusement park waterbottles in the dishwasher
Next Row:
  • Another tape roll center, this one beveled a bit to sit on an angle
  • Flower shaped serving bowl ... last one surviving from the set. I used to mix paint and glue-paint-sand in it
  • More warped (so shorter) waterbottle.
Next Kinda Diagonal Row:
  • Tape Roll ... See, you're actually going to do something with those
  • Two halves of a paper towel roll beveled to oblique angles
  • Two CDs with just creamer caps stuck in the top of a splorch of foam
  • One CD with some plastic toy eggs kinda in this row
Last Full Row:
  • Big (9" diameter) spool end with large carboard roll
  • More eggs ... they're bump and spiky
  • Another tape roll
  • The third set of eggs
There are also a few splorches of foam scattered around. I collected those in the coffee can to be rocks for terrain pieces.

This is one of the paint schemes. Two shades of green with yellow spots. I made all the egg and bone (container lids and the warped water bottles) light blue with metallic blue wash. Part of that is because the second colour scheme was shades of purple. Both green and purple have a blue component, so the blue shell/bone bits make a unifying element.

Here's a fortunate accident. The diameter of the big tape roll is 4.5", which is the same diameter of a CD. All the little pieces can fit on top of the big one like a stackable hill terrain piece.

Here's a layout of the seven green pieces. Two are together into a stackable hill. The big piece is roughly 4 CD's, so I end up with ten times the area of a CD, which is a little more than one square foot (now a little less since two are stacked), which gives a little less than 25% coverage for the 2'x2' space.

The green aliens just kind of blend in to the terrain.

I was going to clean up the upper right corner of the pic, but you can see the foamboard in the fireplace just inside the brick mantlepiece. See? I didn't just make up a reason to open a can of foam for wargame terrain.

A roughly equal part of the terrain is purple.

This shot shows that not only can figures go around terrain and hide behind it, but there are flat spots where they can stand in it. For our games, if a figure can balance on the spot it can go there. If not, not. This creates some of the randomness of moving through real terrain.

Gotta love the sniper spot on one of the tall bits.

Apparently I lost the pix for making the claws on top of the bonelike projections. They are just the packaging rings that holds two sauce or salsa jars together, cut into arcs with sharp ends.

I didn't know exactly what end I was going to have on the paper towel rolls. But I did know I didn't want to do it until the thing was firmed up with a few layers of paint, wash, and sealant.

When I got to that point, I took a couple toilet paper rolls and experimented with options. Squares were out.

So were pointy bits. But cutting them, I realized I could cut into the tube past the point where the V space is.

And do a double recurve bend that makes it look kind of like lotus petals. Win.

So, here's that piece close up.

Did I mention three paint schemes? I wanted to pull a couple, but not a whole big set, out for shades of grey to go with my black and white/film noir figure set.

You can tell that these are actually black and white figures since the sky in the bacground is blue. And fuzzy.

The men are debating the phenomenon while the young lady is pointing out that the eggs are hatching ... dinosaurs!