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Ableman33's Project Archive - 3D Hex Maps & More

Light Woods Versus Heavy Woods

Trees and Hexes on Maps for Mechs

You mentioned seeing trees that were available in different heights. Here is a fast little isometric drawing of what it might look like with differing heights, colours, and a dark ground cover in the heavy woods.


Feel free to download this blank one and play with it in Paintbrush or some similar program. You can use it to test out color schemes.


Decided to play with the blank one a bit:

An Alien World That Might Resemble MARS but with vegetation

A non-terran world [?] possibly Mars-like. Only it has trees. Trees without chlorophyll.

Ableman, I'm curious.

Which part of terrain making (and I'm really talking about BT terrain making) do you dislike the most? Which part takes you the longest?

While I haven't completed a single map board yet, I'm finding the marking of hexes and then drawing terrain features on styrofoam to be the longest and most gruelling part. Hopefully it's the worst part (as opposed to what I have yet to do).

The general phases for me when building a Battletech map are:

  1. Get inspired about a new map. Make doodles on paper until I have a rough idea of how things will be arranged.
  2. Open up a new map in Google SketchUp and mess around until I am happy with the design.
  3. Grab map bases (or build more if I am out).
  4. Use my plastic template to lay out the pieces on my foam. (I used to lay out the pieces onto posterboard with my plastic template, cut out the posterboard pieces, stick the posterboard pieces to foam with rolls of tape, then trace around the posterboard with my hotwire cutting tools to make the shapes. Now I just mark the foam directly with my template and cut the foam carefully by eye without tracing around anything. It's almost as accurate and takes far less work and time.)
  5. Use my plastic template to mark the grid on my base boards.
  6. Use Super 77 spray glue to attach the foam pieces to each other and to the proper places on the base boards, reinforcing the layers as needed with toothpicks, bamboo skewers, and heavy gauge wire.
  7. Use my HotWire engraving tools to texture the foam.
  8. Apply texture coatings and protective coatings to the foam and base boards.
  9. Apply loose gravel and other bits to be locked in place and painted that are not trees and such.
  10. Paint the maps.
  11. Use my plastic template, and pieces of poster board with grid holes poked in them, to remark the grid on the maps.
  12. Glue down trees and other tall elements.
  13. Introduce the new map set to players.

Steps 4, 5, and 11 all involve laying out the hex grid using my master plastic template, or surrogate templates punched into sheets of poster board. These poster board templates can be cut to lay flat around 3-D terrain features or split to go under arches in ways that my rigid master plastic template can't.

These same three steps are the most tedious and boring for me as they are necessary to getting the final product made, but do not involve much creativity or excitement. They can get a bit monotonous, and they require a fair amount of precision and attention to make sure the maps work right.

That said, I take steps to make my way through these grids without getting too worn out or discouraged. I play music or listen to the news. I work in batches with discreet goals (get this many rows done before I take a break, etc.). And I take short cuts wherever I can. For instance, when making my poster board templates, I stack however many sheets I will need on top of each other and prick through them with a pin all at the same time so that I only have to use my master plastic template once. I also try to reduce mistakes in fun ways, like marking the row I am on with a small plastic shark to keep me company. Smile

Short answer, yes, marking the grids are the most tedious parts for me. But it's worth the effort and there are ways to get through the boredom that won't drive you mad or leave you dreaming of endless rows of hexagons while cradling your poor cramped fingers. Thumbs Up

I found something that might be interesting for Battletech Grid Making:

I used this to make a PDF that is 34x22 inches with "1 inch" hexes. (Although the page does not define how they are measuring the hexes, might be 1 inch long sides, I dunno.) If you could find someplace that could print a huge sheet...

Nice find pendrake. Smile

I actually used that site to help me make my first paper templates before I had some printed out on a large format printer to make my plastic template.

I created a link on the TG link page to them back in November 2009:
TG Link Entry - Free Online Graph Paper Generator

It's good to see folks finding it useful.

Thanks for the share. Happy building to you. Thumbs Up

Finally starting to think about terrain again after a year of work with a new school. Smile

I know that meta-threads like this are not allowed anymore. Thankfully, I made copies of most of the projects this thread refers to before the purges. I will try to be a good little TG member and get them turned into proper Wikis in the not too distant future so this one can fade away.

Happy building all.

I'm in the process of posting many of these projects on the new site. I thought I had saved all the old pages before the purges, but alas, I find that in most cases I just have the pictures and no text.

I'm just throwing this out here in the far off chance that some folks might have saved some of these old project posts. If you did, I would deeply appreciate it if you could share them with me. Just send me a PM.

Thanks Smile

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