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Modular Cave System

Modular Cave SystemAlthough dragonflies7033 made the bulk of his modular terrain system some time ago, he decided to make a new section for our Dangerous Ground Competition and thus had the opportunity to take photographs and describe the process for our benefit.

The image to the right shows all of the tiles lined up, all 8 feet 9 inches of them. To scale, that's 525 feet to travel through! The new piece (second one up) looks considerably darker because I used nice fresh black primer. I love the richer look and will be going back and re-painting all the old pieces soon. The amazing thing is that the only difference between the old muted and new rich colors is the quality of the black paint!

Of course the first step in creating any modular terrain system is to decide on a tile size and these pieces are all made to the exact same size as a large grey Lego baseplate. Thus if I ever need to slip a square room into the middle of all this, I can do so. That kind of template also makes getting them all the same size pretty easy. Each one has an entrance directly in the center of each of its 4 sides, and just happens to be four Lego pips wide.

The earlier modules all had a single piece of foam for the base however, I wanted to cut deep cracks into the floor of the new module, and decided to look for two thinner sheets with a combined thickness of the bottom layer in the original set. Finding suitable foam sheets for the new module was therefore much harder than it sounds and if you are planning to start a modular system, and think that you might want to cut features into the floor of some modules, I recommend that you make all of the bases with two layers of foam from the outset.

After using my Lego template to cut the base pieces to size I created the wall sections. Offcuts of foam can be used for the walls. The important thing is that they fit neatly onto the top of the base pieces, with doorways of the correct size and in the correct location. Again the Lego template ensures consistency. I also like to make the walls such that the tops are flat; so that the modules can be easily stacked for storage.

Cracks were now cut into one of the base layers and everything was assembled using PVA glue. It was then painted using black water based primer, a gallon can of which set me back a mere $13 US. Good stuff too, waaaay better than my last can of black. The interior of the cave was then painted grey.

Modular Cave System Modular Cave System

By this point I was quite pleased with how it was looking. The black at the bottom of the cracks made them look like nice deep fissures and I was tempted to leave them that way. However in the end I decided that cracks alone were not quite dangerous enough for the competition so I glued some stones into them and painted them an obnoxious yellow. Stinky, toxic sulphur, or brimstone if you prefer.

Modular Cave System

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