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The End is Nigh: Deadlands

The End is Nigh: Deadlands

Project Blog by Hammerhead

Recommendations: 78

About the Project

For my “The End is Nigh” terrain challenge entry, I will be producing a full-blown nightmare landscape, known as a Deadland, in the award winning, Weird West, Deadlands RPG setting, as well as the Great Rail Wars miniatures game and some board and living card games, by Pinnacle Entertainment Group, first published in 1996 and still going strong with it’s Reloaded version using their Savage Worlds engine. In the setting there are some evil spirits that are attempting to turn the world into a true Hell on Earth by causing more and more fear throughout the land which causes even the landscape to warp. The end goal is the world to become a Deadland at which time these spirits can freely walk the earth.

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Terraforming Begins

Tutoring 3
Skill 4
Idea 4
1 Comment

Here I begin roughing out the basic shape of the skull cave/mesa. As my batteries were dead in my hot wire cutters, I opted to give my jewelers saw a try and it worked like a charm, especially on the 3″ foam that would have been too thick for the hot cutter I have. I also used a hobby knife where it was more appropriate for the job.

At this point I am not concerned with the MDF base as I will cut it once the final footprint of the mesa is determined.

Shaped to fit inside of lower jaw and cut lines for beginning of cave interior. Shaped to fit inside of lower jaw and cut lines for beginning of cave interior.
Nice fit.Nice fit.
Jewelers saw in action.Jewelers saw in action.

Layering it up

I then begin roughing out the next two layers and forming the cave opening.

In the next layer I cut a spot, with the hobby knife, for the skull to sit and adjusted it for a height that was pleasing to the eye and would allow the top of the skull to be relatively flush with the top of the mesa.  I also cut a piece to help fill in the large gap behind the top of the skull. The other gaps will eventually be filled in with the Celluclay.

Once that was done I carved in the top of the cave just below the skull.

I then focus on roughing in the shape of the back and sides of the mesa.

At this point, it’s important to note that none of the layers have been glued together. This allows me more freedom in forming the overall shape. Once I have the look I want I will start gluing the layers and skull in place so that I can move on to more precise carving.

It is also the time to decide if I want to expand the cave into the mesa and make the top removable to allow for gameplay inside the cave itself, like a couple of the smaller terrain pieces I have, or just use a map or separate, much larger, cave system board for taking the action underground.

The primary drawback to making the cave playable is the unsightly seam created when the roof is made to be removable.

For those paying close attention, you might have noticed I not only went ahead and removed that tooth in question, but also another from the rear of the mouth. You know…to give it just a bit more of that ragged look.

Once again that was performed with the jewelers saw and cleaned up and shaped with files.

Surgery

Tutoring 6
Skill 4
Idea 9
No Comments

Disassembly

I removed the bottom jaw from the large skull, using a a rotary tool and hobby saw.

As this skull is for the cave I needed to remove some of the bottom of the jaw so it would sit at the angle I wanted.

I also decided to remove a couple of the teeth to give a more ragged look. As this required a much more controlled cut, I used a jewelers saw and cleaned up the surrounding teeth and resulting cavity with a hobby knife and fine files.

More Dentistry?

I’m also debating removing one more tooth, to give a bit more access to the cave. What do you guys think?

Remove another tooth?Remove another tooth?

Hacking Up More Bones

While I had the cutting tools out, I also started disassembling the spine and rib-cage of the skeleton.

Now on to cleaning up the mold lines and such, and getting a primer coat on as I will not be able to spray the foam and I want to be sure the latex paint has a good surface to adhere to.

 

Next up…planning the mesa cave and start cutting the foam.

Design Stage

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 12
No Comments

Now I have several ideas such as:

  • the obligatory skull cave opening
  • a ridge utilizing the spine and rear portion of the rib cage
  • a hill or mesa using the front of the rib cage
  • doing something with the hands like they are reach up from the earth
  • the obligatory mound of skulls
  • the lower spine and pelvis jutting out of the earth

Now all of these will be made to look as if the rocks and earth have formed these shapes. Not like actual bone forming on the rocks and hills. I might try to use some of the smaller skeletons to make some weird cactus or other “plant”.

 

Sketches

The planning beginsThe planning begins

Materials

Tutoring 8
Skill 2
Idea 9
No Comments
Materials

Materials List

Dow Corning insulation foam. I get it in three thicknesses from our local hardware store. They come in 4x8 foot sheets. Dow Corning insulation foam. I get it in three thicknesses from our local hardware store. They come in 4x8 foot sheets.
You can see the mix of sand and small pepples in the all purpose sand on the right, fine playground sand on the left.You can see the mix of sand and small pepples in the all purpose sand on the right, fine playground sand on the left.

I’m sure I have forgot some things. I’ll add any new items to this list as I use them.

With the way I work, I fully expect I will also be pulling molds and casting parts for this as well. We shall see.

 

For some reason the links in the list don’t seem to be working. I’m going to leave them for now. I will remove them if they continue to be broken.

 

Now on to the design stage…

Requirements

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 9
No Comments

I have a couple of requirements I’m putting on, at least the first stage, of this project.

First: anything I build will need to fit in with the Wild West terrain I already own, primarily the wonderful hills and mesas that were built by the legendary Howard Whitehouse, as well as the geo-hex and game mats I have.

Game mats are from Geo-Hex, MKP, and painted burlap. I really need to pick up a couple of the sexy new style mats.Game mats are from Geo-Hex, MKP, and painted burlap. I really need to pick up a couple of the sexy new style mats.
Don't go in the cave....trust me.Don't go in the cave....trust me.

Second: I must use up a good portion of these skeleton decorations I purchased.

After Halloween haul.After Halloween haul.

As this will be an ongoing project, lasting longer than the challenge, and eventually including other types of terrain such as twisted forests, spooky buildings, and the like, these requirements only pertain to these early stages of the project.

Next up: Materials

Fear Level 6: Deadlands

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 8
No Comments
Fear Level 6: Deadlands

For my “The End is Nigh” terrain challenge entry, I will begin producing a full-blown nightmare landscape, known as a Deadland, in the award winning, Weird West, Deadlands RPG setting, as well as the Great Rail Wars miniatures game and some board and living card games, by Pinnacle Entertainment Group, first published in 1996 and still going strong with it’s Reloaded version using their Savage Worlds engine.

In the setting there are some evil spirits that are attempting to turn the world into a true Hell on Earth by causing more and more fear throughout the land which causes even the landscape to warp. The end goal is the world to become a Deadland at which time these spirits can freely walk the earth.

While the core game is set in the Weird West, there are a few spin-off settings set in some alternate futures, such as Deadlands Noir, Hell on Earth, and Lost Colony.

I have been planning this for a while now, even picked up some “bits” during the after-Halloween sales last year, and I think this competition is just the kick in the tail I needed to get started.

Now on to the project.

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