Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WWX Watcher Hive, The Interior

Last time, I showed you the construction of the mountainous exterior of the Wild West Exodus Watcher Hive. But what sinister machinations lurk under the surface? Let's take a look inside...


Deep inside the mountain is the hive itself– a construct of alien technology where the Watchers operate. The game board is designed to look like a metal structure buried within the mountain. One of the requests Warcradle Studios had was that I incorporate "infinity mirrors" in the board. This proved to be quite a challenge, as it was something I had never built before. An infinity mirror uses a strip of LED lights and mirrors to reflect the light, creating the illusion of a deep tunnel of light.

There is only one row of lights. At the back of the opening is a standard mirror, and the front is covered with a pane of glass, covered with mirrored window tint. The two mirrored surfaces reflect the light back and forth, receding into the distance.



The infinity mirror is less than two inches deep, but it appears as though the tunnel of light extends into the wall, creating the illusion of a much larger space. The front of the opening is framed with Foam core board and styrene strips. The walkway is also constructed from foam core, with styrene ladders, turned sideways for the railings.


There are LED lights under the walkway, and in rows along the floor. The lights are covered with tinted plastic to give them their blue color, and plastic strips, punched with holes to let the light through.


Another infinity mirror was added to create a shaft descending into the floor.


I used a lot of found objects like model railroad accessories and plastic machinery to create the various control panels and alien tech.

The empty wall at the far end will have its own large, free-standing portal.


Details like the weapon racks were made using weapons taken from one of the Watcher model kits.


Another feature in the Watcher Hive is the incubation chambers. They are made from PVC pipe fittings and red plastic bottle tops. The side panels were cut from card and decorated with wire, plastic bits, and tech.


A Watcher "Grey" was converted to look like it was floating in suspension, held up by a wire umbilical. The model was sprayed red and then dusted from below with a little white to help accentuate the glow from the LED under the base.


The pods were all attached to the table along a central control banks. The console on the end was made from water gun components and model railroad parts. I hit the plastic covers with a heat gun to distort them and give them a more organic shape. I melted some of them completely to represent pods that had already "hatched."


There are three banks of gestation pods, and they all connect to a central control module. This was a find at the local hobby shop– some kind of boiler cover. It looked great, and was only a few bucks, so I grabbed it. I found some corrugated tubing that perfectly matched the diameter of the rounded openings. The tubes conceal the wires running between the pods and are small enough that they could serve as low cover for game play.



With the mirrors, lights and gestation pods in place, the electronics on the board were finished, and I could move on to the final details.

The control tower is built from large PVC pipe fittings. The top is made from some other random plastic parts that had a great shape (never throw anything away!), and topped off with some round bases. The platform and supports were cut from foam core and the edges covered with styrene U-strips. The ladder was made by cutting a styrene ladder down the center and gluing the two halves back-to-back with the rungs staggered on each side. Some styrene rod was used to make the pipes, softened with a heat gun and bent into shape.



Next up, I'll show you the painted tower and raised walkways that lead to the large portal and talk about the construction of the portal itself.


'Til next time!


  1. I saw that board at SPIEL 17 in Essen and it was my absolute highlight on that fair.
    Those mirrors are fantastically worked into the whole thing, but I also really dig the incubator chambers.

    All in all, marvelous piece!

  2. That is a very impressive piece of scenery!

  3. Awesome work, as usual! I love the "hatched" pods, a really nice detail to add. Plus, the mirror portals turned out fantastic.

  4. Do you have any WiP pictures of the Infinity Mirrors? The illusion of depth that they create is so good that I'm having trouble picturing what's actually there.

  5. Thanks guys! Glad you like the table. I don't have any tutorials for the LED lighting, and this table came together under a tight deadline, so I didn't take as many progress pictures as I normally do. If you are curious about the infinity mirrors, there are tutorials on Youtube for making infinity mirror LED frames that illustrate it better than I could describe in text.


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