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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Subway Station Terrain Showcase

At Gencon 2019, Atomic Mass Games premiered their Marvel Crisis Protocol miniatures game. I had been commissioned to build a 3' x 3' demo table for the game's debut– This subway station. Here's a look at the board, along with a little insight into its construction...


 

 

 


 

 

 

One of the features they wanted was to have interactive scenery. So, elements like the trash cans and vending machines (even the newsstand and subway cars) can all be moved (or thrown) around. The columns are also destructible– sculpted with a broken bottom and magnetized in place so it can "crack" off. Perfect for when the Hulk punches Iron Man through one!


 

 

The escalator was particularly fun to build, and I looked at a lot of reference material to get the details just right. It is built out of layers of foam core board and covered with textured styrene card.


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The subway cars are O-Scale trains, converted to extend the doors a little and make them look more "subway" like. It came with a vac-metalized silver exterior, so I only needed to weather it, and add the graffiti.


 

 

The newsstand's roof is removable so figures can stand inside. Its design was inspired by some of the actual newsstands in the city.


 

 

 

All of the snacks were sculpted with modeling putty and painted. The magazines and newspapers were printed out, coated with Mod Podge, and glued in place.


 

The vending machines were built out of plastic card. I designed the labels in Photoshop, printed them on card-stock, and then glued them onto the painted model.


 

 

 

 

The trash cans were sculpted and cast in resin.


 

Building the Board


The board itself was made with a wooden frame and layers of insulation foam. Careful planning was required to ensure that the subway cars accurately lined up with the level of the platform.

 

 

The tracks are my own resin pieces, spaced out to match the wheel gauge of the trains. Some pipes and conduits were built with styrene rods and tubes, and added to the sides of the track bed.


 

 

The detail on the subway car was great, but I wasn't happy with the doors. They had round "porthole" windows, so I replaced them with larger square windows. This also allowed me to extend the height of the doors to better match the 40mm scale of the game, and I blacked out all the windows.


 

The exterior (even the undercarriage) was weathered with a series of washes.


 

 

The "concrete" surface of the platform was created with thick styrene card, hammered with a piece of concrete to give it a rough texture. These were fixed in place with Liquid Nails construction adhesive over the insulation foam, and then cracks were scored into the surface with a sculpting tool.


 

 

 

 

The stairs were made by attaching rows of styrene L-strips to a piece of card, which was then glued in place at an angle. The stairs and concrete floor were painted using various grey sprays, and spattered with a toothbrush and a lighter color to give it a speckled texture. The wall tiles are sheets of "1/4-inch tile-textured" plastic card. They were painted with light grey spray, and another "zenith" spray of white. I darkened the recesses by tracing them with a pencil, and also drew cracks on a few of the tiles.


 

Here's a shot of the station before I dirtied it up with litter and graffiti. The graffiti was simply drawn on with different colored paint markers.


 

If you've ever been in an older New York subway station, you'll have seen just how filthy they are. (They are essentially garbage dumps that trains drive through.) I added a considerable amount of trash to emulate this– lots of newspapers that I printed and glued in place. The soda cans were made from thick plastic rod, sprayed silver with labels painted on.


 

 

I'll put together a tutorial about how I made the newspaper litter. Stay tuned!

'Til next time!

24 comments:

  1. This is just brilliant Rob another outstanding board!

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  2. Yup that's another fantastic board. Just showed all the pictures to my train mad 4 year old and it got 2 thumbs up from him.

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  3. That is awesome! Funnily enough I did see the photos of this on other blogs and wondered if it was your work.

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  4. Very cool! I've been playing a lot of X-Com lately, and this really reminds me of one of the train station levels on there.

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    1. Thank you! I was using NY subway stations as reference, while trying to keep things pretty generic so it could be any city.

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  5. This is amazing! You don't seem to do "modern" boards all too often, but this is fantastic work. I love the little details like the food in the kiosk and the trash everywhere.

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    1. Thank you! Yeah... Most games seem to be set in old world fantasy, old west, or sci-fi.

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  6. Brilliant work as always!
    A very different style from the boards you usually do but I personally feel like it's one of your best ones.

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    1. Thanks! I think this might be the *only* modern-day "normal" scenery I've ever made. There was a small board I made for the game Spinespur that was a modern, abandoned city. That was back in 2005, and I don't have any pics of it.

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  7. I always look forward to your articles in which you describe your materials and techniques. The stairs here are brilliant in their simplicity.

    How did the board survive the Con? Any repairs needed and what lessons did you learn as far as construction?

    Thanks,
    Smitty
    Lorton, VA

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    1. Thank you. I assume it survived the con, I build things pretty sturdy. But it's in the hands of Fantasy Flight/ Atomic Mass Games now, so I hope they're taking good care of it.

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  8. Grandson and I absolutely love this!

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  9. This was definitely the best crisis board at GenCon, I hope you’re into the game and continue to work on future crisis projects. I’ve scoured the net looking for other builds but nothing really hits at the level you’re working at. Thanks for this quasi tutorial I hope to see more from you

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    1. Thank you! I built the X-Mansion that's seen in the background of the X-Men launch video, and there are a couple other pieces that I haven't been able to show yet.

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