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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!