WIP: Alabaster Station Engine Control

After a weekend of casting Hirst Arts blocks, I Decided to steal a night off from the workshop and focus instead on the first of the Sedition Wars room tiles. I am pretty much shooting in the dark here as the game isn’t out yet and my only access to the probable board sections are the images shown so far on the Kickstarter page. There are three tiles I have a reasonably clear view of which, for arguments sake I am calling Engine Control, Cargo Bay and Med Lab.

Out of the three I felt the industrial character of the Engine Control section offered the most variety and as good a place to start as any. It was also the most similar in principal to the Space Hulk designs, which I am pretty familiar with. Before a single brick or floor tile can be glued down however, I need a plan to work from. A good set of schematics not only helps to give me something to follow, but more importantly it let’s me try out different combinations and ‘test’ them out before assembly. It also helps give a view of what the end result “should” look like.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I chose Google Sketch-Up as my weapon of choice. For two reasons. Firstly, a lot of the molds I intend to use are publicly available in Sketch-Up’s library. Secondly and more importantly it’s free!
The main change I am making is around the size of each section. Space Hulk was a tight, claustrophobic environment where positioning was everything. It suited a single tile width corridor format and to accommodate the larger base size of Terminators I scaled the sections around a 1.5″ tile. With Sedition Wars the standard base diameter is either 25mm or 50mm for normal and large miniatures respectively. This made a 1″ tile the obvious choice for the floor plans and meant I couldn’t re-use the existing Hulk schematics.

The other challenge is the board sections themselves. As “Battle for Alabaster” is in essence a miniatures board game, the room sections that come with the game are quite large. In fact counting out the dimensions of the floor plan I would hazard a guess that they were somewhere in the region of 14″ across including exterior walls. If I was to try to stick with the layout depicted in the game then this would mean each board panel would have to be reproduced as a single 3D section. In theory each panel could be further sub-divided for convenience, but in doing so I would lose some of the visual impact and integrity of the rooms. This was another reason to go with the 1″ floor tile as the standard unit; the larger tile used on Hulk would make the boards unpractically large. Dimensions aside, there are also a few design aesthetics I want to incorporate into the build, such as removable door sections and defined interior walls. Although the walls will make the board slightly harder to game on compared to a plain flat surface, I felt losing them would have too much of a negative impact on the overall visual and tactile effect. this isn’t a compromise I am willing to make, even though it will significantly increase the weight and complexity of each section.

Image copyright Studio McVey – Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster. Used without permission.

So, with the seed of a plan in mind and armed with the image above, I started layout out what would be the footprint for the first board section over the weekend. The overhead view shows a number of placeholder tiles which will have additional scenery added to in order to remove them from play in the same way they are in the original. I have already ordered new pipeline and detailing molds from Hirst Arts for that purpose. The door dimensions are also identical for both the interior door frames and inter-section bulkhead doors. I did this on purpose to keep the design as simple as possible and make it easier to re-use sub-components. The difference in the door types will be reflected in the physical appearance and colours of the doors themselves which I will cover in a future post.

Engine Control Section overhead plan

For the removable doors, I stuck with the design I used for Space Hulk, but with a few modifications. In Hulk the door sections were made to slide down inside the frames and have a ‘removable’ top section to hold them in place.

Space Hulk internal door section (without top frame)

To bulk out the doors to the correct width for Alabaster, I added a central section and integrated the double thickness door itself with the top of the frame. By making this a single component, the entire section can be cast in more durable resin which should make them a lot more resilient during gaming. I did also sketch out a design for the doors in ‘open’ state, which you may be able to see in the final image. However I am unlikely to cast these as they would just be unnecessarily fiddly to use compared to just leaving the door as an open gap. If the project goes well, I may consider implementing those at a later date just for fun. My gut feel is they will just get in the way though.

Airlock door components and frame assembly.

So that about wraps up the first room design. Not sure at this stage quite how much actual painting of miniatures I am going to get done as all the casting of ‘bricks’ does take up an inordinate amount of space in the workshop, not to mention the mess it generates! That said, it is great to get my teeth into a decent terrain project again, especially one with such an open scope. Make no mistake, I am absolutely determined to get this thing built and as many of the sections done ready for the games release in November so I can concentrate on painting the miniatures. Some of the sections are naturally going to be more challenging than other. Med Lab for one I am both looking forward to and dreading at the same time with all those curved sections. That is going to be an interesting one thats for sure.

Other activity wise, no doubt the eagle-eyed will have spotted I finished the Ent that’s been lurking about for a while for this week’s #MiniatureMonday and added it to the Flickr gallery. I would really like to press on painting the Rhino Deimos as well, but don’t want to break motivation on the terrain. So that will just have to park up for a while (no pun intended).

As for the final room design overall, well here it is in all its glory. I present to you Alabaster Station: Engine Control section.

Next update: Turning this design into reality using Hirst Arts molds. Until then, have a great week.

CW

« «  Farewell Forty-Kay   |   Alabaster Station: Part Two  » »

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