Image from Games Workshop
I remember flipping open the cover of Cities of Death for the first time and seeing this beauty here. Talk about a great piece of terrain. I decided right then and there that I would build it one day. Maybe not the exact same thing, but something close... something huge that would almost cover an entire table on it's own. Now we were talking. And like everything else, I let the idea simmer for the longest time. And then one day, after getting a hold of the perfect baseboard, I set out to build it.
This is part one of a three part series. In this, I'm going to cover the idea and planning, part two will cover the construction and part three is the result. This is not a new project for me, I started this a long time ago and some of you may even remember it from way back when. Now you get to see it finished. For those seeing it for the first time, enjoy.
The first thing I did was try a little reverse engineering to see if I could figure out a way to build this thing. Lots of sketches and designs later, I had something I thought would work. Below are the complete plans for this thing. If you should try this yourself and find something missing... you'll need to do what I did and just make it up.
For those who are curious, the drawings below can be clicked on for a larger version.
When I set out to design my version, I wanted it to be something that could be used in games. I knew it wouldn't see much use in things like tournaments or competetive play because of the difficulties it could create. I knew this would be used more in friendly/narrative type games.
I made sure to build things large enough for models to be put on them. For example, catwalks are wide enough for 40mm bases, stairs are wide enough for 60mm bases and such. Breaches in walls are large enough for vehicles to get through, that kind of stuff.
When I started this, it was never for me, it was always for my FLGS (Game Vault), I could never keep something like this at home... I don't have the space and it would be criminal to keep something like this hidden away for only a few people to use when I decided to bring it out to play on.
So with my drawings in hand, I locked myself in the basement and began work. It was the only place in my old house with enough room to lay out the pieces. The process of getting the drawings transfered over onto foam board and cardstock took a long time and lots of measuring.
Some facts about this monster:
It's completely scratchbuilt. There are no Games Workshop bits on it. Not using any bits meant I would have to create a certain amount of detail to make the thing look believable. That was a ton of work in it's own right.
It sits on a 5/8 inch thick piece of masonite board. It's made up of different kinds of foam board, cardstock, mat board and textured paper.
It measures four feet long by two feet wide. Set it on a regular gaming table and you only have 12 inches all the way around it left over.
At it's highest point (the top corners of the eagle roof) it's just over 21 inches tall.
It took about 8 bottles of white (PVA) glue to put together and just over a dozen cans of spray paint to paint along with some washes and drybrushing for good measure.
Since I had no plans to go from, I spent a good deal of time trying to figure things out in my head before building them. I didn't want to waste materials or time. GW posted some pics a while later showing the construction of their table and cathedral, but those were only slightly helpful in my work since they had access to an endless supply of bits to make whatever they wanted. I was much more restricted in my resources.
I'm not sure what spurred me on to building this thing really, I think part of it was the challenge and part of it was wanting to see something this big in real life. The fact that it gets used in games is even better.
Go to Part 2: The Construction