Bruce Hirst
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Bruce Hirst
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Joined: June 2nd, 2005, 11:36 am

October 6th, 2014, 3:40 pm #31

Well, I've finally had time to finish up a set of test hexes and I've learned a few things. My original ideas were OK but there were some problems.



The hexes shown here are 1.5" from flat to flat. My idea was to vary the height for a more natural look but leave several points the same level so a miniature could stand on the hex. The main problem for me arises when you group a large number of these together. I tried to imagine what a large surface would look like if covered with these hexes and I didn't like it. It would end up looking like a quarry heap - nothing but a jumble of loose rock. It also disguises the hex pattern a little too well.

While it didn't look terrible, it wasn't what I was after. Also I tried to imagine placing a building or machinery on top of this rock. Most buildings would cover more than one hex and you wouldn't have a level surface to plant it on.  I originally thought of having folks put a small blob of air-drying clay down before setting the building. This would end up looking like a mound of dirt that the building would be raised on. However, you could not stack these hexes on top of each other for pillars of rock.

The trick is to make a surface that looks like rock which you can stack up, easily mount buildings on but still have somewhat of a natural look to it (at least more natural than using Heroscape tiles).  Here's what I ended up with:



These hexes are exactly 1/2" tall, you can stack them together, mount buildings on them, mechs can stand up and they have a fairly natural look to them.  I also made some hexes where one edge tapered down, two edges tapered down, three edges tapered and so on. These would be placed around the outside edges to hide the straight hex rock edges. If I end up making squares (instead of hexes) then there would be fewer sides to taper down. If you wanted some blocks with a more natural varying height you can always fill up the mold only part-way for thinner tiles. 



Here is the complete set of hexes that will come out of the mold. I included half hexes (split both ways) and a left and right quarter hex. These will allow you to make flat edges on large sections. You can also just glue the halves together to make full hexes. I had considered making these tiles only 1/4" thick instead so you would not have quite so much heavy plaster. However, these are for building rock hills and rock hills have height. If I end up making other types of ground cover, I imagine those hexes would be thinner.

I'm going to make the test master mold today. Then I'll make some duplicates, cast them and see if these pieces act the way I hope they will.  This mold will be large, twice the size (and twice the cost) of my regular molds. I don't like making molds this large because it's more difficult to make and folks don't like to spend twice as much for a mold. However, I would have ended up having to make three regular molds to fit all the pieces on with a lot of wasted space and that would have been even more cost prohibitive to those trying to buy them. Let me know what you think.

Thanks,
Bruce Hirst
Last edited by Bruce Hirst on October 6th, 2014, 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Galileo
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October 6th, 2014, 4:43 pm #32

Those are fantastic!
It's NOT denial. I'm just very selective about the reality I accept. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)
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LadySabelle
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October 6th, 2014, 7:13 pm #33

I LOVE the hexes! (even though I don't play any games at the moment that use them) But then, we've all come to expect amazing work from you, Bruce. I, for one, will welcome a larger mold even at 2x the price. It's worth it overall to get everything that's needed in a single mold. There are a lot of us making larger molds of your casts just to have multiples of key elements, so you are saving us the time/effort/cost. If your multi-mold discount were to count the hex mold as 2 then I doubt you even have complaints. (Not that I expect there to be any.)

Thank you for letting us preview these! And get a glimpse into your creative process.
Molds: 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 201, 203, 205, 210, 211, 212, 220, 221, 222, 235, 240, 250, 260, 266, 267, 270, 281, 282, 290, 291, 292, 300, 301, 302, 311, 320, 321, 701

http://ladysabelledesigns.com
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kryts
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October 6th, 2014, 9:58 pm #34

those look fantastic
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Kovax
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October 7th, 2014, 12:18 pm #35

Aside from there only being one 100% "full" piece on the mold, it's looking great. Casting that single cavity (or making a home-made mold with about 6 of them on it) is going to be a chore. It would also be nice to have at least one or two pieces with a smoother slope to the edge (45 degree, perhaps?), rather than all jagged cliff faces. Other than that, I'm sold, and I'll be putting in an order at some point.

I can also picture "lightly" flocking a few of these, with a few scattered bits of foam bits or lichen to make sparse vegetation, rather than a totally barren stony desert landscape, and I'm liking the possibilities. It also means that I'm going to have to make at least 3 different "sets": one for a reddish "Mars-like" planetary surface, one of gray/brown, and one with minimal vegetation added for a partially terraformed alien world or an arid terrestrial region.
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Bruce Hirst
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Bruce Hirst
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October 7th, 2014, 2:33 pm #36

It was kind of a hard decision for the "single full piece" on the mold. I came to the conclusion to only make one full piece for several reasons:

1. My main use for these is to make hills or rock mountains, not large plains of rock. In my test building, I wanted places you could put a sniper on the hill or have a beacon objective marker. In most of these cases I rarely used the single full piece at all. There was a much greater need to dress up the sides of the hill and disguise the "hexy" look. Also, if you have a hilltop with a large flat surface, then you will probably have a building or large piece of equipment on that large surface - in which case the flat surface will be covered up anyway. I just couldn't picture having a really large flat surface on top of a hill. For larger flat plane surfaces, I will probably have mostly full tiles which will be only 1/4" thick instead. One of these could also use the same rock texture you see here on a new mold.

2. You can always use the 1-sided and 2-sided broken edge pieces in the center of the landscape. It will break up the monotonous solid rock texture with a small fissure here and there. If you count these as "full" pieces then you really have three full pieces on the mold.

3. I considered a 45 degree angled slope piece but I really wanted to be sure that a miniature could set on every surface. I would have needed to put a stump or rock outcrop to hold up the mini and I thought that might be a bit too obvious when the piece is reused several times.

It will be interesting to see how this combination of pieces works out in the testing phase.
Thanks,
Bruce Hirst
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Bruce Hirst
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October 11th, 2014, 3:56 pm #37

Here's an update on the project so far. Below is a photo of the finished test hill. I cast this out of dental stone so this hill weighs 3 pounds. If you cast it out of something such as "Woodland Scenics extra light weight Hydrocal" then it would probably only weigh 1.5-2 pounds instead.


Here's a photo of the test mold. This mold is a double sized mold compared to our regular molds so the price would be double as well. It would count as two molds when shipping but would also count as two molds when figuring the discount. The double sized mold allows me to fit extra pieces in the wasted space between two normal sized molds.



I also found that I had some wasted space around the outside edge. If I put the pieces closer to the edge, I can sacrifice four of the 1/2 blocks and add three full blocks onto the mold. For this project I only used the half blocks to fill in under the full blocks (where you wouldn't see them) and had a bunch left over.


As for the half and quarter blocks, these would be used if you wanted to end the grid in a straight edge without sanding or cutting. This shows an example of their use.


Here's a photo of the unpainted hill.


To make the straight cliff edges not so "hexy" I used pliers to break off some of the sharp edges.


I thought the really deep cracks looked a bit unnatural so I used putty (wood filler) in them hoping it would help. I've circled some of these on the photo below.


This photo compares the bare rock tiles stacked against the ones filled with putty. I'm not sure that either looks that good. I may have to work out the technique of filling in order for it to look better. Perhaps smearing in the putty and using a toothbrush to remove the excess from the surface. Maybe I'll have to rethink the method of making the rock faces in general.


In all I have mixed feelings about how this came out. This sucker weighs three pounds so it won't be moving around on your game table. I think that making squares instead of hexes is possible but the trick is to not make it look like a Minecraft table. Squares have much sharper corners than hexes do so it will be harder to disguise them.

Please let me know what your thoughts are about this project. Is it worth it? How can it be improved?
Thanks,
Bruce Hirst
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LadySabelle
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October 11th, 2014, 5:16 pm #38

I bet you could dramatically cut the weight by not building the full hill out of bricks. Make the interior out of foam and just put the hexes on the top and sides. Since the hex design allows for some straight lines you wouldn't even have to shape the foam much. I like the overall look of your finished piece. How many casts did it take to complete?
Molds: 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 201, 203, 205, 210, 211, 212, 220, 221, 222, 235, 240, 250, 260, 266, 267, 270, 281, 282, 290, 291, 292, 300, 301, 302, 311, 320, 321, 701

http://ladysabelledesigns.com
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Bruce Hirst
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October 11th, 2014, 7:17 pm #39

It took about four castings of the mold. Actually, the interior does have foam inside (I just didn't show it). But it ended up being more bother than it was worth to save that little bit of weight.
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LadySabelle
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October 11th, 2014, 10:08 pm #40

Ah. Well, thanks for the additional information.
Molds: 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 50, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 201, 203, 205, 210, 211, 212, 220, 221, 222, 235, 240, 250, 260, 266, 267, 270, 281, 282, 290, 291, 292, 300, 301, 302, 311, 320, 321, 701

http://ladysabelledesigns.com
https://www.facebook.com/LadySabelleDesigns
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