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The playground for board games is one of the most entertaining and accessible aspects of the hobby, and with the plethora of fantastic Star Wars miniatures available (such as Star Wars: Imperial Assault is Star Wars: Legion) and the multitude of ways to play them with them, from the aforementioned miniature wargame to the Star Wars RPG, it's something fun to play the epic battles from the screen (and our imagination) on a table with fantastic terrain.
There is a certain ubiquity when it comes to the natural but geometric forms of the Tatooine building, but there is also quite variation between them which are really easy pieces of ground to make with improvised materials (including craft products from the dollar store) which means you can create these buildings without spending a fortune. You can take the techniques from this tutorial and apply them to the creation of buildings and land in the future to create buildings for all kinds of games.
Ready to look at the horizon for a double sunset? Let's begin!
What you need
- Syringe ball approximately 4 "in diameter
- Short cylindrical boxes of about 5 "in diameter (I used gift boxes from the dollar store, but you could also float and recycle margarine containers.)
- Foamcore, also known as craft cardboard (it is a thin sheet of polystyrene with paper glued on both sides, available in craft shops or in dollar stores)
- Polystyrene blocks / sheets (I used the XPS insulation foam, but you can also easily use regular polystyrene blocks)
- Vinyl glue / white glue
- Compound / filler for drywall
- Decorative tissue paper
- Soft acrylic paint for acrylic or artistic painting (The paint used for miniatures is wasted on the ground – use cheaper hand-painted paints.)
Step 1: Cut your pieces
To begin with, we recommend cutting the polystyrene ball in half to create the domed shape at the top of the buliding. If you have a hot wire cutter, it's super handy to use, but you can also use a long blade (like a bread knife).
You will also need to cut your insulation foam into a rectangle shorter than the one in your box, and about 1 "wide at the bottom, I used my wire cutter to cut the rectangle and then to cut the foam from 1" to a width of 1 / 2 "because it was very thick, but this can be done with an X-acto knife / hobby knife, I used 4, but you can use the minimum or number of what you think will work for your building.
Finally, you will need to cut the shape of the door with the foam core. They will need to be slightly shorter than the door frames you have cut out of polystyrene, and I tapered them up but I kept the width the same at the bottom. I drew the shape on the foam core paper and I cut the shapes with the scissors.
Step 2: paste it together
This is a reasonably simple step and I simply used white glue, because hot glue can melt the polystyrene.
Step 3: Fill in the blanks with the drywall compound
If you look closely, there are spaces between the base box structure and the polystyrene. I used the drywall compound and a small spatula to fill these gaps in order to get a smoother end result, but this step is totally optional. Make sure to let it dry before going to the next step.
Step 4: seal the tissue paper outside the building
The tight glue (a 1: 1 mixture of water glue with white glue / PVA glue) does a few things: first, it creates a hard shell outside the polystyrene outside, giving it a certain strength to be handled. Secondly, it gives a surface where the paint adheres to the building when it is time to paint. The use of tissue paper in this step adds extra strength and gives the building a consistent consistency (which is important when using different types of polystyrene).
I cut the tissue paper (the kind you used to stuff in gift bags) in small squares and I used my glue mixture with a brush to make it adhere to the building. The smaller pieces made it easier to push it into corners and cracks and fold it around the dome shape of the building. Be sure to let it dry before moving on.
Step 5: Glue on the sand
While a certain Skywalker can be focused on sand and how he hates it, in this application the sand adds that organic texture that these huts want. Just cover the building with white glue and sprinkle with sand. Allow the sand to dry, then brush a layer of glue sealant to create a coating that retains the sand on the building (so as not to rub with handling).
Step 6: Paint
A couple of layers are used to create the final effect: a darker yellow-brown paint (ocher yellow) was used as the base color, and then an ivory-colored paint was painted dry on the top (if you do not know what the dry brush is, check this article to paint Stormtroopers covering the technique).
Are you done!
The best part of creating your scenario, apart from how cheap it is to create and the satisfaction of having interesting things on the table, is that you can apply these techniques to create any kind of building. The fundamentals are quite simple and the way you end up creatively using these basic techniques to create all types of terrain for your tabletop is limited by your imagination.
What kind of tableware crafts have you created? Share in the comments below!
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Image credits: Teri Litorco
Teri Litorco is constantly posting photos of minis he is painting and on a tabletop he is making on Instagram, chirpingAnd Facebook. It also publishes tutorials on its YouTube channel for miniature painting and terrain construction.
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