Tuesday 4 January 2011

Terrain is everything - 40k Cathedral Tower.

So here's one of my 'what's on my work table' kind of posts. This beauty has been around for a while actually and much like the little 'vent tower' is a long term work in progress. There's no real incentive to get this done actually. Our small table has far too much scenery and we hardly ever play so this is really only a vanity piece. Something bigger and grander than anything before.

As you can see it's like a Cathedral Tower and was going to feature another ruined corner with plenty of floors [though how you would get between them is anyone's guess]. Since I found out that ruins aren't so hot I'm loathe to create another one. Of course, if I make it structurally sound, mostly, I'll also have to make a ruined version for when it gets flattened. Above you can see how some 10mm foam card got used for the arched doorway and the space marine is there so you can see the scale of the building.

Below was my tests regarding flying buttreses. I've decided to go with three instead of the five. It uses less foam card and gives more room for figures to gain cover from. You can see five was just too dense. I'll be adding some hexagonal window-blind rod [or bic biro] to the spikey bits for some more flavour.

Here's how the corner works with the buttreses although the extra ground level reinforcement isn't in place.

Here's another measure of scale, you can see how much of a centre-piece this is going to be, I'm really not looking forward to masking off all those foamboard windows! Colourwise this is still going to be red planet scenery. Using the red-planet rockcrete as in all the other buildings, but aspects of it will also be in a sandstone colour. Because this is a high profile building they went the extra mile to import some other stone to make it a landmark structure. I'm looking forward to that bit, just not all the bits inbetween...

Funnily enough when I started this I had to take all the prepped foam card home but when I actually got round to starting cutting I ended up using some other foamcard so when I get chance I've a second piece in the works. If I worked it out right I could in fact have four corner pieces, although clearly this works well by itself, once I start to ruinify it there'll be significantly less building which may diminish it's impact on the field. It'll be a judgement call in the end.


  1. This is gorgeous, and dramatic too. It doesn't look easy to make, but the end result is clean and it has plenty of detail. It works very well as a lone tower.

  2. Wow...

    Just wow...

    How much does it cost to make a building like this?

  3. Really there's not a lot to it. A sharp scalpel and a bit of patience. Arches are a pit more complex but there are ways to make it easier, cut out the arches altogether and just have rectangular windows. Here was an unfinished tutorial for a similar piece I found


    Warhammer39999, we had a lot of foamcard at work so I got it for free. It's just the time to do the template, which I realise now I haven't included, I'll rectify that as soon as I can and the time to cut and model it. The two corner pieces I think actually fit on an A3 sheet the buttresses the same. ebay has 5 sheets of A3 at £8.50 [inc p&p] so that's £3.40. Not including hardboard for the base and paints etc.

    What you have to weigh up with terrain is the time to do it and whether you'd be rather painting your figures. It's far more craft based than artistic based but you can be arty with it. Mostly it's the time invested but when they're complete you do tend to get a lot of 'bang for your buck'. I've some more buildings and ruins to come, as soon as I finalise the templates.

  4. My time? Pshaw, that's why I have you! Ever consider making terrain for $$$?

  5. Well you consider it and then you dismiss it. The GW kits are more detailed, more durable and probably cheaper. Time is a valuable commodity. I'll spend hours to entertain myself but once you start asking for Dollar$ it makes you realise where those last 5 hours went. Then you've got to box them up and ship them which makes them even less cost effective in the end. Giving away the templates seems to be more helpful to the community.

    Although if you're a multi-millionaire philanthropist willing to bank-roll me making foamcard buildings for you everyday where can I sign up ;)

  6. After I make my second million, I'll be sure to take you up on that. :)

  7. Very nice, I know the undertaking a project like this can be. It's all in the details.

    This thing should look amazing once complete.

    Ron, From the Warp

  8. Thanks Ron, support like that is making me want to start looking at this structure again. Although instead of finishing this corner I'm thinking of doing the other side so I can make the complete tower! Way to go to double the workload!

  9. Please can you upload the template as i would love to try building it. can you also tell me how you created your templates?

  10. Hey Dale, I make all my templates using Adobe Illustrator. Have you made any of the other buildings using the templates here:


    Because I like to ensure the templates are all correct and easy to follow the Cathedral isn't complete yet. I could upload it in it's current state but I wouldn't be happy about releasing it in a less than finished state. It's on my 'to do' list so it will be done.

    In the mean time I'm putting some finishing touches to another template which will tie in with the multi-function plug and socket, it's going to be a really cool addition to the library of templates...