I’ve played Heroclix for a few months now, and for those of you who don’t know: “HeroClix is a collectible miniatures game that uses the Clix system that centers around the world of superhero comic books, especially the Marvel and DC Comics universes. Players construct teams of comic book heroes, villains, or characters from various video games series such as Street Fighter, Gears of War, and Halo and engage in a turn-by-turn battle on grid maps based on various storyline locations.” -Wikipedia.org
While playing Heroclix is certainly one of my friends and myself’s favorite thing to do when we get a chance to get together, sometimes the paper maps can get a bit boring. Then, one day, I found Toychop’s 3-D Heroclix board (located here: http://toychop.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/customizable-3-d-heroclix-map/) and thought to myself…I could totally do something like that. It might not be as fancy, it might not be as detailed, it might not be anywhere near what I was currently picturing in my head…but one way or another, I would make myself a 3-D Heroclix board.
It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but by golly I did it. And no I’ll tell you how I did it and then I’ll give you a few tips on what to do differently than what I did for anyone interested in making one of these things themselves. And like I said above, this project is based heavily on what ToyChop did. Please refrain from telling me how I ripped off what he did.
Making the Board
Let’s start with the basics: As with ToyChop’s, my board is made almost completely out of foam board. It is three layers deep (this is including the sidewalk).
I used a box cutter and an X-Acto knife (for the more precise angles). For color I used black spray paint on the streets, gray spray paint on the sidewalks, and several colors of acrylic paint for the grass (I’ll be honest, I had to get my wife to do the acrylic painting, as I’m no good with a brush).
As you can there are a few fences and a building, which I’ll cover after this.
For the board itself, the first thing I did was take a large sheet of foam board, measure out a grid of 1 1/2 inch squares and cut off any excess that didn’t fit into. I had to cut of about a half an inch each way. As I wanted the board to be able to be stored easily, I cut it into thirds (two 6 square and one 7 square wide sheets). This had to be done three times, for the different layers.
Once this was done, I cut out the sidewalk pieces and took them and the middle level boards (which remained whole) and spray painted them. Before the actual color was applied, however, I used a light coating of an off-white colored textured spray paint (you could probably use any color, but I was worried anything darker would show up under the gray paint) to give the map a less flat look.
The middle level was black with a small patch on one which would later be made grass. Then, in the grassy area, I cut a 4×2 square for a lower level which would be water. I then glued all three layers onto one another. After this, I textured the water using hot glue spread around to make waves and another application of hot glue on the sides to make dirt.
Once EVERYTHING was glued and painted, I applied a coat of sealant spray to the three final pieces of the board. I was then able to move on to the decorations…
The building, pictured above, is made mostly out of the foam board I had left over. I was actually fortunate enough to stumble across some plastic brick sheets used for train models or something and was able to cut those to fit the panels of the building (pictured below). As you can see, however, the plastic brick sheet looks pristine and clean, unlike the building you saw before. This isn’t Hollywood CGI, folks. My wonderful wife was able to make it seem older with the magic of…some brown acrylic paint, actually.
Then I made two different types of fences (pictured below).
The chain link fence was made out of a metal mesh, which is used for who knows what, but once I saw it, I knew it would make a perfect chain link fence. I also used this sort of flower metal string which is used to prop flowers up for display. All it took to make the chain link fence was to feed the metal string through the mesh a couple of times and super glue it into place.
The wooden fence was a little more time-consuming. While the fence itself was something I bought from the model making department, I had to dig out a hole in the bottom of the posts to insert some of the metal string and hot glue it into place. All in all, it was pretty easy to make. After the fences were made, I poked holes into the board to slip the fences into place and take them out at the end of the game for easy storage.
As I said earlier, there are some things I would have done differently when making this board. But honestly the biggest thing would be to get an awesome knife. There is actually this whole contraption knife thing that is made to cut foam board. With the box cutter I had, the lines were not exactly straight everywhere and made putting the pieces together uneven.
The other big regret of mine would be to grid everything out before painting and assembling as it was a little difficult to measure some areas with the sidewalk in the way. This made some lines a little off and shaky.
Also, and it’s not really a regret, as I could still get some, but I would like some toy cars and model trees to make some of the street and park areas look like flat.
Fortunately, this was only the first attempt of many. I will eventually attempt to make something much more customizable like ToyChop’s modular map, but for now, I am extremely happy with mine.