Mos Eisley Project: Making Progress

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The town of Mos Eisley is beginning to take shape. I’ve just finished carving and painting more than 4,000 cobblestones, as well as gluing down the sidewalks. Whew! Ten days of work.

TheGM: When a blog doesn’t publish anything for more than a month, that’s often a sign that the blog is running out of steam. That’s not the case with the Corvus Cluster.

The lack of postings actually is a sign of how busy I am are creating content—specifically as regards to the Mos Eisley Project.

I have 31 days to wrap up the bulk of the Mos Eisley Project, which will be unveiled as a quasi-diorama-level game table at the Shorehammer 2022 gaming convention in Ocean City, Md., Dec. 1-4.

This project has totally dominated my time. I mean, it took six days to carve more than 4,000 cobblestones into the streets of the city, then four days to paint them.

(Insane? Yes. But we’re adults playing with toy soldiers, aren’t we? At least we’re not batting a ball across a parking lot with a net separating the players. Tennis, anyone?

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Many of my houses come from the Middle East range of the Miniature Building Authority. But this beauty is one of a handful that will give the town more of a Star Wars feel.

What’s new

Anyway, there is a ton of stuff still to do. So I just want to share a few photos–and some comments–about the progress so far. I wish I had time to do a detailed, step-by-step account of the work, but you know a lot about building terrain anyway.

Still, I’ll share a few links to some YouTube videos that gave me some valuable tips.

So, to start off, the Mos Eisley Project really is a project by The Gaffer and I to create for our game table a desert town with a looks similar to Star War’s Mos Eisley, I ramped up the work when I offered to create a dedicated table for Shorehammer.  I knew that promise would energize my efforts, and it did. We have more than 30 buildings ready for play, enough to create a dense urban setting for a 4-by-6 table.

(Actually, we have enough buildings, counting ruins and shanties, to cover my 5-by-9 game table.)

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More than two thousand quarter-inch squares, then cut in half with alternating lines, creates the cobblestone effect. Yes, I guess, technically, this is a basketweave brick pattern, but I just go with cobblestones. A lot of work.

The streets

I’m not going over every detail about the street construction. If you want to see how to make streets, take a look at this YouTube video by Night Shift.

Essentially, sitting down with a sharp X-acto knife, I cut little 1/4-inch squares into the foam base of my table–and then cut each square in half, alternating the direction of cuts to create a basketweave pattern for my cobblestones.

Most of the cobblestones are painted a simple gray, although I added a few hundred alternate colors to break up the monotony. After this, I used yellowish tan bathroom grout as mortar between the cobblestones.

The grout clings to everything, so I ended up with a thin layer over the cobblestones themselves. I just couldn’t brush it off. But that actually worked for the best, as it toned down the brightness of the paint and added a “faded look” to the streets. Just a bit of luck there.

The sidewalks

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Everyone knows how to carve sidewalks. I’ll only note my most valuable tool–a blunt toothpick that allowed me to widen the cuts so they were more easily visible.

I thought I needed a different look to the sidewalks, so I changed colors and style. I measured out where the buildings would go, then cut a layer of 1/4-inch foam to serve as the raised level above the street. A quarter-inch-high curb is bit out of scale, of course, but I don’t think it matters. It has the “feel.”

I used ArtMinds’ Chalk Cocoon as recommended in another YouTube video by Jason Jenson Trains. I think it’s a bit bright, but I toned it down with a black wash, so it’s fine. I put grout into the cracks, as well, and that also toned the color down a bit.

The extra layer of foam served another purpose. I didn’t just cut out sidewalks. The foam layer covered all the area where the buildings would sit (ie. all the ground between the sidewalk)s.

There was a reason for that. Many of my buildings are from the Miniature Building Authority. They’re resin, pre-painted buildings. They have about a 1/4-inch base to them, which is fine when you put them on a gaming table.

But, as I’m trying to “up” the look a bit, I put the buildings on the 1/4 layer and marked out their outline, then cut the outline out of the foam. Now, the buildings sink into the cut-out holes, hiding the 1/4-inchd base, and bringing the doors more in line with the sidewalks. I think it helps.

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To add a bit of elevation to the table, I built a small hill on the opposite side of a canal. You can see the stone steps that slowly raise the pedestrian walkway on the left. The foam in the canal are holding the stone walls in place as the glue dries. The fence is made of plastic sheeting and some old model railroad picket fences I found in my bitz box.

The canal

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Now that the canal walls are in place, I’m adding some old tires, concrete blocks, and abandoned barrels in the waterway . . . this is a dystopian future, after all.

I had to give up on my plan to have the town wind up a hill. I would have had to cut in half the number of buildings I used, and the vertical change in elevation would have created choke points that would limit the tactical options of gamers in their fights.

But I wanted some vertical elements. Two tall towers help. I also created a small hill in one corner, where the buildings gradually rise up a stone path. To accent that rise, I put a deep canal  on the opposite side of the path.

Lined with stones, with old tires and junk on the banks, this half-dry canal isn’t likely to be a major terrain piece in the fighting–it’s really just to break up, in a very modest way, the flatness of a tired, desert town.

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It’s not 40K unless everything is run down, so bits of junk everywhere is a must. I pulled all kind of things from my bitz box and just started gluing them in piles.

Now what?

And this is all I’ve got time for. I have a few buildings to paint, details to add to my city wall, soil to lay down, piles of debris to pile up, and litter and trees and stuff to add. And there’s a few figures that still need to be assembled and built.

I’ll try to post more this month, but I make no promises. I only know that, in a little over a month, the table will be at Shorehammer, and the Mos Eisley Project will be largely over. (Although we’ll always be adding stuff over the years.)

But, in December, I’ll be free to get back to the narrative of the Corvus Cluster. The Gaffer and I have managed to play a few small games to move the story along, and I want to get them written up.

The story of the Corvus Cluster has been around for eight years, and we have every intention of going another eight. I’ll try not to go another month without an update.

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

Categories: Terrain

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5 replies »

    • Much obliged! Between a backlog of battle reports, plus the seven skirmish battles to be fought at Shorehammer, I’m going to be spending a lot of December on blogging. This blog was designed as an encyclopedia of our gaming adventures, and I’ve got an eight-year tradition to uphold. Every battle has to be documented.


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