Sunday, August 07, 2016

Aquila Gate - Pt 1

(or Is bigger always better in terrain?)

Frame of the gate in progress
  In preparation for a day of gaming this past month, I decided to build some larger terrain pieces that weren’t just ruins.  Several different 40k terrain pieces inspired me to do a larger piece that could be used as a whole or in pieces.  I wanted to build a gate that would allow Land-Raider sized vehicles to pass, while still providing the feel of a walled citadel.

 I’ve seen a lot of similar builds that use the giant Aquila from the Shrine of the Aquila kit, most if which were amazing builds.  As expected, I "borrowed" ideas from several ones while trying to keep the build on a reasonable scale.  I knew it would be big based on the size of the front Aquilas, but I had no idea until I actually built the two gatehouse towers and placed the walkway between them!  Parts were also taken from the Sanctum Imperialis kit, which fit pretty well with a few minor cuts and sanding.

My toughest design decision came on whether or not to build the towers in a ruined or intact form.  What I settled on was to build it in a semi-ruined fashion that allowed it to play as an indestructible ruin, or as a dilapidated fortification, with all of the building add-ons.  I used the flooring supplied with the two kits to build in a partial rooftop battlement, and a few secondary floors.  The base of the towers was built on 6 inch square cork tiles, so that I'd have some flexibility with gluing rubble, tiles or dead heretics to the surrounding area.

For play as a dilapidated structure I opted to build a removable back wall.  A simple cork structure that was reinforced with wood dowels and plastic girders and piping gave it some visual interest and enough rigidity to hopefully survive tabletop handling.

I originally wanted the rear wall to hinge away from the structure, but a few glitches in my design put that beyond reach.  I settled for installing pins in several locations that would hold the wall in place, but allow it to be removed for use as a ruin.

What worked very well (to my surprise) was the plastic I-beams as both structural members and for matching up the juncture between plastic walls and cork walls.  In the image to the left you can see where I added it to the inner junction of the two wall types, and it provided enough structure to keep the cork in place, along with the secondary girders and wood pilings.

I will post more of what the two look like with their floors installed, and some table-ready painting done to them.  I really enjoy how they look, even at this stage, and can't wait to get some more time to devote to finishing them up.