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D&D General DIY xps foam terrain. Videos? Pics? Advice?

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
I've made one 3X3 tile and one fence and now I'm hooked. I have all the necessary materials. Plus I just found out that I have $60-$70 in store credit at the FLGS (😁😁😁) Is there anything that a newb should pick up that'll make their life easier?



3X3 Tile
received_972295033637455.jpeg

Fence
received_260865716139743.jpeg

Both together
I know the Fence Base is skewed. Pro-tip: Don't drink and start hot gluing stuff.
received_439315954573128.jpegreceived_920329825509571.jpeg

Here's a few videos and channels that I like and follow:

As you can see, I've got a long way to go. So how about your creations? Any pics of something you're proud of? Any failures that you learned from? Any good DIY videos? General advice?
 

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pming

Legend
Hiya!

Yeah, hit up Youtube and look for "modeling diorama". You'll have a rabbit hole to last you months! ...uh... sorry?... ;)

My top three:

(1) "Night Shift" ( https://www.youtube.com/c/NightShiftScaleModels )

(2) "Wyloch's Armoury" ( https://www.youtube.com/c/WylochsCraftingVids/videos )

(3) "PLASMO" ( https://www.youtube.com/c/idaemonplasmo/playlists )

The Wyloch guy did a great series where he scratch-built the "entire Tomb of Horrors" for use with miniatures. Some great ideas he had! And Night Shift and PLASMO are both stupid-good at making dioramas and customizing everything to do with them (painting, modeling, resin, even electronics).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 



el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The DM's Craft - DM Scotty is very helpful. Black Magic Craft is good (his "formula" for black mod podge is a must for me), though he tends to shill stuff a little too much for my tastes. Both on You Tube Also a guy called "Encounter Terrain" (I can come back with links if google fails you).

There is a very vibrant DIY terrain community on Instagram that I partake in a lot. I have been making "dense foliage" scatter terrain and spend some time over the fall making modular mountains/hills that double as caverns.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
As for tools, a good metal t-square and cheap hot wire cutter (wear a mask, do it in a well ventilated place) will take you far. Also I Mod Podge everything to seal it and give it strength, but some regular PVA glue (Elmer's Glue-All, not the school glue) is a must as well.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
All my photos are on my phone but I browse ENWorld on my laptop only, so instead of trying to copy them all over, I'll be lazy and just share my insta: Timeline Zines (@how_i_run_it) is on Instagram - there amid mins, zines, and old D&D stuff, are all the pictures of stuff I have been working in (some of it is not included because I wait to share it until after I have premiered it on the table for my players)
 

aco175

Legend
My biggest thing is to make the actual squares easy to see- which you have. I see some maps and the floor is so busy that I cannot make out how to move.

I also heard someplace that you should use 1.25 inch squares. Something about placing walls between them and being able to still use the minis. Someone else will know better than me though.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
My biggest thing is to make the actual squares easy to see- which you have. I see some maps and the floor is so busy that I cannot make out how to move.

I also heard someplace that you should use 1.25 inch squares. Something about placing walls between them and being able to still use the minis. Someone else will know better than me though.

Yeah. 1.25 inch squares is a thing. Personally, I use a mix of grid and gridless play and have made measuring sticks for my players to use (they hated counting boxes and I hated diagonal movement counting the same as straight movement so the sticks were the compromise which then opened up more gridless play) - but in general I try to be fast and loose with it. If my boxes are slightly off the game plays just as well.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
Those squares are 1.25 inches. The guy on the Wyloch channel suggested it.

I like it. There's extra space in the square to place other objects beyond just the mini. Although I'm guessing that larger minis won't fit correctly on the grid 🤷
 

jgsugden

Legend
1.25 is good for many reasons, but it means you have more trouble mixing and matching with Dwarven Forge, etc... I stuck to 1 inch for that reason.

My suggestion: Go big. My foam terrain is there to give me the foundation for large rooms, and to allow me to build second floors that I can move as one large piece.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
The DM's Craft - DM Scotty is very helpful. Black Magic Craft is good (his "formula" for black mod podge is a must for me), though he tends to shill stuff a little too much for my tastes. Both on You Tube Also a guy called "Encounter Terrain" (I can come back with links if google fails you).

There is a very vibrant DIY terrain community on Instagram that I partake in a lot. I have been making "dense foliage" scatter terrain and spend some time over the fall making modular mountains/hills that double as caverns.
I have his mod podge formula* and a simple black paint & water blackwash stored in small jars. Any idea how long it will last?

*edit: I have his basic mod podge formula
 
Last edited:

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
1.25 is good for many reasons, but it means you have more trouble mixing and matching with Dwarven Forge, etc... I stuck to 1 inch for that reason.

My suggestion: Go big. My foam terrain is there to give me the foundation for large rooms, and to allow me to build second floors that I can move as one large piece.

Wyloch mentioned that it helps with dungeon maps that have corridors stacked next to each other. The slightly larger dimension should help visually at the table too.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I have his mod podge formula* and a simple black paint & water blackwash stored in small jars. Any idea how long it will last?

*edit: I have his basic mod podge formula

No idea. I go through the stuff pretty fast - but I had some stored in the very jar mod podge comes in and it lasted two months between uses. My guess is if sealed well know it will last indefinitely.

There is an advanced formula? I just mix about 1/3 paint to 2/3 mod podge (maybe closer to 2/5s to 3/5s - I just eyeball it).

I also have a 50/50 PVA and water mixture I use for paper mache.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
No idea. I go through the stuff pretty fast - but I had some stored in the very jar mod podge comes in and it lasted two months between uses. My guess is if sealed well know it will last indefinitely.

There is an advanced formula? I just mix about 1/3 paint to 2/3 mod podge (maybe closer to 2/5s to 3/5s - I just eyeball it).

I also have a 50/50 PVA and water mixture I use for paper mache.
derp.
There's a basic/advanced blackwash formula, not mod podge
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I'll be honest I am really bad at making black washes no matter how I try. I buy them for painting minis and use my homemade wash sparingly on terrain because it just leaves everything looking dirty. If I really need to black wash a small part of a larger piece I use the store bought stuff but cringe as I do it.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
As for tools, a good metal t-square and cheap hot wire cutter (wear a mask, do it in a well ventilated place) will take you far. Also I Mod Podge everything to seal it and give it strength, but some regular PVA glue (Elmer's Glue-All, not the school glue) is a must as well.
I'm picking up a T square today plus a couple other things. I discovered that there's a Michael's craft supply near my house. I've been in there 4 times in the past week and the clerks are starting to recognize me, lol.

I'm not picking up a hot wire cutter just yet. I'm going to wait a couple of months before committing to owning one of those. If my enthusiasm hasn't waned, then I'll pick one up with a decent fence. I just got an OLFA knife delivered that I plan to use for now.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I'm picking up a T square today plus a couple other things. I discovered that there's a Michael's craft supply near my house. I've been in there 4 times in the past week and the clerks are starting to recognize me, lol.

I'm not picking up a hot wire cutter just yet. I'm going to wait a couple of months before committing to owning one of those. If my enthusiasm hasn't waned, then I'll pick one up with a decent fence. I just got an OLFA knife delivered that I plan to use for now.

I am in an out of Michael's so much it is embarrassing (but I also have frequent buyer card).

I didn't get my wire cutter until a few months ago - so yeah, I waited too. I also make use of the styrofoam inserts on big packages (like my Kitchen Aid mixer) and Xmas having just past I have a lot of odds and ends to add to the scrap pile.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
I am in an out of Michael's so much it is embarrassing (but I also have frequent buyer card).

I didn't get my wire cutter until a few months ago - so yeah, I waited too. I also make use of the styrofoam inserts on big packages (like my Kitchen Aid mixer) and Xmas having just past I have a lot of odds and ends to add to the scrap pile.
Yep, got my box of "random crap" started
 

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