Monday, May 13, 2013

Cheap, Quick, and Dirty Sci-Fi City Terrain

Recently we've started playing Infinity, a game exploding in popularity on the 'nets and seemingly all over the gaming world. With this new game comes new terrain requirements. There are so many shooting opportunities with long range that we need more line of sight blocking terrain than even 6th Edition 40k. (Although I always complain that we don't use enough LOS blocking terrain in 40k).

I decided to try to make some really cheap and quick buildings for Infinity / 40k. Right now they probably work better for Infinity since they provide elevation and LOS blocking, but they do look great for 40k since they're grimdark.

Making these buildings is beyond easy. I went to WalMart (but you can find this stuff at most big box department stores).

  • Crate (1.50)
  • Black Poster Paper (.97)
  • Elmer's Glue (varies... cheap)
  • Pegasus Hobbies Kit for bits to add to buildings - $15.79
  • Krylon Gray Spray - $3.50ish

The first step is to spray the building to be whatever color you want it to be. I chose gray as the first one because the crates were a dark blue color (with shine) and they wouldn't look great on the tabletop. Gray works well for both Infinity and 40k since it is grim dark enough.

Inspiration photos I used:

So once I had the crates sprayed gray I took a photo:

I wanted to take off the 'beams' holding up the top to make it look better but it would take a while to do that, so I just left them on as I-beams. There are little tubes coming out of the sides in some places so I decided these would be for pipes. I cut off the smaller tubes because I didn't want to have to add bits to every single one (4 pipes to a side, 16 per building, 4 buildings in this set).

The crates are easily stackable, so you could definitely set them up to make taller buildings. Just be careful if you do this because the black poster paper we're going to insert in there might fall off if it is cut too long.

Next I cut the paper into four pieces - two short and two long, one for each side. They don't have to be super exact because nobody is going to see the edges. I then put Elmer's Glue inside to hold down the 'windows'.

This is what the buildings look like with the windows in place. Not bad! I added some damage with a sponge and black and silver paint to the buildings. You could highlight, weather, paint panes different colors if you wanted to to make them look more elaborate. I just wanted to get these done.

Next I added the bits from the Pegasus kit. These will add detail to make the buildings stand out a little and look good. I painted them bright gold to give the buildings some color, then glued them into the pipes and in various locations on the buildings.

All finished! I did these four buildings in a night. They look pretty good from afar. I may add some doors to the ground levels to make them look a little better and ready for action. For the next set I believe I'll make them more for Infinity... so they'll be more colorful. Inspiration photos:


  1. I use those for terrain too - you can cut them up and make runes for 40k out of them pretty well...

    If you want to get fancy you can skin them with cork shelf liner gives it a stone outer appearance..

  2. Hey what are those pictures from? Specifically the last and third to last ones.


    1. The third and second to last are from Akira, judging from the filenames. I guess the last one is as well?

  3. I'll pick these up and put chrome faced paper in for windows! Very cool!

  4. Both Michael's and Hobby Lobby have shelves full of 12"x12" paper backed foil. Most with some kind of texture or pattern. They would make perfect windows!

    1. Coolies. I try not to shop at HL anymore

      The nice thing about the black poster paper is it was super cheap.