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"15mm SciFi Buildings (electrical boxes)" Topic

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JRacel26 Dec 2009 1:18 p.m. PST

As part of my recent terrain building fro 15mm SciFi, I needed some buildings. I sometimes help out a friend that is an electrician, so one day while at Home Depot (or Lowes???) with him I noticed how much some of the electrical boxes reminded me of futuristic buildings. I was looking because this has been discussed a few times here on TMP, and I had nothing more exciting to do while my friend shopped for things he needed for a side job. In the end, I cam away with a few blue plastic boxes to play with.

The boxes looked the part of buildings with the breakout sections being perfect to paint as skylight windows. The only problem was the "wings" on each side of the boxes that allows them to be nailed to the wall supports. I took a hacksaw and removed the "wings" and used files to smooth out the places it left on the boxes. I could not completely hide the damage, but most people fail to really notice it if they are not looking for it.

After prepping the boxes, I then added some details using plastistruct, platformer parts and the very AWESOME building fittings made by GZG (Ground Zero Games). The details, especially the doors bring the buildings to life and help you forget what they really were supposed to be. I added platforms to the two larger boxes so that they were more useable and offered higher elevation to shoot from. Hatches were added to all the building roofs to allow access for troops.

All the buildings were spray painted in solid colors and then detailed by hand to bring out parts like doors or windows. I then did a heavy wash over the buildings to help add some depth and finished them with a few old Tau decals and some Dullcoat (matte sealer) to remove the shine. I am very happy with the final results and think this makes an excellent way to make some relatively cheap SciFi buildings that have a lot of character.

Link: link

Minis in the pictures are 15mm Rebem Miniatures ( ) Tiatan Marines and Scourge with a few Old Crow Models APCs. The mat is from the Terrain Guy ( ).

Hope you like them,


Redroom26 Dec 2009 1:59 p.m. PST

They worked out really well, nice work. The Tau decals added a nice touch.

JRacel26 Dec 2009 1:59 p.m. PST

If you guys have an issue with Firefox (mine seems to not like the Sky Drive links all of a sudden) the link seems to work fine in IE and Chrome.



Personal logo cloudcaptain Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2009 2:01 p.m. PST

I have seen them in person…and Jeff is a stickler for detail. I couldn't see the spots where the wings were removed…and the balconies add a lot to them I think.

OldGrenadier Fezian26 Dec 2009 3:14 p.m. PST

Wal Mart carries that sort of thing for $1.27. I've got two of them waiting for me to have some time to fiddle with them.

Mil Dot26 Dec 2009 3:36 p.m. PST

Really good idea thanks

Personal logo Rebel Minis Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Dec 2009 4:18 p.m. PST

I like the platforms Jeff, where did you get those?

JRacel26 Dec 2009 5:01 p.m. PST

I like the platforms Jeff, where did you get those?


The larger boxes have a little shelf area around the sides along with a flat box shaped section on both sides. Since the flat box area offered a place to add a door on the second storey to contrast the windows, I started looking for a way to add a raised platform area. The base is simple since it is nothing more than a piece of plastic card with a tile pattern in it. Then I needed some support and guardrails or low walls, so I took a look through my parts supplies and found a much neglected Pegasus Hobbies Platformer construction set (Image: picture ). I took out a few 90 degree angle pieces for the under support and some of the railings to add sides to my platform. I had to trim or sand the pieces to make them sit correctly, but overall it worked pretty well.

In short the balconies are made from the following:
1. Simple piece of plastic sheet with a tile pattern.
2. A couple of right angle pieces from the Platformer set
3. Some railing pieces from the Platformer set

Very easy to add to one of the boxes. Mike, when are you doing building fittings???


Cacique Caribe26 Dec 2009 6:13 p.m. PST

Wow, wow, wow!!!

I have got to take out the electrical boxes I have in storage and finally give it a shot.

Jeff, you are awesome.

Thanks for posting.


wolvermonkey26 Dec 2009 8:00 p.m. PST

Those look great. Thanks for sharing. The GZG parts really look good on them. Going to have to pick some up next time order from them.

bandit86 Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2009 9:29 p.m. PST

Those are great and your idea has been stolen now by me :) even the picture of the interior of the box gives off some ideas. Thanks for the posting.

Riverbluff Wargames26 Dec 2009 9:37 p.m. PST

Nice work!

Those boxes work for larger scales as well. Here are some I did a year or so ago.

JRacel26 Dec 2009 10:05 p.m. PST

@Riverbluff Wargames,

I had not seen these before, but those look great. What really interests me in the different box design. The ones you have look like they lack the "wings" I had to cut off which would make this an easier project. They are also different enough in their shape to be a different type of building from the ones I have done. Thank you very much for the post, it looks like I need to look at some more boxes! You are also right about the scale. The boxes I used would easily work with 20mm or 28mm figures as long as the doors are the correct size. Overall, they are a very versatile means of making Sci-Fi terrain.

@ Everyone else,

Thanks for the nice words. I was hoping this might work o inspire some of you to build some new terrain. This is a cheap and easy way to get some new buildings to use with all the minis you got over the holidays.



Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian27 Dec 2009 6:05 a.m. PST

Looks familiar… here's one with 28mm RAFM figs


JRacel27 Dec 2009 7:37 a.m. PST

Thanks Dentatus. I had not seen those previously. Very interesting that we both decided to use Platformer parts for the balcony area. This also shows a slightly different type of box, so I need to do some more shopping for additional variety.


Eli Arndt27 Dec 2009 9:25 a.m. PST

I have been following the careers of electrical junction boxes as gaming terrain, but most back in my 28mm days. Seeing them in use as 15mm terrain really seems to make them pop.

I love the use of the the balconies and railings. A few skybridges and some stairs and you could get a lot of depth out of the those pieces.


m4jumbo27 Dec 2009 9:59 p.m. PST

Very nice work Jeff.

Electrical boxes are handy and they can definately cover a lot of ground scale wise. . I used some to make some pipeline junction buildings that we use for both 40K and Epic.








Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Dec 2009 3:39 a.m. PST

Very nice stuff, all around. Thanks for posting the photos. You've definitely inspired me to try some new stuff the next time I game SF.

JRacel28 Dec 2009 3:59 a.m. PST

Very nice work m4jumbo! It's pretty amazing all the scales these work with and all the various shapes they can be found in.


MiniatureReview28 Dec 2009 11:48 a.m. PST

Very cool

Cacique Caribe10 Sep 2011 1:32 p.m. PST

Just curious . . .

Has anyone ever cut those plastic boxes down to about 20mm in height, and then added a removable roof to them?

If so, what is the easiest way to make such a straight cut?


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JRacel10 Sep 2011 2:31 p.m. PST


I have tried cutting them for something like a door and they are a real pain. The plastic is hard to cut straight and you also need to sand or file it down afterward. I decided that cutting them was just not worth it.


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