Help support TMP

"I LOVE This For Tunnels And/Or Mines" Topic

67 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Terrain and Scenics Message Board

Back to the SF Discussion Message Board

Back to the Victorian SF Message Board

Back to the Pulp Gaming Message Board

Back to The Old West Message Board

Back to the Pirates Message Board

Back to the Horror Message Board

Back to the Fantasy Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

18th Century
19th Century
World War One
World War Two on the Land
Science Fiction

8,949 hits since 27 Dec 2009
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Pages: 1 2 

Cacique Caribe27 Dec 2009 10:03 p.m. PST

Check this out:


I would love to make such a modular set up some day. Seems so simple and versatile.

What do you guys think of it?

And, has anyone else tried anything similar, with concrete corridors or something else?



Acharnement27 Dec 2009 10:40 p.m. PST

And here I was looking forward to a relaxing holiday with my family. Now, because of Dan's post, I have to tear into the blue foam, feverishly cutting, hacking, gluing, and painting until I have my own set of modular tunnels! Blast!
Thanks anyway!
Very cool stuff all round.

Cacique Caribe27 Dec 2009 10:51 p.m. PST


LOL. I'm already trying to figure out how to ask my father-in-law to cut me a ton of mdf squares, without having to really explain what for.

If I tell him this is what I want to do with them, he'll have me committed:



CeruLucifus27 Dec 2009 10:53 p.m. PST

I really like that layout, thanks for the post. 8x8" tiles are a pretty good size, come to think of it, big enough to build a layout fast, small enough to store without too much hassle.

There's a guy on Terragenesis who did a modular SF corridor layout using larger boards with longer walls out of 1" wide by 2" high polystyrene. (Obviously the wall finish can be fantasy just as easily.) I think he glued his walls down but the walls are clearly large and stable enough to be loose.

In fact, I couldn't find his post (maybe later) but there's someone else who did the same thing with free-standing fantasy dungeon walls for laying on a gridded board, definitely worth a look. link

I've been pondering for some time how to get my Dwarven Forge tile collection into practical use. It takes too long to set up a layout as the party gets to a room and gaming logistics don't really allow for doing a large layout ahead of time. I think the answer is to make larger tiles that dock up against them so we can lay out big rooms or long corridors quickly. Or maybe it's to make big gridded floors that butt up and large wall sections to go on top. Or a combination.

Personal logo Gungnir Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2009 10:58 p.m. PST

One of my forever-running projects is my modular dungeon system:


shelldrake28 Dec 2009 12:18 a.m. PST

The closest I have ever come to making something like this was for an Aliens game.. based on what I did for that, it wouldnt be too hard to make something like what you have posted links to.

Personal logo cloudcaptain Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2009 4:00 a.m. PST

A friend of mine did Dwarven mines that way. If you take a little gold glitter and paint you can make veins of ore and such.

timlillig28 Dec 2009 4:27 a.m. PST

I would be inclined to just make the walls, but it does set up faster as tiles.

tima113 Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2009 5:22 a.m. PST

Here's the link for the sci-fi modules donrice mentioned.


Same person also has a terragenesis post about his similar dungeon wall terrain with free standing walls.

Andy ONeill28 Dec 2009 5:23 a.m. PST

The problem with walls like that is that you can't see the figures whan sat down. People have to stand up and lean over the table to move their figures and it's awkward.
You need much lower than the figures.
Or a coffee table maybe.

rigmarole28 Dec 2009 6:20 a.m. PST

"The problem with walls like that is that you can't see the figures whan sat down. People have to stand up and lean over the table to move their figures and it's awkward.
You need much lower than the figures.
Or a coffee table maybe."

I prefer using bartstools to ordinary chairs for seating around my wargaming table. That would be a good and easy solution to the visibility issue as well.

BCantwell28 Dec 2009 6:24 a.m. PST

One of those projects that has bubbled around in the back of my mind was to make some modular tunnels like this and fight the mine/countermine operations that took place underneath the trenches in WWI.

Thomas Whitten28 Dec 2009 6:51 a.m. PST

I once started recreating the Warhammer Quest tiles in 3d with Hirst arts blocks. I didn't get nearly as far as that.

Allen5728 Dec 2009 7:13 a.m. PST

Since I am rather lazy I wonder how the white beaded styrofoam (CCs second link) would look painted up. When you break it you expose the beaded texture of the material. Painted grey it would give more of a pebble like look than rock like which might be OK. Sculpting the blue/pink type of insulation board gives a better rock like look but I dont have the ambition or talent for that. The other problem with the white stuff is that it keeps shedding beads. I dont know if paint would seal it enough to keep that from happening. I dont need the litter to clean up (kids and pet concerns).

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Dec 2009 7:46 a.m. PST

It will still shed even if painted…

Caesar28 Dec 2009 8:05 a.m. PST

One day I will do sewers like this.

RockyRusso28 Dec 2009 11:58 a.m. PST


I have a bunch of cast resin walls and such from various manufacturers, some are from model rail sources, some are diorama pieces. For the floor, though, i use printed card stock.


CeruLucifus28 Dec 2009 12:24 p.m. PST

tima113, thanks for posting the one I couldn't find. By the same guy as the other link I posted, as it turns out.

Paintbeast28 Dec 2009 12:34 p.m. PST

@CC: You might try these and save your Father-in-Law the trouble…


I have used the 6"x6" boards several times for similar projects. Just $0.47 USD each with the bulk discount (12 or more).
My last project required 64 tiles, for $30.08…which seems like a lot for simple tiles but once you subtract the cost of the material to do it your self, the wear on your blades, time and risk (I like my thumbs were they are) it works out.

They also have 12"x12" boards of a very high quality…


…though I try to use flooring tiles for this size tile when I can as they are a fraction of the cost.

Cacique Caribe28 Dec 2009 2:07 p.m. PST


You are the greatest!

Wow. I have got to order those.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.


LostPict Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2009 2:18 p.m. PST

I've been interested in doing a project with thin 8"x8"MDF panels – anyone know a cheap source for these (US)? I saw the Blick site has 3/8" thick stuff, but really want something cheaper and around 1/8" thick.


Lost Pict

Dentatus Fezian28 Dec 2009 2:49 p.m. PST

I'm the guy with the Dungeon Walls and the Sci Fi tiles. Glad you like 'em. Good thing about MDF is that you can score it with a utility knife and snap it to whatever size you want. Sand any rough edges after.

Another idea would be to pick up a box of 12" square vinyl 'faux-stone' stick-on tiles from Home Depot. You could even mount them on cardboard or foam core for rigidity. Then add your styro-walls in whatever configuration.

Good luck.

Dentatus Fezian28 Dec 2009 2:52 p.m. PST

And by all means use blue or pink foam – not white. Easier all around and in the long term.

Cacique Caribe28 Dec 2009 3:50 p.m. PST

You are exactly right. Blue and pink foam is exactly what I had in mind.

Can't wait to get those 6" x 6" tiles.


Rattlehead28 Dec 2009 4:11 p.m. PST

@Allen57 – The trick to using the white bead foam – works with other materials too – is to use spackle to form the surface. The foam is the bulk of the piece, but the spackle is the skin and it's where your detail is, if you need detail.

I've used spackle over MDF, thick cardboard, blue styro, white beaded foam, etc. It's very versatile and quite durable after you've properly treated it.

If it needs any sculpting, you can do it lots of ways. When it's wet, it's very gloopy, so you can't do fine detail, but can get larger shapes. If you work with it after it's dried a bit, you can do more fine work and when it's completely dried it's very brittle and almost like chalk. In that state it's good for cutting in masonry lines and such to make it look like brick or stone, or fine panel lines to make it look like concrete.

To get a smooth surface, once it's mostly dry you can take a moistened finger and rub it down, smoothing it all over. The surface will take up a bit of the water and you can almost polish it up to a slick finish. Alternately, you can lightly sand it, of course. Wear a mask if you do, as you don't really need to breathe spackle dust and you'll likely be working close in to the piece.

You could also go the other route and use a rough sponge to texture it like rock, although I've not personally tried that one.

Once you've finished the piece, but before you paint it, you have to seal and protect it. Untreated spackle is very brittle, especially in a thin layer and on a soft substructure like foam.

To treat it, you mix PVA glue and water (usual 50/50 mix) and paint it on. The dry spackle will DRINK this stuff up. Paint on a good coating and when it dries the spackle will be tough and much stronger. Depending on how much you apply, it might almost have a rubbery feel to the surface and, depending on the substructure, tapping it might sound like tapping on porcelain.

Then you just need to prime and paint the piece and you're set!

I've used this stuff for some of my favorite pieces, including an arched stone bridge I'm quite proud of, though I've never finished the base of it, and some simple gun emplacements for sci-fi gaming as well.

Cacique Caribe09 Jan 2010 2:31 p.m. PST

I just bought some spackle. Let's see what I can do with it.

My main concern is crack lines as the spackle dries (if it shrinks).


28mmMan09 Jan 2010 3:24 p.m. PST

To avoid crack lines use layers rather than bulk.

For example if you are making a big rock with a rubble base;

use foam for the 90-95% of the rock fitted onto a CD or the like

thin layers of spackle will cure fast…so the best way to avoid issues of too many layers too quick is to work on 3-5 "items" at once…layer #1, then layer #2, etc. when you get back to #1 it is dry

have a hot lamp near by if possible, the cracks come from one section drying before the center does and then the center/thick section contracts after the edges/top skin are dry…heat/hot lamp will draw the moisture out quickly and will retain a bit of warmth to finish the process

work on a large sheet of paper, retain your spackle dust for later…it makes a great thickener for cover paint, dirt for water effects, and makings for mud on vehicles/people

Good luck

HarryHotspurEsq11 Jan 2010 5:37 p.m. PST

just out of interest, what does this have to do with pirates…?

Cacique Caribe11 Jan 2010 6:17 p.m. PST


Well … I think that the person who made the tunnels used it for his pirates.

Also, some pirates may get carried away in digging their treasure pit and end up making their own Oak Island labyrinth. :)


HarryHotspurEsq12 Jan 2010 1:25 p.m. PST

fair enough…. that works for me = )

Cacique Caribe12 Jan 2010 2:59 p.m. PST

Or you could start off with this pirate mine shaft entrance and go on to something deeper:



oldben115 Jan 2010 11:37 a.m. PST

I did something similar about 2 years ago based on the 'Crisis at the Fringe' web-site. I used modular pieces for D&D skirmishes. I used a little spackle for highlights.


Cacique Caribe15 Jan 2010 1:36 p.m. PST


That looks cool!



TeknoMerk19 Jan 2010 7:50 a.m. PST

Catching up on this thread…

Great source for MDF. I've always had to cut MSF down from 4'x4' sheets. This will save lots of work.

The spackle techniques are much appreciated. Now I can improve mine.

Thank you all for the collective modeling techniques. These will help my project quality and speed.

Cacique Caribe19 Jan 2010 8:24 a.m. PST

I love the shipping rates too.

I think that 80 tiles of 6" x 6" hardboard ($37.60) would be pretty heavy. However, if you don't have a big rush, for $6.95 USD they'll ship a bunch of it via ground.

We all owe Painbeast a debt of gratitude for that excellent lead.


Cacique Caribe19 Jan 2010 8:46 a.m. PST

And they seem to take PAYPAL too!!!

PS. I guess that, if someone needed 3" x 3" hardboard squares, this other source might work for them too:

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART19 Jan 2010 10:19 a.m. PST

I realize I'm late to the party here but… I agree with rattlehead about the use of spackle. Put in on thinly and no cracks to speak of. Cheap acrylic paint also acts like a plastic seal over the spackle to further protect it. I made some 1x1ft tiles for a pulp/modern townscape that is in pretty good shape still. Oh and they are styrofoam too boot.
Tell us how the hardboard works out. I've been thinking of trying it myself.

FatherOfAllLogic23 Jan 2010 3:17 p.m. PST

Back in the day we were cheap. We took scraps of 3/4" particle board about 6" long by 3" high and drew 'stonework' with a fine marker. Or drew doors. We had more time than money then. Now we have neither!

Broadsword29 Jan 2010 7:37 a.m. PST

I've used the 6" x 6" boards from Dick Blick as bases for other types of terrain.


Great service, too!


Dijit8029 Jan 2010 12:08 p.m. PST

This is what I've done for my modular tunnel network:

Cacique Caribe29 Jan 2010 3:39 p.m. PST




Dijit8030 Jan 2010 3:57 a.m. PST

Yes cork flooring tiles (ala Matakishi) on expanded polystrene base boards. The detailing is far from finished yet as I've only just started that. The basic idea I stole from the old Space Crusade board game, and then expanded the concept.

Cacique Caribe10 Mar 2010 7:14 p.m. PST

Ok. Got a question . . .

Which one warps less?

"Masonite Fiber Boards" (2 sources):


"Hardboard Panels":

Or is there no difference between those two materials?



28mmMan10 Mar 2010 7:33 p.m. PST

Dan the main difference is in the compression process, fiber length/type, and flex.

Masonite uses long fibers that allow the final product to flex. It uses all natural products and is considered green. It has a reputation for absorbing water/moisture and thus expanding and rotting.

Fiber board comes in several grades. These grades are primarily designated by fiber type (sugar cane for example), and fiber width; note, width not length. Fiber board used to be compressed with pressure and phenol-formaldehyde but recent days it is usually hot pressed with a slow cure resin. It tends to spread energy rather than bend. Chip board is a common term. Your kitchen counters may be made of this material in a thick form with a veneer which is quite common.

As to your warping question…it depends on the application and how good you seal it. With a penetrating seal (normal PU gently heated…or applied in direct sun) I would think Masonite would warp less.

Cacique Caribe10 Mar 2010 7:39 p.m. PST


Hmm. The first 2 distributors say that their tiles are "Masonite Fiber Boards". And the next one calls their product "Hardboard Panels".

So, I guess the question is really "Masonite Fiber Board" VS "Hardboard".


oldben111 Mar 2010 8:19 p.m. PST

I made some very basic tunnels for the underdark here:


Someone with greater skill could add a lot more detail. I've also used mdf with dry wall compound spackled on top for my Hoth modular walls. It gave the walls a lot of stability. If you cut the top of the walls all jaggidy and applied layers of compound it would probably look pretty cool.

Cacique Caribe13 Mar 2010 10:55 a.m. PST

Ok. I took the plunge.

I've just ordered from DickBlick the following:

12 or their 9" x 12" tiles
48 of their 6" x 6" tiles

All for around $40, including the shipping.

Can't wait to get them and get started on them.

Thanks everyone.


Cacique Caribe14 Mar 2010 1:06 a.m. PST

Does anyone know of a list of how many of what tile configurations work best to get the most out of the space on a table?




kahunna29 Mar 2010 8:28 p.m. PST

My daughter is going to make me some modules like Cacique Caribe listed at the start of this post. The problem is what to use for glue. Superglue and hot glue melts the styrofoam while wood glue just doesn't hold. I really need to know what glue to use (my daughter is building me a set for my birthday/Father's Day and she wants it completed soon).

Cacique Caribe29 Mar 2010 8:36 p.m. PST


I plan to use liquid nails:

TMP link


Pages: 1 2