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"Death Star Trench Ideas - Materials to Use?" Topic

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1,512 hits since 22 Dec 2012
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Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP22 Dec 2012 11:58 p.m. PST

I'm interested in trying to make some inexpensive, Death Star Terrain.

Will probably go with the paper surface, and same for the trench coverings, but trying to come up with a nice, durable, one-piece U-Shaped Trench backing material for it.

I've seen some plastic, rectangular conduit/air-vent ducting, listed in the UK, but I need something from the USA.

Looking for either that, or a reasonable substitute from thin sheet-metal ducting, in the following sizes:

1. 6" wide by about 4" deep for the FFG minis; and

2. 12" wide by about 8" deep for the Titanium minis.

I'd like to make a 12' long trench, in both sizes, with 3' 6' wide playing surfaces on either side of that.

The plastic ducting looks ideal, since I could probably just cut one side of the rectangle off, in order to make a nice trench.

Sheet-metal ducting might be easier to find, and would be bendable, if a little larger, to make "wings", in order to be able to suspend the trench from them, and between the tabletops. I've thought of gutter material too, but didn't find any plain, square, or rectangular shapes (one side always seems to have some bends in it, for added strength, under load).

Did I mention I need an inexpensive solution?

Cardboard, or posterboard might work too, but I doubt it'd be durable enough for transport.

Any ideas on where to find inexpensive plastic air ducting in the USA, that might work?

Alternatively, any good sources for metal air ducting in those sizes (plus perhaps 3" 6", or so, on either side for the suspension wings)?

Other ideas I haven't thought of, that are reasonably inexpensive?

KatieL23 Dec 2012 2:09 a.m. PST

In your local hobby shop, they'll sell you small A4 sheets of 'plasticard' for a fortune -- it's not unusual in the uk for it to be a fiver for that sort of size in a decent thickness.

There's a norty secret. This stuff has a huge markup. Find a local supplier of sheet "high impact polystyrene"… it's the same material. Only industrial bulk prices.

My local plastics workshop sold me sheets so big I had to fold the seats down in my car to fit it in for a tenner each..

It's all the same stuff that model kits are made of, so all the same techniques and glues work.

3mm sheets, doubled up, assemble into tough structures provided you use the solvent glues (they weld the plastic together). You can create stepped butt joints with the two layers; and if you can fit some small triangular gussets at the corners you should get a nice solid box which will withstand transporting.

From there, you can glue on your paper printouts, greeblies, kitparts, sprue sections, resin castings and whatever else turns it into death starryness.

If you're not kitbashing then another option is that raw HIPS stock often comes in a fairly consistent mid-grey shade which would save on having to paint it…

John the Confused23 Dec 2012 3:06 a.m. PST

I would suggest plywood. Easy to work, easy to get hold of and relatively in expensive.

vojvoda Inactive Member23 Dec 2012 4:28 a.m. PST


The best I saw was mounted between two lenghts of tables set a foot or so apart. The guys made sections of plywood U shape trench that hung between the tables and the lip set on the edges and the tables and pushed flush tight. Something like this:


They use thin plywood in about 4 or 6 foot sections. I have pics somewhere will check to see if I can find them They were on the HMGS Cold Wars site from about two years ago.

James Mattes

45thdiv Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2012 4:55 a.m. PST

The real sets were built from plywood. Detailed with bits from model tank kits. We found them easy to move around when we built similar sets.

Since your scale is smaller, you could use lighter plywood. To get the effect of the various raised shapes, go to a "Michael's" type store and look in the section where they keep wooden boxes people decorate. They have all kinds of various thicknesses of wood in squares, rectangles, circles, and such. Wood glue these to your plywood base before painting. It will help add to the look of the set up. Also the game pieces will fit on the blocks and such without falling over. You do not need to go very high with the blocks to give the effect you want to achieve.

I also agree with those above about using two tables and having the trench between them. If you can not do this, then just make a support out of 2x6. All of this can be designed to come apart for storage and transport.


Royal Air Force23 Dec 2012 5:39 a.m. PST

Would this be of use? link

I use it for our Cub Scout's Raingutter Regatta

RudyNelson23 Dec 2012 1:18 p.m. PST

A group runs several Death Star attack games at the HMGS-South shows in Orlando (Recon and Hurrison).
You might check their website and see if there is any information on how they do the project.
It is placed on a huge boardand displayed verticle.

dglennjr23 Dec 2012 9:42 p.m. PST

I ran a game similar to the one vojvoda mentioned.



David G.

45thdiv Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2012 3:40 a.m. PST


Is it a pain to try to move the fighters in the trench when you have fighters above them on top of the clear plastic?

I can imagine a logistic issue with remembering where everything was.


vojvoda Inactive Member24 Dec 2012 5:31 a.m. PST

I forgot about your game, just what I was thinking. I am thinking along the same lines for the trench and clear plastic stips work well from the games I have seen that used them.

James Mattes

Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2012 10:27 p.m. PST

Thanks for the tips.

Shall need to investigate further.

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