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"Bases for cardstock/foam core buildings?" Topic

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DiceDuke16 Apr 2021 7:03 a.m. PST

I'm preparing to build some urban buildings out of foam core for a couple different games I'm interested in playing, and just wondering what other people base their's on? Trying to avoid anything that's prone to warping, but is still easy to work with. Any advice is appreciated!

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART16 Apr 2021 7:24 a.m. PST

I just create a terrain base and place the structure on top. If urban, a piece of foam core cut into the shape of a picture frame can be used as a side walk. Drop the building into the center of the frame and you have a building with a sidewalk around it. Because the frame/walkway fits the building, no glue is required. Storage is far more convenient than a permanent base.

If you are placing the buildings on an urban mat or tiles the placement problems are eased due to the side walks are dedicated to the building, not the building to the mat. The main idea is to keep terrain features as modular and interchangeable as possible.

The ideas came after wasting a month on painstakingly building modular terrain tiles. For the most part I was pleased until I saw how poorly they fit together-or didn't. All it took was a claw hammer and a few years of therapy to fix the terrain problem. Just kidding, it was really the tin foil hat that did it. Blocked those pesky thought waves cold and where were we?

Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2021 8:13 a.m. PST

Use 1/8" masonite hardboard. Cheap, easy to cut with scroll saw or circular saw. Very sturdy for foamcore/cardstock buildings.


Depending on the structure you may not even need bases. There are no bases on these building's and they are plenty sturdy:




Schogun16 Apr 2021 8:41 a.m. PST

For really thin bases for figs and buildings, I use 12" self-adhesive linoleum tiles. Leave the backing on. Cut to whatever size or shape you want.

It's doesn't warp, doesn't absorb paint or fluids, heavy enough to provide heft, and can be cut with an exacto knife or scissors.

Striker16 Apr 2021 8:54 a.m. PST

I use mdf that I buy in 4x8 sheets and cut as needed.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2021 9:01 a.m. PST

I print my cardstock buildings on full sheet label paper (8.5" x 11"). I cut them out, peel and stick them to 3mm thick cardboard. I reinforce the joints, and the long sides, with square wooden dowels, purchased at the local craft stores. I do not base them…

In my experience, they do not need bases. The 3mm thick cardboard makes them strong, gives them plenty of heft, and the wooden dowel reinforcements make them durable; it also helps avoid warping, over time. I have Castle Wall sections, Square Towers, and Gatehouses, which are 5+ years old, they have seen use on the gaming table, and they look as good, today, as they did when I finished building them.

Inside view of a reinforced Castle Tower. Walls are printed paper, glue stick'ed to 3mm cardboard. Wooden square dowels are Wood Glue'd to the insides (before I discovered full sheet label paper!).

Finished Tower. No basing required due to rigidity of 3mm, reinforced cardboard.

Same concept applied to a Castle Wall Section. Warpage indicates the need to reinforce the long wall segments is required. Finished Wall Section. No base necessary due to reinforcements.

Cardstock Towers and Wall Sections, in use, on my indoor/outdoor carpet, used for grass terrain. Note that the Siege Towers are 3mm thick cardboard, clad with full sheet label paper printouts. They were mounted on a base, to avoid damaging the models' six plastic wheels, which are glued onto each Tower. Excessive movement across the table could potentially break them off, so a base was employed. The Siege Tower's cardboard edges were painted with gray paint (this one), while the other one (in the previous photo), was black edged with a Sharpie Marker. This helps them blend in, visually; both options work, it is just a preference as to which you like better. Black edging works better on thinner edges; appropriate coloring (gray, brown, etc.) works better on thicker edges. The internal ladders were made by cladding 3mm cardboard, front and back, which was then PVA Glue'd into place.

These are just a few examples of what can be done to enhance the rigidity, durability, heft, and appearance, of cardstock models. There are plenty of other options. Cheers!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2021 9:13 a.m. PST

The alternative to a base you have to terrain is a piece of foamcore internal to the building to help it maintain shape. That's what I generally do.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2021 9:19 a.m. PST

If you go the foamcore route, and you find that they are too light, and they are easily blown over, I would suggest gluing in some small rocks, or pebbles, near the bottom inside of each wall. This should help prevent them from being blown around.

All sorts of options available. Cheers!

DiceDuke16 Apr 2021 10:08 p.m. PST

Thanks for all the advice. I started down the card stock terrain route just looking for a cheap way to fill out a table. Now that I've seen how good it can look I'm excited to get started. Thanks for the pics too, very inspiring!

BillyNM16 Apr 2021 10:27 p.m. PST

I give some of my buildings an internal floor of balsa wood about 6mm thick. This is cut to size and shape (just a fraction – card width – smaller than the building footprint) and glued into a recess cut in the inner face of the walls. The recess removes one layer of card and the internal foam but leaves the outer facing card. This provides a good joint and makes the buildings pretty strong.

CeruLucifus17 Apr 2021 2:17 p.m. PST

Same as KimRYoung except my local big box store stocks 1/8" hardboard not masonite or MDF.

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