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"Sci-Fi Urban Ideas" Topic

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Goldwyrm05 Jan 2007 7:45 a.m. PST

A bit tired of gaming in blackened ruins with multi-story gothic facades? I am. I was looking around for inspiration and found some of these examples:


A nice art piece of a future city.

A competition website. (For kids' project pics go to to site map> Step 1 : How to Get Started> Model Examples)


Different links to past visions of the future. A lot of good ideas here.

I've got two big terrain projects planned for this year. After I get a dried up alien ocean floor completed by summer, I'm moving on to make some manner of utopian city instead of gothic ruins..Who's with me?

Germy Bugger Fezian05 Jan 2007 7:50 a.m. PST

What scale we talking, I've had 'non-ruined' paper model tower blocks up for ages. And nothing gothic in sight :)


PeteMurray05 Jan 2007 8:14 a.m. PST

Nice links, Goldwyrm! Thanks for sharing.

Ran The Cid05 Jan 2007 8:26 a.m. PST

Gale Force 9 has a number of non-gothic tables in their gallery: link Techno Tokyo, Stark Industries and Hathos stand out.

When building non-ruined tables, one of the issues is having enough playing space. A down town metropolis filled with sky scrapers may make for a nice set piece, but it does not leave much space to play on. How do you entend on balancing this space issue? Will most of the table be park/road/parking lot? Do you intend on buildings to have internal floors for model access?

(I play/build for 40K, so my expectations are for a 6x4 table with space for 200+ figures & vehicles.)

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian05 Jan 2007 8:51 a.m. PST

I think the point that one of the sites makes is important, cities have a past. Even if you are setting this on another planet, the city developed over time. Part of the layout should reflect this.

Another consideration is that the main reason for the Steel and Glass box style is that it is relatively cheap/fast to build.

nvdoyle05 Jan 2007 8:56 a.m. PST

The roadblack that I run into with non-ruined urban areas of any complexity is that I have a hard time saying 'No, you can't go into those buildings'. And since it's a skirmish game, the interiors are important. And the modelling project becomes vastly more complex at that point. Ruins are easy to do both inside and outside.

Old Digger05 Jan 2007 9:05 a.m. PST

Germy asks a good question. What scale? I've been slowly accumulating some things for just such a project for 15mm gaming. I just haven't had the time (oh, and the whole thing is preempted by other projects higher on the list). What I've accumulated are many of the thin, hard, plastic packaging materials that some products such as toys come in. The whole thing started with a pack of 8 ping-pong balls. The plastic cover that encloses the balls and is glued to the cardboard background I decided would make a neat 15mm building. I stabalized it with some stretegicaly placed bits of wood scrap and wood glue then coated the interior with some wood glue. That's as far as I've gotten, but a few bits for doors and windows and you have yourself a building ready to paint. I have since accumulated more such things and plab to do a massive terrain making endeavor using that approach one weekend.


Hundvig Fezian05 Jan 2007 9:05 a.m. PST

That reminds me how much I like Frank R Paul's artwork. Really definitive pulp scifi imagery:

Even if his cities have no past. :)

Major Kong05 Jan 2007 9:06 a.m. PST


Those are cool! Thanks for posting the link.

Major Kong

Goldwyrm05 Jan 2007 9:25 a.m. PST

I just got out of a meeting so here's a shotgun post..

What scale we talking

I'm mostly into 28mm but I'm adding 15mm to the scales I'll play Sci-fi skirmish with. Nice paper models btw. I'm going for the DIY style since I enjoy making the table as much as playing on it :-)

How do you entend on balancing this space issue? Will most of the table be park/road/parking lot? Do you intend on buildings to have internal floors for model access?

Ran, thanks for the link, good stuff. Good questions too. I've used both open buildings and closed buildings in the past. In using closed buildings, I've found that making space for a side board table works just fine using silhouette floor diagrams with windows and exits marked.

Some ways to achieve an interesting battle on a table and shift focus away from building interiors is to create an exciting exterior environment, so players don't mind fighting outside the buildings or might have no tactical reason to occupy internal spaces.

All the buildings could have wrap-around interconnected balconies and walkways as one example. Another method would be to have the city based on a ziggurat with multiple connecting ramps and courtyards. A third way would be to have the buildings in such a scale that the battle takes place solely in a central courtyard. That is returning to a building facade approach along the game table edges, but with a more edgy futuristic feel.

Yet another method could be to have a buildings set up like pyramids with the main interior walls being in the shape of an X from above like bulkheads with doorways separating each section as 4 squares or triangle spaces on each level. The floors would get smaller from bottom to top allowing easy access. The exterior walls could be clear, tinted plexiglass and/or removable.

Depending on your game setting there could be political, social, technological, tactical, or scenario reasons that fighting would be outside of buildings as well. In that case the buildings can just look the part and function as very large movement and LOS obstructions. There are many options.

Pete, Thanks.

Saber6, good point. Cities can have history of development- like for example an environment from Blade Runner, the 5th Element, Total Recall, or Demolition Man. There is also the possibility of making a planned community where there might be little to no history.

Anyone have any other links to share?

Goldwyrm05 Jan 2007 9:32 a.m. PST

Hundvig, great link. I'm getting into Pulp Sci-fi in addition to grim future, gritty future and utopian crisis so I'll be stopping back there again. Thanks.

MonkeyborgRedux05 Jan 2007 9:35 a.m. PST

Check these links out for cool commercially available SF stuff:


Dress 'em up with lots of Ainsty and Antenociti's bits and they will look sweet.

I want to do Cyberpunk/Firewall skirmish on this terrain but I'll have to give up smoking before I can afford it all!!

NoNameEither05 Jan 2007 9:55 a.m. PST

We've got more "add-ons" coming this year for 28mm : civilian windows and doors, cryo-chamber and medical-bed.

Also working on some 28mm futuristic buildings as we speak – definitively NOT gothic or ruined, rather sleek, smooth and stylish (think lots of glass, curves and neo-concrete/plastic).

Will post images when I get some time to do photos!

Judas Iscariot05 Jan 2007 10:06 a.m. PST

In 6mm you have the option of building cities that actually look like real cities (Modern, ancient, and future)

You can even do the neo-gothic wasteland style of GW if you wish, as Forge World and GW offer plenty of scenery for that…

But between Old Crow, and all of the other companies that make 6mm buildings (there are plenty, I just haven't done a google on it recently enough to know them all) you can build some spectacular cities…

I have been doing cities in 2mm to match the ground scale of the game rather than the minis. You can do some even better lookingf cities in that scale.

Goldwyrm05 Jan 2007 11:54 a.m. PST

Those urban tiles in MonkeyborgRedux's second link are very good. I hadn't seen these before. I'm glad that some of the manufacturer's are chiming in with their products. There are a lot of great Sci-fi bits and buildings becoming more and more available.

The concept I'm pursuing at the moment is for 28mm. I'm thinking about making semi-modular urban boards that will include tall vertical elements, elevated walkways, abstract statuaries, winding ramps, and buildings with mostly curvy and round architectural elements like smooth arches and tall oval windows. I'd like to be able to have the cityscape look equally suitable for humans or with some alterations for aliens.

Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian05 Jan 2007 12:19 p.m. PST

erm… like this?:



Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian05 Jan 2007 12:35 p.m. PST

Those Miniature Scenery Urban & City tiles are nice. Very well done.

Goldwyrm05 Jan 2007 1:00 p.m. PST

Dentatus, those are nice. I'm planning to go a bit taller with no hard edges on the buildings, i.e.- no sharp right angle corners. I'm doing so mainly for a curvy look. For near future I'd keep signage, but for an ultra-future board I'm going with minimalist decorations or something that steps away from modern signs and symbols. So I'm going to favor art sculptures from stone, steel, and natural vegetation in the central areas like courtyards. I'd ultimately like to swap out art based on different societies. So for an Ćon Flux game I might have statues resembling Chairman Trevor Goodchild, for a Starship Troopers city perhaps a Heroic Citizen of the Federation using one of the oversize toy action figures done up as a statue, for generic human settings, Tau or other aliens I might do something abstract, and so on..

Roberto Cofresi05 Jan 2007 1:15 p.m. PST

I would suggest to start here: TMP link
And then add a few of these tall bottles: link

Goldwyrm05 Jan 2007 2:00 p.m. PST

Roberto, good topic for raw supply links and the tall bottles would be great if I could go through that much shampoo by Spring. grin, thanks.

Along those lines, I've got a handful of plain plastic flower vases from a dollar store that turned upside down look a bit like nuclear reactors. I was planning to use them as bases for a wider building top, air defense turret bases, or as small reactors. I've also got some leftover Christmas toy packaging that will come in handy for odd shapes.

Roberto Cofresi05 Jan 2007 3:28 p.m. PST


There seems to be a lot of empty plastic bottles for sale.

Goldwyrm05 Jan 2007 4:00 p.m. PST

Thanks for the bottle links guys.

Anyone have some Sci-fi city art links? Not just game terrain, but matte painting, computer graphics, etc. I need some additional inspiration.

like this:
and more here:

Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian05 Jan 2007 4:09 p.m. PST

Wasn't there a TAU outpost or city featured in Black Gobbo?
IIRC, everything was all rounded. Pretty neat actually.


Goldwyrm05 Jan 2007 4:35 p.m. PST

Dentatus, yep. That's what I'm interested in doing but with more buildings. Thanks, that's a great link.

Personal logo Dentatus Sponsoring Member of TMP Fezian05 Jan 2007 8:37 p.m. PST

This is what I'm looking for: link

arturo rex05 Jan 2007 9:41 p.m. PST
tnjrp05 Jan 2007 10:37 p.m. PST

Antenociti 05 Jan 2007 8:55 a.m. PST
"Also working on some 28mm futuristic buildings as we speak – definitively NOT gothic or ruined, rather sleek, smooth and stylish (think lots of glass, curves and neo-concrete/plastic)"

Hmm. Me better start saving up for 'em then (-:)

smokingwreckage06 Jan 2007 3:44 a.m. PST

There's the kryomek human terrain, but even though it's curvy, it's all military/moonbase looking stuff. Not really urban.

Goldwyrm06 Jan 2007 6:26 p.m. PST

Arturo, I had tried one of those Google searches before starting the topic (futuristic city) but it's funny how just a slight variation in a phrase gives such different results. Thanks for the links.

And the Kryomek domes, towers, and interconnecting corridors that Smokingwreckage mentions are great stuff but sadly too small, imho, for 28mm humans. I've got an entire base worth of the stuff that I might use for Squats or Grymn.

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