3D Battletech Hexmap - Jungle Ruins
So, the next step was using my hotwire engraving tool to make cracks and crevices all over my foam strips and to melt the edges of my ruin hexes.

Two things. After about an hour of work where I was constantly having to wait for my engraving tool to heat back up (hotwire tools are great for fine detail work, but melting the volumes of foam I do on these projects sucks the heat right out of them even at the highest settings), I remembered something.

I could use a soldiering iron instead!!

That made things go much faster, though I had to be careful not to melt too much foam.

The second thing was my ventilation system.

I had rigged my shop vac hose to my kiln-blower vent by taping it to a piece of foam core secured to the vent's rectangular end. I would hold the hose in one hand while melting with the other so that I could suck the fumes right at the source.

This worked great, except the torque and weight of the hose kept ripping it off the foam core.

Realizing that I'm likely to use this setup regularly, I decided to make a wooden adapter for the end of my shop vac hose.

I cut a rectangle of luan plywood to fit my exhaust vent.

Then, using some paint stirring sticks and hot glue, I built up a fitted socket for my nozzle by placing the nozzle face down on the plywood, snugging up the pieces one layer at a time around the nozzle, and gluing them in place. This let me step the wood pieces against the slope of the plastic nozzle, creating a custom tapered fit that would hold the nozzle in place.

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I even shaped a small piece of wood to fill in the notch on the nozzle. This acts as a guide when sliding the nozzle into position and helps seal against air loss.

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Some washers glued in to reinforce the edges, and I screwed the adapter onto my exhaust vent.

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It works great! It's really secure and easy to use.

With my ventilation system secured, I finished all my foam-melting detailing. Big Grin
That roller detail looks awesome! I can't wait to see paint on those portions.
To help apply my hot glue into narrower streams and into tighter quarters, I purchased a new tip for my hot glue gun.

(One of the nice things about this more expensive glue gun is that the tips can be changed out, though you need to make the tool hot before changing tips, so you need to be careful.)

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This tip worked great. Using it, I made lots of glue "roots" and "vines" leading away from my hexes that will be covered in woods later.

This is where I get to start layering textures on top of each other to increase the level of detail. Having vines going over the crumpled and rolling-pin textured foam is something that you couldn't do by carving the foam after applying the vines/roots.

These look a little "drippy" in spots, but any place they don't look right I will cover with vegetation later.

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One note, I'm finding a lot more foam plate hexes that are peeling up where my spray glue didn't stick. I think I've secured all these places with hot glue, and hopefully my PVA layer will tack down the rest, but I may need to rethink my adhesive techniques the next time I use these.

Now, I'll go around and try to remove most of the hot glue "cobwebs", then maybe a little bit of trimming and detail work. After that, it'll be time to cover everything in a nice thick layer of PVA before adding my rubble, and then painting! Smile

Happy building everyone. Big Grin
The person who commissioned these maps identifies with the Battletech faction Clan Wolf.

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To honor his faction, I decided to add a carving into some of my hex tiles of the Clan Wolf logo.

First I printed out a copy of the logo and found a good place on one of the maps to feature it.

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I then traced over the lines on the paper with a ball point pen to make creases in the foam below, then went over the creases with a fine-tipped permanent marker to make them easier to see.

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Using my soldiering iron, I then melted the foam along the lines.

Some of the lines went through areas I had already put down hot glue roots. I did my best to work around these so that it would look like the roots had grown over the carving.

The wolf logo will make seeing the edges of the hex tiles harder, but I will do my best during the painting and decorating phase to make the hex pattern more prominent again and the wold logo more subtle.

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Next step, covering everything in glue! Big Grin
[+] 1 user Likes ableman33's post
This is looking SO AWESOME! I cant wait to see more!
This is really coming along, can't wait to see it completed. BTW, who do you use as your photo host? I've got to find a replacement for PhotoBucket.

@ Nelmarticus - Thank you. Smile

@ HobbyDr - I use http://www.flickr.com. It's not free though. I'm currently paying $45 every two years. $2 a month is reasonable for me given the use I get out of it for images here and for putting online for the campaigns I run.
That's pretty reasonable, I'll have to check them out. Thanks.

In preparation for coating my maps in glue, I covered one of my tables in heavy paper normally used by construction workers to protect floors during remodeling. Cheap and tough, great qualities.

(It turned out that I didn't need to bother with this as I only ended up with a few drips here and there that I could have easily wiped up as I went.
However, I'm going to be doing a lot of painting on this table so having put the paper down will really be worth it then.)

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Given how a lot of my hexagonal tiles were coming loose, I decided to go overboard on the coating of glue. Like slathering it on. No, slathering is too genteel a word. I effectively poured my glue on using a disposable brush as an applicator. I'll likely lose a fair amount of detail on the horizontal surfaces, but that's a price I'm willing to pay to toughen up and secure everything, especially given that these maps will be going to someone else halfway across the country, and I won't be available for any repairs.

I'm not too worried about losing details on the walls as the vertical surfaces will drain well enough to keep their coatings decently thin.

We'll just have to see how everything turns out in the morning. /fingers crossed  Blush

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Glue after-action report: All good!   Big Grin

Even the places with the heaviest applications of glue dried thinly enough for most of the texture to remain. And now everything feels nicely toughened up and secure.

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Next up, adding "rocks" around the bases of my ruins. Smile
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