Once Upon a Time: Castle Pop-Up Book Terrain
#1
Hello everyone.  Back at the original TerraGenesis site, I participated in a contest whose criteria was to create a piece of terrain that could fold.  The idea was to make terrain that could be collapsed for easier storage and to take up less room.

For my entry, I decided to create a castle pop-up book.

This was the first contest I ever entered at TG, and it exemplified the best aspects of the community that has grown up around this site.  Contestants and observers alike chimed in with ideas and encouragement for every project, cheering everyone on and turning the contest into a creative collaborative effort.  It was one of the most positive community experiences I have participated in.

Since the WIP threads for contests get erased pretty quickly, I thought I'd share the journey of making this project here at the new site. Smile

I'll do my best to show the overall flow of the original WIP thread.  Given the supportive and collaborative nature of many of the comments made during this project, I will likely include many of them here to provide an example of what a positive experience working with TG can be.

If you were one of those that gave me ideas and encouragement as I embarked on this project and your comments didn't get copied here, please don't take the removal of your posts from this thread as anything other than an attempt at streamlining.  I couldn't have done this project without you.  Big Grin
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#2
I have some ideas for entering this competition, but I HAVE to finish my hex map first. The hex map will be played on during a local convention in a week on February 20, so that is a hard deadline at least.


In the meantime I have been doing some experiments with card models on the side for buildings that start like a closed book and then open up into fully playable terrain. I think I will be able to achieve some interesting results.

I am torn as to material choice. Part of me wants to use thin plywood and paint as that would be sturdy, resist warping and sagging, and is familiar. Another part of me wants to experiment with foamcore and applied paper graphics/textures because it would be light, easy to work with, and I have never done it before.



I will let you all know in a week what I have decided.

Good luck everyone.  Big Grin
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#3
Quote:MUMSY said:
Fabulous idea.  Big Grin  I am eagerly anticipating what you come up with.

Quote:whitus said:
I think it would be great if you could get the closed piece look like a real book! Leather bound hard back?  Wink
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#4
Ok, I still have a few details left to do on my hex map, but the convention is over and I can start messing around with ideas for this competition.

I have decided to go with a castle theme. The idea is to make a multistory building that starts out like a book and then unfolds into a fully fledged terrain piece.

I am planning to use foam core for my main structure as it is a material I have yet to work with. I am considering using printed out textures for the majority of my surfaces since I have not worked with them either.

The castle will be done in a 1-inch grid so it could be used in D&D or similar games. I have yet to decide if the castle will be intact or ruined.

Here is a quick mock-up of the basic core structure. There will be built in stairs, bookcases, and the like that all fold and open up when the structure itself opens and closes.



Here we see the terrain folded up like a book (the final project will take into account the thicknesses of the materials, but for now I just smashed things together.)

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Opening:

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And fully deployed:

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There will be doorways and such between quarters of the building, and likely parapets at the top and possibly a pop-open gatehouse. I may also convert the central spine into a tower as I will need to be accommodating each section's thickness in the central hinges anyway. But for now this can give you a basic idea of what I am heading for.

Scale-wise I am planning to make each quarter of the building 10 inches (25 cm) square and 20 inches (50cm) high. That would make the entire structure a 20 inch (50 cm) cube, though the cutouts for the various floors give it the illusion of being taller than it is wide.
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#5
Quote:MUMSY said:
Smile  Oh my!!! This is what I was hoping someone could come up with. I just knew it could be done but had no idea how to do it! I cannot even imagine how this is going to look when finished but eagerly await those details.

Quote:whitus said:
Shy  

That's pretty ingenious!

I may have to jazz up my idea if I want to make the podium in this comp...  Smile


Quote:Thumper said:
Cool Idea.

This kind of idea could work for Necromunda Terrain as well. Put a few of these together and instant underhive with the different levels.

Can't wait to see this progress.  Big Grin


Quote:whitus said:
It reminds me of a game board I saw in White Dwarf a loooooong time ago, which was for Space Hulk - a 3D board, like a tower. The terminators/genestealers could go up and down ladders to the different "decks" and around the central column through doors etc.

The board was massive, but of course it didn't fold  Wink
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#6
To accommodate for the thickness of my materials at my central hinge points, I had to get a little creative. Because the distance between my two side pieces varies (apart when the "book" is closed, and flush when the "book" is opened), I needed to leave a gap between the two sides. To cover the variably sized gap I installed an accordion-folded piece of card.




Here is a view of the opening sequence from the front.

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And here is a view of the sequence from the top which gives a better look at the accordion hinge closing.

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I may also decide to have the accordion-fold bend inward instead of outward if there is a collision problem between multiple folds in the center when the piece is fully open. That would mean removing small triangles from the bases of the accordion-folds to keep the flaps from being caught in the floors as they folds down, but otherwise will not be a problem.




I have started sketching in some layout idea for the castle on my mock-up model. (This may actually be more of a tower than a castle.) On the ground floor will be a Great Hall with the front gate and fireplace. Doors from there will lead to the kitchen and its fireplace. From the kitchen you can reach the armory with jail cells and stairs to the second floor. A door will also lead to the last ground floor quadrant holding the stables, hayloft, and back gate. The second floor will have a chapel (with stained glass windows), magic lab, library (with shelves), and lord's bedroom (with 4-poster bed and armoires). Stairs will lead to the topmost level, the parapet which will have crenellations, catapults, a watchtower, and possibly cauldrons of boiling oil. All the details will be done with cardstock covered in printed patterns and will be permanent fixtures that fold with the building.

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#7
Quote:coxrltw said:
I am really impressed with this idea and can't wait to see it develop.

Quote:MUMSY said:


Quote:ableman33 said:
On the ground floor will be a Great Hall with the front gate and fireplace. Doors from there will lead to the kitchen and its fireplace. From the kitchen you can reach the armory with jail cells and stairs to the second floor. A door will also lead to the last ground floor quadrant holding the stables, hayloft, and back gate. The second floor will have a chapel (with stained glass windows), magic lab, library (with shelves), and lord's bedroom (with 4-poster bed and armoires). Stairs will lead to the topmost level, the parapet which will have crenellations, catapults, a watchtower, and possibly cauldrons of boiling oil.



Now THIS is a great idea for a castle! All in one little fold up package. Beautiful!
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#8
Here is a test for the hinge design that will connect my floors to the side walls. (The brown cardstock is my hinge. In this test it covers pretty much the whole upper wall section, but in the real thing it will only be about an inch high.) I could have just attached my hinges to the tops of the floors and everything would have lined up simply, but I prefer the strength of having my floors sit on top of my hinges rather than hanging under them.

When I attach my hinges under my floors, I need to crease them twice so that they can effectively wrap around the edge of my floor pieces. Here you can see the second crease before I finish attaching my hinge.

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And here are views of what the hinge would look like once my book was opened up and the floor was deployed.

From above:

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And from underneath showing how the hinge supports the weight of the floor directly:

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And here is what the hinge looks like when the book is folded closed and the floors are bent fully upward. Here you can see the how the cardboard hinge folds all the way around the edge of the floor.

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#9
I have my main structural pieces cut out. I plan to paint the exposed edges before putting them all together.

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#10
I have been working on this project in my off-time at work. I got a little more done on Friday before the start of the weekend. The physical structure is going up faster than I expected. I will likely have the main elements in place by early to mid next week. Then will come texturing the building itself before finally working on all the fun folding detail elements.

For now I have the edges that will not be parts of hinge mechanisms painted in a basic grey so they will be less noticeable.

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Next I started working on the vertical hinges that will connect my walls together. I will get my five wall pieces (front cover, three interior walls, and back cover) attached together first. That will give me a standing framework to hang my floor sections from. I have decided to have my accordion-folds face inward to avoid potential "clipping" conflicts in the central spine when the building is fully opened.

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I cut and pre-scored pieces of poster board into long continuous hinges that I could use as stock material to cut off whatever lengths of hinge I might need. I have since produced my shorter hinge pieces that will go between each floor section. (Pics on Monday.)

I plan to paint the central part of each hinge that will remain exposed. The parts sticking out into the interior of the building should end up looking like stone support beams if anyone notices it at all.


I plan to use hot/melt glue to attach all my hinges. While it does add a little thickness to the overall joint, it is quite strong and sets very quickly. If I used PVA glue or the like, I would have to clamp things down and then wait for each section to dry before moving on. Since the bulk of all my hinges will later be covered over by sheets of printed texture, this extra thickness should hopefully not be too noticeable.




On a side note, I received my new camera in the mail yesterday. I will fool around with it over the weekend and try it out on Monday to see if I can start taking better close-up pictures.  Smile
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