Cup Tray Boulder Buildings

Terrain Throwbacks

A few years ago, when I was forced to revamp this blog, I lost some of the terrain articles and whatnot. Recently, I stumbled on an archive of those pictures, so I’ve decided to upload them in case anyone wants to replicate what I’ve done.

Upcycling (or, really, just recycling)

Upcycling is pretty common for terrain builders. I think it comes from unpacking action figures at a Christmas or Birthday long ago, looking at the packing material (usually big styrofoam pieces if you were an ’80s kid), and thinking how cool it would be if you could use that as a base. Lego and Star Wars did some cool things with packaging at times, making the boxes double as cool backgrounds for your toys, but they never did enough in my opinion to make the packaging usable. The desire to play with packaging lingers, making every box, every weird cardboard insert scream for creative energies to be poured into them, calling out for their second life.

Upcycling, in case you haven’t heard the term, is just fancy recycling. Instead of breaking down objects into their base materials, and using those to make new objects, upcycling mainly keeps the object intact. Cutting, gluing, painting, and attaching new things makes the upcycling breathe new life into the object.

A lot of items are difficult to upcycle, but with an emphasis on using sustainable resources in packaging, more materials are upcycling friendly.

Cup Tray Boulder Buildings

Main ingredient: Cup Trays

Wendy’s and some other fast food restaurants use these cup trays made from some sort of cardboard form. It looks like paper materials press glued into a form. As a whole, the object is a little large for Warmachine, but could be split into four sections.

Flip it upside-down.

Each of those pods could be used to hide troops, an automatic remote controlled gun emplacement, or form the basis for a rocket ship thruster or landing gear.

Boulder Buildings

Remember the Flintstones? They build their homes from rock walls, slabs of flat stone. I’ve seen some concrete structures replicate this small shed-like structure in real life. I’ve seen ancient mud buildings and structures built into limestone rock in real life. So, why not, in the Warmachine fantasy setting, couldn’t Trollkin or Circle Orboros build homes from boulders?

Cupholder flaws

The cupholders have some issues. First, they aren’t round. Their slats are curved inward, so they don’t have a “roof” when flipped upside down. A cut can be made to divide the whole thing into fourths, but the curvy structure leaves gaps where the walls would meet the ground.


Step 1- Divide the cup tray

Using a sharp knife, I cut the tray into fourths, and trimmed an opening for a doorway on each of the pieces.

Step 2- Foam Basing

To give the piece a little believability, a foam base can make it seem like the building has enough height to house a human-sized figure. I want these huts to be scatter terrain, so the bases are cut close to the walls, and rounded to make it seem like a natural element that was hewn by hand or nature.

Step 3 – Wood and Cloth

Those slats are troubling. I could cut the top off, and layer on some thin pieces of foam, or use them as a design feature. I chose the latter, reasoning that the inhabitants have a need for smoke to leave the building, and use leather and cloth supported by a wooden frame for weather protection. I had some super helpful assistance with these models. Stained tissue paper makes a great leather substitute.

Super awesome help

Step 4 – Prime and Paint

Primed black, to cover the pink foam, and painted up with white and grey.

Got some help painting these

Step 5 – Tea Lights

How cool would this place look lit up? Super cool. Cut a hole in the bottom of the foam base for a tea light, stick a light in there, and turn it on.

Step 6 – Gap Filling

Those gaps in the last two pics don’t look great. Luckily, these stone structures are going to be in the mountains, with plenty of vegetation around.

Finished Project

I don’t think these are too bad for a first attempt. They look good in the dark. Still a few gaps. In retrospect, I should have done something more with the bushes and the stone.