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Sonneilon 01-23-2008 07:02 PM

Building walls/corridors FINISHED
This will be a running tutorial as I actually build a section. There has been a lot of discussion about set building. Some people aren't all that creative. Some are incredibly talented. I'm somewhere between. Sometimes I can do it fast and good. Other times, it's a hack job. But the secret is to make it NOT look like a hack job. Hopefully, a tutorial like this will help dispel some fears. And just so you know, you can always reuse your sets.

This will be a 'modular' wall piece which means, it'll be able to link up with other sections. One goes modular to make fotographing easier. You wouldn't actually build a 10' wall section with no breaks and try to shoot your 1/18th figures at the OTHER end. Doesn't matter if you have a long lense, it's kinda ridiculous. That's just one shot before you close in and take pics up close. Kinda hard to do 10' away, y'know? Let's get started!

First off, you gotta have a place to work. Now that I'm in an apartment (well, it's been over 6 months but still...), I don't have a lot of space to build. So I try to limit myself to a small space on the floor (in front of the tv or at least near it since I either have that or music on!).

You should usually have a remote idea of what you want your walls to look like. I use foamboard which you can buy in sheets at any art store. Prices and thickness vary. Go to thin, the things will be like a limpy noodle. Go to thick, well, there's no real reason. What's nice is that if you build GENERIC walls, you can change them up for different sets. But sometimes, you want static sets. I used to have TONS of this stuff but threw it all out when moving out of the house.

In my case, I had bought a lot of wood boards from Lowes to use as the bases for my set. THIS big piece is only half the size; I had someone at Lowes cut it in half. I use it for cutting on and painting as well as gluing or whatever else I need it for. It's my work area. (I had several of these pieces, which were used in the dio "Transformations".)

To example most of the stuff I use, you can se a couple rulers (METAL), paint, brshes, box cutters, etc. Please NOTE the metal rulers. When cutting, you'll cut up a regular old plastic 12" ruler. Then your lines won't be straight. Also to notice is the right-angle ruler. Chances your lines won't be exactly straight so you gotta use something that you can line up on the edge to give a straight line. I'll pencil the line with it (after measuring with the other ruler), then cut on the regular metal. Mine has that grippy underside but the best ruler I had, I lost. It was a THICK metal one that didn't bend at all.

When I do walls, I don't have a set height. I always measure what I think looks right against a figure. In this case, I'm using a 4" 25A Flash. I used Flash as the model for how tall the wall should be and how tall the doors should be. Keep in mind that if you go too small on the walls, it's incredibly hard to shoot. Sets are built BIGGER than you think but once fotographed, you can manipulate the shots so it looks tighter.

Want dimensions?
Wall dimensions - 14"x 8"
Door dimensions (for 1/2) - 3" x 7"

Here, I'm checking the size of things to see how it will look. Are the doors too big? Too small? That's really up to you but I'm doing BIG doors so it looks like Cobra (ahem) can fit larger things into the room. What room could be in there? That's up to you too. It's pretty generic so it could be an arms room. Or a lab. Who knows?

Sonneilon 01-23-2008 07:12 PM

Now for the record, I stole this piece of foamboard from work so it already came silver. I usually paint the foamboard myself. Mind you, the stuff DOES warp and the way to create a FLAT wall is to make cracks on the BACKSIDE of the wall (since no one but you will see it).

Painting time! You can use whatever you want. I tend to use GamesWorkshop paints. Fairly cheap, come in a million colors, etc. IF I were doing the wall, I'd go to Lowes and find a paint that I'd like. Might cost a few dollars to get a small can, but I have had them make me custom paint. So the wall is silver, the doors are TIN BITZ and the piece on the bottom is BOLTGUN METAL.

This is just how I'm doing things, but I am trying to add more texture to the walls. I'm not a fan of copying wallpaper from the FILES section and taping it on. If there's brick, I actually want there to be texture! That explains the molding piece on the bottom of the wall. It just adds a tiny bit of dimension.

I've glued the pieces on. Is it done? Nope, not by my standards. I'll frame the double doors with the same BASSWOOD sticks that I did on the bottom. This can get costly and it's hard to remember what size you bought cuz, uh, there's a lot to choose from. The doors are BASSWOOD also, available at any art or hobby store.

(I ran to the store again after class to pick up more studs and a few more flat pieces. 4 of those studs and the flat pieces cost a bit over $6 in the end. What sizes you choose is up to you.)

That's about it for this phase. I have ideas of what I'll add next but since I don't diagram my stuff out, I just kinda do it on the fly. This is a simply project and this piece will be used as a generic door/wall combo. When I get off my lazy butt, I'll be showing just HOW you stand the wall up!

lehsreh 01-23-2008 07:24 PM

looking great so far. cant wait to see more. i almost replied to this before you added the second part,lol. how awkward i would have felt.

Sonneilon 01-23-2008 07:32 PM

It's aight, Big L. I had to work fast to make sure no one did! But at this juncture, anyone can comment. For the record, this is how Luke Ellison builds his stuff. He's Yoda. I'm, uh... hmmmmmm... One of his apprentices that get killed? lol

Flatline 01-23-2008 07:39 PM

very Nice Sonn. This Has Been A Help To Me And I'm Sure Some Of The Other Guys Will Get A Kick Out Of It Too. I Cant Wait To See How You Do The Texturing Of Brick. I Use The Print Outs For Now But To Have Something More Realistic Would Be Awsome...

Sonneilon 01-27-2008 07:29 PM

Ok, before we go on too much further, let me lay down some other elements, ideas and concepts.

Anyone who has viewed my dios know that I strive for a very particular look. It's MY look! No seriously, I build 90% of my sets because I want them to have a similar feel to them. It wouldn't make sense if I made my walls one way and then changed them up the next section as the characters walk thru them. It wouldn't make sense. Think Star Trek. Any of them. Sure the Federation ships are very much alike in terms of the aesthetics inside, BUT you wouldn't run into a Klingon or Borg section in the Enterprise (in normal circumstances). I realloy prefer to build just about everything, including my own computer consoles (as seen in "Transformations").

So check this out. I've buy most of wood from Lowes. I'm not very consistent at remembering WHAT I buy, but I know WHERE I am getting the boards from.[IMG][/IMG]

In the case of this picture, the full sized wood plank I bought looked like this. I took it home and chopped it in half. (Please don't pay attention to the fact that they aren't the exact same size. I'm not sure where it's sister piece is.) Cutting it in half means I now have 2 bases I can work with. I cut them in half because I was making corridor sets, not rooms, chambers or labs (or whatever). As you can tell, I now use these as scrap pieces to paint my Warhammer40k stuff on. Just ignore that too, please.

The next step is pretty basic. I choose wood for the bases of the sets because I don't want warping and wood stands up better than trying to build on foamboard. You can move these things around all you like. Drop the base, it won't break or bend, y'know? The idea, originally, was to have a ton of these where I could ADD walls as I pleased.

This part isn't tricky by any means. All you need are the 75 cent L-Brackets, wood screws (or just screws in general) and a drill. ASSUMING that the edges are straight (when cutting in half, I use a 90-degree ruler to make sure the line will be straight across), I plop 2 L-brackets where I think they would work best. I use a pencil, mark where the hole will be drilled, pull the L-bracket, drill and then screw it all in.

...And this is what you come up with. In theory, 2 L-brackets. I usually drill the smaller side onto the wood and leave the LONG side for the walls (more support).

In terms of painting the 'floor', you can paint it before or after. Depends on you. WHEN originally doing the dio, I was going for remotely smooth floors, not something with grating (that's a whole 'nother ballgame). So I just slapped a type of gray on there.

Not that the L-Bracket's flat side is sitting on the INSIDE of the board, not facing the outside. Eventually you'll attach the wall which will most likely be as LONG as the base. The thing to always remember is that walls can always be removed and new ones attached. BUT if you keep the base as is, you can always use it whenever you need. No need to make a new base each time, tho it's sometimes easier due to, uh, laziness. lol

It should be noted that you will want to find screws that will match the thickness of the board and the L-Bracket. If you use screws that are too long, you'll find yourself impaling fingers on them. Trust me, I've learned the hard way. Many times. In those cases, I'll just Dremel SAND it off. WATCH THE SPARKS FLY!

Please proceed to the next page...

Sonneilon 01-27-2008 07:37 PM

Let's skip ahead just a tiny bit.

I learned this type of construction from Luke Ellison. If he hadn't taught me how to do this, then I would've thought like a carpentor/CAD artist. I would've built a frame out of wood, painted it, etc. Foamboard is sooooo much easier. But like I said, it depends on the look you want. Please view the examples.

Example 01. This is a perfect representation of 2 walls and the end of a corridor. The end of the corridor, it's just a door, right? Like what we're building now in this tutorial. BUT there's a difference here. I used one of my trusty bases, had the walls set up and simply SET the end wall on the edges! I didn't L-Bracket the end of the corridor! Notice too that I didn't frame the door. It's just a sliding door. Short-sighted? Not really. I did this how many years ago. Like I stated before, I want to step things up a notch or 12.

Also, if you look at the walls closely, you'll see I used an ink pen to create it's dimension. This too was a Luke Ellison technique. Supposed to look like panels AND it's supposed to look like a fairly sterile installation (despite the red lighting). Think Star Trek before Aliens on that one, yah?

Example 02. Just because you do everything by the numbers doesn't mean that it'll all fit for some reason. If you look hard enough, you can see that my segments of wall aren't quite flush. If you look hard enough, you can see that this shot took 3 sections. I usually try to PAINT out the inconsistencies but it don't always work. lol.

Example 03. Computer console to get into lab is too big. No framing on door. Segments of floor different colored. Fortunately, it's the action that is focused on by the viewer. But if you start to analyze it... D'oh???

More coming in a few days. Thanks for reading.

Sonneilon 02-04-2008 08:48 PM

Ok, I finished up the wall. I just added the trim and the lil computer panel (which was done using flat basswood).

So check this out. You got the L-brackets connected to the base already so this is how you attach it! No big scret. Masking tape. Why not duct tape? Because you you can cut the tape easier when taking the walls down. How do you know it will stand up straight? You just hope like crazy and if it comes down to it, find ways to brace it. The TALLER the walls, the harder they are to stsand up (ie; doing a hanger or warehouse). Believe me, it's a headache.

Ta-dah. That's how it will look. Sure, you can paint the base so it looks a bit more consistent but uh... anyway... It might look a little plain but you turn it into something more like this...

That'd be it. Enjoi.

savage21 06-02-2010 11:11 PM

love it thank u for the advice

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