Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fireball Island Process Part 2

I took a day off when I got home Monday to catch up on rest, so these photos are a day and a half late but hopefully worth it. Enjoy.

Here you can see some of the details in the first few coats of paint. The main technique utilized here was drybrushing. The process of carving the foam and coating with plaster and then sanding it down over and over again proves to be worth your effort once the paint begins to go on. The small pits of the plaster and the shape of the foam begins to create wonderful forms with a couple layers of paint. I started with a base coat of black everywhere, and then built up with earth tones or grays. Probably the funnest part of the painting process was creating the lava on the island. This was a big diversion from the original but I think it made more sense to have lava flow on the fireball trails and in the smolder pits. I had to go back in with a white primer first, so that I could add reds and yellows in thin layers to pop visually. A layer or two of black drybrushed made the color seem to peek through cracks in the lava. I never tried to make lava before, but I do think it looks pretty amazing in these images, even if it is somewhat unrealistic to be located where it's at.

These photos detail the first layers of grass I've added. Before beginning this step you should probably be pretty finalized with your paint because now you're covering up a good bit of it. I didn't think it would be helpful to plan out where the ground cover was going before hand but if a person is low on paint and doesn't want to waste time painting an area that won't be visible in the long run then you do what you got to do. Being new to model making and the materials people use, I tried to find out some info about it elsewhere. Woodland Scenics is who makes this stuff, along with some other sweet stuff, and it has a good website to inform you how to do it. I through down some glue first, then sprinkled the grass on top of it. It's that simple.

The idol was a difficult part for me to decide to overhaul. I am very fond of the original design, but I wanted to make it both more realistic and demonic. After all, I figure there is supposed to be a tribe of idol worshipers on the island and I thought they would have carved into the mountain/volcano at the center of it. I started with a big piece and just carved away with a hot wire cutter and x-acto knife. Once it was roughed out I sanded it and through a layer of plaster on as well. Sanded it again then primed it in black. It was treated just like the island itself with additional layers that were appropriate. Two things I made sure to do here: make sure the fireball sits very happily on the idol because the original one was a bit touchy and to make sure I could stick the jewel in the side of the idol like it does on the box art.

Another huge change in my board are the water effects in it. I knew from the beginning I wanted to create realistic water and I knew the only way I could do it was with an epoxy resin. Unfortunately this stuff is extremely toxic and expensive, not to mention touchy to work with. But it creates the best possible water you can get, so it's worth it if you can afford to buy it. I used Envirotex Pour-On, which you can find online or in some craft stores. This pic shows a new area I added to the island with the first layer of water in it.

I don't have any photos of the stage where I added the trees. At least, not ones I took with the intention of showcasing them. Due to the scale of the board and the shapes of the hills, mountains I decided to use some Woodland Scenics material for the trees without adding trunks. They would have looked out of place with a gap between the grass and the leaves. So instead I just glued down these bigger clumps darker in color with some Elmer's white glue. I think it gives a good feel of wooded areas on the island, or smaller isolated groupings of a few trees in places.

These two areas are the only other drastically altered areas on the island. I used balsa wood and super glue to create the bridges and dock parts. I then added coats of black and brown to give them an aged island look.

I didn't mention it earlier but you can see the stones/boulders on this close up. For this I used model train ballast rocks and glued it down with Elmer's white glue. Once that was done I applied paint as usual. You can also see some sand here. For this, I layed down Elmer's white glue and poured on a heavy layer of sand. One coat usually isn't enough so add another one and you should be good to go. Paint it with the same techniques as described above.

That just about covers everything I can think of at the moment. If you've got any questions feel free to comment with them. I'm looking for a new project to start at the moment, and when I find one I'll keep you updated on it here.


Orlando said...

These photos and info are very helpful and inspiring. I am curious to see what you decide to do next.

I have often thought of doing 3D versions of some hex games, but mostly the 3D elements would get in the way of placement of figures/pawns or other objects. So this works for some games, and breaks others.

Keep up the good work!

rodney said...

I was thinking the same thing and have considered using some kind of pin system so figures could be set into the actual 3D element.

Imagine a needle attached to the bottom of a chess pawn, and then placing that pawn onto the Fireball Island game board - it would very securely and easily rest on/inside it.

The only possible downside would be how to control all of those holes when you play larger games with more pieces going over the same space. Perhaps you could have designated holes/slots for pins to rest inside. Seems like that would work as long as you didn't sacrifice realism much for the convenience. The other thing is that the 3D elements would unlikely be flat in enough areas for the figures to convincingly rest on them with this pin system. More work should be put to this idea.

Hope your project is going well.

Anonymous said...

This is very cool.
Excellent piece of work.

I recently had a similar idea which led me to find this blog. I have played the original game and thought of making a new board, but didn't.

I have also thought of making a different board based on this idea as to create a different adventure, however it is my belief that the original design was very well thought out. I am surprised that MB has not re-released this game or a newer version of it.

chan said...

This is incredible. Some friends and I have been planning a Fireball Island recreation for some time. I'm glad I stumbled on this page for some ideas. We want to take a few more liberties with our board. Thanks for the inspiration!

Paul said...

Rodney - My name is Paul and I'm the webmaster of FireballIsland.net. I would love to interview you for my site and share your increadible craftsmanship with the other Fireball Island fanatics. Would this be something we could do? Please email me at info@fireballisland.net. Thanks.