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 My 3D XPS foam boards (Img heavy) *TUTORIAL update* 
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: June 10th, 2015, 6:05 am
Posts: 33
Hi all,

I was just going through the forums and saw lots of people showing off their boards so thought I would share mine with you guys too. I kept photos at the time to share with my old man on the other side of the globe because he enjoys the hobby too but I figured you lot might enjoy seeing the progress shots too. I made the boards slightly smaller than the standard ones (They're only 10 squares) because I have limited space to store them. With the boards at this size I am able to stack them in my hobby cupboard and no one is any the wiser. I mainly made them to help get my youngest excited about playing the game as a family. He found the flat boards kind of frustrating and obviously was not really "getting involved" so I thought these might draw him in a bit more and they certainly did!

The first bunch just show the boards in their bare foam state. I just drew a grid down on the pieces with a pencil and started carving away at them with an Xacto knife. After cutting all the various cracks and channels in the rock I pushed a chunk of rock from the garden into the soft foam to give it a bit more texture. I also decided at this point to make some doors and walls to help make the board look better when in random configurations rather than having big empty holes on the edges.

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Once it was all stuck solidly (with wood glue) I coated the whole thing in a mix of black paint and wood glue to give it a bit more strength then I started painting.
Someone told me that you could go cheap on water effects by layering thin layers of PVA glue... this turned out to be untrue... at least in my experience! I left the water sections for almost two weeks waiting for it to clear up but it obviously was too deep in some areas so I ended up pulling all the glue off with pliers and I spread some plaster in it's place which I then painted a murky green. I picked up a bottle of Woodland Sceincs water effects to do this properly the second time! The tree is hollow and has an LED tealight in the base. No idea why... it just seemed like a fun idea :P

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A few of shots with some figures mainly to help show how good the woodland scenics water is once it dries. It looks so realistic!

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At that point my son pointed out that we needed somewhere for Von Drakk to live. I ought to point out that I don't actually own the Von Drakk expansion yet due to when we got into the game... but we're still obsessed enough with the game that I listened to that idea! It took me a few hours to get the angles right on the roof but once I did I think it looked pretty neat. The idea is that the Manor boards layer on top of each other in the centre of the game.

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It ended up being a bit tight upstairs in the manor but we've had some great games on that board. The extra details make it very atmospheric. The downstairs is pretty barren. I'm still trying to decide what is missing!

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So that's that. We've had some great games on them. I'm currently planning a board or two to go with the Stilt Town Zombies, and am trying to work out how to make a playable Ninja All-Stars board. I'm hung up on how to do the building roofs at the moment. I can't work out a solution that doesn't involve magnets to stop the models falling off the slanted parts. I want the board to be as playable as possible, I don't want to end up restricted to the ground or flat roofs... but I'm blanking on it at the moment. My work space is covered in foam cut to various gradients with all manner of lips, textures etc but Kunoichi Candy insists on swandiving off of all of them!

I'm pretty happy with how it all went anyway. If I make any more I'll concentrate more on making everything neat and tidy... some of these aren't quite square by a mm or two here and there so they don't quite fit together but considering all I had was a tiny ruler and an Xacto I'm pretty happy with them for a first forray into terrain making.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pics. If anyone has any questions I'll endeavour to answer them :)


Last edited by fibretip on August 26th, 2017, 12:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.



August 23rd, 2015, 1:42 pm
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Consul
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Joined: June 20th, 2012, 8:00 pm
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Location: Sønderholm, Denmark
Wow! Great job on these!
Your attention to details is amazing.
My favorite is the forest piece with the tree and bumble bees!

Only thing I would have done different is the arcs in the Von Drak manor.
The door and window frames are made of one big piece which frankly makes them look sort of "fake".
They should have been made of several smaller stone pieces.

Another minor thing is how you painted the grey stone floors/walls.
Stone is grey, yes, but with so much of it it quickly start to look a little "flat" in lack of a better word.
You could give it a wash of watered down brown to add a little more nuance.
Or consider making floors and walls different tones.

Again great job!

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August 23rd, 2015, 2:31 pm
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: July 19th, 2013, 6:04 pm
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Incredible!! I can't believe the detail you achieved in foam. My lord!!
We're not worthy! We're not worthy!

We suck!



SUPERT AWESOME STUFF!! Ahhh!!


August 23rd, 2015, 5:35 pm
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: December 20th, 2014, 1:32 pm
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
Amazing work.

Kudos on a job well done.


August 23rd, 2015, 9:15 pm
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Minion
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Joined: March 6th, 2015, 2:41 pm
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They really are outstanding!


August 24th, 2015, 6:52 am
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Minion
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Joined: March 13th, 2012, 2:59 pm
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That is some amazing work! The house in particular looks great! It has a lot of character and seems fitting to the SDE theme. Keep posting your progress as you go.


August 24th, 2015, 11:18 am
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Minion
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Joined: April 24th, 2015, 7:37 pm
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WOW. That court yard is fantastic! I love the carved walkway. Fantastic job!


August 24th, 2015, 7:42 pm
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: May 27th, 2015, 5:23 pm
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Some of the best foam work I've ever seen! I've attempted foam carving before and don't have the skill or patience to get quality results like this, true craftsmanship.

Follow up question, we're all the details hand carved with an razor? The doors,trees, walls all have fantastic details.


August 25th, 2015, 10:38 pm
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: July 19th, 2013, 6:04 pm
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Ok I had to post again...


seriously the best foam carving I have ever seen. I showed this to my entire group last night and they were all blown away. My dungeon was chopped liver!! hahah


HOW THE HECK DID YOU GET SUCH GOOD QUALITY?!? The wood grain?? The tree?!?! just everything...


TEACH US


August 25th, 2015, 10:42 pm
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Dungeon Boss
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Good job :)


August 26th, 2015, 11:00 am
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: August 18th, 2015, 1:41 pm
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Location: Texas
Wow, truly amazing work! This is the kind of thing that I'd love to have in my collection for the game.

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August 26th, 2015, 4:02 pm
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: June 10th, 2015, 6:05 am
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Wow! Thanks :D what a response!

Thank you guys so much for all the kind replies. I'm glad you all enjoyed them so much! I'm pretty busy this next week (summer holidays... kids under foot) but I'll dig out some offcuts of foam and work up some pictures trying to show what I did. It's nothing complicated, just way too much free time ;) I'm a cheap skate so my tools genuinely consisted of a ruler, xacto (blunt lol), a rock, and a sharp pencil.

To answer a couple of specific things...

Goblin King - That's a great point, If you look at the roof section of the building the window arches are made of individual blocks. Then once I got on the main boards I obviously got distracted by making all the fun stuff inside :? :oops: I'll have to go back in and "fix that in post" as they say lol. Thanks for pointing that out. Shouldn't be too hard to fix in theory. I'm curious whether you mean the downstairs of the manor or the grey caverns when you mention the floor/walls issue. If it's the caverns I think I'm probably going to leave it as it is rather than risk spoiling what I've already done. If you mean the downstairs of the manor I absolutely agree. I'm currently trying to work out what to do with the downstairs. I thought of doing an alternating white/black floor but worried it would look too much like a kitchen or bathroom. The two bits you can just see sticking out on the sides near the front are fireplaces that are waiting for me to work out how I want to do the fires, then I'll airbrush some warm light around those areas so that might help break it up a little too.

Skyfi - Thanks! My son and I have been admiring your boards too :) I really like the height on them, they must give some fun games. Where did you find the gems? I spent ages trawling my home town for similar ones but gave up in the end and carved mine out of foam like the rest of the board. I liked the idea of getting clear plastic ones and putting lights inside them for a game at night but gave up since I couldn't find any! The only ones I could see were chaos emeralds that came with Sonic the hedgehog toys.

Maritiku - The bulk of the detail is carved out with an xacto blade, but most of the relief details like the wood grain were drawn on with a sharp pencil. The tree was a bit more complicated i will admit. He is made up of several thinner layers hollowed out to make the main cylinder. The nose and roots are separate pieces that were glued in place.

I should point out that the tiny details (the mushrooms and bugs) are greenstuff. I couldn't carve them out lol. I modelled the mushrooms onto toothpicks and then just jabbed them into the foam.

The most fun bits to carve out were the flavour bits like the VDM furniture and the library. All of that stuff is just gradually carved into a block of foam. Just the same as wood whittling or whatever you'd call it. The bed I'm particularly proud of... that's just one block of foam, pillows and sheets and all. The stone table in the library is the same.. the book on top is the same piece of foam. I'd never made terrain or worked with foam before doing this project and I was surprised how easy it was to use. You can make some really nice effects with just a pencil. Once you collapse the structure of the foam it stays crushed, unlike the packing material polystyrene.


August 27th, 2015, 10:36 am
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Minion
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Joined: August 22nd, 2013, 12:05 pm
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Your boards are amazing, all the little details like the picture of von drak, mushrooms, coins and you even fit a bookcase in there! really make these some of my favourite boards I've seen. Would love to play a game on these.

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August 29th, 2015, 11:15 am
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These boards are outstanding, great job!

Love the house and water effects. The photography through the windows is very cool too :)

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August 30th, 2015, 2:15 pm
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Bottle Cap
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Thanks again :D

I've been making a new board the last couple of days for my Stilt Town Zombies. I'm putting together an article as I go for Tales of the Ninja so there will be more in depth pictures there eventually but I wanted to share a couple of pics of how it's going so far because I'm having too much fun! I think I did pretty well recreating the spawn point house. It's not exact but it's close enough for me to be happy! None of this is stuck together yet so if it looks a bit wonky..that is why.

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The roof of the house comes off along with part of the two back walls to allow access to the inside for play. I did just realise that the door is upside down in the first picture... oops! It's a separate piece though so not to worry!

The two non-house corners( the graveyard and the empty one) will have flock and gravel and stuff on the floor and then a thin layer of water effects to make it swampy. I'm hoping that you'll still be able to see the grid through all that so you can move around on top of the water effects... if it all goes wrong I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!


August 30th, 2015, 3:08 pm
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Bottle Cap
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Joined: April 14th, 2015, 8:29 pm
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That's beautifully done, planning on starting my own xps boards soon, hope I can come up with something even fractionally as good as these :)


August 30th, 2015, 3:27 pm
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Minion
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Joined: April 14th, 2015, 12:32 am
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Dang!! Your stilt town Zombie board is fantastic! I am glad you pulled the house and raised layer off the board. I could then at least begin to understand HOW it was done in theory. I've asked this in other places, but how do you increase the durability of your boards? I worry about the foam boards being brittle. Also, what was your technique for sealing the boards so you could use water effects?


September 1st, 2015, 11:45 am
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Bottle Cap
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Man, it's just amazing, amazing stuff. Hands down, the best foamcore work I've seen. Are you a theatre set designer? Model Village maker? Or did you (simply) sell your soul to Santa in return for fabulous talents?
I bet your son thinks you're the coolest dad ever!

Do you have any W.I.P. photos on the tree? Would love to know exactly how you did that. It's absolutely *cough* tree-mendous.

Btw, the Stilt Town tile is phenomenal.


September 1st, 2015, 4:47 pm
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That is awesome! I love that house! Very inspiring!


September 1st, 2015, 11:28 pm
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These are absolutely beautiful. I want some of these for myself!

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September 4th, 2015, 12:34 pm
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