I’ll still be writing further articles related to the Marvel Universe Miniatures Game despite the recent announcement by Knight Models of
it’s discontinuation. I think the game is solid and the range in place already should be big enough to keep us entertained for a while yet. With that said, please enjoy the below article exploring some terrain ideas for the game.
This is part one of a series of posts providing my thoughts on different terrain/scenery options for the Marvel Universe Miniatures Game (MUMG). I wanted to get a table of terrain established as quickly as possible and for a relatively minimal outlay, so that formed my initial focus.
I first thought about what one would commonly see as terrain for MUMG, and the immediate and obvious option was an urban environment, something my existing terrain collection lacks. As a first stop, I figured papercraft (art employing paper as the primary medium) would offer some options, especially for cars, dumpsters, buildings, etc.
I thought I’d create an exhaustive list of equipment needed and approximate cost based on my research. Some of this you may already have available, so would obviously drop the cost a bit. All prices are in AUD.
- Colour printer – for printing templates – you can get a colour laser printer for $197 at Officeworks (possibly cheaper elsewhere), with the couple of reviews I checked indicating it performed well. I had access to a colour printer already, so simp
ly used that. As an added benefit, you can print out my quick reference card for MUMG as well.
- Alternatively, you can get your printing done at a professional printing place – I checked Officeworks and they do colour A4 sheets for $0.88 each, so this could be an expensive option for large amounts of printing
- Cardboard – for printing/gluing templates on to – I picked up some A3 sheets of cardboard for $0.70 each from Officeworks, A4 are a little less if you’re printing directly on to them.
- Scissors – for cutting out templates – you can get these relatively cheaply, perhaps $1-2 for a pair, but I’d recommend spending a little more to get a quality pair as it will make cutting templates easier and be useful for other hobby applications. I got a quality double set from Bunnings (larger shears and smaller scissors) for about $13 (some years ago)
- Glue – for gluing templates to backing and together – I used a UHU Glue Stick for this which cost $1.99, but PVA or craft glue would work better (albeit has a longer cure time) and costs about $5-6 for a 250ml bottle
- Paper scorer – for scoring the paper to fold easier – use a butter knife, a blunt sculpting tool or gentle pressure on a hobby knife/scalpel. I’ve never found it necessary to buy a specialty tool
- Ruler – for assistance with scoring fold lines – you can get one for less than $0.50 which will do the job
The idea here is relatively straight-forward, we print out a template, which is cut-out, folded and glued into a pre-painted piece of terrain to play on. You can simply print out on regular paper and use these, however durability and strength will be lacking, which is especially important where your models will be climbing across them (as they will in MUMG). The recent game I played, I couldn’t balance Hawkeye on top of one of the paper only shipping containers, as it just collapsed under the weight.
Another option is to print directly onto cardboard, which is a good option as it provides the extra durability. However, not all printers will accept cardboard sheets, or it may be difficult getting them to feed correctly (as was the case with the printer I used).
The route I took for the bulk of my terrain was to print out on regular paper then glue these templates onto cardboard. This takes a little longer, and is less durable than direct printing onto cardboard, but was the workaround I had to take given issues with the printer I was using printing direct to cardboard. During the game, they held up well, and I’d expect them to be almost as good as direct printing longer term.
For the purposes of this tutorial I used UHU glue stick exclusively to test it out given its shorter cure time and cheaper price (I’m also expecting this terrain to cycle out as I buy more varied kits to continue this series). If you have more time, using PVA glue provides a more solid final piece – I put together one shipping container gluing it to cardboard and then together using PVA and it’s quite solid.
Selection of Templates
I happened across the Combat Storm website which, in addition to offering a rules set for plastic army men, also has free templates for shipping containers, dumpsters, two buildings, a car and stone barricades. They also have two paid templates (cost is USD10.97 for both or USD6-7 each), but as I was focused on keeping costs down initially, I didn’t use these. This website turned out to be amazing, and I got obsessed with creating a shipping yard full of containers and dumpsters (given their relative ease). I fell short of this dream, however I have a solid start of seven shipping containers.
The templates are relatively simple, and are pretty quick to cut and paste. I glued the first paper only shipping container pretty quickly, maybe 10-15 minutes to cut and glue together. Perversely, the dumpster took as long given it has more parts and slightly more complex assembly. The durability of paper-only items, though, is very low. I had these sitting on the dining table awaiting packing and knocked a box onto them which caused this shipping container to crumple almost completely flat. Further, as I mentioned previously, it collapsed under the weight of Hawkeye during deployment for a game.
For my second run, I glued three shipping containers and two dumpsters to some light cardboard from Officeworks (A3 sheet referenced above). I left this to dry for a few hours (although this probably wasn’t necessary, it’s just how it happened), then cut the templates out. For these, I scored at the fold lines using a sculpting tool I had handy (although as mentioned above, you could use a butter knife or hobby knife), then glued each end on individually – starting by gluing the top flap then gluing the side flaps down. These turned out to be significantly sturdier and held up well during the game (note, I did not drop a box on these to test their relative strength!).
There are some links and comments to other templates I tested below, however I only did these as paper constructions, and they do not transport or hold up well at all. In Part 2, I’ll discuss some toys I bought, which I think are a better option for vehicles than papercraft.
- VW Kombi (a.k.a. double punch buggy) https://meltonbr.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/5get-out-of-my-comfort-zone/
- DeLorean (this site also has some arcade machine templates and the police box you see in some of the pictures) https://speckyboy.com/40-amazing-papercraft-templates-for-the-geek-inside-you/
- Toyota IST (a.k.a. a generic car) http://www.kamigei.com/ist.html
- Apache Longbow (this turned out to be way too complex for purpose, so I never finished the build) http://papermodel.jp/ah64d.html
The Combi and Delorean came together very easily and didn’t take too long to complete. The Delorean is slightly too big, but you could definitely re-scale it to make it match better. There are plenty of other templates out there, and I presume you could find one for anything you thought would be cool.
Fat Dragon Games (untested)
I saw a review of Fat Dragon Games’ products on Heresy Productions YouTube channel. The product looks really cool, and at $5.99 (presumably USD), for what seem to be highly detailed buildings (with some additional items), I think it’s something I’ll check out in future if I continue building terrain out of cardboard. Have a watch of the Heresy Productions video below to get more detailed commentary.
Having gone through his write-up, I’ve just realised I didn’t attempt to put any buildings together, although I did print out two from Combat Storm. I’ll have to rectify this at some point, but that aside, I think this is a relatively cheap and quick way to get a table of terrain produced for the game. The ability to create pieces of scatter terrain (dumpsters, cars, etc) is handy, as throwing it plays a large part in the game, and the idea of hulk throwing a shipping container is pretty appealing. If you’re looking for a cheap and quick way to get the game to the table, a bunch of paper terrain is probably not a bad way to go, especially if you’ve already got access to a colour printer. For more durable terrain, I’m thinking you need to print on to cardboard, invest in some laser cut MDF kits or build your own out of MDF or foam core boards. I’ll explore some of these options in future posts on terrain for the game.