Mar 142015

I usually try to post only finished stuff on the blog, but I’m making an exception to that rule here. I’ve been building quite a lot of Deadzone terrain recently and made a few discoveries that I’d like to share, so here are a few WIP pics and some tips regarding building the Deadzone scenery

Last year, I bought two boxes of Deadzone Scenery Upgrade Pack. I did this to quickly and (fairly) cheaply get some scifi terrain on the table. I quickly noticed the components wouldn’t last long and invested in three more boxes plus a bagged Defence Line (more on that later).



Deadzone Scenery Back


I started building rather quickly, but ran out of steam for one reason or other. The project simmered for almost a year and this last week I’ve spent the evenings clipping and building. Here’s what I have ended up with.

Five walkways, two larger buildings, three 2x2 square ones and three smaller buildings, all with detachable roofs.

Five walkways, two larger buildings, three 2×2 square ones and three smaller buildings, all with detachable roofs. Bottom right shows the left-overs. I also managed to cobble together a few barricades from left-over supports and the low wall thingies.


All in all I’m pretty happy with how the buildings turned out. I would like a few more small “hab cube” buildings and there are a few other buildings I would’ve liked to do. For instance, more two level buildings. When these are all painted and finished I’ll look into that. For now, I’m done with Deadzone terrain – though I did enjoy putting it all together! Now for some tips. Many (or all) of these might be old hat, but they were mostly my own discoveries so I thought I’d pass them on.


Tip 1 – Get more connectors. Now!
When assembling, I soon realized the connectors wouldn’t last. We all know that by now, but for me it was a bit of a surprise. I checked for connector sprues on eBay but couldn’t find any for a decent price. I did however come across the Battlezones: Sci-Fi Defence Line. It came with a connector sprue which isn’t actually needed. Had I bought two of this, I wouldn’t have had to resort to short cuts. Had I bought a pack of four sprues, I probably would have had surplus connectors.

Tip 1. Buy a bag of Defence Line - it includes not only a big lascannon and a little satelite dish, but a full connector sprue!

Defence Line – it includes not only a big lascannon and a little satelite dish, but a full connector sprue! And a defence line, but use that to build fortified watchtowers instead of lame barricades.


 Tip 2 – Glue everything together – but dry-fit and plan first!
It might be tempting to just start building, but try to plan out all the buildings you’re doing so that you don’t end up lacking walls, ceilings or connectors. I laid out my buildings in “exploded diagrams” on my work table and portioned out as few connectors as possible. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have been able to build all the buildings I made. Also, when you come to the final assembly part – glue everything in place! I used Revell’s plastic glue and it worked a treat on the material.


Tip 3 – Using supports instead of straight connectors.
In the end, you will most likely run out of connectors. Luckily, there are other pieces you can use instead. I used supports instead of straight connectors on most of my walls.

Supports works fine as straight connectors - as do lamp posts. Too bad I didn't get a photo of one. Use your imagination...

Supports works fine as straight connectors – as do lamp posts. Too bad I didn’t get a photo of one. Use your imagination…


Tip 4 – Making straight connectors out of supports.
I ended up needing even more straight connectors than I had, even if I used the supports on exterior walls. The solution was to clip down a few supports into flat straight connectors. These were only used where they wouldn’t be visible, so I didn’t file them or trim them very neatly.

These home made straight connectors were applied on the underside of a roof. I started separating the connector bit from the ends of the support. Finally, I trimmed down the profile. Small clips (and good clippers) are recommended!

These ersatz connectors were applied on the underside of a roof. I first separated the connector from the ends of the support and then clipped off the protruding part from the connector. Small clips (and good clippers) are recommended!


Tip 5 – Removable roofs using struts.
When I started building I immediately decided I didn’t just want to block line of sight with the buildings. I wanted to be able to place objectives inside as well. Who knows – eventually I might end up modeling the interiors of some buildings too. To facilitate this, I made the roofs detachable using trimmed struts. It’s important to remember to trim the connector peg that meets the roof. You don’t want that snug snap-fit, they should only be there to keep the roof from sliding off.

Top row shows the roof on and off, while bottom row shows the use of a regular strut and a modified one. Important: Remember to trim the connector peg that meets the roof. You don't want that snap fit, they should only be there to keep the roof from sliding off.

Top row shows the roof on and off, while bottom row shows the use of a regular strut and a modified one. Also, not the trimmed connector pegs.


Tip 6 – Making corner connectors out of struts.
To not run out of corner connectors, I had to resort to using struts in some cases. This was mostly done where I had forgotten to include corner connectors for attaching an upper level building to the lower level roof, as I didn’t want to risk wasting valuable corner connectors. I simply cut off and trimmed down the strut so only the connector bit was left. It’s a two snip affair, so not very complicated. If the connector will be visible, it can be a good idea to trim it further.

Four ways to cut a strut.

Four ways to cut a strut. Top left is unmodified, top right was a version I ended up never using. Bottom left is what I used on the roof strut support variant above and bottom right is a corner connector made from a strut.


Ersatz corner connectors in use.

Ersatz corner connectors in use.


That’s it for now – I have a few more tips related to construction but I’ll get to that when I show the finished pieces instead.

  10 Responses to “Deadzone Terrain part 1”

  1. Good stuff Mattias.

    You came to many of the same conclusions the I did, parallel development in many cases. You have even gone for walkways and platforms, something that most folks don’t seem to do with this stuff, but I did. The photo of the unfinished stuff looks uncannily like mine :)

    I am very much looking forward to seeing them painted.

    • Thanks Paul, for the comment! Yeah, walkways seem terribly underrepresented for some reason. I suppose it’s a matter of Mantic not doing any in their own promo pics. For me it was a no-brainer. I had a hard time figuring out what else to do with the “crossed girder” panels and the half-panels.

  2. Aye I’m also one of those that forgot about walkways the first time around. Be making some in the next set of packs I get though. Good job though bud :D

  3. Looking good so far; good work!

  4. Lots of really good tips there! Especially about cutting down the struts for extra corner connectors :)

    I’m really looking forward to seeing more close-up photos of the individual buildings you’ve made, and seeing how your walkways attach. I notice they have side and end access points which is something I hadn’t considered for mine which are all end access.

    I hope you don’t end up regretting gluing the parts together… I (like everybody else it seems) struggled with the clips at first, but I eventually got good at popping them in for a good connection, and popping them out from behind without breaking them. I use a spare armoured column from the fortification set to do this. I haven’t glued any of mine including a two foot tall crane with a two foot long boom arm, and this was a real blessing when it came to painting. Also, because there are so many possibe ways to build I didn’t want to commit to one set of structures and never be able to build something else. Plus, Mantic haven’t finished with the Battlezones range yet, so I always want to be able to mix new parts and new shapes into my older stuff.

    When I get home I’m going to try out your use of cut-down struts for removable roofs, I prefer removable walls for most of my buildings because it allows minis on the roofs to stay where they are, but it’s always good to have new techniques available when I’m building ;)


    • Cheers Tony! =) I’m about halfway through the last step before drybrushing and finishing up the buildings. When they’re all painted, I’ll make a proper coverage of each of the buildings to show how they’ve been constructed. You can see a WIP of the painting here:

      That crane sounds like quite an engineering feat! =D Any pics of your buildings online? Regarding gluing the bits together, I’m positive it was the right decision for me. I don’t have much hobby time so even 30 minutes of prep time and clean up time is a threshold for me. I know it might sound like I’m the busiest man alive, which is most definitely not the case, but I’m very lazy and easily distracted. When the opportunity for gaming arises, I need to be able to just whip things out and when I’m done it must be possible to clean up quickly too or the things will be left out gathering dust in the game room.

  5. OK cool, I’ll check that link in a minute. I didn’t realise there were newer posts because I just found your blog by image searching for Battlezones Table and your pictures caught my eye, so here I am :)

    I’d like to blog about my own Battlezones some time in the future but I have no experience. Are blogging websites pretty much all the same, or do you have a recommendation for me?

    You may as well have been describing me when you describe yourself! I’m so easily distracted and have a lot of other interests, so time for one particular thing is never easy to find… It was lucky that the Beasts of War website ran a Battlezones competition actually. It really focused me and I was determined to put in a good entry so I forced myself to find the time ;) Here’s what I made for the competition and true to form I’ve done nothing new since the deadline closed!

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