In my previous posts I've talked about the initial design and then the creation of the boards themselves. This post will look at the creation of the base of the tower. Again, my starting point was the map.
Having neatly split my map in a 4 by 6 grid I was able to adjust the positioning to get the tower base to fit neatly into a 60cm by 60cm area at the bottom right hand side. This was crucial as will become clear later. What was also clear was that it was a complex geometric design. When checked against reference photos it was also clear that there were multiple different height levels as well, above and below the base layer of the boards.
The next step was to create a reference template of the various concentric rings and angles. This required serious thought and repeated measurements from the map and reference photos. This had to be correct as the visual appeal of the full table would be determined from these measurements. I fired up MS Word and played around with the shapes at a quarter size. As a starting point I decided that each ring would be 5cm deep but with the central landing pad having a radius of 10cm.
I think at this point it's worth noting that the movie's design and production team based their design on the Imperial symbol. It's a clever Easter Egg that isn't visually obvious but is pretty cool.
I couldn't make the tower base any bigger than the 60cm diameter because I needed to cut out a whole ring of the board to create the cooling reservoir. If I exceeded that size limit I might reach the edge of my board and I couldn't cut through or into the board edge. Once the ring measurements were decided the angles could be measured and drawn onto the plan. I simply printed the page and got out my pencil and protractor.
Where there were 6 spurs meant dividing 360° by 12, for 30° angles, one sticking out, and one not alternating around the base.
The 6 weirs, whilst geometrically spaced, were clearly smaller than the structure between them and a rough measure suggested they were about 15°. This seemed logical and visually pleasing so that's what I went with. I had to be careful with positioning as the weirs were the outermost point of the tower base. The easternmost weir was at the 3 o’clock position and so the tower centre was moved just over 2 cms to the left to ensure I didn’t hit or cut into the board’s wooden edge.
With an outer ring with a 30cm radius I had to order a large compass specifically for this build. I tried the string round a pin but it just didn’t work. I pencilled in each of the rings and then used a protractor to mark all the various angles needed to outline the basic design onto the board.
The next step was to cut it all out. I used a large snap off knife with the blade extended to cut the initial shape into the foam. This seemed to work pretty well. I was able to lever out the central section where the cooling reservoir was and only had to make some minor tidying up cuts to the edges where I wasn’t completely happy that the sides were vertical. For my first attempt at cutting foam to a specific shape though I was very pleased with the result. As I was soon to discover though having a hot wire cutter, specifically one on a machine with an adjustable angle arm would have been a god send with this build. I definitely regret not getting one, but hey ho, it’s now on the Christmas list!
I then raised the middle section slightly, by 10mm, using pink xps board. This was set in slightly so I could bevel the edge. The inner most circle got another xps board layer and then a disc of 25mm cetoflex added on top to create the base for the central landing pad.
Keep those dice rolling!
Charles the Modeller