Hobby Blog Tyson Koch

Guest writer and terrain builder Tyson Koch shares a behind-the-scenes look at a couple of the amazing terrain pieces he has brought to the Las Vegas Open in the past and talks a bit about what to expect this year (January 26–28)!

We’re getting close to Las Vegas Open 2018, so I thought it’d be fun to share with you the process behind preparing some of the terrain and tables we’ll have at the event.

Great terrain enhances the play experience at events, so I strive to provide a lot of terrain on tables. It’s an ongoing process—each year I try to add more and to make improvements. It’s also important to me, as well as fun, to create unique scenic finals tables.

When the main goal of a gaming table is to have a flat play surface (because no one wants models falling all over the place in a finals match!), it can be difficult to make it truly interesting as well as in theme. That’s where the sideboards come in, allowing me to get creative with elevation and large focal pieces, compensating for the necessity of simplicity in the center. As you’ll see, however, I still like to try out fun ideas in the flat space. And as a way of giving back to the hobby community, I like to provide fairly in-depth tutorials on these scenic boards and their various terrain bits so others can re-create them.

For LVO 2017, I made a Cephalix-themed bio factory (the complete tutorial can be found here). Below is a bit of a crash course in how it all came together.

Since most of the base of this table would be laser cut, I started off with CAD designs for the main pieces that would then be cut out of MDF.

I planned to have smoke coming out of the board, so I built a small PVC pipe network to disperse the smoke from a machine hidden in the sideboard.

Now, no bio conversion factory is complete without bio-pods! I made a bunch of clear resin-filled bio-pods to suspend various drudges in. These would be all lit up for some nice evil red ambiance.

Fast-forward a bit (see the complete tutorials), and the sideboard is assembled. I’ll typically use spray paint for the tables, as it’s pretty easy to work with, and it’s readily available. This table was done with a combination of rust red primer, bronze intermediate color, and some aluminum highlights.

Fast-forward a little more, and the table is painted, and the bio-pods are attached to it. The center disk is one of those lightning panels that will follow your fingers around when you touch it. If you happen to have a metal model on it and you touch it, the lightning will follow the model, which is pretty cool!

Check out the board with smoke and some terrain!

The LVO 2016’s table was a Convergence of Cyriss-themed board. (The complete tutorial can be found here.) Again, this table started off with some CAD design. Despite all appearances, I tend to wing these projects quite a bit, probably due to the fact that I usually end up waiting until 3–4 weeks before the event to even start them….

Here you can see the laser-cut MDF assembled with some of the additional soda can terrain that helps fill out the empty spaces in the table.

For the centerboard, I created rotating gears that are visible, in part, through clear panels. The inside is lit with LED strip lights, which can change to any color just by using a remote. Usually, I set the LEDs to slowly rotate through its entire color range, though, if a player is being particularly difficult, I can always put them on a quick flashing “seizure mode.”

The sideboard has a kind of solar system piece. I thought about trying to rig up a moving ring system, but I really didn’t have enough time for something that complicated. Still, I may yet replace the static one in the future.

Here the table is painted and the plexiglass inserts have been set in.

The hex pattern was done with a stencil and airbrush. All the tables get a liberal clear coat to help protect the finish from wear and tear during play. Also, dice trays help a lot. Nothing beats up a table faster than large sharp-edged casino dice, lucky though they may be.

A picture of it in action!

The first table I made is kind of India temple themed. It’s not quite WARMACHINE typical but still very cool. The full tutorial can be viewed here.

This was the simplest one to make from a technical standpoint, though there is still some detailing I would like to add to give it more character.

And finally, LVO 2018’s table will be Grymkin themed! I have three weeks to get it done (my wife thinks I’m a little insane), so look for a flurry of updates on the Las Vegas Open Facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/LVOWM/)

I will also be doing a full write up on the Grymkin-themed table to share with you after LVO.

I look forward to seeing everyone at LVO in just a few weeks! Get your tickets now at https://www.lasvegasopen.net/!

And if you have any questions about the tables or LVO, feel free to reach out to me, and I will see if I can help.

Happy Terraining!