Looming Onyx Towers

datetime February 3, 2018 11:55 PM

Now In Glorious 3-D!

Here are the pieces required to assemble each tower. From top left, there are…

  • 2x tower bottom panel
  • 2x V-shaped support
  • 1x archway
  • 14x tower ribs
  • 2x tower side panel
  • 1x tower top panel

I decided that it would be easiest to assemble the towers upside-down, since the archways at the bottom will be easier to assemble with some structural supports already in place.

I started by attaching the side panels. Since the seams I was attaching here were fairly long, I had to make sure to work quickly so that the glue from the start of the line hadn’t cooled much before I got my bead applied all the way to the other end. Because of this, I made sure to dry-fit every piece before adding it to make sure I knew exactly where they needed to go.

The center segment was glued on first…

…then, once it had dried, I stuck down the side flaps.

The archway would be next, connecting the two sides together.

I don’t know what this picture was supposed to illustrate, but I like it, so I’m leaving it here.


As before, I first stuck down just the center panel of the archway to both sides of the tower, then attached the other faces once the center’s glue was solidified.

I kept some foamcore scraps handy to scrape excess glue away from the joints.

Here’s the finished archway. The over-long foam will form the basis of the locking pegs a few steps from now.

Next, I glued in the V-shaped supports.

Attaching the bottom panels instantly made everything a lot more solid.

Next, I attached these boxes to the protruding archway foam to form the towers’ locking pegs. Hopefully y’all can figure out now how those will work– a pair matching holes will be cut into the top of each base, perfectly sized and spaced to let these two rectangular bits slot in tightly and hold everything together.

And stuff.

The last part to be added for now were the ribs, which were glued down at either end.

I didn’t attach the paper skins over top at this point because I hadn’t bought that yet. So instead, on to the base!

The bases are less complex– just a top and bottom panel (differing only in that the top panel has holes cut out for the locking pegs), two L-shaped supports, and a bunch of folding walls.

The L-shaped supports are the same idea as the V-shapes in the towers– they provide reinforcement to stop things from twisting or crushing under stress.

The straight back panels were attached first. There’s no bend in this one– I just wanted to use up some not-quite-long-enough scraps of foam, so I stuck two bits together. 🙂

I moved out from there, attaching the walls that go around the bridge attachment bumps on the back…

…and the one on the front.

Next, I attached the top. I was actually worried that I couldn’t get hot glue all the way around before it started cooling, so I attached the top primarily with Weld Bond white glue, and only used hot glue around the pegs to locking everything in place afterward.

And then, more ribs. Again I didn’t have the cardstock on-hand yet, so the ribs will be the “final state” until nearly the end.

Aaaand… BAM. So awesome. 😀

Rinse and repeat two more times, and my three standard hourglass buildings were finished. However, I still had a modified version to build.

My planned layouts for this terrain always included some angle-cut buildings, which can be smushed against the edge of the board. Essentially all I’ll be doing here is building a normal hourglass building and cutting it at a 22.5-degree angle from top to bottom; I grab a ruler and mark the cut on my base template.

The same angle is added to the tower template.

And then my last set of top and bottom panels is given matching slices.

Assembly is much as before…

…except that there’s less structural support since I’m only doing one side at a time.

While most of the components are quite easy to slice apart, the archways present a more complex puzzle, because I’m cutting an octagon apart on a 22.5-degree angle. The principle at work here is the same as that employed in creating the SpudWave from my space station walkthrough; if you haven’t sat through that particular remedial math lesson yet, I highly recommend it on account of how smart it makes me look.

I really like that I’m starting to have an archive of useful videos like these that free me from re-explaining things all the time. I’ve been working on a set of sculpting videos for just that reason… not sure when they might see the light of day given the vast amount of editing they still require, though. 🙁

Anyway, back on topic! Applying the principles that created the SpudWave, I cut a precise S-swoop across the arch, which gave it a perfect diagonal cut once folded into shape.

And by “perfect”, I of course mean “perfectly 90 degrees off the correct angle”. The blue dotted line is were the slice through the archway should have gone; I got my directions confused, and cut along the red angle instead.

So, err, yeah. Let’s take a mulligan.

Theeeere we go.

And this is why you always check your work before cutting, kids.

These pieces needed some angle beveling on their sliced side. You can sort of see why in the next photo– a panel would eventually need to go over the diagonal slice, and one edge of the archway would be in its way unless it gets shaved down.

With the angle cut the right way around, everything slotted in perfectly.

So awesome-looking. 😀

The locking pegs also needed to be cut; these were a lot easier than the arches. 😛

I dropped the angled pieces onto my test layout to check their size and fit, and was happy to see that they worked exactly as planned. Yaaaaay! 🙂

At this point the “sliced face” was open on both sides; I would need to add a panel to fill it in.

For the most part this just meant cutting a rectangle the length of the diagonal cut. However, the hole for the archway wasn’t just a direct trace of the opening from the side indents; because it had been cut on an angle, the hole in this diagonal panel was a stretched-out version of the normal opening.

Next up, the same process was applied to the base.

The “sliced face” on this part was a lot easier to build, as it was just a rectangle with no added complications.

So cool. 🙂

I cut the locking pegs a bit short on the top so that the bottom face could just be a featureless panel.

With that, bulk construction for the hourglass buildings was complete. However, I still had some work to do on two more building designs, starting with…

6 thoughts on “Looming Onyx Towers

  • Christoph

    Really great work again. It’s a shame lasdough was such a waste of time and effort. Keep on the good work, will look great at the end i’m sure.

  • Andrew Hebert

    PHWOAR! What awesome terrain, and incredible insights! Inspiring stuff, Spud!

  • Max

    I felt distinctly masochistic recently and decided to try my hand at the ring and ISS tower. So far it’s been a mixed success completing the ring, however, on the base segment for the final quadrant of the ring I can’t seem to find the template in the downloads. Am I missing something?

  • Captain Spud [Post author]

    1) Dear God, why are you doing this to yourself? I TRIED TO WARN YOU! I TRIIIIIIIIEEED ;_;

    2) I’m looking over the template files, and it looks like the footprint for the ring tower is built out of two other templates:

    That definitely wasn’t clear from the templates or the walkthrough. Potato bad at instructions. 🙁

    3) Let me know if anything else is missing or unclear. 🙂

  • Max

    Haha I excel in making poor decisions.
    I thought it might be something along those lines but didn’t fancy gambling the time and resources on the hunch. Thanks!

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