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Hex Terrain Tiles

by grumpusbumpus Jan 18, 2018
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A great addition to a great system. I cannot wait to print a few!

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Hi, I have Hexon tiles and love them, so add ons for the system are a great idea. The one thing that’s always bothered me with them though is that the rivers sit on top of the other tiles. Would you consider making river sections that are indented into the ground level; ie. The river is a depression into the tile rather than sitting on top? This could be used for canals, gullies etc also.

That's totally doable. A Hexon tile has about a 1/4" of depth to work with. One concern about this sort of system for rivers, trenches, etc. is that that Hexon tiles are 2x3 hexes in layout, so it would take a lot of work to produce every conceivable pattern of river that could cross such a tile. One possible workaround is to design the indented river on single-hex tiles, but then you need to use a lot of single, filler tiles to let your river mesh with the other 2x3 tiles you've used to make your board. Do you understand the challenge I'm describing? What are your thoughts?

To be honest I was thinking only of the single hexes. As you say, that means you need other single hexes to fill in the gaps, but that’s fine. The river hexes could even be double-sided I assume?

Yes, they could be double-sided, and single hexes are probably the best solution. I'll see what I can whip up.

It occurs to me that double-sided, indented river tiles would be problematic. Kallistra tiles only have a depth of 1/2". If an indented river feature goes down through say half of that, and there's a similar feature on the reverse side, this will cause an issue.

These are great, thanks! I play Commands & Colors on a game mat (with scenery) and hex grid (center dot only). But I still need hills that are about 4" across and these are awesome. I've printed out several singles and did a test river print tonight. This saves me a ton of work and they look great.

Trenches would be cool too!

Thanks for your kind comments! I am so glad that a fellow wargamer is making use of my work. You are the second person to write in asking for trenches. I finally replaced my personal computer and am downloading 3D design software as I type this.

Regarding trenches, what scale miniatures would you like those trenches to match? And what sort of trenches are we talking about? (i.e. World War era, with duckboards and revetments? Black powder era earthworks with gabions?)

Black powder era would be great -- I don't think there are a lot of options for that. I game exclusively in 15mm, so obviously I would vote for that -- but scaling works fine in Cura! The river print came out great and I printed out another single hill. Next up will be some of the double hills.

If you could magnetize these would awesome.

I,ll print out a few to see how they turn out.
Will be useing these in gaslands.

What kind of magnetizing are you thinking of? It would take some time, but it wouldn't be too hard to carve slots in the interior hill faces to accept a little cylindrical, rare earth magnet.

All my design work is on hold at the moment, because my personal computer was stolen; however, once I get a new computer, I'll work on designing some trenches.

What scale trenches would you like (e.g. 6mm, 15mm, 28mm)? Any other requests about how they're designed?

Hi, Very nice job! Have you think to make some trenches?

I have just started to print your hexes and so far only the one is a problem, they look great. Once I get them all done; being the river first, I just might have a request. We just received our order of Hexon tiles with some hills and such, I'm impressed with the product. As you know even with that we "gamers" always are looking to change a few items and I came across your post here, which saved me a bunch of work. So I will keep in touch, d.

PS: if you do correct that file let me know. I straightened it out by heating up the PLA and pressing down the edges.

I checked the "river bend" tile, and sure enough, you were right about it not being flush along the bottom. I corrected the tile and uploaded a replacement. Look for "river-bend-v2.stl" in the files listing. I am curious how you're using the tiles, and I would love to see some photos of the finished product being used! I myself am working on finishing up a conversion of the game Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear into a 3D miniatures game.

Hi I just downloaded your hex terrain and I'm printing the river bend right now. There is a issue with the bottom not touching the build plate. As I read your info I see you found that problem with other hexes and corrected them. So I thought that you would want to know. I tipped you using paypal sorry I don't use bitcoin. Great stuff. d

Hi, thanks for the tip! And thanks for letting me know about the river tile! I thought I'd cleaned them all up, but maybe I missed a few. I'll fix that as soon as I can and upload a replacement file! Do you have any hex terrain requests?

A stupid one - why you decided to use hexagons instead of squares? :) Wouldn't it be easier to build the field with quadrilaterals?

Update: I think I have found the answer: "They're my favorite wargaming terrain product." ;)

I have a number of projects that involve converting board games that use hex grids into 3D games with miniatures and terrain.

Something you might think about for roads is inverting the river tiles to make the road higher than the sides.

I have been stuck on making smooth modular hills like this. How did model these?

Hi Sprayer. Thanks for your interest and your question. I'll give you a basic rundown, but if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

The only software program I used was Blender, which is free. I started by making a basic hexagon tile template. I created a "cylinder," but I limited it's number of sides to 6, creating a regular hexagon. I adjusted its dimensions so that the hexagon would be 100mm (~ 4 inches, "units" in Blender terms) from flat edge to flat edge, and 3mm high.

I then did some planning, thinking about how hill/slope tiles would need to tessellate (interconnect together). Each slope hex would need a certain number of "high" sides and a certain number of "low" sides. I thought of every possible combination and orientation and listed them out on paper. These ranged from "0," where all of the hex sides are low, but the middle is high, to "6," where all sides are high, and therefore the tile is just a thicker hexagon. For tiles with 2 through 4 high sides, there are multiple different possible configurations. For example, if 2 sides are high, the two high sides could be directly adjacent, could have one hex side between them, or could be directly opposite one another (3 different configurations). I made a design for each of these configurations.

One of the "gotchas" of the process was figuring out that I needed to determine whether each vertex (i.e. corner) of the hexagon was "high" or "low," and whether the midpoint of each hex side should be high or low. I kept the number of vertices describing the tile to the absolute minimum at this point. This point is complex and a little tough to explain in writing.

To give each hex a plateau effect, so that there would be a flatter area in the center of each slope, I described a smaller hexagon shape of points in the center of each hex tile. The vertices of this central hex were each halfway between the center point and the vertices at the outside of the hex tile. For each tile, I made this central, smaller hexagonal region "high." I then went around the edge of the tile, and depending on which slope configuration I was creating, I raised the vertices along the top of the outside edge of the hex (at each "point" of the hexagon, and at the center of each hex side). See the screenshot I've attached for an example of what one of these basic tiles would look like. The basic design of the hex tile is important, and I would need to includes some drawings or screenshots of the file in-progress to really explain it well.

After creating and saving each of the basic slope shapes, the next step was to "rough-up" the surface of each tile. I used the Subdivide tool in Blender to make the top surface of each hex tile more complicated (i.e. give the top surface many more faces to work with). Then I used Blender's sculpting tool to randomly draw all over the top surface of the tile. This had an effect similar to slathering sculpting putty all over the surface. Then I used the flatten sculpting brush to smooth out the random mess I'd made, making the slope look organic. I particularly focused on sculpting over and smoothing out the hard line edges.

Another "gotcha" I encountered was caused by this sculpting step. My sculpting process ended up affecting the bottom surface of each tile, causing the bottom to no longer be totally flat. This caused an issue with printing, as the bottom surface of each tile wasn't flush with the print bed. The result was that the corners of the tiles tended to "peel upwards" when printing. I discovered this issue and manually reset the bottoms of each tile to be totally flat.

Very helpfull! Thx

This was in my head as an idea for the last year and never got around to making them. This set is incredible! Keep up the good work! I'd love to see some with more defined deeper river bed so I could put in water effects! :D

I'd recommend half hex tiles that can fill in the edges for a better defined straight edge on the board? I don't see any in the previews, but I might be missing them.

Hi Dian,

Thank you for your kind comments. I will take your advice and create a half hex. Regarding deeper river tiles, how deep (in millimeters) would be sufficient for good use of water effects? I'd welcome any other suggestions or requests you might have.


Oh I missed the river tiles in there already! Awesome. I can probably make them work, I am not really sure how deep they would need to be, and I realise it messes up with the edges of the hex being flush.

You might want to consider looking at how openlock/openforge/ZOD have interlocking connectors and spots for magnets. You would need a buffer bottom piece for those solutions, but it would allow the hexes to stick together so they cant be jostled or bumped.

Have you tested printing these vertically? They would print significantly quicker and use up less material (rafts). It's not major but a nice design thing if it works.

When I saw the flying stand, I thought it was a storage solution, but that was going to be another suggestion. Tiles like these can be a pain to store, and a 4'x4' skirmish wargaming table would be approximately 144 tiles or more. I think that design wise this is the biggest hurdle that would keep people from utilizing this system. I don't know of a solution myself. Most flat tiles could slot into something or stack easily enough though without damaging a finished hexes flock. a pillar of hexes (like a sleeve of cookies/crackers)

Still this is an incredible set and I can't wait to print more of them and get a whole table setup for them. Keep up the great work :D

A half-hex was an easy add. I mocked one up and uploaded it. Yeah, I've already made use of the river tiles to make a Russian "balka" (ravine) for one of my WW2 games.

I've not used rafts for any of the tiles thus far. There's nothing overhanging, so I just print them as-is, in normal orientation, with 5-10% infill.

So, to be clear, the underlying tiles in my cover photo are all from Kallistra. I've been working on making add-ons for their underlying tiles. So in that photo with the flocked hills, the underlying 2x3 tiles are from Kallistra, while the slopes on top were all designed and 3D printed by yours truly. The Kallistra tiles stack on one-another and the stacks go in one large, plastic storage bin. A stack of 25 of them (to make the pictured setup) stacks up to be about a foot high. The Kallistra tiles come with small plastic connectors to hold them together, but I've not had an issue with the tiles sliding during play.

I hadn't yet given much thought to storage. I have a big basement and toss my terrain into various plastic bins and cardboard boxes. If painted and flocked tiles are sprayed with sealant, they hold up really well to the rigors of gaming.

The flying stands are for perching units above terrain. So far, they've been used to show when infantry miniatures are occupying buildings.