Hive pageant – Aliens game board update #2

February 13, 2012

After my last post I’ve received very good comments regarding the hive walls. I agree that the first test piece was lacking that biomechanic look so iconic to the Alien franchise, so I went to work on different prototypes. I bought some electrical wire (as it’s very cheap and holds its shape) and using blue foam offcuts and Tetra paste I knocked together three prototypes for hive wall styles. I’ve shown them painted, with everyone’s favourite smartgunner Drake for comparison. What do you think? They’re still lacking all sorts of lumps, holes, glue-goo, gloss varnish, ribbing and things like that, but these should give a rough idea. None of them are quite right, but I have a feeling I’m getting there. They are a bit sparse, for one, so I really need to add a lot more stuff in.

First test – While I like the spinelike ribbing on the vertical struts, I quickly noticed that the background desperately needs texture. It’s also a bit too spider web looking.

Click for a larger version

Second test – In this one I like the organic look of the tubes. It’s much too sparse, though. The addition of a simple texture to the wall makes a huge difference.

Click for a larger version

Third test – In my opinion this is the most Gigeresque of the test pieces. I like the ribbed texture on the wall. A lot of the wire was left exposed to create a smooth look. I used some heavy drybrushing to emulate Giger’s airbrushed style.

Click for a larger version

In my own opinion there are good elements in all of them that could/should be combined. I hope you’ll agree that these are much closer to H.R. Giger’s aesthetic than my previous outing. There are two styles of hive wall that I’ve spotted in the films. One is a very random, swirly, gooey one, whereas the other one is very much straight-off Giger with less “bio” and more “mechanical”.

Here are some shots from Aliens to illustrate the look I’m trying to achieve. There’s obviously a lot of randomness, as well as plenty of organic looking strands of Xenomorph resin. Of course I’ll need to leave some original walls showing through as well to create a contrast between the man-made and the alien.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Now’s the time for comments. As you can see, I’m teetering between different options so input is very valuable at this time. Don’t be afraid to be critical, either!


  1. I vote for number three. Definitely the most “canon” of the bunch.


    • Thanks Timo, I’m thinking along the same lines.


  2. Nice work, all are a big improvement on the first prototype.

    The third piece is probably the best alright, although elements of the first two are also nice.

    The main thing to consider is that you are going to have to make a lot of these. Its important not to make them so complicated that you never get them finished. At least, that is something that I would be considering if I were you.

    Great progress so far. Strike while the iron is hot and try to get as much done as you can as fast as possible. Hopefully you will tehn be over the hump by the time that fatigue sets in.

    This looks like it will turn out to be a fantastic board to game on.


    • Thanks, I’m leaning that way too. I actually don’t need that much wall, as I’m not going to surround the whole table with it. All in all it will be about a meter or so. Of course this should definitely be filed under “famous last words”. They are luckily pretty quick to complete. At its simplest I just glue on some electrical wire and other assorted junk with PVA, wait for it dry a bit and then liberally smear Tetra paste all over it and sculpt with sculpting tools and toothpicks a little. Painting consists of black acrylic craft paint followed by two rough drybrushings of different shades of grey + additional touches with varnish and glue. You’re right about striking while the iron’s hot though, I’ve had far too many projects die halfway through.


  3. You can get flexible electical conduit tubing, cut it in half and use them as the larger pipes, even without adding goop to them they will look a lot like the aliens walls.

    You can also add lots of strands of gooey mass with a hot glue gun which will save tons of time and money instead of using green stuff.

    Also I have seen some interesting posts where somebody has been experimenting with using a heat gun and cheap disposable plastic forks and spoons to make stuf fthat looks like ribs and organic structures. He’s not doing anything giger like at the moment but i think it could work well for that



    • Thanks Jon, I just put in an order for some conduit tubing on your recommendation. The hot glue gun tip was very good as well! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. The Tau stuff was interesting too.


      • There’s a couple styles for the tubing some has kinda square edges and some is more rounded. You can also get flexible drain pipe in several sizes up to about 6 inches in diameter which you can actually use for entire walls if you want to do a completely over grown queens layer.

        The Tau article I thought had some promise, although I’ve yet to try it. I think using some heated and flexed handles colud make for some interesting support beams or ribbing effects, then drape glue off of them to make smaller stuctures..

        Also the lattice grid that he uses could form some of the wall textures. They probably have differant sizes of that stuff or cheap plastic rods they use for gardens and plant supports which can be heated and bent easily.

        Of the three designs youhave so far I think the 3rd is the best as it looks the most like the hive stuff in the movie. I really like the wall texture but I think the wires are a bit spider web like in pattern and maybe they need to be more vertical in posistion?

        Also having them slope down from the wall and reach out onto the floor might help tie it to the giger stuff a bit better. The resin build up makes the rooms and halls look more like round tunnels and removes the square corners. It won’t work to show the ceiling but having the rounded look where the bottom of the walls blends into the floors would be pretty cool.

        I like it so far, but a few minor tweaks can really give it the extra wow factor.


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