Wargaming Tradecraft: Custom Hordes Templates [part 2]


Custom Hordes Templates [part 2]

This is where the magic happens!
Designed, built and programmed by my dad.
 So here's the second part of my custom Hordebloods template project. [see the first here] Another successful bunch of work complete and it's created some fantastic looking templates.

I've gone in to more detail here leading up to the current version of the templates.

The spray template was the hardest to reproduce. Why? It's not to spec. The sides and middle are actually longer than 10". Looks like that first half inch designator is a little too big.

My dad and I had a great weekend of working on these. It made for a great project as he showed me more about the workings of his machine and he worked out a few kinks in my design, and we resolved some bugs in the code and brainwashed for new features for it. This alone made for a successful project, the templates working out being bonus :)

First things first, I need to cut the acrylic sheets to size.
 Two-sided tape is used as an adhesive to hold the acrylic down while the CNC machine does its cutting. (Gums up the bit a little, but not horribly so)

Two different bits are used. For the finer details, 1/32" and to cut the parts out, 1/16". A smaller bit means the details can be a little closer and nicer, while a thicker bit is less likely to break when actually cutting parts out.

Once the parts are cut out, there will be some dust and particles left behind from the routing. Using an old toothbrush and some alcohol, they scrub away just fine.

Next up, they need some colour.

A few different things can be used: paint, crayons and oil pastels for example. The oil pastels fill in crevices quite well and aren't as crumbly as crayons.

You're going to use up a lot of each stick... so dollar / convenience store pastels are recommended. Art stores will have a wider range of colours though, if you can afford it.

The problem is - what colour?

Really, I had no idea and decided to try a bunch. (That's why I cut so many small templates in the first place)

Taste the rainbow!

 Multi-colour was an intriguing suggestion from my dad. It's very striking for sure, but I had a few issues with it.

The transitions between the colours was really tricky to work in. (You'll see why shortly) Maybe if I was painting that wouldn't be an issue. Secondly, it kinda looks like an old neon sign. Again, nice and bold.. but maybe too so.

In the end, it was between red and white... almost green as well. I decided to go with white!

So how is it done? Taking an oil pastel and using a lot of force, I scrub it AGAINST the grain of the detail and eventually fill everything in. It takes a while and there's a lot of wasted pastel since it's essentially grating off as well.

You can also watch below to see the process:

To clean it up I use Isopropanol, aka alcohol. Get a bunch on some paper towel, wipe off a section of the template, repeat. NOTE that alcohol (which can be found at most drug stores) comes in different mixes. 25%, 50%, etc. That's the percentage of alcohol and the rest is water. If there's more water, you'll wind up with a residue or film after wiping. I use 99% alcohol so it's the cleanest.

Use a fresh piece of paper towel and alcohol rub the template a few times and with a few more clean pieces of paper towel. This ensures you get all the residue and oil you can off the templates.

If you change your mind and need to remove a colour, I also used the alcohol. Instead of a paper towel, I went with a toothbrush and scrubbed WITH the grain to work it out.

This took a lot of repeats, and was a pain in the butt. Eventually I got rid of the red I almost went with.

And in the end, here's the final product!

Very bold, very striking! It all really grabs the eye and just holds on.

The plastic I got is a translucent red - I think it's a little dark to see through well and there are a few tweaks I'd like to make... so there will be another version... but nevertheless, these look amazing!

Got a chance to use them last night and the guys were just blown away. I gave out my spare combat templates to the guys who happened to be by the FLGS, so nothing wasted.


  1. Great post, great tut, and great results! Complete win.. congrats!

  2. Fantastic end result – well worth the time and effort.

  3. Cool templates. Does your Dad have any instructions on how to build the CNC machine?

  4. Nope. Between the build and programming, it's pretty intricate stuff... buuuut you might be able to find plans out on the interwebs.


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