Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Big Chicken

When we finished our last D&D campaign arch, Craig said that he wanted to run Deadlands, the horror western game. I'd heard of Deadlands, but I'd never played it, and I'd never played in a western game before. I came up with an interesting character, and I'd been enjoying the game. Craig had this boxed set of 8.5"x11" Old West Town tiles, but they lacked any kind of reference grid to track movement on, so I offered to scan them in, add a grid, and print them out on cardstock. That way, we could use the printouts, and pretty much muck about with them however we liked, and still preserve the originals.

In the process of working on this, which I found to be an interesting project, I started looking into whether or not anyone out there in the ether had put together 3D models of an old west town. I was looking for plastic toys, basically, but this is when I stumbled upon Papercrafting.

This is, apparently, a big thing. There are many many sites out there with paper models, and there are even sites that gather together links to other sites with paper models on them. Buildings, monuments, cars, trains, planes, etc.

The page I originally found was on the "Rules with No Name" site, which gave link after link to Old West models, miniatures, and papercraft. Many of the papercraft items were free when that page was originally written, but times being what they are, most of those have disappeared or have gone commercial, as people realized they could sell the pdfs of the papercraft models. I don't fault them, but it's really a shame I didn't discover this sooner.

Anyway, I hadn't really done anything with the whole Papercraft idea until a few weeks ago. I'm running the Famine in Far-Go campaign for Gamma World, but I converted the Far-Go and East Dah-Koh-Tah setting to Full-Ton and the North Jee-Ore-Jah area. My group started off in LJ (Ellijay, GA), and traveled down to Marietta, GA to investigate why a shipment of food was late. This kicked off the campaign, as the group encountered herd zombies, obbs, and vegepygmies who were attacking a small area north of the town.

When they reached the town center, they beheld The Big Chicken, in all its glory...

Marring the sight was a bunch of zombies and vegepygmies chasing the unfortunate citizens of Marietta towards their save haven! The group dispatched the menace, albeit with some difficulty (Rad-Cat almost died!), and they met Sanders, the current Manager of the Church of Pesco, the Big Chicken.

Constructing the Big Chicken was an idea that came to me a few days before the game. I was trying to use Google Maps to download a satellite image of the area and convert that into gaming tiles to put down for the map, but the resolution was so bad that the tiles were coming out far too pixelated to be of use. In a google image search for any possibly-higher-resolution images, I saw picture after picture of the Big Chicken itself, and it suddenly dawned on me that I didn't need the overhead view... it would be MUCH more impressive to make a papercraft Big Chicken!

It didn't take me too long to work it out. I grabbed a side image of the Big Chicken, doctored it so that it was more "post-apocalyptic", and then grabbed images of the KFC it's attached to... the front, the north side and the south side. I made sure everything was to the 1"=5feet scale, and all the pieces were to scale with each other, and everything looked right. Then, it was a simple matter of printing it all out on cardstock, cutting it out, and slotting it all together. I had to apply some glue to the Big Chicken, gluing the front together so there wouldn't be a seam, and I cut slots in the front of the building to fit the sides of the Big Chicken down into. I even made sure that the doors lined up with the battlemat squares, and that there was a "passage" cut underneath the Big Chicken (since such a passage exists in the real thing). Then I drew the building perimeter, interior and parking lot onto my battlemat. I even created a roof out of foam, but it was too much of a hassle to use, so I just left it at home when it came time to head to Craig's for the game.

I think this has to be one of the best things I've created for a game so far. :)


  1. Okay, that is pretty much the awesomest thing I've ever seen. Hats off to you, sir!

  2. Scott,

    I chose to make a model of the Big Chicken for my final architecture project, and I was surprised/amazed to come across your awesome model! I know you have your basic steps here, but I was wondering if we could talk a bit more so you could possibly share some of your wisdom with me. Is there a better way to contact you (e.g., email)?

    I would be SO appreciative of any help you could give me!

    1. Hi Hannah. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. You can email me at my gmail account: scottymet@...