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Jordan Peacock

Letterboard Letters for Wasteland Signage

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I found a useful thing at my local JoAnn Fabric: letterboard letters!

 

enclave_at_the_monorail_station_by_jorda

 

This was originally a Mattel GeoTrax "Grand Central Station" toy (or the better part thereof that I found at a thrift store), but I ripped out the track, and transformed it into a "monorail station," making it official by replacing the original "GeoTrax Grand Central Station" sticker with a big SIGN that reads, "MONORAIL" in big, 3D letters.  Doesn't get much more official than that!

 

55849459_10216289937993621_5657192658704

Over at JoAnn Fabric, I found they had a section for "letterboards" -- mini versions of the sort of marquee sign that you might see outside a church or small-town theater, or the occasional road-side restaurant, with letters that can be slid onto rails to spell out a message ... but this time for the home, and much smaller.  All of the available options at JoAnn appear to be from something called "DCWV" -- I haven't yet seen what other brands and styles might be available at other craft stores.

(Ah, nostalgia!  It reminds me of the good ol' days when I had to clamber up a ladder and perch precariously to change the marquee sign outside the Hillcrest Drive-in Theater.  At the time it was amid fields along the road out of town, but decades later, now the whole area is covered in residential neighborhoods that have sprawled outward.  But I digress.)

For the "MONORAIL" sign, I used the 1/2" high letters, which just, by amazing circumstance, managed to fit the available space.  The letters are also available in 1" high and 2" high, in an odd assortment of colors, and each size is in a different type-face.  There were also a number of complete *words* that could be popped onto a letterboard, but these came in sets with themes that didn't lend themselves quite as readily to my purposes -- they don't necessarily look all that "retro," they're in very different styles from each other (so they don't combine well), and don't feature words that, in and of themselves, look like they'd work for a self-standing sign.  (For instance, a typical "letter board word" pack might be themed after "happy," and feature four plastic words in various types of script -- "HAPPY," "SMILE," "FAVORITE," "LAUGH.")   There's one with a "coffee/wine" theme (Coffee, Wine, Latte, Merlot) that perhaps I could use the "Coffee" and "Wine" words for some sort of store signs.  As for the rest?  Well, I've been thinking of taking a cue from the saloon at the start of Fallout: New Vegas and have a sign for some post-apoc shop or settlement that looks as if the letters were scavenged from different shops, and making a substitution for a lacking letter.  ("/Welcome/ (cursive) to ScRAp7oWN!")  I just need to keep an eye out for some junk with embossed lettering, etc., that I could chop up for the requisite letters so I have a variety of type-faces so they're obviously mismatched.

The 1" high and 2" high letters are of course useful as well.  One advantage of the larger letters is that they're also thicker, so it's feasible to drill pinning holes into the bases (or anywhere else along the sides) to attach them to a base of some sort to make "standing" letters without backing.  For an example:

 

chryslus_motors_fortress_by_jordangreywo

 

The above features a set of the 2" tall letters that I pinned to a length of sprue, which was in turn puttied and glued onto some mat board as a base and reinforced with some Robogear/Tehnolog/Platformer plastic panels, so I could perch it on top of a Halo Micro Ops "High Ground Gate" terrain piece to represent the entrance to a Chryslus facility ("Chryslus" being a fictitious manufacturer of electric and fusion-powered cars in the Fallout universe).

A nice added benefit of this method is that if any of the letters fall or break off ... it still looks fine, because this is a post-apocalyptic setting, and of COURSE you're going to have some letters falling off, right?  :D

I'm on the lookout for some bits I can use for my "Welcome to Scraptown" entrance, but it may be a bit longer before I have anything for "show 'n' tell" for that.  (I've got some scrapped "tangle toy" bits that look sort of like red neon translucent plastic, but in bends like elbow macaroni, such that I might be able to make an "S" and an "O" out of them, and perhaps even a "C" that would look distinctly different from the rest of the title.  The main concern is that the resulting "letters" may be too *large* to go with the others without really looking out of place.)
 

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Every time I think you've mastered the postapocalyptic urban terrain game you find new ways to outdo yourself! 

 

Great use of a good find. The fonts are spot-on too.

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That is a SPLENDID find! The signs add a finishing touch to the scenes, AND fit perfectly with the atmosphere of the place. VERY WELL DONE!

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