Saturday 3 June 2023

Judge Dredd: The Case of the Miniatures Block

Regular readers will know that my scale of choice for Judge Dredd miniatures is 15mm.

I chose this scale because it is cheap, easy to paint and the legendary Laserburn Lawmen are a perfect proxy for my favourite era of Judge Dredd, the 80s.  The problem is of course as with any tabletop game storage and transportation.  Taking a leaf out of the old Kenner Star Wars playbook I resolved to create a miniature storage case in the shape of a city block which could add some play element to my games whilst hiding away all the neat surprises I have in store for my players.

The Framework 

Fans of Aldi (a German discount retailer) will be familiar with the wonders of the middle aisle, and one such grocery shopping trip resulted in me bringing home this cheap plastic crafting drawer unit.  This was swiftly clad in sheets of foam core on three sides and a carry handle printed on my FDM printer was bolted to the top.

Judge Dred - Mega City One Miniature Storage Block Case


I wanted to extend play in 3 dimensions so the inclusion of some elevated features was essential.  These consisted of 25mm wide strips of foam core hot glued at regular intervals up the block.  Most of my minis are based on 1p coins so this is perfect for stationing high level snipers or as a launchpad for boingers or skysurfers.

Judge Dred - Mega City One Miniature Storage Block Case - Balconies

Exterior Features

I always picture these smaller blocks as being the work of brutalist architects.  They are concrete monstrosities more akin to prisons than homes but they attempt to offer at least windows and air conditioning.  

I modelled a couple of "skins" featuring a door and windows which could be 3D printed and then attached to the foamcore facade conveniently hiding some of the wiring from the lights.  This could easily be made from mountboard, cereal packet or even thick paper if you do not have a 3D printer, but I have made the files available on thingiverse for free just download Tower Block Apartment Front Skins.

Judge Dredd Block Apartment Skins


No sci-fi model is complete until it is festooned with greeblies.  Some are necessary to hide wiring but all of them break up that monotonous concrete facade.  I downloaded some air con units from Thingiverse which were then printed out and positioned in the space between the apartment skins.

Judge Dredd Block Greeblies
If you are interested I have written a blog about printing some of the Judge Dredd Greeblies.

Lighting and Signage

One of the core features of any block is its plethora of crappy.  Battery powered christmas lights are perfect for this and can also perform double duty as balcony illumination.  These were strung in a zig zag pattern and then embedded in the underside of the balconies.

I then modelled some light covers to hide the tiny LEDs which added a certain amount of light diffusion aswell.

Futuristic Block Lighting Enclosures

Block Name Signage

I then modelled a light box and frame to house paper block name signs for each of the blocks in my sector.  This is a versatile system which incorporates 5mm magnets and magnetic strip so you can attach the sign to either side or top of the case.  The hand drawn lettering I feel really sums up the art style of Judge Dredd during my formative years and they are super easy to knock out.  Here are just two

Block Name Signs

I also modelled the infamous Peach Trees Block sign which I printed in transparent resin on my Photon Mono 4K.  

The lightbox design incorporates hollow areas in the corners for the magnets to attach the frame (also magnetised).  The inside of the box is covered with aluminium foil to aid light reflection.  Signs are easily attached and detached in seconds as your scenes change. 

Block Names Light Box

The Roof

The top floor of the block would inevitably invite play so I made sure to create a 1" grid in the roof which was then further emphasized with short clippings of PLA filament to create a grid.  

Movement Grid for Roof Top Encounters

This was then painted and covered in some flock to make a rooftop garden.  The carrying handle sticks out a bit but it's form over function 

It's Magnetic Man!

Storing miniatures is the key goal, so it was crucial to make sure that they didn't move around during transport.  I stuck some A4 magnetic sheet into each tray which has enough holding power to stop my minis from skating around uncontrollably.  This is quite cheap on eBay and a good solution for smaller minis or ones which don't weigh much.

15mm Judge Dredd Miniature Magnetic Storage

For those of you using 1 pence or 2 pence pieces to base your minis, make sure that you use only pennies from 1992 onwards,  These are made of copper coated steel and are therefore magnetic.  If, like me, you were using up your penny jar and didn't know this when you based them, then you can use thin steel foil or more of the sheet you used to line your trays.

Posters and Grafitti

No block would be complete without the plethora of posters and block grafitti.  For my block This is still a work in progress which I have detailed in a seperate article - Judge Dredd: Miniature Posters for a Miniature Mega City One.

Is it Finished?

Whilst this is always going to be a work in progress, I think it is sufficiently finished to post this article with some photos.

15mm Judge Dredd Mega City One Block Storage Case - Complete

15mm Judge Dredd Block mini posters

Storage for hundreds of 15mm Judge Dredd or Sci-Fi miniatures

Video Tour

Apologies for the vertical video but this thing is pretty big.