The first hexagonal elements we will discuss are slopes. By slope, we mean a hex that has one or more sides at a lower elevation and two or more sides that come are at a higher elevation. The most common hexagon slopes are:
- Straight slope
- Curved slope
- Close curved slope
- Slope to enlarge
- Slope to enlarge close
In order to make our hexagons modular, it is necessary to maintain a consistent design so all hexes will work together.
The first design constraint to be considered is the Junction Point of the slope. Clearly, the following two slopes can not be joined because the end of the first does not coincide with the beginning of the second.
In order to streamline the hex shaping and fitting process, we recommend you use the vertices or corners of the hexagon as junction points, so it will be easy to match without having to take complex measurements.
A second constraint to consider is the Incline of the slope. As you can see in the following example, two slopes that have the same incline but different junction points do not join smoothly.
Consider the angle of incline to the slope. Too shallow a slope may not be clearly identifiable, while too steep a slope could be perceived as unrealistic. A good compromise is a slope of 45°.
Having considered these constraints you can begin to realize your slopes. First, let’s take a look at making a straight slope.
First draw the two junction points (below) with a pen away from the vertices with a length equal to the height of the hexagon (in our case 1cm). This will allow you to obtain slopes of 45°.
Now, rotate the hexagon and draw the profile of the slope, joining the junction points (below).
Try to avoid making the profile of the slope to angular. Remember that nature is variable and irregular, so be creative. What is important is to start and finish at the junction points. Moreover, always try to arrive at the junction point with a line perpendicular to the side, in order to make the transition from one hex to another as smooth as possible.
Cut along the contour with a saw or foam cutter. Try to keep the cut perpendicular to the surface of the hexagon. Be careful to match the start and end positions. Do not worry however if you middel of the cut
is a bit off, you’ll remove that anyway later. If the cut is particularly complex, take it in successive cuts. Be sure to meet the end of the first cut with the end of you second cut to keep the cut as clean as possible.
Now rotate the hexagon and draw a second profile parallel to the first cut. Don’t worry if the second profile is not perfectly parallel to the bottom edge of the first cut.
Cut a 45° angle, joining the bottom of the first profile with the second, upper profile. Don’t worry if the first few tries aren’t perfectly accurate. Concentrate primarily on the angles at the junction points.
Use a piece of fine sandpaper to smooth the edges of the profile. Don’t be afraid to leave the edges at the junction points a little more crisp.
You can create irregularities on the slope so as to make it even more realistic. You can create irregularities with a flame or solvents. In both cases, the foam will give off hazardous gases, so use extreme caution and work in a well-ventilated area with adult supervision.
If you plan to use a flame, a lighter or a candle will provide more than enough heat. Practice on a few scraps before you apply to your perfectly cut hex.
If you plan to use a solvent, dab on a small amount with an old brush. When the foam becomes soft, press lightly with the fingertips, molding the surface as you go.
Voila! Your sloped hex is finished. You just have to fix it upon a 1cm hexagon with PVA to make the slope as modular as possible.
In the video below, we use the techniques mentioned above to make a hex in about eight minutes.
I want to thank Jay for reviewing the text of the post!