As part of playing around with rules for using planets in Full Thrust, I've come up with a new way to represent them. Initially, I was using polystyrene hemispheres painted to look like planets. Not only are these difficult to source in the right sizes, but they're difficult to store and not very portable. At the scale I use, of 1“ = 1000km, an Earth sized planet would need to be over 30cm in diameter.
Having discovered that Products for Wargamers will cut MDF bases at any custom size up to 600mm in diameter, I now have a new plan. Though MDF bases lack the nice 3D effect, they are a lot easier to store and carry, meaning I can have a bigger variety of them. For a couple of the planets shown here, I've added texture with flock and grit rather than just painting them.
The ones shown here are meant to represent moons or dwarf planets, though I've now ordered some templates big enough to do Earth and Mars at both inch (1” = 1000km) and centimetre (1cm = 1000km) scales. We tend to play FT using either scale, depending on how big an effective area we want for the game. Planets are easier to fit in using centimetres, but measurement and movement becomes a bit fiddly, especially given the size of the models.
Even using a scale of 1“ = 1000km gives quite small planets relative to the size of the models, but the models were never meant to be to scale compared to movement and weapon ranges. I've found that it's a playable scale that allows planets to fit on the table (together with their gravity wells), and still give a big enough object to manoeuvre around to be interesting.
Note that out of the planets shown here, only the largest two have any gravity worth worrying about within the game. The smaller planets are merely obstacles which can block line of sight or be used as bases.