Sunday 31 October 2010

Terrain is everything - modular hill overview part 1.

From day one my primary interest in getting back into gaming has been the fun I had making scenery. Admittedly I’m not talking some of the hyper-realistic sort that some terrain artists can do but functional, eye-catching, game-worthy scenery. Added to this, given our limited gaming table I wanted the scenery to be versatile. Terrain created in such a way that, where possible, it can be used in a variety of ways for maximum effect.

So I started with a list of typical terrain:

  • Hills
  • Trees
  • Walls
  • Fences
  • Buildings
  • Ruins
  • Scattered objects
  • Rock formations
  • Bunkers/defences
  • Containers
As you see first on the list was hills, you’re defacto standard terrain. If you’re using a felt sheet for a battle mat these can be as simple as books under the sheet! In this case I drew up a quick sketch for my modular hill.

So, for part two of this overview tomorrow, I’ll go into detail how I went about making the hills.

Friday 29 October 2010

A freebie - Battlefield Mars

Way back when I went to a Games Day or Golden Demon and I fell in love with a Chaos battlefield. This thing was bright red and the were lots of little mounds of 'difficult terrain' that were made out of massed piles of pure white skeleton warriors piled up on these red ash hillocks [that's hillocks]. Of course you could do that then because skeleton box sets were THE go to army if you wanted to game on the cheap, are there any cheap starter options anymore?

Anyway, I always wanted a red battlefield, if and when I did my own terrain but back when we were gaming as a group of mates our table was made of plywood and we had a big sheet of green felt. Cut to today and considering the large interest in Adeptus Mechanicus armies I found very few Mars/Red Planet terrain tutorials.

So my first option was to look at red felt which I was going to 'distress' a bit. This would have cost somewhere in the region of £15-£20 and although I've since looked at a couple of alternatives GW's own Realm of Battle Gameboard [too expensive], Zuzzy Miniatures awesome looking Terra-Flex System battle mats [a third the price of a gameboard, easy stowage but not as versatile], a big sheet of B&Q insulation foam carved up and ready to game [ but hard work to make and a pain to store without damage], I opted for the cheapest option available to me - a big laminated print out of aerial photography!

Of course you need access to a large scale printer and laminator for this sort of thing and if you even look at high street printers who offer such a service you're better off with the felt route, or even the B&Q foam route if you have the skills to model such a board and store it. However if you can access such things here's a copy of my red planet battlefield to print out. It'll easily cover 4'x2' at 144dpi so you could blow it up to do a 6'x3' with only a little loss in quality. It's just over 2MB if you're worried about filesizes.

You can download the full hi-res version here [using Shift+D]

Wednesday 27 October 2010

40k future container scatter terrain

Here's a little tutorial on some 40k future containers that I made. Get a Mentos Cube Chewing Gum box [currently available in most Home Bargain/Quality Save in the UK for 59p]

Remove all labelling and take the lid off without breaking the sea;
After emptying the contents, preferably into your mouth, slice off all the protruding parts on the lid.

Add cereal box card reinforcements and undercoat. I've .pdf templates for the reinforcements if anyone wants to give it a go. All you need do is print them out, pritt stick or spray mount them to your card and then cut out with a craft knife or scalpel [watch your fingers].

Turn them upside down and add granny grating to the top, brass picture hooks can work as crane pick-up points, but you won't be able to stack them directly on top of each other if you do.

Stack 'em high. Probably big enough to hide a Tervigon!

Currently trying to paint them with some nice rust effects, will update when they're done. Note that some have extra reinforcements in the corner for variety. The .pdf template has these extra pieces, they're the centre reinforcements cut diagonally along the dotted line, good for half your container being ultra-strong.
Also if you take the lids completely off most poster tube end caps make ideal liquid-tank lids. Perhaps some of that square mesh often used as railings wrapped round and you could create something like these.

I'll get round to the half height .pdf at some point and updates of the finished painting as and when it's done. Hope you get some use out of this.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

A freebie - wound markers

Here's a little thing to be going on with. If you've got plenty of high wound characters, or if like my son you are running Tyranids then sooner or later you're going to have to deal with recording wounds. There's a number of options, put a dice down [preferrably a small one], buy wound markes or note it down on a piece of paper. The first two cost money, or are annoying if you're using all your lucky dice just to keep track and the last one's also a pain in the hive mind.

Alternatively you can make your own, so I did. All you need to do is print them out, attach to mounting card, cover in sellotape for pseudo one sided lamination and then cut them out, voila!

You can use the blue markers for your Doom of Malantai, thanks to his Spirit Leech having a maximum of 10 wounds! There's also a few 3-5 wound markers for you Tervigon, enjoy.

Usual step-by-step:
  1. Print
  2. Apply double sided tape to back
  3. Stick to mounting card
  4. Carefully apply sellotape to top if you want them pseudo-laminated
  5. Cut out with craft knife/scalpel
  6. Amaze your friends and enemies with these cards
  7. Tell them to visit for their own free markers.

Monday 25 October 2010

I've really fallen of the wagon now!

OK, so no ones reading this because I'm a new blog that's not going to be advertised but I wanted somewhere to store all my newly rediscovered passion for all things Games Workshop [the passion that dares not speak its name]. I started my interest in little toy soldiers before high school in 1985. Round about that time I was frequenting a local newsagents that sold Citadel miniatures but I'd also been to an independent gaming store called Game in Liverpool and proudly returned with my first lead miniature that cost about 50p!

Anyway I'll maybe spare some time over my history with this hobby over the course of the blog but I'll state that from 1997 to 2009 I was 'clean'. I'd managed to kick the habit and was firmly on the wagon for 12 years despite an increasing amount of occasions where the family would wander into a GW and I would make the store personnel regret ever sidling up to me with the classic "so what brings you here today?"

Still when the kids reach the age where massive super-powered space warriors and space aliens capture their imagination and a downturn in your other passions converge it's easy to suddenly fall of the wagon and indulge your passions. The fact is I always loved the creative side of GW, the painting and model building. I wasn't too bad at it either, just not very prolific, until my college years when I had more time to develop a painting style I was comfortable with. So that's what I'm going to focus on, the bits and pieces that I can collect together that I've made. Hopefully there'll be things people can benefit from, the shortcuts to managing your addiction instead of your addiction managing you. If you end up following me, huzzah, that's a bonus I hope I don't waste your time.

Stay frosty


PS a random image to start you off. Here's my Harlequin jetbike, painted in the style of the Joker from Tim Burton's Batman. Along with the rest of my 'quins he was sold off on ebay in 2004. Altogether I made a pretty little profit on these guys, more will follow over time.