Well, “a few weeks” in my last update apparently turned into two months of radio silence here. Oops.
Build Something Contest 2021 over on LAF had the end date pushed back by two weeks due to the organizer having an attack of Real Life, but it’s wrapped up and voting should start this week over on Lead Adventure!
I’ll get a full gallery of all my build shots up after voting begins, but in the meantime here’s a teaser from early in construction of my entry, which wound up named the “Dark Pool of Dark Darkness”…
March was when it all went weird. The high point of my own gaming year, Trumpeter Salute over in Vancouver, was cancelled on less than two weeks notice, work-from-home started abruptly, and all sorts of other things went very, very sideways. I did spend some of the money I’d have ordinarily have spent on other things on orders from Bad Squiddo and Forge of Ice, two tiny one-person companies I’ve been meaning to order from for many years now, so that part was nice, but the fact that March/April/May 2020 have fewer blog entries here, combined, than I made in January indicates how off-kilter everything was!
The end of May did see the modification of our local COVID restrictions so that we could have “pods” of up to six or so people, so my brother and a friend resumed gaming most Sundays, starting up a Frostgrave campaign that eventually morphed into a fantasy-flavoured Pulp Alley campaign.
COVID Bubble Gaming
June and July saw something like a normal posting pace resume here as I cranked out a bunch of fun quick fantasy scenery to add to our Forestgrave tables including a standing stone and a big tree. There were also a few impossibly tiny planes as a diversion from fantasy!
So, that was our 2020 here at the Warbard! A weird, stressful, very strange year but here’s hoping that sometime before the end of 2021 we’re back to in-person gaming, conventions, and something vaguely like pre-pandemic normality.
In the meantime, wear a mask, keep an eye on how soon you can get your COVID vaccine, try to get some hobby time in if your situation allows, and stay safe. Happy New Year, I guess!
I’ve talked up Rain City Hobbies on this blog before, but only for their very nice grass and flower tufts. They also do a huge range of resin bases, but because I rarely use elaborate complex bases they’ve not interested me much.
I do own a few of their resin bases, however, picked up from the “production seconds by weight” bin sold by Rain City at gaming conventions. (remember gaming conventions from the Before Times? I miss them…)
Needing a distraction from current events I decided to paint up the biggest of these, an elaborate ruined temple base nearly the size of a CD, their Huge Ruined Sanctuary insert. 120mm (~4 and a quarter inches, roughly) across, the production second one I have has nearly perfect molding of all the details, but it warped before the resin had fully cured so won’t lie flat.
I tried out a bunch of different stone painting techniques on this base and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The three big chunks of shattered statue were based in light tan, then progressively highlighted with whiter and whiter paints well diluted with glaze medium, which really got a translucent polished stone effect going.
The green arc and big green fragment were basecoated fairly dark green, then given marble-like veins with brighter greens, again well mixed with glaze medium. They got a good coat of gloss varnish, and then some highlighting with almost pure white.
The flagstones got basecoated with four or five off-white/tan shades, washed with GW Sepia and Earthshade washes, then highlighted with light tan and off-white. The tree roots are various shades of reddish brown.
Because of the warp across the width, I’ll probably base this onto a larger piece of thin plastic, then use putty and then foliage to merge the lifted corners back into the base, making this look like a fragment that has been largely swallowed by forest or jungle.
I’ve also got a few more random bases I might finish up, and those three tan pieces to the right in both photos above are the Large Broken Statuary Base Accessories that I will be using either together with the big base or on their own as scenery elements. More on them in some future post when I get them finished.
Stay safe, stay home, try to get something creative done, mask up when required out in public, and better days (actual gaming conventions!) shall come again.
From the excellent people running Dark Fantastic Mills I purchased this Doomcap Shrooms Bundle earlier in the year. If you want to run fantasy games, you should, I think, have fantasy scenery. If you want to fight amongst perfectly ordinary trees, run a historical game, those are fun too.
These mushrooms are all 3d printed in FMD; you can see some layering here and there, especially across the broad flat tops of some of the bigger mushrooms, but other than that they’re wonderfully sculpted and beautifully detailed pieces of scenery. And BIG – check out that roughly human sized figure in the Dark Fantastic Mills shop photo above!
With “fantasy scenery should look fantastic” in mind, I cut loose and did up this lovely batch of 3d-printed giant ‘shrooms (and their smaller brethern) in gloriously weird colours. Reds and purples and vivid blues and greens, all the colours I usually use sparingly here and there came out in force.
I started with a dark grey spray primer coat, then did a rough drybrush of pure white. All of the colours after that got cut at least 1:1 if not more with glaze medium, so the original drybrushing mostly showed through and the various colours layered and blended fairly smoothly. I’ve posted this link before, but go watch Dana Howl’s 24 minute intro to glaze medium on YouTube, it really has changed the way I paint and these giant mushrooms would have looked much less interesting without her influence.
Some of the DFM shrooms still need another round of highlighting or glazing to finish them off, and the biggest one, the massive slope-topped multi-trunked one in the last photo, still needs it’s base finished, flocked and detailed.
I’m really pleased with these Dark Fantastic Mills ‘shrooms. The bundle isn’t cheap, but you get huge dramatic pieces of scenery for your money that really stand out on the table! Go check Dark Fantastic Mills out, they’ve really harnessed 3d printing to make scenery that couldn’t easily be made in other materials and their designs really are fantastic.
Back in June, roughly 20,000 years ago in the Early COVID Summer Era, I built a stone portal/archway/summoning gate thing, showed off photos of it all unpainted and pink, and then never got another photo of it up on the blog! The paintjob was pretty similar to the standing stone I’d done a week or so prior, in any case.
This week I pulled both those pieces out and finally did the base detailing so they fit better with the rest of my fantasy terrain, which has a wild, fecund, lush Summer Realm feel to it, even before you start noticing the giant mushrooms!
I’ve just ordered a top up of flowers and grasses from Rain City Hobbies over in Vancouver; they do a bunch of different grasses and flower tufts in a nice variety of colours and I always like having a relatively-local source for this stuff! One of these days I might need to put an order in for some of the really weird alien grass colours Bad Squiddo stocks to add that extra touch of strange to my fantasy table!
As for the stuff in the background of the photo above, stay tuned, I have more weird fantasy terrain posts coming soon!
If you’re going to do fantasy battles, why restrict yourself to normal-looking trees and such? If you want to fight a battle in a pine forest, go do Romans vs Germanics or WW2 Ardennes or something. For fantasy, we should have properly fantastical terrain!
I don’t have a 3d printer but Corey does, so I pay him in beer and snark and (when his tempermental 3d printer cooperates) get 3d printed nifty things back from him.
Using a couple of junk CDs (best scenery bases ever!) I put together this trio of fungal thickets to add proper fantastical flavour to our fantasty skirmish games.
These thickets use half a dozen big 3d printed mushrooms from the FR&P KS and a bunch of resin and 3d printed smaller mushrooms from Dark Fantastic. Scraps of cork board about 1/4″ thick add some height here and there, and sand, flock, and lots and lots of flower tufts finish them off.
The tree-dudes are Reaper Saporlings, available in a batch of nine, as a single, or in Bones plastic. They’re about human sized and great figures. They’re going to star as zombie stand-ins in a fantasy pulp game sometime soon, and will no doubt find other roles to play in future games.
I have the Doomcap Deeps bundle from Dark Fantastic all painted up in the same bright colour blending scheme as these mushrooms, and I’ll get some decent photos of them soon for that longer review post I hinted at at the start of this post.
Stay well in our second wave of COVID world, stay safe, and try to get some gaming in if you are able. If we isolate now, it is so that there isn’t a gap on the other side of the gaming table when we do gather again in safety.
No posts for a month? Sorry! The irony is that I’ve been gaming more regularly than ever, as our little COVID-compliant pod of gamers are now meeting every Monday daytime (all three of us are on reduced work hours, again due to COVID…) and on Thursday evenings due to my lovely wife’s heartfelt desire to kick me out of the house every so often.
We have gotten into Gaslands, and been running through the Perilous Island campaign for Pulp Alley with a fantasy flavour to it instead of the classic early 20th C pulp we’ve done in the past.
Anyway, I’m going to try to get back to August’s regular blogging schedule, or something like it. I spent September and most of October gaming but hardly doing any painting or scenery building, and have now painted or built more stuff in the past week than in the previous two months!
There aren’t a lot of small scale scenery tutorials out there, either as videos or traditional blog post writeups. Viv on RubbishInRubbishOut, though, did some YouTube videos of Dystopian Wars scenery a few years ago, and it turns out that DW is in something approximating 1/1200 scale, more or less.
Also, Dispatches from the Front has been working on some fantasy naval scenery for Man’O’War using the Brigade Models buildings and it looks fantastic. Fantasy microscale terrain has a definite appeal, you can get grandiose epic terrain on the table that wouldn’t work at all in any larger scale!
Decided to crank out another piece of fantasy terrain this weekend. I’d been thinking of gateways, portals, and fantastic archways off and on for a while, after someone shared this rather cool garden gate on one of the Facebook terrain groups.
I decided on a CD-sized base, because why break good habits, and wanted the portal gate to be solid enough to block line of sight, with a raised platform that can hold several 25mm based figures or one monster on a 40mm base.
The whole thing is made up of dense pink insulation styrofoam, cut with a knife and textured with a ball of crumpled tinfoil. There wasn’t a lot of planning, just repeated test fittings with various figures like the Reaper demon hound above to make sure figures (and fingers) would fit.
Assembling the arch took a few hours, most of it working fairly casually with a beer to one side of my workbench. I used hot glue for speed, and there’s a partial toothpick holding each stone to the one below it so the whole thing is solid and should be gamer-proof. The top of the arch is about 6″ above table height and flat enough to put a 25mm base on, just for fun.
Except for checking clearance on the demon dog and a couple of bigger figures as the arch went up I didn’t do a lot more planning or measuring, just cut and shaped stones that looked like they’d fit.
The big keystone at the top of the arch started as a random roughly triangular foam offcut and I shaped and textured it early, then fit the last few stones at the top of the arch to make the keystone sit where I wanted it.
I think for painting I’ll basecoat the archway in white instead of my usual black, then start painting the stones with a heavy drybrush of black so the deep grooves between the stones stay white, possibly with a blue or green wash over them to make it look like magical energy is flowing through this thing, holding it together and powering whatever arcane process the archway contains. The base will probably get the normal black basecoat and then the same drybrushing up for texture.
Painting in the next few days, anyway, as we’re doing a stat holiday game this coming Wednesday (not like there’s going to be any big Canada Day celebrations to go to, right?) and I’d like to get this one the table then. Stay well, stay safe, and stay sane.
Nice simple bit of terrain I recently cranked out. I realized that the mushroom ring I built recently was nowhere near gamer-proof; it started shedding mushrooms as soon as it left my workbench so I popped the mushrooms off to rebuild the whole thing in such a way as to let me pin the mushrooms to the base with wire. More on that later, but this left me with a flocked and decorated CD base with nothing on it and it seemed a shame to waste it.
I took a scrap of 2″ thick pink styrofoam insulation, sliced off a piece about two inches wide, and craved bits off until it looks about right for a tall thin standing stone or monolith. Then I took a ball of tinfoil and rolled it all over the piece, which gives a really nice random stone texture. I put a few cracks and lines in with a pencil then rolled the tinfoil over those marks again, then glued the monolith into the centre of the CD with a healthy blob of hot glue.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a single photo of this piece during assembly or basecoating, but it got my usual mix of black paint and white glue as a basecoat, then once that was dry (overnight) it got drybrushed up with dark grey, pale grey, tan, light blue, more lighter grey, and finally white. The pale blue is subtle but makes the piece really pop, and I’ll definitely be using that on more stonework in the future.
Finally, I highlighted all the edges with pure white. It doesn’t show up all that well in the photos I’ve gotten so far, but in person that final step really makes the edges pop and makes the piece look bigger. After that it was just a bit of extra flock around the base of the stone and to cover the spots where mushrooms had originally been glued down.
The Rebuilt Mushroom Ring
As for the mushrooms, I took a scrap of 3mm plastic board, carved and sanded it so it fit onto a new CD, hot glued it down solidly, then marked out a circle and drilled a bunch of holes with a tiny drill bit. Those got overlength pieces of paperclip wire stuck into them with superglue. The wire was trimmed short after the glue had cured, and then mushrooms with holes drilled into the bottoms of their stems were superglued on.
The lovely Bad Squiddo mushrooms got glued down (some got repainted beforehand, because I’ve just gotten some new shades of green paint, so why not?) and then the whole thing got my usual turf mix and will eventually get some flowers and other tufts to finish decorating it.
My Turf Mix
I had someone over on Lead Adventure Forum ask about my turf mix. It’s not an exact mix and has been changing gently over the years, but the base is Woodland Scenics mixed fine turf, with WS dark and medium green fine and coarse turf, some Games Workshop summer grass flock, and at least a couple random brands and colours I’m forgetting about in there.
That mix lives in a big 1 litre margarine tub that’s large enough to comfortably put an entire CD-sized terrain base in. For these pieces with fairly wild heavy turf on them I’ll leave the entire base in the turf mix for at least an hour or so before removing it and shaking excess back into the tub, to give a nice heavy scruffy layer of grass. For more manicured lawn-like grass, I’ll take the piece out of the tub right away and shake it off back into the tub, leaving a much shallower layer of turf.