Archive for the ‘Scenics’ Category

h1

Turtle Rock

December 7, 2017

With my dissertation turned in for now, I finally have more time and resources to devote to blogging. I have plenty of stuff that I’ve managed to finish during long evenings, so expect to see them here in the future – starting right now. I’ll be using some cell phone shots in these posts, as I’ve been shooting them along the way.

Caves and pirates go together like any two things that go together well, so I was immediately sold when I picked up a suitable looking piece of terrarium decoration for 10€ at the local pet store. A hefty (hollow) chunk of resin, and as you can see from the photo below, pretty much ready to use as is.

Pirate cave

Click for a larger version

To match it with the rest of my terrain, I went to work. I repainted the cave, added a bunch of tufts and a bit of plastic Ikea plant, and here’s the end result:

Pirate cave

Click for a larger version

Here’s the cave shown in its natural environment and much more yellow lighting, with my night watchman exploring. Smugglers, pirates, monsters? Certain doom, anyway.

Pirate cave exploring

Click for a larger version

I have to say I love little stuff like this. It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s good fun and it’s effective on the table. A cave is a simple enough feature that it will easily find use regardless of setting: add a troll, and it’s a trollcave, add in a few crates and it’s a smugglers’ hideout. Easy-peasy! The cave was dubbed Turtle Rock on a Facebook group I frequent, and the name stuck. It looks like a turtle and was originally intended for a terrarium setup, so I’m fine with it. I’ll be keeping an eye out in the future for terrarium bits, as they usually lack the seaweeds etc often crafted onto aquarium pieces. This piece was from a company called Exo Terra, but I’m sure there are tons of alternatives out there!

 

Advertisements
h1

Bark bark bark

October 12, 2017

It’s terrain time! Lately I’ve been working on a variety of fairly low intensity scenery builds – pretty much things I can work on while watching Killjoys and The Expanse.

I picked up the idea for these somewhere online, as these things happen. Someone had used bark to make rocky outcrops, and as I was about to head to our summer place, I figured I’d pick some up and give it a try. Pine bark is plentiful in Finland, and after a few days without rain it was easy to gather up more than enough dry pieces.

The whole process was delightfully simple. I chucked the bark pieces into the oven for a 20-30 minute bake at 200°C. This not only dried them out and got rid of all sorts of teeny tiny little critters, but it also gave my apartment a lovely wood-fired sauna smell.

I glued the pieces to large oval mdf bases I picked up at a local convention, and went to work. After sealing the bark with watered-down PVA, I started painting them. Using mainly cheap craft acrylics, I first painted the pieces black, and then followed it up with progressively lighter shades of grey, drybrushed on, up to pure white. A quick Agrax Earthshade wash followed, as well as a few licks of green wash here and there.

Before and after

Finishing touches were done by adding in a variety of decorative stones, sand, tufts and shrubs, some undergrowth cut from an Ikea plastic plant and static grass. The end result is…surprisingly nice! I feel these just might be some of the nicest scenery bits I’ve ever produced. I snuck in a secret hatch in one of the pieces, made out of coffee stirrers. An old, battered hatch hidden in the bushes under a rocky outcrop – it just screams “pirate” or “smuggler” to me.

Rocky outcrop made from bark

Click for a larger version

Rocky outcrop made from bark

Click for a larger version

Rocky outcrop made from bark

Click for a larger version

Hidden hatch under a bark rock

Click for a larger version

Captain Pemberton-Smythe leads his men on a hunt for pirates

A special mention goes out to Tajima1 Miniatures, who manufacture wonderful tufts and shrubs for miniatures. Fellow blogger Paul of sho3box fame somewhat gushingly recommended these to me, so I decided to give them a try. I’m happy I did! They’re the first tufts I’ve tried that actually live up to the claim of being self-adhesive, and they look lovely to boot. I’ll definitely be using plenty of these.

h1

Salute 2017 part 2

April 28, 2017

Time for part two of my Salute report. This is mainly a photo dump of some of the things on display that I liked. Short descriptions when I can remember (or knew) what was going on. You can click on photos for larger versions, they all open in a new tab.

A dog looks on as the Russian revolution happens

Massive Star Wars battle going on

Some wild west action

Fantasy fun for everyone

A massive dungeon setup

Desert warfare

Lovely Frostgrave (I assume) diorama

A wonderful winter fantasy setup

Plenty of ruined walls to hide behind

More winter fantasy

Zombies break down a fence in a Walking Dead game

French and Indian wars

More French and Indian

They DO move in herds! A great Jurassic Park game

Hail to the king, baby!

Loving attention to detail

Welcome! To…

Papers, please! Slug Industries’ game in the vein of Escape from Colditz

Nazis roam the streets

The lovely cobblestone streets are currently on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/718310363/streetscape-28mm-cobblestone-road-sections

More of Papers, please

Storming the beaches of what I assume is Normandy

Love the explosion effects!

Giant steampunk robots in what I think was a demonstration of Wolsung

Massive 18th century battle setup

The gentry, happy behind their walls

The Random Platypus/Hasslefree collaboration table

Mawes incoming

A security meeting

Things getting tense

The coolness radiates off him in waves

Lovely detailing in the corridors

Ready to receive

A beastie comes charging in

You’re going to need bigger guns

Troopers protecting despot Drumpf

The second Random Platypus/Hasslefree game, a fantasy one

A miniature’s eye view

Dwarves and orcs clash

A look inside the dwarven hold

A wonderful upcoming giant from Heresy Miniatures

That is a big giant

Lovely minimalist setup, never caught a game on it sadly

Definitely not minimalist, lovely though!

Epic fantasy

Semi-fictional late-17th century clash between the Swedish and the Dutch

The table won multiple awards and for good reason

Disembarkation in progress

Villagers milling about

A fortress was involved a well

Advancing across the fields

“Oh deer.”

Row, boys, row!

The ship bombards the fort

…and the fort shoots back

A demo setup for Drowned Earth, currently on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1559814207/the-drowned-earth-miniatures-game

As you can see, there was plenty on offer – this was just a small sample of all the wonderful games and table setups on offer. If you haven’t visited Salute yet, I definitely suggest you do if at all possible!

h1

X marks the spot

January 6, 2017

The first thing of 2017 painted! I bought this Giant Doom Track Marker from Fenris Games, as to me it definitely fits a trope prevalent in pop culture pirate map imagery – the skull shaped rock (see this or this). Most likely known as Dead man’s rock, Skull rock, Cursed rock or something equally imaginative, this is one of the usual checkpoints when looking for hidden treasure, and as such it fit the project perfectly.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

The paintjob was super simple, and the plentiful texture made this an easy piece. I gave it a black basecoat followed by a highlight layer of grey (I used an airbrush for this, as this is pretty much the level of complexity I can manage at the moment), then followed with progressively lighter drybrush layers and a black wash to dull it down a little. The rock features small, literally beady eyeballs in its sockets. I painted these black, put in a dot of white and gave them a gloss varnish. Onyx stones or the soul of a dead pirate? Who knows.

All in all this probably took less than thirty minutes from start to finish, so it was very rewarding and a nice and easy start to the painting year. In games it will function as a lovely little piece of thematic scatter terrain, like this:

"This is where the magick points?" "Yes ma'am." "Dig, ye scallywags, dig!"

“This is where the magick points?”
“Yes ma’am.”
“Dig, ye scallywags, dig!”

h1

Prime real estate

December 30, 2016

I’ve finally finished the first of my new buildings, a townhouse from TTCombat. It’s part of my nicer part of Port George and will help set the tone for the rest. I’m thinking of doing the buildings in colourful pastel tones as it’s both historically fairly accurate and just looks nice. I have added a fair bit of grime though, to suggest an environment where the humid climate takes its toll on buildings.

28mm town house front

Click for a larger version

28mm town house rear view

Click for a larger version

28mm town house side view

Click for a larger version

The painting process was very straightforward, and I used cheap craft store acrylics. I stippled the paint on fairly thickly with a sponge, which gave the walls some extra texture. After that it was just drybrushing. I gave the roof tiling by using the now familiar roof tiling strips by Warbases. They are a lovely, lovely product, and I really like the result produced.

28mm town house first floor

Click for a larger version

28mm town house second floor

Click for a larger version

As the building features a fully playable interior, I gave it some attention as well. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should do with the floors, and eventually settled on printing out some suitable textures on thick paper and gluing them in place. While I could have been more careful with the sizing (there are some small gaps), I’m really pleased with the end result and it save me a lot of time and money compared to building the floors myself from coffee stirrers or textured plastic. The inside walls I simply left the same shade of blue as the outside ones. There wasn’t really a need to work a lot on the interior, as I assume it won’t be used that frequently. Some furniture came with the house set, so that will probably get thrown in there at some point.

"Do you like it, darling?" "Oh Francis I love it!"

“Do you like it, darling Emily?”
“Oh Francis it is most agreeable! I much prefer it to Dorset.”

Overall I was positively surprised by the finished building. Painting helps distract the eye and hide the jigsaw effect often prominent in laser-cut mdf buildings and the additional texture helps make the walls pop. The door is still massive, but it’s a very minor gripe. Looking forward to painting more of these! Next question on my mind: what kind of terrain board should I build for these?

h1

The nicer part of town

November 26, 2016

Work on the pirate-y town of Port George continues! You’re likely aware that I have a fair few run-down buildings for my town already, so it’s time for something different. My grand vision is to have two distinctly different sides to Port George. One is the grimy, pirate side that I’ve been building so far, with mainly wooden buildings, plenty of sand and all in all a hive of scum and villainy. The second is a “proper” side – a fairly prosperous British colonial town, with brick buildings, less sand and marginally less villainy, or at least of a different kind.

The idea is that both of these halves should work as standalone towns as well as combining into a larger whole – maybe separated by a river or something similar. With limited time for building terrain, the more uses I can find for things, the better.

Finding suitable buildings was surprisingly challenging, everything looking either too modern, too old or just stylistically off. As with all the historical accuracy in the project, I wanted to strike a balance between accuracy and pleasing aesthetics, with the latter taking precedence if the first wasn’t jarringly off. Again, “what would this look like in a pirate movie?” was a key question.

Eventually I settled on the following:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Sarissa Precision Chateau. I’ve been eyeing this piece for ages. It’s super impressive, with lovely detailing. A bit too lovely, as I managed to snap some fiddly bits while putting it together. Nothing catastrophic, luckily! This will serve as the mansion of Port George’s governor and will be the centrepiece of the fancier part of town. I’ve added Warbases roof tiling to the roof, obviously not shown in the catalogue image. The levels are separate, so the inside is playable too.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

TTCombat Venetian house. A nice, simple and suitably generic piece. I bought a pitched roof to go along with it. Both roof styles are removable, so if I want to use the building with a roof terrace, that’s possible as well. The line of Venetian buildings – intended for the game Carnivale, I assume – is really nice, and provides me with excellent choices for expanding the town.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

TTCombat Old Town townhouses. Some more TTCombat pieces, these are intended for Malifaux. Both are large, impressive pieces. The TTCombat stuff is much chunkier than the Sarissa building, meaning it’s both clunkier and sturdier – you win some, you lose some. All the TTCombat buildings have separate floors and the interiors can be used for gaming. There are even stairs connecting the two floors in the townhouses, as well as some super chunky furniture. My only gripe with the TTCombat stuff is the massive size of the doors. Even on a very large 28/32mm miniature the doorknobs are around shoulder height. It’s a minor thing and could be easily fixed, but I don’t think I’ll bother. Warbases roofing tiles will be added to the townhouses to unify them with the rest of the buildings.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Warbases modular #5. The Warbases modular buildings are super simple (and super cheap). I’m thinking of modding this with a portico and some nicer windows and doors. I think it has a tavern look to it, so it could function as a sort of go-between uniting the two halves of the town.

My attitudes towards laser-cut mdf buildings have changed in the past year or two. I used to think very little of them, but after climbing on board the mdf train, I’m definitely seeing the appeal. There’s a huge variety, ample chance for customising and the prices are very decent. Putting them together can be quite satisfying, too!

So, what do you think? Does this look suitably colonial? What do you think of mdf? Does it show that I’ve been alone, writing my dissertation at our summer place in the archipelago, and am starting to crave human interaction?

h1

Holiday in the Caribbean

September 24, 2016
Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

Here’s a scenic piece that I put together recently, showing a pirate relaxing with his dog. I actually like this one immensely! The story behind this is a good explanation why.

It started out as a scene of a wounded pirate leaning on a tree, bleeding to death. Maybe I was having a bit of a downer day, but that felt a little too grim. Thus it changed into a drunk pirate sitting by a tree…but I already had a drunk pirate passed out in a pig pen. Around this time I remembered the miniature dog (an otterhound to be exact) I bought at Salute from fellow hobbyist and Frother, the wonderfully talented painter Jon “Dags” Atter. So the piece turned into a relaxing pirate, leaning on a tree with his eyes closed and a dog by his side.

Now, this piece made me especially happy. Normally most of the stuff I (and most other hobbyists as well, it’s wargaming after all) is framed by a context of violence, with the occasional dash of humour thrown in. Even in a fairly light-hearted setting like my Hollywood Caribbean, the majority of miniatures are armed and in fighting poses. Not this one! I think the piece manages to capture something of the lazy, hot summer day feeling that is closely linked to mental images of pirates and Caribbean islands. I think this piece pretty much captures the essence of my project.

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

What also makes me happy is that it was super easy to build. It’s a model railroad palm tree combined with a Foundry pirate casualty, the aforementioned dog miniature and a pebble I picked up outside. I dressed it up with some static grass and a few Army Painter tufts.

I’m currently painting up a lot more stuff for my project, including a few special things for an upcoming Halloween game. Stay tuned!

%d bloggers like this: