Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cavern Table



I finished this up about a week and a half ago, but I haven't had the chance to take pictures of it until now.  (Actually, I snuck into work a mite early so I could set it up in a conference room and take pictures; the lighting in here, while a bit harsh, is probably the most thorough I'm going to get.)

I was really inspired by the Skaven vs. Dwarfs picture near the back of the new Warhammer rulebook.  They're stabbing it out beneath the mountains of the Old World.  It's clearly inspired how I've been basing my new rats (and slowly re-basing my existing ones).

Also, I've had a problem where I've lacked good, game-able Fantasy terrain... so I caught the bug to do a table's worth of "cave" terrain.

There's a lot of room for improvement here, I think, but it's a solid start.  I can totally play on all of of this, now, and come back and revise/replace/supplement when I'm not so woefully behind on painting Skaven.

The table consists of:

  • 2x Hills
  • 2x Water Features
  • 2x Stalamite "Forests"
  • 1x Ruin
  • 1x Warpstone Boulder
  • 2x Walls
So, 10 terrain pieces, total.

All are painted the same way I paint my bases: airbrushed on Cryx Bane Base, Cryx Bane Highlight  heavy drybrush, Hammerfall Khaki drybrush.  In the case of terrain that's styrofoam, I airbrushed on a charcoal craft paint: styrofoam is thirsty, and I'd rather have to suck up cheapie paint rather than P3 paint that I really should know better than to use on terrain.

For stone features, it's painted the same way we painted the Rapid Fire terrain: Delta Charcoal airbrushed with a heavy drybrush of Delta Hippo Grey and a light drybrush of Delta Rain Grey (or was that Quaker Grey?).

Anyway, in case you haven't noticed; it only takes three colors and very little time to get some really sharp looking terrain painted up.

All of the texture here comes from ballast glued down with watered-down wood glue which is then sprayed down with more watered-down wood glue.  Basically, it shouldn't be going anywhere.

The Actual Terrain

These hills are basically the same type of hill Casey and I (and several others) ground out sweatshop-style for Rapid Fire last year.  They're extremely playable: there's not a lot of slope, which can be a problem.  I'm not thrilled with how they look (because there appears to be an inverse relationship between appearance and practicality when it comes to hills), so I might replace them with something else (maybe even the Citadel Hills) down the line.


I've had a bottle of Water Effects for years, unused (except a little on my Khornate display board), and the Mysterious Terrain rules are something I can't even dream of trying to avoid... so I needed some water features.

 I cut some MDF with a 45° angle.  Then I built up a lip around the edges of the shape with drywall putty.  I reinforced the putty with a wood glue/water mix and glued down the ballast.  Once painted, I applied the water effects.  

The first feature got little putty "islands" which worked out quite well, I think.  The second one got way too much water effects.  Lesson learned: a few, thin layers goes far enough.  Too much and that stuff stays soft. 

These can either be used as "Rivers" (getting a roll on the terrain) or Marshland.



Speaking of Mysterious Terrain: I've got to have "woods," if only because one of my friends runs a Wood Elf army.   I thought about doing a mushroom forest or something, but 1) mushrooms are disgusting and 2) stalamites were way easier.

The bases are shaped based on the base of the Citadel Woods, with areas for stalagmites where trees would go.  The stalagmites are just pink foam cut and textured with a wire cutter and weighted with nails in the bottom.  If I had to do it again (and I probably will), I'd mount the stalagmites to either bases or wooden disks: something to give them more stability and make the overall result a little more professional looking.

Anyway, the plan is to use these as Forests.


I've had parts of an Arcane Ruins set left over from my display board... and I can only have so many forests on the table.  So, I built a ruins feature.  Not the best, I'll admit, but it's playable terrain: the menhir aren't attached to the base, and they've got spots indicating where they need to be returned to.

Sensing a theme here?  I want terrain that looks good, but that I can play with.  Nothing makes me crazier than terrain that looks good but makes actually playing the game on/around it miserable.

We can use this for any number of Arcane Architecture types.


Finally, I needed something to use as a Mystical Monument: a couple of weeks ago, we used a 6"x8" graveyard as an Idol of Gork (or Possibly Mork) (don't ask) and it was a disaster: these things are supposed to be much smaller.  So, I made a very large hunk of Warpstone that can stand-in for any of those (or use the Warpstone rules from one of the battle reports in the rules).

That put me at eight terrain pieces, which isn't quite enough.  So, I ordered a pack of the pre-painted Pegaus Stone Wall (Round) walls: I figure three of them can count as an Obstacle when Placing terrain.  (Or two, if that turns out to be too much.)  They're pre-painted, and showed up Friday, so I haven't had the chance to do much with them.  I dislike the color, though, so I'm almost certain to clean up their mold lines and repaint them to match the other pieces of stone.

What's Next

As I've said, there's a lot of room for improvement here:

I can redo the stalagmites and put them on some bases.

I can replace the hills with something less playable but looks sharper.

I could make the Warpstone look more convincing.

I could do better, spookier looking ruins.

I've got plans to build some towers; that's the real lack here.  I've got thoughts that involve beating up on a Bastion so it looks like it's a Dwarven fastness hewn into the side of some stalagmites (and, even better, a Dwarven fastness hewn into the side of some stalagmites that's been overtaken and befouled by Skaven).  (Maybe one of each.)

All of that will have to wait, though, since I've got a LOT of Skaven to paint.  This'll get me by until I'm not as buried under Clanrats and Skavenslaves.
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