One thing leads to another as my Mother says, it is sometimes the case that some small task kindles a larger interest in something new. This is the case with the recent surge of scenery building I have undertaken. I am no stranger to the construction of model terrain as I even used to make commission buildings for Wargames (it was a great way of paying for Tournaments ) and I used to fill the Bring and Buys of shows with my Cardboard creations. Alas real life interfered and I ceased to build my terrain and more recently I even bought a machine to knit buildings for me. This resulted in a miniature renaissance for terrain as an increase in playing when Kings of War was discovered coupled with a return to the Tournament running scene required the creation of a number of sets of terrain for the running thereof. Then as I stood in the Grounds of Troll Manor during my preparation for Clash of Kings and surveyed the 150’ish pieces of terrain that were laid out on the patio I realised that the accumulation of scenery had achieved a critical mass. The terrain I have made so far is basically the minimum standard required of 3D terrain for wargaming, hastily chopped out of Polystyrene hills, 3D printed buildings , walls and Trees bought from various sources over the course of 5 years and tree bases laser cut for me by a friendly Bolt Action player. I have a couple of themed sets - I have a desert Table where the bases have been painted to attempt to closely match the playing mat. This Table has been revisited with the addition of scratchbuilt buildings and tree bases made with clumps of plastic palm trees and the making of the difficult terrain as “oasis pools” with magnetised palms. I have also returned to the buildings, after some feedback, and reduced the size of the building footprints which had been a tad large. The making of the buildings has had two benefits in that I am continuing to gain buildings which can also be used for things like Bolt Action in a desert scenario and with each building I make I am recalling old skills and adapting them for new materials. I also have a snow table, this was the official “Frostgrave” mat by Deepcut studios(Although I believe they still make this mat I think that the “official “ mat is not made by PWorks) which is a landscape of white, pale grey and pale blue , overall a very striking mat which I made a basic set of terrain for. I 3D printed some crystal clusters and lava walls (which became snow banks) and made a couple of tree bases for 3D printed “Dead” trees. The difficult terrain took the form of a couple of Ponds from my basic kit. All this was painted white with some blobs of “aethermatic Blue” contrast paint which was a close match to the blue on the mat. However no attempt was made to match any of the colours on the mat too closely and so the terrain looked ok on the mat but in reality was a very stark contrast as the white was too fresh and the blue too strong. As part of the Clash Re-vamp I undertook to repaint the hills, tree bases and water features in a brown basecoat and then apply a couple of thin coat of white over the top so that the effect is that of a lighter snow fall, they were then dotted with thinned down Aethermatic contrast paint to make the contrast less stark. I also changed the Dead trees to Snowy Pine trees from a Christmas tree set so the overall effect is to make the terrain pieces more “keyed” to the mat. The effect is less contrast between the scenery and the mat but there is still a way to go to make a perfect match. Also the original 3D printed crystal Clusters have been replaced by much larger scratchbuilt Ice crystals with bases treated the same as the water features, these look a lot better as they seem less random than the original clusters and I worked some of the same water gel I used on the pond and swamp ( there is a blogpost about making swamps using the water gel elsewhere in this Blog , here I used Pacific Blue water effect rather than Swamp green) I have a Lava table which has a set of unfeasible Lava terrain on it. The Hills consist of “mounds” of lava with random crusts on them with the forest bases being flat versions of the same, 3D printed lava pools are the Difficult terrain and the obstacles are 3D printed cavern walls painted to represent molten rock. The crowning glory of this table are the impassable or blocking terrain which consists of two lumps of polystyrene with jagged cut edges and painted as hot rock, not very inspiring at all and obviously the product of an unimaginative speed build. This table needs some serious thought for upgrading, the “Trees” for this table are a set of 3D printed Mushroom Groves as no other thoughts were forthcoming. Watch for a blog post for the upgrade of this table soon. Any suggestions will be gratefully received I the comments. Ideas so far include lava pools that are flat to the ground, miniature erupting volcano and some dark and twisted skull based rock formations or even some Lava crystal bits erupting out of the ground! A Wasteland Terrain mat – currently it has tribal buildings and plain brown scenery on it. This needs more colour matching to the mat in order to tie it in and also an idea to create more Rocky Canyon terrain more in keeping with the sort of terrain that “He-Man” seems to be constantly battling over in Eternia. Rocky spires, dried ponds, skull mountains and prickly trees are all possible for this table.
The majority of the Mats we possess at the TrollManor are a variation of Green, until now the Green section of the Tournament scenery has been fairly identical, consisting of two “Cowpat” hills, 2 lasercut tree bases, two standard difficult – either a water feature or a field and a couple of 3D printed or Bought walls. The Blocking terrain for these tables consists of two from a selection of 3D printed buildings of a medium size. All told this makes the Green terrain a bit bland but it is functional and standard which is great for competitions – I think the Trolls have 7 or 8 of these standard table configurations. This is where we go back to one thing leads to another, I stood there looking at the Terrain , all laid out ready for packing up and I had taken out any damaged pieces for repair and made a list of any shortfalls, when I thought that the time had come for a revamp of the Green terrain. So what has been embarked on now is a process of replacement and repurposing of the Green Terrain. So how to “Theme the Green”? So far the ideas are:- Jungle Table – Taking the idea that Salamanders live in the jungle with ziggurats and spawn pools for the small dudes, along with half buried ruins and plenty of verdant foliage, this table has already been started with the building of a ziggurat which is being used to practise techniques for the rest of the board. The Shire – a nice homely table with quaint buildings, serene water features, houses built into the side of the hills and a large tree that just screams “Party” with a Windmill and an Inn, possibly called the Green Dragon. The Swamps – a table with a marshy theme, all the bases have water features with some mangrove trees, rotting corpses in the water and perhaps houses on stilts to further the theme of swampy grounds. Two tables showing the Before and after of war, one with just a standard set up for a green table and the adjacent table being identical but made up to look like the aftermath of a battle – same buildings, difficult and obstacles but battle damaged and ruined. Dwarven Mine – one of the Green Mats is called the Highlands and has brown and Rock patches on it, this will be utilised for the home of a Free Dwarf mine colony, with a Mead Hall , rock processing plant , mine entrance and spoil heaps with the water feature being the cast off pool for the Rock processing plant and fences with “Keep Out” signs on. Tundra Table – another of the green mats has rocky and snowy patches on it which lends itself to a scenery of rough huts, pine forests and a sort of “Mammoth Steppes” vibe. We have several Tribal pieces of 3D printed terrain which can be used to populate this table. Attention needs paying to the tree bases, hills and difficult terrain to match it more closely to the table rather than the current brown with white patches that are assigned to it. All told the rejuvenation of the Golden Troll Scenery will be facilitated by the copious consumption of YouTube video’s, Wargames magazine Articles Blogposts and the venerable How to make Wargames Terrain Books to result in a mix of Stillmania and Constable as I attempt to create some glorious miniature Landscapes for armies of Little Men to fight over. The research will be followed by practise and application of new techniques and materials (apparently there are alternatives to cereal boxes and pringles tubes!) and plenty of Blogging! All this will allow the retiring or repurposing of the Older hills and ponds and to be able to bring most of the themes up to the same standard. Also the amount of practise that I will get while renovating the table sets will help improve the build standards for when I come to make the table set that will be kept at TrollManor for the use of the Trolls and Guests. This set is currently awaiting the finding of a suitable mat to determine the theme for the home set. As this set will not be required to be packed away and moved it can be made a lot more decorative than the normal “bung in a box and ship out” sets that the Trolls currently use as they often need to be taken to other venues for running tournaments. Also a Premier set will look better on battle report photos once built. This will consist of entirely Scratchbuilt terrain. Who knows, I may get back into building the scratchbuilt buildings again and subsidising my next Tournament season with some nice sales.