Scenery supplies 101

Yesterday I put up a post about a large scale scenery project I am working on. You can read all about it here.

Today I thought I’d kick my coverage off by going through some basics and what better place to start than the raw materials that will go in to scratch building scenery pieces.

 

Blue foam

If you’re serious about scratch building some scenery your number one friend will be this stuff.Foam1

It’s not always blue, another place near me sells it in yellow, but short story you’re after extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam.

It’s more expensive than white polystyrene foam but I find it produces a much better end result. It takes cutting and sanding much better and has the added bonus of being more rigid.

 

MDF board

I use MDF board as bases for scenery pieces. You can pick up large sheets of it from just about any hardware store fairly cheaply.

PLEASE NOTE: There are legitimate concerns around long term exposure to MDF sawdust. I implore you to use appropriate safety equipment when cutting it.

When you’re gluing or painting it, be cautious. If you coat one side of a piece of MDF in something wet, like paint or a large amount of PVA glue, it may warp. You can easily avoid this by painting the opposite side while the first side is still wet. I’ll try and remember to show this when I’m working on a piece in the future.

 

Filler

There’s probably a hundred different brands of this stuff. It’s the same product you use for patching holes in plasterboard walls either way.

Filler1

I’ve used this one in the past because it’s a conveniently sized container and dries quickly. For this project however I’ll go through a container like this in no time at all so I’ll probably grab a more industrial sized container shortly.

 

Glues

There’s a few different ones you’ll need here:

  1. PVA glue / white glue / wood working glue – whatever you want to call it, it’s the same thing really. I happen to also try my hand at wood work every now and then so I have a 4L bottle of the stuff that I ration out into a smaller squeeze bottle whenever needed.
  2. Something a little stronger – PVA glue will stick a lot of things, but it does have a couple of down sides. It dries relatively slowly when used in bulk and if you’re sticking something to MDF board then it can warp the board. I use Liquid Nails at times. It’s a construction adhesive that will glue pretty much anything to anything.
  3. Hot Glue – On occasion I use a Hot Glue Gun at times. Benefits are that it sets almost instantly so is great for quick bonding.
  4. Super glue and glue for plastic – self explanatory, used for GW kits or otherwise.

 

Sand

There is a number of options here.

You can buy it specifically from hobby stores but I tend to find it’s quite pricey when you do this. You can buy it in bulk from a garden supply store or hardware, but I find that it’s not very ‘clean’.

The best option I’ve found for sand that balances quality, quantity and price is actually from a pet store.

Sand1

This stuff is $20 for a 5kg bag, easily enough for most projects. It’s relatively ‘clean’ as in it doesn’t contain a lot of dust or junk like bags of regular sand and the particle size is about right.

 

Rocks and Gravel

For this I hit up my local hardware and garden supply store. For the Aussies reading this, go to Bunnings. Anywhere else I’m afraid I don’t really know the stores, but I imagine there will be options everywhere.

Above there are 4 different options providing a range of sizes.

The top two are Bonsai materials and a 1kg bag will set you back about $6. Screenings are another step up in size. It’s a bit hard to tell in the photo but in terms of scale it would be a medium sized boulder compared to a 28mm scale human I’d say.

the last container is a mixture of pieces I’ve collected. The larger grey pieces are from a bag of decorative garden path rocks and the smaller ones I picked out of a pile of concrete mix that I had delivered for another reason.

You can always go hunting in nature for rocks to use but I will caution you that some areas and places have rules about not removing stuff etc. I don’t care what you do personally but just be mindful.

 

Something a little more exotic

Next up I went hunting for something a bit more interesting. I found these in a section dedicated to ‘decorative potting supplies’.

Sea Glass is exactly what the name suggests, glass that has come from the ocean, it gets worn down so it looses it sharp edges but would do great as large crystals. The other bag is filled with clear pieces probably about 1.5cm across. They’re irregularly shaped and again would look great for crystals of some sort.

I have specific plans for these, but more on that later.

 

Plants

I really like the Citadel Wood kit from GW – nice trees! But if you’re after a little variety, which I am, then you need to ‘branch out’…

The top two are fake aquarium plants I found in a pet store. You can find hundreds of listings for this type of stuff on eBay.

Bottom right is aquarium plants yet again. These I actually bought myself from eBay a couple of weeks ago. They’re listed as ‘aquarium ground cover’. They’re basically a sheet of small plants in a grid. You could easily cut each one off to make individual small plants.

Jungle table anyone!?

Finally a selection of artificial cacti. Again these were spotted at a pet store you can find them on eBay and the like easily enough. If you’re considering a desert table, why not use something like this in place of regular trees?

 

Other odds and ends

Finally on my shopping trip today I had a look at aquarium ornaments.

The grey piece on the left I can picture as an interesting rock formation. The piece on the right, the remains of a giant dead tree perhaps?

 

Keep your eyes open!

I guess what I’m saying is, look around, see what you can find and re-purpose. Everything I’ve listed here I found at only two different stores and a quick look at the basics I already had in mind.

Nothing here is overly expensive except the ornaments at the end. They roll in at around $20 each retail, but I’m confident I’ll find them cheaper online.

I have a few more raw materials that I am working with which I’ll detail in the near future, but for now, this is the basics.

As usual, thanks for reading!

Coming soon: More scenery than you can poke a stick at

About six months ago I was having a chat to Clint from Heralds of War about all things Cancon 2018 and I volunteered to put together some boards for use at the event.

They are 3mm sheets of MDF painted in various colours that sit over the top of the blank supplied tables. It’s a huge step up from the green table clothes we were given to play on last year.

Boards

When I was working on this I rekindled a passion for building scenery. In my old regular gaming group from about 15 years ago I was ‘the scenery guy’. I really enjoyed making scenery and I think it was something I was good at.

With my enthusiasm for making scenery back I made a commitment for the Australian Age of Sigmar Masters 2018. I am going provide a full set of scenery for every table at the Masters event this year.

 

The Plan

With this rather lofty plan in mind, I sat down and came up with a plan of how I was going to do this:

  1. Since this is for matched play, every table will have the same number of scenery pieces and be roughly symmetrical.
  2. Again due to this being for matched play, the pieces of scenery need to be functional as well as looking pretty.
  3. Each table needs to have a realmgate on it. No real reason here other than I think it fits nicely in AoS.
  4. Each table will have a centre piece.
  5. Each table will have a theme. I could just put together a pile of scenery and not worry about exactly how the tables look, but I like the idea of each table being something unique.

At time of writing this I have roughly 38 weeks to get this all done. It’s not a simple task but I think I can give it a good shot.

Next I set about working out the themes I was going to use. I have almost all of them locked in at this time and I’m quite excited to get working on it all. I’m not going to list the themes right now as I am still settling on a couple of them but there is one I know I will be doing for sure.

 

The Free Peoples Village

The world that was got blown to pieces, but the people in the mortal realms have to live somewhere, right? A town, village, a full sized city.

About six months ago I made the mistake of visiting the Tabletop World website. I say ‘mistake’ because I wound up purchasing some pieces. My bank account balance wasn’t happy with me. We didn’t speak for a full two weeks. I had to sleep on the couch!

Village2

Village1

They’re not the cheapest scenery pieces going around but I think they’re well worth the money you pay. The detail level is extreme, the casts are all top notch and assembly was a breeze. They fit exactly the theme I had in mind for this table.

As you can see from the images above I’ve already started working on some of them. I’ve mixed in the walls and fences kit from Games Workshop to make them look more like a house that someone might living in, or a shop that might be open for business… well, until the battle started that was! There will be a river section on the table as well as evidenced by the water mill piece.

I have one more piece on the way for this table, a rather nice centre piece indeed!

 

So why am I telling you all this?

Over the next 38 weeks I will be putting together scenery fairly regularly. I plan on documenting it as I go and doing my very best to remember that work in progress and step-by-step photos are a thing.

Other than the Tabletop World pieces and some 3D printed scenery I will be be using some kits from Games Workshop, many of which are on their way to my assembly monkey… I mean, my wonderful helper. These will be blended together with the rest of the pieces that will be built from scratch.

Anything built from scratch I’ll try and keep up to date lists of the materials and products used so you can play along at home if you want.

And I intend to use mirrors. That is not a typo.

 

As always, thank you for stopping by and reading my little blog.

End Result: Captain-General Trajann Valoris

After a bit of a delay due to some travel for work I’ve managed to get my Captain-General Trajann Valorissd finished.

My goal for this model was to practice non metallic metal (NMM), and I think I really got some good lessons out of it and learnt a lot.

First up, some pictures, although I must say (once again…) that I forgot to do real progress shots. I get into a bit of a zone when I get painting and forget to take more photos. Really need to try and remember more in the future.

Trajann2.JPG

 

Trajann3.JPG

 

Trajann1

 

Trajann4

How it was done

There’s a bunch of existing NMM tutorials out there on the internet already and I’m not going to write another one specifically. There was two that I read specifically.

The first was several posts from David Soper’s blog. You can find several articles by searching “NMM” on his blog or by clicking here.

Secondly I watched a series of videos by Painting Budda / Ben Comets, the first of which you can find on Youtube here and then watch the rest after that.

In both cases, I didn’t really 100% copy what they were saying, but I did use elements of it and put it into my own work. Both are incredible examples of not just NMM but painting in general so I’m a LONG way from that level.

The three main colours I used for the gold were these:

Trajann-Paints

There was about 7 different tones ranging from straight Rhinox Hide through to little dots of Ivory.

Trajan-Pallette

This is half of one sheet of baking paper from the wet palette. It’s essential in this case but also more of a habit for me. Being from Australia where it can get quite warm if I don’t use one my pain dries up in a matter of minutes.

My personal review

Overall I was really happy with how it turned out. I learnt a lot too.

  1. Whenever I decide to go for NMM again, I need to be really mindful of light sources. A few times I painted a part of the gold and then realised that I had the reflections around the wrong way, or the light side and dark side were flipped.
  2. I need to refine my formula for the silver parts of the model. I used Incubi Darkness as the base and worked up to almost pure white, but I’m not 100% happy with it.
  3. I want to spend some more time practicing faces.
  4. I wasn’t happy with how the robes turned out. There was a really nasty joint line on both sides near the shoulders. One is covered by the lion pelt, the other is not. I tried to fix it and actually ended up stuffing up the cloak. I mostly got it back to normal but it’s clearly visible. I decided to just move on though as the purpose of this was practicing NMM.

If anyone has any criticism or advice they’d like to offer I would be happy to hear it. Shoot me a message on Twitter.

What’s next

I’m travelling again for work for a few days so my painting time is reduced this fortnight. I’m also not going to do one of the four harbingers as they’ll be all over the place already and Games Workshop has done video tutorials on all of them.

Instead I’m going to start on my first 10 Chaos Warriors for my Sigmar’s Fallen aka Slaves to Darkness army.

As usual, thanks for reading!

End result: Spoilpox Scrivener

My Spoilpox Scrivener is done and dusted, with my first ever attempt at a display plinth / base.

Images seen below, will also be on twitter. At the end of the article I’ve done a bit of a self-review of how I think I went. You can skip to that after the images and look back at the WIP images here.

Overall

Spoilpox01.JPG

I might go back and put a label on the plinth at some point, but for now, done.

Spoilpox Scivener

Spoilpox03.JPG

The Base

Spoilpox02

Side views

My personal review

Overall I like it, but there’s a few things I need to keep in mind in future in my opinion:

  1. I did some zenithal layering right back at the start but I think I just ended up painting over it for the most part. I fell back to my regular style rather than persisting with something new.
  2. The water effects on the front went a bit funny. I think I need to use a smoother tape because it’s come away with a light texture on it which makes it not as transparent as I would like.
  3. Should have picked a different colour for the flowers I think. Not sure the yellow works.

If anyone has any criticism or advice they’d like to offer I would be happy to hear it. Shoot me a message on Twitter.

What’s next

Next up will be Captain-General Trajann Valoris. I didn’t get a chance to pick my pre-order up from my local store on the weekend as I was attending a tournament. I’ll grab him on Wednesday and get cracking with an aim to have him done before whatever the next release is!

As usual, thanks for reading!

Step-by-step: Spoilpox Scrivener

As part of my personal hobby goals for 2018, I’ve decided that I’m going to start painting a ‘random’ model every couple of weeks in an attempt to branch out from my usual painting projects. I’d also like it to double as an attempt to try some new things as well.

In addition to all that, I plan on documenting the each one, talking about anything new that I do, and do a sort of review on models as I go. To make that somewhat relevant I’ll be picking a new release model.

First up I decided to go with the Spoilpox Scrivener.

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Why Spoilpox Scrivener?

I love the giant mouth. It’s awesome. That’s pretty much why I picked it.

The model

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Goes together amazingly well as I’ve come to expect for all the new models. Joints are practically non-existent. There was only one section that had an significant level of mold lines on it and even then it was the underside of the right leg, so really, not even noticeable.

I used Liquid Greenstuff on mine because I’m overly picky when it comes to assembling and tidying up my models but you could easily skip this step and it probably wouldn’t make a difference.

I did decide to keep him in two parts initially until I at least got some of the base colours down.

Step 1: Pre-shades

01

  1. Black undercoat.
  2. Zenithal Grey and White layers.
  3. Deathworld Forrest.

I used an airbrush to do this because I have one, but you could easily achieve the same thing with spray cans.

Step 2: Base colours and washes

02

  1. Screamer Pink on the guts, tounge and any other exposed fleshy bits.
  2. XV-88 on the scrolls and the bone.
  3. Mournfang Brown on the rope and leatherwork.
  4. Macragge Blue on the quill.
  5. Jokaero Orange on the boils.

After all this I played around with both Agrax Earthshade and Athonian Camoshade adding some depth to different bits of the flesh of the model. I also washed down the Screamer Pink with Druchii Violet and the quill with Drakenhof Nightshade.

Step 3: First highlights

03

  1. Green highlights are Deathworld Forrest to Nurgling Green.
  2. Bone is XV-88 to Ushabti Bone (although at this point I’ve only gone to Karak Stone.
  3. Guts and other formerly Scream Pink bits are worked towards Slaanesh Grey.
  4. The boils (which you can’t really see here) were worked from Jaekaro Orange all the way to pure white.
  5. The Quill is Macragge Blue through to almost pure white.
  6. The lips on the weird mouth are Bugman’s Glow (with a light wash of Druchii Violet) through to Kislev Flesh.

At this point I hadn’t decided how to paint the scrolls as I wanted them to be different to the other bone.

Step 4: Hmm… that didn’t come out right

At this point I Attached the arm and finsihed a lot of the highlights (namely the bone and the lips on the mouth). I then took a step back and looked at the model and decided I had to fix a few things.

04

The bits I’ve circled about I decided I wasn’t happy with. The highlights were a little stark and didn’t blend too well and the work on the lower lips were a bit rough. I went back and fixed that up.

Step 5: Scrolls and Brass

(This photo is particularly bad, I’ll use my proper camera setup in the future!)

06

I settled on a more yellow base for the scrolls. I started with XV-88, followed by Balor Brown, then worked through to Ushabti Bone.

The sides of the scrolls and the hilt of the sword were done with Brass Scorpion, washed with Agrax Earthshade, re-highlighted with Brass Scorpion, and finally given a light coat of Nihilakh Oxide.

Step 6: Progress so far

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This is where I’m up to for now. I have a bit of tidying up to do and I’ve noticed in this photo that I’ve actually missed part of the scroll.

Whats next

I’m going to put a pause on this model for now as I want to try creating a proper display base for this model. I have no plans to ever actually use it in a game or create a Nurgle army so I don’t need it to be on a proper base.

I’m going to actually attempt a scenic plinth for the base which is something that I’ve never done before.

At that point, I’ll be doing some ‘dirtying up’ on the model so the scroll on the ground, the nurgling, and his lower legs will all be changed slightly.

I’m hoping to get that done in the next week or so and then I’ll break out the proper photography setup and get some decent pictures up.

Next weeks model

I’ve chosen Captain-General Trajann Valoris. He’s a nice model, perhaps a little static looking, but I think it fits the Custodians for it to be that way.

As usual, thanks for stopping by and I’m more than happy to receive constructive feedback.

Sigmar’s Fallen – Chaos Knights

Work on Sigmar’s Fallen continues, this time with some progress on the Chaos Knights and a start on something new.

Chaos Knights

The Chaos Knights have progressed nicely but so far and are now complete with the notable exception of their missing heads. I’ve managed to acquire some more Chaos Knight heads (the real ones, not Paladors!). Once these arrive the unit will be completely assembled. After that, they just need the ‘corruption’ treatment that the whole army will be getting in short time.

CK2-02

There’s a lot of greenstuff work to do on these. I need to fit up the joins between Lord of Change head and the body of the mount and there’s a bunch of small icons that I’ve shaved off that need covering, particularly around the fur cloaks.

Up next…

Next on the list for the army is some Chaos Chosen. They’ll be built based on Paladins, which unfortunately have a lot ‘Sigmar’ stuff hanging off them that will need removing, covering or corrupting. Early days, but work has begun!

CC1-01

Once again thanks for stopping by and checking out my little blog. I’ll try and put more updates up as I go.

Sigmar’s Fallen, the beginning

After a bit of a hobby hiatus I’ve gotten back into a new project for Age of Sigmar (aside from making a whole lot of terrain, but more on that later…)

A while ago I was trying to think of a new army to do for AoS. I had settled on Death for a while but when I started to work on the models I put the army on the backlog for a while. I think I’ll still do it in the future, but for now I’m focusing on something new.

Sigmar’s Fallen.

The Concept

The idea formed when I was thinking about what happens to a Stormcast Warrior when they die – they get zapped back to Azyr and reforged.

I got to thinking, what happens if they don’t make it? What happens if the soul of a warrior gets lost on the way?

This is where the idea for Sigmar’s Fallen came from. Stormcast warriors who died in battle, were sent back to Azyr, but along the way the Gods of Chaos corrupted them and turned them into something else.

From Stormcast to Slave to Darkness

I settled on playing the army as Slaves to Darkness. I didn’t want to go the obvious route of Tzeentch, Khorne or Nurgle. I started to think about what units in the Stormcast  army could be transferred across and I came up with the following:

  • Liberators become Chaos Warriors
  • Paladins become Chosen
  • Vanguard Paladors become Chaos Knights
  • Dracothian Guard become Varanguard

Chaos Warriors:

Chaos Knights (the mounts at least!)

The characters is where it gets a bit more complicated. I’m thinking I want to include the following:

  • Daemon Prince
  • Sayl the Faithless
  • Chaos Lord on Daemonic Steed
  • Sorcerer Lord

I’ve got ideas for the Daemon Prince and the Chaos Lord on Daemonic Steed but I haven’t exactly settled on the other two yet.

Next Steps

After I get the Chaos Knights and the Chosen assembled to the same point as the Chaos Warriors I need to revisit everything I’ve done so far and corrupt their armour a bit. They’re still far too ‘clean’ at the moment for my liking.

After that I’ll start on the Varanguard and the Daemon Prince as I suspect they are going to take a while to build.

Once again, thanks for having a read of my humble little blog and I hope you enjoyed the read.