Sunday, May 8, 2011

Khador Terrain begins!

Terrain building is something not everyone can do. At least that what a lot of my players tell me. But honestly before I opened this store, I never built terrain for anything (okay, my G.I. Joe base out of my mom`s Avon boxes does not really count!).

A lot of things you just have to try out and see if it works. Sometimes it does, other times.... not so much. But you learn by failing or succeeding (half XP mind you for failing!) and then you adapt and try again. Things you learn like: "Super Glue is not the answer for everything!" and "bigger brushes make painting large pieces easier".

So luckily we have a very enthusiastic group of players here in our WarMachine/Hordes league. They are loving the new terrain and are really keen to learn how to build more. This is fantastic for 2 reasons:
1- I can't build all the tables for Myth-a-Con myself and
2- I really like to teach and pass along skills and knowledge (that's why I've been into games since I was 12....lets not do the math on that)

So on June 4th I am running a terrain building day. More than likely we will concentrate on the Menoth table as there are many buildings and alters that need to be built and a lot of different techniques for each project.

This brings me to my Khador Terrain. Now I will freely admit I am "cheating" on a peice by using the Avalanche Cannon, but we will get to that another time.

For Khador I planned:
1- A Mine, a BIG Mine.
2- A Blast Furnace
3- The supply depot
4- A water tower
5- Multiple Guard posts (walls for WM purpose)

This was a lot of fun as it normally is. The first peice I wanted to tackle was the mine. This is basically a hill (for WarMachine terrain rules), but it's a freaking big hill! I wanted more than just a peice that was on the board and not really interactable. This one players can climb all over the hill using the ramps. There is a crane (we'll be making up some special rules for it) and lots of space to fight. But this thing is a monster. It measures 18" long and 10" wide. It's meant to sit in the corner of the deployment zone or along the side of the table.

The finshed peice looks wicked (if I do say so myself!) but was very easy to put together. Some 3" thick styrofoam, 1" styrofoam, popsicle sticks, balsa wood, toy parts a gear and some train tracks. I almost forgot my favorite terrain stuff - Sculptamold!

As you will see in the pictures, lots of cutting and glueing (white glue) to put the bulk of the project together. Once all the peices were glued I added a lot of wieght (books are geat, but really heavy board games are the best!) and let it dry overnight.

Next day was Sculptamold day! This stuff is fantastic to build with. It does not shrink like regular paper maché and leaves a great "Rocky" textrure. Then came the balsa wood posts and popsicle sticks. I wanted to add a platform that would be functional and "make sense" for the peice. Luckily I sitll have toy parts from the Cryx terrain and the little toy crane and brace worked perfectly.

Once that was all dry (one more day) then it was time to prime. Important note. Even though I own the store, I'm not carless when it comes to pricing out projects. A can of "no name" brown primer from Rona cost me less than a can of my Army Painter primer (and I mean my cost, not retail price). When doing up terrain, there is no real need to use expensive primers. There is a huge selection of colored primers at Home Depot/Rona/Lowes that do the job. Would I ever use these on my miniatures? HELL NO! They are not formulated properly for minis and you will more than likely wreck them or make them unpaintable.

So once the primer was on time to drybrush. This is a technique where you apply a small amount of paint to your brush, wipe a lot of it off on paper or a napkin then lightly brush over top of the basecoat. This picks out the highspots. I planned to make the areas where people would naturally walk much lighter. So a few layers and all was ready for the next step. Looking at the level of my top terrain, I noticed that there was a steep drop off near the platform. So adding my train tracks would not work properly without a base as the track would "dip" and logically a cart being pushed on it would simply roll off the mine. Luckily I have some old sandblasting sand from my father's machine shop (I've had this jar for 20 years) that is much coarser than real sand and very symetric (each one is a little bead) so it would look perfect for my tack base. With a liberal use of white glue and sandblasting beads I was able to "build up" the slope like a real person would do. Then the track was laid.

Adding snow flock was pretty easy. More glue and then drop the snow flock on it. Make sure you have a newspaper under the project! You can reclaim a ton of the flock because not all of it will stick. ;-)

More on the Blast Furnace later!

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