Sunday, October 16, 2011

Project: Terrain and Batch Painting

Though most of this was supposed to be done during "Uruk-Hai Month," we kind of fell behind in the deadlines. Most of this was due to all the batteries running out and never making a run for more, but we've started some new scenery projects

So, if you haven't gathered from my games on this blog, I play with Wood Elves. Though all Elven armies greatly gain from the presence of at least one wood (or a forest, which has a larger base), it is obvious that a Wood Elf army would gain a serious advantage from the in-the-way rolls of the trees and the reduction of movement that enemy units will face trying to charge through the wooded terrain. In the Stone age of wood creation, the building projects were primitive at best and "hardly looking like trees" at worst. Today, there's a new strategy afoot... shaping trees from leftover Styrofoam.
Here you can see four new trees on their 6" woodland base (the recommended size for a "wood" in the game). These trees all look different, as they should, and will be getting some paint for appearances. The base is simply some cardboard, but I'm planning on giving it some color too, just to make it clear what terrain is wooded and what isn't. The trees have their own bases so that they can be moved to different places on the wooded area, allowing for flexibility and creativity. I'm also working on trees made from wires, which will allow for thin trees with generally realistic appearances.
Since we're talking about painting, a few other terrain features have been painted recently: hills! Basically there are two different kinds of hills in the game: first, hills that don't require a climb test but have a vertical rise and second, ones that have a causeway or something that allows you to get up. The hill on the left is an example of the first, while the one on the right is an example of the second. Of course, in some scenarios you have "crags," which are basically the first kind of hill with a "climb test required" on at least one side because it's difficult terrain (or a steep slope).
In other news as far as scenery is concerned, I've done some work on a small ruin that I've added to my tunnel fighting equipment, since they're always so short on buildings. This one has a small ledge that a unit can stand on and shoot from (climb test required to get up) and he should get an in-the-way roll unless someone is at his level. There is also an alcove which is great if you are an archer and want your body to be partly obscured while you're shooting at someone, but it also allows a unit to be trapped basically by terrain alone (besides the one guy he's fighting). This is fun, as it literally makes units fight with their backs against the wall when they get stuck there. You can also see the beginnings of an edit that I'm making for some of my Wood Elves - Elven rope!
So...several months ago I finished batching my Uruk army. Batch painting can be hard because you get tired of painting the same things on the same units ten or twenty times (at least). In this case, I did it 36 times...which is really pressing it. Prior to the day I batched the Uruks, some had chain mail painted, but most only had their base coats (which were starting to show some wear) and all but one had their skin done. So, the armor and the chain mail were done on all of them, as well as adding detail to their weapons. I mixed some of my metallic silver paint with a small tub of black acrylic paint to make a glossy black, reminiscent of the dull shine on the armor of the Fighting Uruk-Hai at Helm's Deep. For the most part, the Uruks still look very black...very very black, but I like how now they have a distinctive shimmer to their armor and weapons, which is great.
I don't know if I've mentioned this on my blog, but each of my units is painted differently, though the whole army shares a color pallet to make the army look uniform. For the Uruks, I need to be able to give 37 Uruks a different look so that they will be a cohesive army but have clearly different markers. As such, I've tailored my painting scheme to work for 36 units (banner excluded), which will go something like this...
  • 18 units will have black clothing, while 18 will have brown clothing. This will add to the darkness of the army's color.
  • Of the sets of 18, the units will have "white hands" imprinted on them that will either be a single right hand, a single left hand, or a set of two hands (6 of each).
  • Of the 6 of each set of hands, half will have the hand/hands right side up on their chests, while the other half will have the marks upside down on their heads (3 of each).
  • For the three identical units in each set, there will be one of the following as far as their weapons go: blood on their blade, a silver shine on their blade point, or no alteration from the current color scheme.
This will provide 36 distinct and similar Uruks at the end, with the only major differences being their hand prints and weapons, which should keep the army looking uniform (and if the hands come out well, they should look neat!). The pikes haven't had their hands added, but those will come later. Be on the lookout for more "Understanding the Strategy" pages as Winter turns to Spring, as the armies should have all of their units by then and my tactics for each army can then be shared!

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