It's good to be home! I've been out on the road for work (the joys of being one of those young-traveling-professional types, :) ), and it's good to be back with you all and resuming projects at the How. Now that the TMAT Tournament has been announced, I'm working not only on polishing touches for my tournament list, but also on a number of new scenery pieces that I'll test out there as well. A number of the players that I know will be there have mentioned that they'd be open to an urban map, and I have taken it on myself to provide the terrain for such an engagement. What follows below are some of the pieces that all of us at the How are working on to make that map possible. In this post, we'll be looking at the pieces that I have from GW, and some of the conversions that I've made. In the next post, we'll look at some of the pieces I've created from raw materials lying around the How, and an update on some of the GW pieces that are still in progress.
1. Ruins of Osgiliath
These are a few of my Ruins of Osgiliath - and, if you've followed my battles on this blog, you're probably tired of seeing them, :) These pieces (and others, which you'll see in a bit) will form some of the raised vantage points sections of the battlefield. As there will be a number of walls, barricades, fences, and ruins present in the battle, these points will serve as excellent placement positions for archers on the map. In the past, the pieces have rarely been used beyond a cover save, primarily because the scenarios have been very open. With barricades, walls, fences, etc. in place, however, using scenery will be essential to creating firing lanes for archers and thwarting strategies (is the idea).
On a whim (okay, it was stronger than a whim - it was more like a "We seriously need a city for a city fight" stream of thinking), I went out and bought a second set of ruins, and, after doing a few conversions and putting extra pieces together, I came up with the following structures to add to my collection:
As you can see, we still have three pieces: the two larger segments have been spliced together to make a larger, almost completely enclosed terrain piece, and the smaller segments have been spliced together into a tower-like structure for a lone archer (think a Legolas-Vrasku-Narzug perch, if you will). The "stepping stones" piece...well, doesn't really gel well with other pieces, so we have another (but that's okay, as it's a very versatile piece, and people like it, :) ). We also have another statue, and the other is still under construction for a remodeling project - I'm taking the "Scroll King" and adding the head of one of my minotaur axes from Fantasy, so he'll be holding an axe. I'll update you all on the progress of that project in my next post.
I am considering getting another set of ruins, and gluing them so that one set stacks on top of the other, allowing me to do multi-tier warfare between some of the larger pieces. We'll see what happens with that, and whether I choose to invest over $100 into scenery from GW, :)
2. Urban Barricades
I decided, after careful deliberation, that I'd need more than just some Osgiliath ruined architecture to make a good urban fight. This led me to go on a spending spree to get the additional scenery that I wanted (including the extra set of Ruins of Osgiliath shown above). One of the pieces was this set of Urban Barricades. These are 40k scenery pieces, which creates a few problems when transitioning over to LOTR - namely, the presence of a TON of steel and high-grade tech. The two barricades above didn't need much work (other than painting steel beams like they were wooden beams with a lot of nails in them), but the other pieces needed a good amount of work done to them. That doesn't daunt me though - it's an easy conversion to posts and pillars, if you have an inner journeyman carpenter in you and don't mind working with modeling clay and drywall spackle.
The color scheme is really simple: I used Ceramite White for my base coat, and then followed up with White Scar on top of that for most of the pieces. I then used different shades of gray (I really like the Skavenblight Grey, personally) for most of the rubble, and Russ Grey for highlighting specific rubble pieces to make them stand out (the pieces that have a slightly bluish-grayish texture are painted in Russ Grey; I'll point out some of those pieces as we go along). Other than that, I used my trusty Mournfang Brown for the "wooden beams" (read: steel beams that I'm trying to disguise), and will likely use a brown or green wash over the barricades to give them a weathered, dirtied look.
Four of my Gondorian Osgiliath Veterans volunteered to help me as "gauging models" for the next few pictures, so I'll give a shout-out to Captain Terrek and his boys here for their willingness to help us, :) The next few photos will not only show you some of the work I've been doing on the walls, but will also show you height compared to LOTR units (which, I'm glad to say, is a really good height for them!).
First of all, if you're looking for battlefield scenery, I highly recommend this set. For less than $25 before tax, you get six barricades that are about 6" long, giving you 36" of wall at about $4 a wallpiece - not a bad price. What's more, the quality of the barricades is phenomenal: unlike the Ruins of Osgiliath, the Urban Barricades set is comprised of a strong, finely detailed resin (much akin to the finecast-style units, but much stronger) instead of plastic. The result is a solid product (no joke: the barricades weigh more than most of my fully constructed ruins pieces!), and I'm looking at getting another set of them just because they are well-crafted and well made.
In my work on these barricades, they fell into three categories. First, let's look at the picture you saw above, showcasing the two barricades that had virtually no conversions done on them:
I'll focus in on the right-hand barricade for a bit, so you can see the height comparison with man-sized units:
As you can see with Captain Terrek on the far right side, the beams and posts come up and block most of a unit, though they can still be slightly seen behind the barricade. The spearman to his right, on the other hand, can hardly be seen at all. This limits archery a bit (gives an in-the-way roll), and limits charging a bit (as you have to go around such a piece, scale over it at applicable points, and fight over them at certain points), but you can still charge and shoot at units on the other side. For our purposes, this will be very helpful for us as we look at various pieces, and how much cover each provides. As you can see, though, from one of Terrek's swordsmen, some of the pieces themselves also lend themselves to "sally points" for valiant charges - so we'll see how that affects gameplay!
In this one, you'll see two that received a few detail make-overs:
On the left, an electrical panel needed to be covered up, and some spackle made short work of that. I'm not debating on whether I want to spackle the entire top section and then use my craft knife to make masonry and brickwork from it. We'll see what happens. On the right, I filled in two windows that had skulls in it, and I'm waiting to revisit the piece to fill in the other side for similar reasons - it...just doesn't work for our purposes here, :)
Some of the wall pieces here are rather low, lending themselves to men fighting over them in close combat, instead of being directed around the barricade. Having a few of these in key parts will give a slight advantage to the initial defender, emphasizing the need for strategy in terms of when and where to push up and form your position.
The final two pieces needed a lot of work:
On the left, the massive black area near the center used to be a motorcycle (which you can still vaguely make out, if you look hard). I'm planning on gluing gravel and a few other things over to the top of it to help it blend it better. I also painted the gear wheel as if it was part of a medieval waterwheel system, so I think I'll leave that piece as-is for now. On the right, we have a piece that had a ton of steel beams that were hollow: I filled in the beams with putty and an initial layer of drywall spackle, and will finish those off once everything dries and hardens correctly. So we'll see how that one turns out, :)
For the piece on the left, as everything is about waist-height, I'm calling the whole barricade scalable, though it will count as 1" of difficult terrain to walk through. On the right side of this barricade, you can also see a piece of rubble that has the Russ Grey paint job on it, just above the wheel - it draws it out from the rest of the rubble, which gives the piece a bit more character.
3. Lord of the Rings Scenery
|Picture courtesy of Games Workshop, as my copy is still in transit.|
Anyway, a few of the projects we're working on over here. In the next post, you'll see some of the projects I've done from scratch, some of which have been present in battle reports, and some of which are completely new!
Until then, may the Maker of the stars smile upon you,
"I watch the stars, for it is mine to watch." ~ Glenstorm