Sunday, May 5, 2013

Underground Terrain: Beyond A Board

And the admin returns (grad school papers and finals done for the semester, so now I have time to just focus on family, work, and the hobby)! I've been doing some work on terrain pieces as I'm calling a temporary hiatus for "Flight to the Ford" month - have an Arwen model to paint up, but no desire to work on it. So instead, I decided to kick of a new "month" of hobbying and work on some terrain for my battle board.
I've wanted a mountain pass terrain piece for a while, and here is a work-in-progress view of it. Our faithful readers will remember that when I spray-painted the chasm that you see on the left side of the picture, that the polystyrene didn't disintegrate. Well, on the few pieces of polystyrene that this piece has, it did...go figure. Anyway, the result was an eroded rock look, supplemented by (shocker) real rocks. The far side that isn't visible in this shot has a rocky pile that counts as rocky difficult terrain, allowing one side the ability to charge up without penalty and the other the ability to cross a smaller distance (and with a bit more cover) with a penalty. 
I made this guard house for my Dwarves and created my own thought on what their defensive works would be. The walls are high enough that the Dwarves can see out without penalty but the bulwark is high enough that they will clearly have an in-the-way roll from enemy arrows. The crenelations are angled to allow a wide breadth of vision for the archers at their posts, allowing them to scope those who are approaching - even to the base of the bulwark! Those that get around the guard house to its stairs will find two ways to climb up: stairs that allow one person to climb each turn or difficult rocky terrain that will slow their progress. In my book, just the kind of keep that a Dwarf would be proud of.
As a lover of both the Dwarves and the Fellowship of the Ring, I needed a Balin's Tomb room. I've looked at many replicas of Balin's Tomb, and even made a piece that was more correctly scaled to the size of the room in the movie (complete with a walk-around second level like Legolas and Frodo showcase in the movie). I found this scenery piece too large for normal games (in general) and too small for its own battlespace, so I redid it with this smaller room arrangement. The walls are polystyrene and have had a space cut-out for the door (from the Mines of Moria starter set). For record, this is not Balin's tomb as my Dwarves frequently have Balin in their number ("Hello dead self, sorry I forgot to tell you about that Goblin shaft...pity that.").
In addition to these terrain pieces, I built two more simple rocky terrain spots: one with a big rock on it and one with just a lot of gravel. I have a few rocky terrain pieces, but I wanted more to give the Dwarf Rangers as much room to use their special rule as possible. Though these don't often provide cover for them, they can be used to enable unique deployment and feint strategies.
It's good to be back. This summer (all of it, so more than a month) is going to be "The Battle for the Mountains" month, which is more colloquially titled "finish-your-outstanding-Dwarf-Goblin-and-underground-terrain-projects" month, so hopefully we'll see some great new terrain pieces and glossed up warriors by the end of the month! I'm also looking into redoing some of the painting schemes on my Dwarves, so we'll see if that happens. Happy hobbying!


  1. I look forward to watching this develop. If you are painting the Hobbit minis you could use these pieces for some Goblin Town gaming.

    1. Thanks for the comment - I actually haven't bought (and don't plan on buying) the new Hobbit minis - I converted my own set from Dwarf Rangers before the movie release. I have, however, tried to save from money by making Goblin Town terrain out of popsicle sticks. Be watching for more on that. :)

  2. cool terrain ideas.

    before you get too involved in more, you should check out some polycarbonate clear sheets at home depot (basically just a sturdy plastic sheet for picture frames and such). You can get an 8x10 piece for like... $4 (smaller for less). Much sturdier than cardboard and doesn't warp. I have a cutter too if you need to make smaller pieces. few things are as frustrating as spending hours on a terrain piece and then having the base warp on you and ruin it. =P

  3. Nice work on the terrain - I've got to see this expanded Balin's Tomb you've got! :) And we should seriously get a game in sometime, especially since I'm close to finishing Murin and Drar, :)

    Looking forward to what the next few months hold! Summertime is almost here!