Saturday, September 14, 2013

Scenery Projects: Operation Tuckborough

Hey Reader!

Greetings again from the Forge!  Before jumping fully into the army I'll be using for the Hunters Red October Tournament (more details in a future post!), I wanted to update you all on the progress I've made on Operation Tuckborough.  Below, you'll find all of the scenery I've worked on to date for that project, which I'm excited to say is now completed!  Here's a walkthrough of my little hobbit town. *Cues "Concerning Hobbits" soundtrack*

1.  The Town Center

As you'll remember, I envisioned a few trade stands, as well as a pipeweed house for the barreling and marketing of the famous export of the Shire.  Add a bit of colorful string from a wedding invitation from a friend of mine, and viola!  A more festive environment to throw into stark relief the presence of a battle, :)

For the pipeweed house, as mentioned in the last scenery update, I used coffee stirrers for shingles, and then painted over everything with a Mournfang Brown.  I covered the sides of the building with cardboard from Pop-Tarts boxes, scored the cardboard, and then added the texturing and color to the rest of the structure.

Add a few coffee stirrer shards for the door frame, and this guy's ready to go!  Finished product in the scenario battlefield shot at the end.

2.  Brandywine Bridge

As you will recall, Brandywine bridge was constructed in the last scenery post.  To finish the project, I used strips of painter's masking tape (super cheap, very easy to use, and very forgiving if you lay it incorrectly on the structure) to give a cobblestone look to the bridge once the painting begins.  Some people prefer to use spray paints for their larger terrain pieces; I painted Brandywine Bridge by hand, because I wanted to have more control over how it covered the surface.  With spray paints, you'll get a flat finish: this isn't bad, but I wanted a bit more spice/control over mine.  After painting the bridge, it looked like this:

I used a Citadel Mechanicus Grey paint, primarily because 1) it's a base paint as opposed to a layer, so it comes down a bit thicker, and 2) because I needed a darker gray for the bridge.  I then painted up the sides:

And that's the (more or less) finished product.  I'm still trying to decide if I want to do moss on the sides or not; we'll see.  Painting by hand took a long time to do (be ye warned), but I'm really glad with how it turned out, because it allowed me to add a bit more paint/texturing to different sections, giving it a bit more of a weathered look.

Final specs (for those who want to know): 6" wide by 14" long (16" from the beginning of one ramp to the end of the other), with two caverns underneath that are 2" tall and 4" wide at their widest points.  Both caverns can accommodate some cave trolls, most cavalry (don't send any under with spears pointing up!), and all infantry.  The piece is built so that it could be used over a massive river (up to 10" wide), two rivers (in case one wasn't enough jumping for poor infantry that don't want to take the highway), or an urban fight for use as an aqueduct.

And now, to introduce you to the secret project I've been working on for the far corner of the board...

3.  Dunedain Camp

It just wouldn't be the Shire if grey-eyed men with fell faces and great hearts weren't hanging around, so we'll need a place for them to hang out, :)  The pieces are also from Gripping Beast; they have a lot of options for tents, but I went with the Ridge Tents set, as 1) it gave me everything, including two sleeping cots and a firepit, and 2) the style is what I would expect for Dunedain.  I had some fun with painting, choosing to do two in browns and one in green (as they would blend in well with the landscape for better hiding), and one in white (because it can be a test of workmanship to make a white terrain piece starting with dark gray plastic.  Plus it looks good).  One of the other advantages of these pieces are that they are highly module - you can use them on basically any board.  I could even conceive of ways to fit them into an underground battle - they are very multi-purpose.

Conclusion: Scenario Battlefield Layout
So, for the final shot (on a 3' x 4' tabletop):

The barrels next to the trade stands and pipeweed house are from Gripping Beast, which sells a lot of feudal/dark age-related miniatures, and has some good terrain pieces and scene "fillers."  Gripping Beast also provided the fences that you see around the hobbit smials, and leading into the Town Center.  I like these fences because 1) they are highly module, with six 6" pieces and one 3" piece, but 2) they come in such a way that you can glue them together as multiples of 3" strips.  I like 6" because it's a good distance, providing adequate protection for a decent number of models, and not being so long as to be unwieldy for storage.  On this map, they also bar off parts of the "river" (which I'll likely either borrow from Tavros, or create my own; still thinking about that one), so that the entire river is not jumpable.  Since hobbits are generally fearful of rivers and lakes (having had instances of drowning), it also fits the theme to have precautions around the river, while still allowing gaps in the fences for fishing and the like.

On a 4' x 4' board, you'll have more space (4' on this board goes up to the salt and pepper shakers and the napkin holder), which means you can push the Dunedain camp back a bit more, and you'll have more space on the northern side of the bridge for maneuvering.  All told, I'm really excited about this board!

That's all for now - I'll be running a Grey Company list for the HRO tournament, and when I post next, I will be announcing the final date, format, and other important info for the tournament!  Can't wait!

Watching the stars,

"Centaurs are not the servants or playthings of humans." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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