Wow, it's been a busy last couple weeks! The Forge has been extremely busy rolling out projects, and I hope to have a few posts up on those in April. In preparation for the upcoming TMAT GT, I've been working on a number of terrain pieces for a Shire map to round out Operation Tuckborough. I wanted to quickly post on the new pieces and the overall board as we head into the GT this weekend (Woot! Woot!).
1. Barrels and Crates
I ordered a set of crates and barrels from Slave to Painting, which has a number of terrain pieces for various games across eras in addition to miniature models. Reasonable prices, good quality resin on the pieces I purchased, so I also recommend them. I first discovered them when directed by a friend of mine to Scott's Wargaming Blog; Scott is a follower on this site, and if you haven't seen his stuff yet, you really should. He's an LOTR gamer who also does a few other 28mm games, and his paint jobs are fantastic. So you should check his site out.
As you can see, the larger barrels and crates provide an easy in-the-way for a standard model (here's one of my elves again, harkening back to a previous post about my Shire list; these two guys are going to be converted into spectres soon, which is why I haven't finished them yet), while also having low stacks that don't obscure the torso (so there's some strategy to how you place your units behind cover). Conversely, you can also see...
That hobbits and other shorter models (like Murin here) have the exact opposite problem: all of the crates and barrels provide cover that obscures the torso, but the larger pieces also obscure the eyes of the model, preventing an archer standing where Murin is from firing in that arc. So something a good commander will have to think about is how to place your men to optimize both their protection and firepower. I really like these pieces (primarily because of their modular nature), and am also glad that they transcend genres (and can also be used for Fantasy, 40k to some extent, and my rapidly growing Infinity collection).
2. Marketplace Supplies
About two weeks ago I got the last few pieces for my board from Tabletop World, which is a company located in Europe (Croatia, I believe, as the letter that came with everything was in Serbo-Croat using Latin letters, so it's not Serbian. They use the Euro, by the way, so cash conversion can be in your favor depending on which country you're from) with a limited line of Fantasy terrain products. They have great customer service, though (which makes up for the limited line of terrain), are very prompt, and have a good amount of detail on the resin pieces they provide, so I highly recommend them.
The courtyard is about 8" x 10" (more like 7.5" x 10"), and provides a variety of texture, height, and size for the cobblestones (which is why I like it so much). I've been wanting something for the base of my marketplace for quite a while, and this piece works perfectly. I like it so much I've actually considered getting a second one to extend the base area, but we'll see (dunno if I want to spend about 20 Euro + shipping to get it if I'm not also ordering another piece).
The supplies set is also really sweet, which is pictured here. There's a larger, in-depth groceries set that they sell (complete with cabbages, corn, more sacks, more crates, more barrels - the works), but the supplies set was 10 Euro instead of 22, and it covered everything I wanted it to cover (though I may end up getting the other set in the future, as it would help to flesh out a marketplace really well, though I'm leaning away from it). The set comes with a cart, 3 crates, 2 sacks (one attached to one of the crates), a bucket (not pictured here, though it's sitting next to the statue in the marketplace photos below; it's also perfect for that well I've had for a while), 2 bags of produce, 2 parcels, and 3 barrels, one standard for what you'll find in a terrain set, one open holding some sort of grain, and another open and empty with scoring for the boards of the barrel on the interior (excellent high-detail resin mold for that, by the way - I was very pleased with it).
One of the things I like most about this set is that it moves the marketplace from a storage yard (with just crates and barrels) into an actual place of commerce, complete with produce and other niche items, so hopefully it will set a different atmosphere for the courtyard.
So, taken together, here's the new map layout:
This is the map without the old cardboard courtyard structure; I'm shying away from using it in the tournament, as it may unfairly block archery and magic, and with the cobblestone courtyard piece I'm not at a loss for setting the marketplace apart from everything else. It sounds like we may be using the Shire map in the tourney, and I'm excited! As I'm running my Shire army in the tournament (The Waistcoat Brigade gonna rock it, :D ), I'm looking forward to defending hearth and home in the tournament as a thematic army.
A few more quick pics on the map to highlight it a bit more:
The statue in the courtyard can be replaced with a well; depending on what this map is used for, though, we can change the center focal piece. You'll also notice the barrels, crates, sacks, etc. form natural protective cover as people approach the center. Plus it makes it look more lived in and homey, :)
One portion of the map is more of the "residential" quarter, with two smials angled off of the marketplace. It is anchored off of the fences that form the road from the Brandywine Bridge, and also offers a bit of archery protection for people shooting into the marketplace. To the right of the smials I have some of my Arnorian ruins pieces, and I'm also thinking about adding some of my other Osgiliath Ruins pieces to give it a bit more spice.
On the far corner we have the Dunedain camp. With four tents and a few well-placed cots and barrels, we have a bit of cover for people near the camp, and can also serve as an easy objective (via the campfire) should a Shire board be used for Domination. It's very similar to the camp setup from the Shire game from September, though a bit different in arrangement. On the whole, I'm really excited about the map: it offers the openness that you'd expect from a Shire town (you know: not blocking or obscuring the landscape and view like those towns of men), but still gives some good protection to people and necessitates the need for tactics when preparing to engage the enemy.
Over the next few days I hope to get in a pitched battle with the Shirelings (as I've only done one game with them so far against the White Council and a quick game against Tiberius' dwarf army for the tournament), and after the tournament I will be posting on some of the final touches to my Misty Mountains army from the Hobbit collection, my "Halloween" Angmar army, and the first rendition of a comp system (modeled after the Swedish Comp System for Fantasy) for LOTR, so stay tuned!
Watching the stars,
"Lie back on the floor," said Firenze in a calm voice, "and observe the heavens. Here is written, for those who can see, the fortune of our races." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix