Friday, September 23, 2011

More terrain inspiration

Down in behind the fortress there is an area called "Sleepy Cove." This stretch below the fortress along the coastline is peppered with hidden pill boxes nestled into the forest, another set of Observation Towers and a second Battery that was added during the 1940's. Hurricane Juan destroyed much of the area five years ago, and it is now closed off by parks Canada so I was only able to get a few pictures of the area for now. The first wall pictures are a restored section of the original walls from the fortress.

On the way down to Sleepy Cove.

Hidden pillbox

The forward observation post with scout/sniper towers, and gun battery.

I'll try and get some pics of the hidden stuff when the area opens up again.

Next up: Painting bloated/rotted/zombie/dead flesh.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Terrain Inspiration

Hey everyone! If you are like me you are constantly thinking about the hobby that comes along with playing the tabletop games we play. Every piece of garbage, packaging, rocks, sand, etc I see laying around I am sizing it up, wondering if it could be used for table top. Is it to scale? What could I make out of that? I also find myself paying particular attention to the lay of the land in forests, coastlines, rocky outcroppings, river beds and banks, rolling hills, rock formations, etc that I encounter in person or through pictures or nature shows. You can also draw tons of terrain inspiration from movies and video games or even better your own imagination.

I live in a historic section of Canada. The Atlantic Provinces were home or jumping off points to many early explorers, settlers, fisherman, traders, and envoys from Britain and France in particular, but also for other European countries through out history that migrated to Canada. The French and the British claimed and reclaimed the area for hundreds of years fighting battles over land and resources before the British finally took a foot hold over the area. Through the years of fighting and colony building, many fortresses were erected around Nova Scotia from the 1600's to the mid 1800's in both French and British styles of architecture. Around the mouth of the Halifax harbor sits three fortresses that were built over this time to protect the deep, natural harbor that traders, merchants, and military used for port, and the colony that was being built around it.

This harbor also held particular importance for defending ships that were preparing supplies and fuel for the war efforts of World War I and II. Canada had joined the British in both wars with Germany from their infancy due to Canada still being part of the Common Wealth. Newfoundland was not yet part of Canada and started sending soldiers to war when Britain declared to fight. Due to Canada's allegiance to the thrown, and the potential threat of Germany defeating Britain and assimilating Newfoundland colony, giving the Germans a foot hold for attack in North America, some of the fortresses around Halifax were beefed up, expanded, or modernized in preparation for war escalation.

We often take our dog for a walk around one of these fortresses called York Redoubt, and thought I would share some of the architecture and battlements that are still in place there, as well as some of the ruined remnants of the old fortress. I hope to do more of these as this blog progresses, hopefully they can assist you in your battlefield construction!

Observation post. 

The view of the mouth of the harbor from the observation post.

 Gun Battery.

Guns are placed on circular rail ties so the cannon can be turned 360 degrees.

Ammo Storage Sheds.

Building from the origional fortress that was upgraded during World War I.

Wall around the fortress with gun slits.

Next up: More terrain inspiration.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Khador Commission and Snow Bases

Hey, sorry for the absence. I have been working on a commission, sick, and no longer on vacation so I haven't gotten a chance to post, but here is what I have been up to.

Finished up some Battle Mechaniks and a unit of Widow Makers. They turned out pretty good for table top quality. Also assembled a Behemoth, which took a long time to pin, glue, and gap fill. This was the first time I have attempted snow bases, and I was very pleased with the end result. Here is how I went about doing it.

Materials Needed:

Modeling Paste: Any brand will do. Liquitex Basics was the cheapest, the more expensive ones are thicker, and often easier to shape into what you want. Since I'm not doing anything fancy I went with the cheapest.

White Glue: For putting down the base layer of snow.
Scenic Cement: Works best for this method. You could mix your own glue water solution, but if it is not mixed correctly you could get a weird effect. 
Snow Flock: I used "Snowflake" from woodland scenics. You get way more than the GW snow for only two dollars more. 
Eye Dropper: Applying scenic cement.
Ice blue/Sky blue paint: To change the color of the white modeling paste.
Palette Knife: Applying modeling paste.
Paper Clip: To shape the snow.
Coffee Stir stick: For adding modeling paste to tight areas, or between legs.

I took one of the blister pack packages and squirted out a blob of modeling paste onto it. Dip the tip of the palette knife into the ice blue paint on the lid, or add a few drops from a dropper bottle and mix the paint into the paste. *Note: The amount of paint shown ended up making the paste too blue, so I added a little more paste to bring the color down some. You will only need a small amount of paint, the paste mixes really well and retains the color of the paint.* Once it's mixed it should look something like this:

We are going to use this as the base for our snow and to bond the miniature to the base. If you want rocks or static grass sticking out of the snow, glue all this stuff down before you apply the modeling paste, and shape the paste around the rocks and grass with a paper clip. Grab your palette knife and start spreading it randomly and unevenly all over the inside circle of the base. Be careful not to apply the paste too thick or get too much on the rim of the base or apply the paste too thick. If you do, try to scrape off what you can with your finger around the edge. It is also best to do this before you start painting. I did it at the half way point and did get some modeling paste on the mini and had to pick it off and repaint a few area's. Once I had the base all done I realized I should have done this step just after I prime the mini. I recommend you do the same to save yourself a headache. It should look like this:

Make sure there are no pointy bits on the surface unless that is the effect you are going for. Next, while the paste is still wet, slowly push the mini into the slot available in the base. Modeling paste will come out of the bottom as you fix the mini in, so I recommend attaching the mini in mid air and scrape off the excess that is pushing out the bottom with your finger and transfer it to a popsicle or coffee stir stick. Go back in with the stir stick and apply the paste between the legs covering over the metal tab that the mini sits on.

Once this is done we are going to let it dry for an hour or two depending on the thickness you applied the paste. Now paint the mini until it is completed, and right before you would seal the paint job, start basing the model with the snow. Apply some white glue to the surface and sprinkle the snow all over the base, and shake off the excess. This will give you a good base to start putting the snow down.

You can see that after this first layer you can still see the blue paste underneath. Now sprinkle on a second layer of snow, and place a drop of scenic cement near the middle of the base. You will see that when the cement hits the snow flake it will create a ball, rather than spreading out evenly like it would do with turf or ballast from woodland scenics. Keep adding drops to the original drop untill it startrts to spread out. only apply scenic cement to the wet areas of the snow and tilt the mini to help it spread.

Once it is all wet you can take a paper clip and even out, or contour the snowy slush to the shape you want. When you are done, lightly sprinkle a thin layer or dusting of snow flake and let it just sit on the surface. You don't need to shape this again at this stage, you just want to restore the ice like effect and to give the base some depth and dimension. Also when you are applying the layers, push any snow that gets on the edge of the base, back up to the edge of the snow effect. Once the rim is clear and the snow is all dry (10-30 minutes), paint the edge of the base black, and then seal your paint job, and base details together at the same time. The "Lacquer" and "Dull Coat" layers of sealer will lock in any of the snow flake that is sitting on the surface.

Next up: Terrain Inspiration.