I've been mostly absent from my blog (and life in general) for the past several months due to my latest project– a diorama display for Arcadia Quest. Similar to the Wrath of Kings diorama, this one is a large cityscape and it incorporates three different settings:
The District of Hammers– a large stone fortress topped with barbed wire. The Alchemist District– a collection of buildings whose windows glow with an eerie light produced by the arcane concoctions brewing within. And the University Plaza, a large clock tower overlooking a courtyard.
So this will be a multi-part assembly journal focusing on the highlights of constructing each area. Once the table debuts in the Cool Mini Or Not booth at Gencon, I'll put up some photos of the finished diorama.
Part 1: The District of Hammers
As with every large display, a wooden frame is constructed for the base. Atop that, insulation foam is layered to create the landscape.
The foam is sanded to form a smooth gradient. You can see the outline of the Hammer fortress at the back of the table. The rectangular area on the left is the base of the University clock tower. But we'll get to that in a bit...
First, the Hammer fortress. Layers of insulation foam are stacked to form the building shapes and the surface is textured with a stone pattern. Here you can see the main structure with the smaller buildings that will be set atop it.
The windows are cut out during the stone texturing process. To protect the foam, it's coated with a layer of wood glue. The doors are then glued in place, and the metal rail is made by attaching styrene strips to a sheet of foam core.
The balcony is textured with cardboard chits and sand to create stone flooring.
The roofs of the buildings get a covering of styrene sheets, punched with rivets. L-strips frame out the edges.
At the base of the fortress is a moat. The shape is cut out and the front edge is roughed up with a wire brush. The back is textured to match the stonework of the fortress. Then the surface of the water is made by smoothing wood filler putty into the recess.
There is a bit of a waterfall and stream as the water flows down the slope and off the edge of the table. Finally, sand mixed with glue is painted in lines to simulate ripples in the water.
Here is the District of Hammers fortress, nearly finished. It only needs a few final details, like a drawbridge, barbed wire, flags, and some roof shingles, most of which will be added during the painting process.
No Quarter Magazine #54 hit the shelves recently, and it features the next article in a series about converting and painting faction-themed Mercenaries.
This time it's Ogrun bokur. Check out No Quarter for the step-by-step tutorials. Here's a look at how the finished models turned out:
Adding some voltaic coils was an obvious choice. This was also a great opportunity to use left over parts from the plastic warjack kits. This bokur's clients have been warcaster and stormsmiths, who over the years have upgraded his halberd with some voltaic tech. The Centurion shield was salvaged from the battlefield and while its magnetic coils don't function anymore it's still sturdy and intimidating. It will also make a nice trophy to go with all the stories he'll tell when returning home.
Plastic Centurion Shield
Stormguard Sgt Voltaic Weapon
MKII Commander Adept Nemo Staff
The Man-O-War parts are perfectly scaled for bokurs. This ogrun is close to securing a korune, the master he'll permanently swear loyalty to, and so he is wearing Khadoran markings on his armor and shield. Again, the spare plastic Spriggan lance adds a little more character to the model.
Man-O-War Kovnik Shield
Man-O-War Demolition Corps Right Arm #2
Man-O-War Demolition Corps Left Arm #2
Plastic Spriggan Lance
I wanted to go a little darker with the Cryxian bokur. The fluff in the Forces book mentions ogrun bringing shame upon themselves by serving dishonorable masters. It doesn't get any more dishonorable than serving the undead. The bokur's hands have been replaced with Brute Thrall gauntlets, likely against his will after suffering a grievous injury. He's now enthralled to the service of the Lich Lords, never to return home.
For the final installment of this terrain showcase, I'll cover the lava effects on the Dark Age demo tables I made for Cool Mini Or Not. As is normally the case when it comes to crunch time, I start taking fewer pictures as I work. So I don't have any work-in-progress photos of the lava or lighting rig.
The ground was textured with sand and gravel, and painted black. I drybrushed the color up with a mix of P3 Thamar Black and P3 Bloodstone, up through straight Bloodstone, and then added some final highlights with P3 Gun Corps Brown.
Cool Mini Or Not provided some translucent resin crystals to use on the bases. They were imbedded in the ground near the lava. The lava cutouts have a layer of textured plexiglass under them. The plexiglass was protected with tape during the painting, and once the drybrushing was finished, I sprayed some red directly into the center of each lava pool to create a glow on the banks.
Within the base of each table is a series of strip LEDs, positioned to shine up through the crystals and lava.
To create the lava, I tinted some Envirotex Lite (a two-part epoxy) with yellow acrylic paint and poured it into each of the lava pools. Then, before the Envirotex cured, I added the darker swirls around the edges with a cotton swab dipped in orange paint. The paint comes off into the Envirotex without really dissolving, and by swirling it around, I could create some unique effects. For the finishing touch, I dropped a few glass beads into the lava to represent bubbles.
I'm really pleased with the lava; it turned out better than I imagined!
The four tables are designed to function as stand-alone 2' x 2' demo boards...
And also line up to form either a 4' x 4' square, or a 2' x 8' line.
Cool Mini Or Not held their Expo last weekend. The Dark Age demo tables I built for them made their debut at the show, which means I can show off some painted pictures. To see the table in action, check out the CMON Expo Facebook Page.
All of the platforms were kept separate for painting. Over a coat of black primer, each one received a spray of successively lighter shades of grey using a mix of Testors and Tamiya sprays. From there, I drybrushed some highlights and added a little silver for wear on the metal deck plates.
The rust was achieved with a mix of P3 Bloodstone and Khador Red Highlight (orange). This was washed into the recesses around the plates, and dappled in places for specific spots of rust.
I added some spots of rust to break up the large flat sides of the platforms and around the edges of the framework. These spots were highlighted with a light grey to create the illusion of a layer of chipped paint in the abandoned facility.
The shattered windows of the control room were created with clear plastic card, cut and scored with a hobby knife.
To paint the glow in the vents, I painted layers of red, orange, and yellow to build up the glow. Then, the metal grill and frame were drybrushed with P3 Pig Iron. A wash of P3 Red Ink was added to shade around the grille and tone down the yellow hue.
The rocks were painted black, and then drybrushed with a mix of black and Bloodstone. A little P3 Gun Corps Brown was added to the mix for the final highlights.
The tiles on the heat dampeners were painted with a mix of black and P3 Skorne Red, blended from dark (at the top) to light (at the bottom). Then the metal components were picked out with Pig Iron and given the rust treatment. Finally, to enhance the glow of the lava, each platform was sprayed from below with red.
Here are all four boards together with only the ground texture and lava left to be added.
The large chasm, with it's center column, and a few other detail shots can be seen below.