Ruined Watchtower: January Terrain 2019

Not a GW kit for a change, today’s terrain piece is a ruined watchtower. I can’t tell you who produced it, though – as I picked it up quite a few years ago now in a job lot with a whole lot of other bits and pieces.

Speaking of pieces, it was in several until I finally assembled the thing earlier this month, with this month’s challenge and the good spraying weather finally motivating me to finally get the thing done!

It went together simply, if not easily – with some drilling and clipping needed to get the pieces together. The different segments don’t fit together perfectly, but they’re close enough so that it can be difficult to notice.

Once again, the sheen from several layers of varnish combined with a lot of lights belies the more matte appearance that it has in person. It looks almost like flowing mud here! What can I say? My lighting options for larger pieces are pretty shithouse! It’s kinda hard to see, but I’ve attempted to have the orientation of the grass on the tufts “flow” with he contours of the model, as the whole thing has a pretty windswept look to it.

That big section where it looks like it’s fit together extraordinarily badly is part of the sculpt – it’s intentional – rather than being the result of my terrible modelling skills. I’ve mounted it on an inexpensive wooden teapot stand to give it a nice sturdy base, and rather than trying to bevel it to the ground or try to paint the edges in an awkward (to me) brown so it “fits in better” with my table surfaces, I just went full fuggit and gave it a similar black rim as I do with many of my bases. I did roughly sculpt some simple flagstones in the ground, giving the indication of a small path that may or may not continue on the battlefield surface.

The scale of this model seems a bit smaller than most “heroic” scale models. Here we have it with a few Heroes of Men from the LotR range, with their slightly smaller scale showing the sizing. True historical models would be a touch smaller yet, so would fit in even more nicely with the tower. I also thought our friend The Imperfect Modeller would appreciate how close this almost gets to a proper diorama! I’d just need an appropriate figure to put in Gandalf’s place there, and a pin to hold them there on!

FInally, as a point of contrast, I thought a couple of more modern-scale AoS Bloodbound figures (ok, one is at least 50% Shieldwolf) would be a nice counter to the above – as you can see, it’s still very much usable for Fantasy of pretty much any stripe. And the number of times that Space Marines have fought their foes over terrain that resembles Terra’s ancient medieval castles must be beyond count!

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape (January Terrain 2019)

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

Today we have a terrain piece that I picked up back in 2014, though the piece dates back to (at least) 2009. My reasons for getting it were no doubt tied to the triad of having recently (at the time) purchased my own home, the price (a surprisingly cheap AU$30.75 from my local GW source) and the fact that it looked pretty simple, so it should be a doddle to paint up quickly, right?

I lost that skull & crossbones sign long ago!

Well, we all know how well that last point goes, all too often. So long story short, it’s been sitting a corner of the War Room for several years, trees assembled, side hatch glued on, both top hatched glued on and broken off due to flimsy design, and sprayed a lovely shade of gloss brown.

Sprue Shot taken from 2009 review on Johns Toy Soldiers Blog.

So getting this thing done, along with quite a few similar projects was part of the impetus of January being Terrain Month (I’ll probably repeat it next year as well – so bloody many terrain kits to assemble and paint!)

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

My personal brief, from way back in 2014, was to paint the kit in a generic enough way so that it could be used regardless of which forces were fighting over the tabletop. This immediately meant that the Rhino needed to be painted as a burnt-out husk, so as to avoid being in the livery of any particular force. The same applied to the bits of Space Marine scattered around the piece (a couple of helmets, a backpack, a bolter).

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

So I did what I do now – look up a ton of reference pictures. I wanted the trees to look like the husks that are left after a bushfire, so an ashy grey. That also meant that I needed to make the dirt on the ground look suitably ashen. One of my reference pictures showed an AFV that had been destroyed in Ukraine, and it was severely rusted out. I thought it looked pretty effective, so I now had a new direction for my Rhino husk. Burnt out, and then rusted over time.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

Given that the Rhino now had been there for long enough to rust out, this meant that a decent amount of time had passed since whatever explosive/shelling incident had caused this terrain piece to become. So this meant the additional of a subtly small addition to the entire piece. Spots of new growth. Again, reference photos provided the inspiration.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

Unfortunately, the matte varnish has left a bit of a sheen that comes up in photography – especially with the extra lights turned on the table. It’s not quite as bad in person. But before all of those finer details, the first thing I needed to do was to finally complete the build, by filling that gaping hole to the tabletop left inside the rhino, between the hatches.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

I’d tossed up various ideas to fill it over the years, and my best option was to mount the whole piece onto an MDF placemat, though it wasn’t quite large enough to have the whole, oddly-shaped piece fit. There was still a bit of overhang. Luckily Krautscientist’s recent WIP post on the Crashed Aquila Lander and a deceptively simple solution to that piece’s gaping hole to the tabletop (apparently a common issue with their kits of that vintage) provided me with inspiration on doing the same to my own long-neglected one of the same kit. After doing that (hopefully to be painted soon!) I immediately decided to do the same, simple trick to this model using some textured “small tile” plasticard for visual interest.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

It was a little trickier due to the lack of contact points underneath – there’s a lot of plastic cement, greenstuff and superglue underneath, and the floor isn’t parallel to the roof – but it works.

Warhammer 40,000 Battlescape

Now, finally the kit is complete. Now, could I have spruced the thing up by adding additional details and such? Of course! But since that’s always the case, these things become a bit of a triage situation, where you need to weigh up whether it’s worth the time to do so. And I’ve got SO many more terrain kits to take on that I’m happy to finally call this one done and dusted!

Balewind Vortex: January Terrain 2019

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Age of Sigmar Balewind Vortex

Originally released as part of a larger kit towards the final days of WHFB, alongside the Magewrath Throne (that used to sit atop a stack of giant skulls), the two have now been split into smaller kits, and the throne has lost it’s skull-riser. More on that in another post, later.

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Age of Sigmar Balewind Vortex

The Balewind Vortex is a simple terrain kit, coming in only 4 pieces. Base, Top and a two-part whirlwind. Or balewind, I guess.

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Age of Sigmar Balewind Vortex

Having been fairly indifferent to the concept of The Winds of Magic since they were first introduced in that White Dwarf article, I was happy to basically copy the current box art. I quite like the greenish-shaded off-white look that GW has been using for much of it’s undead since the Return of the King’s Army of the Dead introduced the overall scheme and effect.

Warhammer Fantasy Battle Age of Sigmar Balewind Vortex

Slightly embarrassingly, it seems that I ordered another one of these things a couple of weeks ago, before starting on this one, which has just arrived. I don’t know if I’ll be able to care enough about it to give it a yellow-red gradient like the one in the original Warhammer promo box, though – I’ll worry about my options there later!

Forge World Imperial Heavy Bolter Turret Emplacements: January Terrain 2019

Forge World Imperial Heavy Bolter Turret Emplacements

Here’s a trio of models that I’ve had for a very long time. These Forge World turret emplacements had been sitting in my collection unpainted for many years intl 2016 or so, when I started painting them in a military green, with desert setting bases. I was …unhappy with how they were shaping out, so – as so many things end up doing – they just sat uncared for in a box for another couple of years. With my challenge for this month being terrain, I found them and knuckled down to give them the paint that they deserve.

Forge World Imperial Heavy Bolter Turret Emplacements

That paint is actually pretty plain. I went with spray-can mid-grey, followed by a bit of a lighter drybrush. Added some German WWII stencilled letters and some Aquilias for decals, then some Vallejo washes – first a mix of dark and mid-grey, then “European Earth”, going for a rain/moisture-streaked look on both. Bases drybrushed in my usual “dark earth” manner. Followed that up with some powder (Dark Sienna) and we’re done.

Forge World Imperial Heavy Bolter Turret Emplacements

I’ve avoided edge highlighting, as I like the dark, moody, “realistic” look that they seem to have. Similarly, I’ve skipped giving them a bunch of weathering and chipping that I’d put onto “working” tanks and armoured vehicles, as these are basically static defensive emplacements. The Imperial Grey scheme makes them generic enough to use alongside pretty much any Imperial force,

Forge World Imperial Heavy Bolter Turret Emplacements

Amusingly, these models are now so old (and discontinued) that there aren’t any current rules for them. Not even any rules in the 8th edition Forge World Indices. I guess I can use the rules for Tarantulas if I need to, though I’m also the kind of guy who will just use them for terrain as well. Hence their inclusion in this month’s challenge!

Back to the Pet Store #1: Desert Bluffs

Not long after I posted up my Pet Store terrain find back in December, Marouda, Pyro and Orez took a detour to the Pet Warhouse where I got that first one after grabbing something to eat. Orez came inside with me, and we took a look at what was on offer.

I’ll tell the more interesting story with the next post on this stuff, but I managed to pick up a few pieces again as they had a pre-Christmas sale going. I thought this was a nice, impressively-sized piece of terrain that allows for gameplay in, around, and even over the top of it. It’ll go well with yesterday’s Shardwrack Spines.

I really need to get a few more mats, as my only desert mat is this one. The texture is nice, but it’s also very plain.

I intended to post this up before Christmas, but after all the bullshit that December brought, I’m showing this piece now in January. While it does fit the month’s theme it doesn’t count as something that I’ve done as this is untouched, and as bought. Even though this is a desert-ey bluff, I’m actually quite happy to leave the plants completely as-is, as they add a nice bit of interest and colour depth to the piece, and makes it a bit Oasis-ey. Wonderwalls and Pet Barns FTW!

Shardwrack Spines: January Terrain 2019

Games Workshop Citadel Death World Forest Terrain Shardwrack Spines

Inspiration-credit for the models in this post goes entirely to Thomas, from High Times on the Eastern Fringe. When GW released their (apparently now discontinued as a standalone set) Shardwrack Spines kit a couple of years ago, my reaction was somewhere between indifference and thinking that they were a bit shit. Over time, I saw a few that looked decent through to good, such as the ones on Sho3box’ blog. Even then, though – I still had no interest in the kit.

Games Workshop Citadel Death World Forest Terrain Shardwrack Spines

Then I saw Thomas’ ones. And all of that changed. I thought his made what I thought was basically a shitty kit look pretty fucking amazing, to be quite blunt. Not too much later, he posted up a tutorial on how he did them, and the wheels started turning. A little while later, I bought two boxes, and then did nothing with them for a year or more. Last year (2018) I got started with the spray cans, but then got delayed for months because I didn’t want to buy two or three pots of Rakarth Flesh to do the drybrushing. Later, the Killzone: Death World Forest box came out with a few more, so I picked that kit up and then got the new ones up to the same point.

Games Workshop Citadel Death World Forest Terrain Shardwrack Spines

After we had some time, Marouda did a Bunnings run for me and matched a close-enough square of Rakarth Flesh into a sample pot of house paint, a couple of tubes of craft paint (white and when normals call “cream” and we hobbyists call “bone”) and then last week, I finally got it going – with Thomas’ instructions as my guide on the PC screen – and a couple of days later, we were done!

Clearly, these are really only of much use for Sci-Fi and Fantasy gaming rather than Historicals or more grounded gaming, but I’m good with that. In closing – thank you once again to Thomas – because of you, I now have a solidly decent-sized set of very spiky terrain. If anyone stabs themselves badly while gaming with them, I’ll be blaming you for that, too!

Mantic Terrain Crate – Barricades and Barrels, Conan’s Chests

Mantic Terrain Crate, Barricades, Kegs, Monolith Conan Boardgame Chests

My plans to get a ton of exciting Heroes and Villains done in December have had a few large wrenches thrown in the works, and as a result, I haven’t really painted for almost a week. Getting back into it, I decided to work on some simple stuff that had been sitting around in the way on my painting desk – in this case, more Mantic Terrain Crate scatter pieces.

Mantic Terrain Crate, Barricades

Mantic Terrain Crate, Barricades

Two different types of barricade – and three of each. I varied the colours just a little in order for them to be a little unique and not just look like clone-pieces. I kept them all to natural, “woody” tones, and this time I varied the crates and barrels a little from the tones I’ve used in previous sets.

Mantic Terrain Crate, Barricades

Mantic Terrain Crate, Barricades

As you can see, they’re not exactly scales as proper barricades – more in a boardgame scale, if anything. Our model here is Forlong the Fat, one of GW’s “true-ish”-scale, LotR models. Even though he’s positioned behind them and is raised by a slottabase, you van see that they’re not exactly very big as far as barricades go. I’m sure they’ll be fine as generic scatter, though.

Mantic Terrain Crate, Keg Barrels

The other pieces are much less interesting – three larger keg barrels and three sets of triple-keg barrel stacks. Dark wood here, with brassy taps. While the barricades will easily make a bit of extra colour in fantasy wargames as well as dungeon scenery, these keg-barrels are a fair bit more limited. If we ever need to kit out a tavern for a game, we’ll certainly have a well-stocked booze supply!

Monolith Conan Boardgame Chests

Finally, some chests that I made myself finish off, after they’ve been sitting around for 6 months or so. These are from the Conan Miniatures Boardgame, by Monolith. I remember some time ago in the comments, someone (Dagger & Brush, from memory) suggesting that I could paint some of the chests in a set I had in different colours to distinguish the quality of them. Rather than paint the same model chests in different colours, I decided to make these slightly more fancy coffer sculpts a little more fancy in turn when it came to their paint. Baal Pteor, also from the Conan game provides us with our scale in this shot.

I’ll have some real models painted for you all. Soon.