Recently my two Warmachine buddies and I were at a game shop during a Warhammer tournament. I am not familiar with Warhammer enough to know about it's tournaments, but this one seemed pretty legit. About a dozen or so dressed tables, each with an army on either side waiting for the carnage. Easily the most impressive and inspiring aspect for me were the army dioramas. Every player there had some form of scenery display piece, either fully developed and bad ass or in progress and still very bad ass. I knew I wanted to make one for my armies. I figured since I am pretty far along with painting my small Cephalyx army, I would do one for them. Since this is my first, I figured I'd start small. A simple horse shoe shaped display table. Cephalyx are sewer dwellers, so the environment was pretty obvious. I figure a little area with a sewer drain would be pretty straight forward and give me the chance to try some water for the first time. Here's where I am currently at with it:
Like I said, this is my first attempt at something like this so I was trying to keep things as easy as possible. As a side note, I have watched a ton of tutorials about scenery technique and process which I wont go into detail about on this blog. I have combined some and taken some directly step by step. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, so if there is a step that you want to know more about, look it up or contact me directly.
To start, I set about scoring tile onto a large sheet of foam board. I found some smaller grain foam board at a model train shop, cut it into a smaller (12" by 16") board and drew on the (1" by 1") tiles with a pencil. Once the base floor was scored, I measured one (8" by 2") section and three (6" by 2") sections and glued them in a horse shoe around the edge of the foam board. One of the (6" by 2") sections was used to make a raised up area along the back wall for the leader of the army, Exulon Thexus.
I then cut (2" by 1") and (2" by .5") stairs from 1/4" thick cork board. These seemed like a nice height for stairs and I would be able to place models on the (2" by 1") stairs. I would suggest always putting miniatures on your scenery to test it for composition, integration and stability while you are building it. It is both inspirational and can save you some time making something that doesn't end up supporting your models. I decided that I wanted the Monstrosities to be raised up a bit, so I added stepped platforms to the corners for them to stand on.
I then blocked in where I wanted my drainage area to be with pencil. I roughed up the edges of the walkways and gouged out the borders of the tiles as well as created cracks and chipped tiles.
At this point I had done some work but had forgotten to take photos. To recap, I cut out the drainage area from the base floor leaving a small ledge against the back wall. I then glued the entire structure onto another (12" by 16") foam board. The under board made it possible for me to have a floor to my pool. I lined the seam of the pool's floor and walls with hot glue to seal it for the water poor. I then covered the glue with small rocks for cover. I found small retaining walls at the hobby train store which worked well for the drains. I cut out a hole to add depth to them and glued them to the walls. I cut apart cork board into small brick shapes to line the edge of the pool. I painted a watered down glue mixture all acros the floor and sprinkled small amounts of rocks and sand all over. I used pieces of cork, battlefield rocks and sand to line the walls and make it look like crumbled bits around the stairs and pool lining. I broke up the floor tiles a little more and carved tiling into the pool's floor.
The part that became the most fun was filling the pool with items. I like it, cause it adds character to your space and creates little stories in your work that you hope people will see and pick up on.
I used a watered down wood glue painted all over the surface, and sprinkled rock on top. After all the rocks and debris was dry. It was time to paint.
My next step was to base with a dirty brown paint. I used a large brush and covered the whole thing. I tried to not paint over the cracks and recesses, but I didn't mind if I covered some of the washes. I used a sponge to apply lighter and darker browns for variation. I re shaded cracks and corners and added dirty variation around the tile. I did a medium dry brushing of the edges of the tiles and walls with a moldy ocher and bone paint mix. For the brick work I used a dirty red paint and washed mostly with the reddish-brown and sepia washes. For painting techniques watch the Terrain Wench YouTube series.
I have been wanting to do the water for a long time, so at this point, I figured I would deck out the pool. I laid down an extra layer of hot glue in the edges and filled any hole's made by the super glue I had used to really seal the piece. I would lay down a line of glue then quickly attach flock for mossy areas. I super glued standing grass and the plant. I glued the baby squig into place and finished painting anything I could see. After the water is poured, that's it for the base of the pool. I dropped brown washes in splotches on the moss, grass and plants for color variation and made sure to rust up the metals a bit.
Once I was happy with the look and feel of the pool, I went ahead and did my first layer of water. I first bought the Woodland Scenics water starter kit, I did a test pour on another piece of terrain and used about half the bottle by the time the two layers cured. I knew I was going to need to get more on a larger scale, but since it takes days to dry this stuff I used the remaining pour for my first layer of water.
The Woodland Scenic water pours milky blue, but will dry clear. I added drops of reddish-brown ink near the drainpipes and around the middle of the pool. I added drops of dark green ink to the edges of areas. I used a wood skewer to stir around the ink. The dark green worked well as floating mildew and the red worked well as sewage leftover when it all dried.
After getting some experience with pouring water, I realized I am going to need quite a bit more to fill the pool. I've been having a lot of fun with the water effects, so I went and invested in a larger volume. I bought Magic Water which comes in a two part solution. After using Magic Water, I am definitely a convert to this water pour. There seemed to be no evaporation at all and it pours clear so you see pretty much what it will look like right away. The mixing of the two parts does create a lot of bubbles, so if you can find a way to minimize them, you'll be happier over all. I mixed up enough to pour a 1/2" deep pool. I used the same technique with the brown and green inks and got similar results.
So two of my friends and I really like playing Warmachine and Hordes. Problem with that is that both game's core design really centers around 2 player games. We have found that objective based scenarios have been out best bet with other games, so when we play, we typically attempt to modify the objective type scenarios. Our variation involves the same rules as typical control zone scenarios but with smaller control zones and some modified rules for how long the zone has to be held.
It works well and is quite fun. We get some funny looks for our three player WM and Hordes games though. So I had some fun making a custom control zone for us to play with. I got the idea for a colored ring on the terrain from someone. I can't remember when or where or who to give credit, but it isn't my idea. I really liked it though. So here's my attempt.
I made it so the ring just sits on the base. I am making another where the ring is embedded in the ground.
Finally, highlight to pick out some details and glue some standing grass to clumps of moss. For this, I add one clump at a time and move around the whole piece to make it appear natural. Don't put too many in one area, it tends to take over if you clump it too tightly.
So I recently tried my first water pour. i'm pretty happy with it. Here's where I'm at and a breakdown of process.
The Cephalyx Dominator is a Unit Attachment model. His ability allows him to "recruit" any small or med base Merc unit to the Cephalyx. You get all the benefits of the unit plus they all become Cephalyx models. The Dominator acts like a lot of the other "hive-minds," in that it can sacrifice models in it's unit to ranged attacks against it and that the unit takes a big hit when he dies.
Once I knew I liked the color scheme, I had fun with getting into the lore and fluff. The Cephalyx are a hive structure army with tiers of "hive-minds" controlling thier respective tiers of "mind-slaves." Exulon Thexus, as the master "hive-mind," controls the mindless, beefy Monstrosities to lead the army as a battle group. As for the infantry, they are controlled by various lesser "hive-minds" called Dominators, Mind Slavers and Mind Benders. I don't have the Mind Slaver unit yet.
The lore behind the Cephalyx, is that the Exulon's surgically modify themselves with their most powerful enhancements and give the less powerful enhancements to these lesser "hive-minds." I chose to play the same idea into my color selection for these models. My armies main colors are going to be the Coal Black you see on Thexus's body and the purple of his robes. I chose to make the Coal Black my main for the majority of my unit leaders, with accents of purple draping and dark brown leather trim.
Drudges - The Fists and Punching Bags
The Drudges are the fists of the Cephalyx army. Numerous, expendable and pretty underwhelming by themselves. They become pretty beefy, pretty quickly, when you start to combo up buffs and use them to extend range of the Mind Bender's magic attacks. With the cheap cost of the unit, they definitely pull their wight in points.