Friday, January 16, 2015

The Winter Scenery Project (Part 1 of Many)

In an attempt to motivate myself to get cracking I thought I'd write this post outlining the current state of my scenery so that I can look back and see progress. I'm determined that, before the year is out, I'll have a stunning board full of fully painted scenery to make my games much more immersive. I was briefly inspire a while ago by the guys over on Weemen to join their campaign against unpainted grey plastic scenery. I was further motivated by picking up a F.A.T mat in the Kickstarter (again a while ago). Sadly my enthusiasm quickly dwindled and I found myself looking at the same grey scenery just now mounted on bits of hardboard.

Here's what I've currently got built up:

Here we've got some Sanctum Imperialis/Basilica Administratum and Shrine of the Aquila offerings with a Moonscape crater on the base of the Shrine. There's also a random crate that I think was Matt's that I'm going to incorporate into a new based piece. These pieces are all glued onto hardboard little else. They need sand on their bases and some bits of rubble for interest. Then they can be sprayed up black ready for some paint.

This little selection includes two Bastions, the rest of the Moonscape craters set and a Manufactorum building. These have all been build and sprayed ready for painting so need very little work. The craters I could probably get done quickest as I'll just be airbrushing them a suitable colour (probably not the Graveyard Earth/Steel Legion Drab that one currently is. They'll then just get a bit of a drybrushing to get them up to standard.

Finally, here are my "finished" pieces. I use the inverted commas there because they're in the wrong colour scheme for my Alpine mat. Nevertheless these will probably be the last pieces I paint as they're not looking too bad for now. The 3rd edition corner ruins aren't based yet so they're likely to be my first attempts at trying to make stuff look snowy/icy and fit in with the mat.

Speaking of which my theme is going to hopefully be that of an icy deathworld. All of the current pieces will need painting up in a matching scheme with some snow adding for effect. Depending on how well the project goes I'd like to add some more thematic pieces like rock formations, ice crystals and the like. I'd also like to borrow from the Weemen and make some industrial pieces like an abandoned polar outpost kind of thing. If I really get cracking my "stretch goals" would be to have a second set of scenery to match either a new F.A.T mat or alternatively my old home-made Realm of Battle board. This is probably pretty unlikely to happen as I'm good at setting unrealistic targets!

The thing with scenery is, once you get going you realise just how easy it is to paint to a good enough standard. I'm not going to spend hours and hours painting every little detail. I'm hoping it'll mostly be an airbrush/drybrush job i.e. quick and dirty. Of course it won't look as good as a detailed paint job but the idea is for it to be a backdrop for the miniatures rather than detracting from them by being painted better than they are! Since Jamie is quick to mock my lack of progress on this scenery I'm hopefully going to be able to rope him in to give me a hand with the drybrushing and creating some interesting new pieces from my hefty bits box of scenery pieces and general gubbins.

First step I think is to try out some winter effects on one or more of the 3rd edition ruins and see if I can find a method I'm happy with. I don't want to overdo the snow so it's just a white blob but at the same time it needs to tie in with the mat properly. Any suggestions/hints are gratefully received especially if you can link me to a good Youtube guide or something. Wish me luck!


  1. When I used to do snow bases I just sanded them then painted from black primer, dry brushing the sand to white, should work nicely to represent snow drifts.

    Looking forward to seeing progress, I'm about to hit the button on my scenery order in the next few days, got two pieces already on the go, one nearly done!

    It's amazing how much better your own army looks on painted scenery!

  2. You can get bags of "sea glass" at michaels, basically largish chunks of smooth glass, these work out great as ice crystals and can add a lot. I would recommend attaching them now, painting everything, then scraping some paint off them to get the snow-blown crystal effect.

  3. Well done Alex, I look forward to seeing your progress.

  4. It's happening dude. Let's set that date!

  5. Good luck! Painting terrain has always been an undertaking for me.

  6. I love terrain posts and the Weeman stuff last year was great and pushed me to work on a few terrain pieces.

    This post today made me wander out to the shed and drag in a few more smaller pieces of terrain to add to my 'to paint this quarter' pile.


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