Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Lightning Cannon, Doom-Flayer and Stormvermin join my Skaven army

My current obsession with Skaven continues with a few extra units that have joined my army. Around my birthday at the start of this month I decided to give myself the present of more Skaven for an army that I've been collecting on and off for the past 25+ years. The dawn of the Age of Sigmar makes the Skaven a very versatile and colorful army that allows you to play in many different ways (most of them involve dishing out a serious amount of nasty mortal wounds). My army lacked the excellent new Thranquol model and it was the first I assembled and painted (it is pictured in the link above). The second unit that has been missing for all these years has been a warp lightning cannon. I think the original model arrived on the market just as I went into the traditional 'beer and women hobby hiatus'. Anyway I got a new plastic one, had some fun being headstrong during assembly and created this model.

Rat or no rat, just kill anything that comes to close, close, squeee!
I stuck the Skaven with the binoculars on top. It helps him see the enemy approach from a long way away (allowing him to run fast,fast when that distance closes). I kept the other two crew members off the model. They are supposed to be inside the superstructure where you hardly see them while by the same account I could use them to decorate a scratch-build Plagueclaw catapult (the required hand is a leftover bit from this kit after all). But increasing Clan Pestilens is a long term project for now...

Painting lenses requires looking at a lot of different websites with basically the same tutorial, thumbing through a Forge Worlds Imperial Armour Model Masterclass book and then just missing the mark. 

Painting Warpstone is a continuing exploration of using green paints. Vallejo Fluorescent Green is an interesting addition to any painter wishing to make his warpstone glow. In this instance I've added fluorescent powder for nail artists to the mix. Dabbing on some of it with a bit of mat medium to make it stick. The lid of the powder says 'born pretty'. You can say what you want, but that warpstone is pretty.

I have five Warpfire Thrower teams, four (ancient) Warplock Jezzail teams, two Poisoned Wind Mortar teams and One Warp-Grinder team. Now two Doom-Flayers round out the collection (or made me realize I need two more Jezzail teams and another Warp-Grinder).
The second model I've added to my collection is a Doom-Flayer Weapon Team. At 20 euro a piece I always considered this Finecast kit overpriced (but as with all models owning them makes me forget the price). I did have two other considerations: a) I want a complete collection of Skaven warmachines and b) prices on Facebook trading groups and e-bay tend to be even worse for obscure kits. So I decided to bite the bullet and order two (I know, I haven't been able to adequately explain the logic behind the second one to my wife either). 

The poor Skaven at the bottom really has to push the machine and carry the rider at the top.
A strict condition to myself is that these models have to be painted up, no languishing in the shed for them. So here is the first one painted. The second one will follow a bit later not the shed! It is not allowed...must paint it...

Now to cut some enemies to ribbons before they realize what these things do...come to think of it, what are the rules for these models? Off to the AoS App.
As far as the look of the Doom-Flayer goes, it is priceless. Only by painting I realized that this insane war machines has no saddle. It is just one Skaven riding piggyback on a second one while being hooked up to this machine. This model basically represents Skaven society from clan Skryre's perspective. Now here's to hoping they are a real annoyance to my enemies on the battlefield.

Skaven Stormvermin are bigger than Clanrats, better equiped and have an arrogance to match it.
Last but definitely not least I have assembled a box of twenty Stormverm into two units of ten. This is the first painted unit. Now first off these models are insanely cool. They are bigger than regular clanrats and nicely detailed. The big halberds, extra armor and knife-helmets give them a seriously menacing look. As I've already (tried to) explain in my previous post I did go to town on the banner as pictured above. 

I was inspired by the red and white look of Skaven in The Balance of Power (Age of Sigmar Realmgate Wars book 3). I tried to give this unit a look that came close to that but I wanted the white darker to keep it all a bit more grimy so I picked Zandri Dust as the 'white' for my Skaven.   
Aside from that I wanted to show a bit more care and effort with this unit than I displayed while mass painting my clanrats. So I chose to use a lot of edge highlights on the brown robes and red hoods. The metals have been inked with Vallejo Sepia (excellent for all your rusted needs) and at certain part Nuln Oil for extra black goodness. I also used splashes of Modelmates Rust on the metals, contrasting with some Stormhost silver to make the rusted bits look sharp enough in places. 

Hopefully the highlighting will show a bit more care was given to this unit than the regular Clanrats.
All in all I'm quite pleased with the unit as a whole. I've been a bit naughty and have already used them unpainted in a friendly battle where I learned two things. One is that three Ogors (Ogres) can kill nine of them (out of a twenty strong unit) without a lot of effort. Two is that eleven Stormvermin can easily kill three Ogors. So for the future I'll make sure to select this unit first in combat rounds.

Now go off and quick, quick, kill, kill lots of enemies (don't forget to bring the warpstone to your grey seer you loyal creatures (must remember to stab their commander in the back back after the mission and check his pockets)).
A last detail of interest might be the eyes. For the Skaven in this batch Evil Sunz Scarlet as a base color for the eyeballs with a dot of Lugganath Orange to make the eyes glow red. Around my army eye color varies from splotched on red (old models) to Averlands Sunset with a spot of Flashgitz Yellow (yellow eyes) to White with a small dab of Bloodletter Red (or Lamenters Yellow) wash. I like the Evil Sunz Scarlet with Lugganath Orange combination because it gives a very nice glowing red eye look that is easily spotted from a distance. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

I like big banners (and I cannot lie)

What are the defining characteristics that set apart an old school gamer versus a new one? Aside from being long in the tooth and (most likely) having a larger collection? Well for some there is the uncontrollable urge to grumble that everything was better way back when. But to be sure it seems the susceptible gamer tends to get this bug after about a month in the hobby. For others it is the rosy feeling of nostalgia that just makes old stuff better. And to be honest I can't stop loving the old Genestealer Patriarch, the Chaos Toilet and the entire Realm of Chaos range. Even when people manage to quite effectively substantiate counterargument. I will never stop loving my tiny Changer of Ways, even as my shiny new plastic one towers over him.

I like big banners (and I cannot lie), you other gamers can't deny, when a git walks in waving an itty bitty pennant or a round thing in your face...
Above all the Oldhammer part of me is informed by memories that were shaped poring over Warhammer Fantasy 3rd, Warhammer Armies, Warhammer Siege, Slaves to Darkness, The Lost and The Damned, Rogue Trader and - last but not least - Waaargh Orks. The Chaos part still gives me the urge to blend lots of pastel colors (even though I suck at blending). Waaagh makes me want to tell stories with my orks and orcs (and orruks). Rogue Trader gives me the urge to play on distant dusty outposts where (in keeping with the current fluff) it takes suicidal overconfidence to tag 'Marines Out' on the wall. The gritty, grimy Holy Roman Empire inspired Old World with its half timbered houses (occasionally roofed with a ship), continues to bleed into any other fantasy setting I play in (both on the tabletop and during fantasy RPG's).

For me a defining mark of the late eighties Games Workshop armies has to be the banners. No matter if you are in the far flung future or fighting in some imagined past there have to be banners.Small ones on your back, larger ones for the unit, flags for the commanders and huge army banners. I love to go through old White Dwarf magazines and books and see the large banners towering over armies, and tying them together. Never mind the physics of lugging the damn things around! I still have my first Skaven army banner from back in 1991 and it has seen some nice victories over orcs, undead and elves. It has long since snapped of the model carrying it, but that does nothing to degrade its 'splendor' (to me, as a paint job it could do with a lot of paint thinning and other improvements :) ).

This is one of my oldest Battle Standards. Proudly proclaiming (clockwise from top left) that the Grey Seers, Eshin, Moulder, led by someones personal rune (I think) and I've Forgotten Who are joining the fight. All centered around a colored representation of the Horned Rat of course).
As I'm currently obsessed with growing my Skaven horde (the Age of Sigmar background has made them even more interesting then their Old World counterparts) I felt the need to focus on banners. Unfortunately Games Workshop seems to be slowly edging away from them, but luckily the Age of Sigmar rules include all (slightly) older models and that includes army banners and unit banners in the armies that aren't completely brandnew (Stormcast, Fyreslayers and Kharadron units seem to do without). Now there are many ways to go about making banners. These days a quick and relatively easy way is to choose a (line) design on the internet (sample tattoo's are a great source), scale it to the right size and print it at about 20 percent transparency on slightly thicker paper. I might do a tutorial on this method in a bit but the net result can be something like these.

This was painted using an old Games Workshop design example.
This was a tattoo sample I googled. 
The second method requires a bit more skill. Print the design, grab a technical pencil and lightly draw it on a thick piece of paper or on pre-shaped metal or plastic banner. The old Skaven banner above is painted on metal paper (sort of a less wrinkly aluminum foil) it is a nightmare for holding paint, but you get the benefit of being able to bend bits after painting. These days I usually go for 120 grams (thick) paper. In both instances (as well as when you fill out a regular banner) the trick is to use thin layers of paint and preferably stay away from pure black and white. I usually cover the banner with the background color. Then I use a burnt umber to paint the design as the pencil bleeds through. Then I cover the entire banner up with the background color, reinstate the design with burnt umber and finally add a gradient (if I feel like it). The last step is coloring in the picture (like the zombie skull above). It works just as well on metal.

Another sample tattoo was used as the basis for this skull, lucky painting errors on my side gave it the groovy vampire teeth that accidentally fit ell with the army.
For my Skaven I decided to make two Skaven Chieftains with Battle Standard. They are very useful in game, you can plant a banner and stop your clan rats from running away. Alternatively they can backstab your general at an opportune time and take his place. GW has a single model and it is a bit limited for my tast in banners. In stead I opted to use a pair of spare Island of Blood/Spire of Dawn clanrats. They may be a bit scrawny for the chieftain role, but perhaps that is just how my general likes it (makes his seconds a bit more compliant).  To compensate for their smaller size I've provided them with 32mm bases and huge banners. This both helps identify them as special and fills my need to make big banners.

here are my two chieftains side by side with their battle standards. 
I took advantage of using paper for the banners by making the burned damage by careful application of fire. This caused the paint to bubble on a small part of the green banner, I solved that by cutting the bubble out and applying more fire. Here is a quick pre-fire preview of the green banner.

Step one: paint banner, step two: set it on fire, step three (optional): 'control, control, you must learn control!'
The designs of both of these banners was inspired by the Uniforms and Heraldry of the Skaven book Games Workshop produced a few years back. I make it a matter of principle to get hold of as many of these art books as are released over the years, they are a fantastic source of inspiration. Here are some work in progress pictures showing the progress of the red banner starting with technical pencil showing through the red undercoat.

Step one: draw design with technical pencil, step two: undercoat, step three: I skipped step three (paint design burnt umber), step four: color the design.

A bit further down the line, happily coloring in the triangles, don't worry too much about the edges.
Finish by cutting the banner to size and lighting it on fire.
Once applied to the miniature it ended up slightly to fresh looking. Careless application of multiple thin coats of Vallejo Dark Earth and Earth around the edges got it to its current grimy state.

From close-up it may not look like perfection, but it works on the tabletop (if you ask me). Adding grime helps too. 
And to finish this part off, here is a group shot of a selection of banner bearers from Clanrat units and my Battle Standards.

A collection of Skaven with banners from left to right: preformed plastic (Island of Blood), banner on metal paper (the black one), Battle Standard on paper (red),  Battle Standard on paper (green) and unit banner on paper (yellow). 
I know I should take a bit more time to decorate these with skulls, chains and whatnot, but I have to many projects going on at the same time, so I will be leaving the banners as is. In the end I think banners are a fine evening's worth of work to make an army shine and give it an individual character. I will leave you for today with this picture from my Moonclan Grot (Night Goblin) spearmen unit.

This night goblin banner is painted on paper. An important trick I forgot to mention in the longer text is to cover the end result in a nice glob of PVA glue. It helps protect the banner and covers the paper with a plastic like protective layer. 
And this parting shot of my Putrid Blight Kings (with Arbaal The Never Appearing on my Tabletop Due to a Lack of Rules and a Very Weak and Iffy Supplied Banner Pole (his name keeps on changing) and a lone pervert with freehand shield in the background).

I still love my Blight King's Banner even though I managed to make it so sepia and brown it looks like a big square stain when placed on the battlefield. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Skaven army takes on a Von Carstein castle

My birthday came up and with my painting station filled with Highborn Aelfs and Grudge of Drong terrain I thought it was high time to buy myself a present at the local GW. I should've worn blinkers... Instead of getting the last few required Aelfs my eyes fell the Skaven releases I missed in the past few years. Pulling my attention back to this force. I hoped to get back to Grudge of Drong, but I have to interrupt with a short sidestep by presenting an overview of my Skaven Army as it stands today, with a bit of style by having them do a fictitious storming of a Von Carstein castle.

A Skaven horde: not the best view for any proud castle owner to wake up to.
My first fully painted Warhammer Fantasy army (somewhere between 3rd and 4th ed.) was a Skaven force. I still have most of those models. A lot of them still have their original old (not very good) paint jobs. I just can't get myself to strip and redo them. I did however take their old boring square bases with flock of and rebased every Skaven model I intend to use the coming few years. That leaves nine old models on their old bases, including the Grey Seer that used to run the army. Also retired to the display cabinet is the proud old army banner I made somewhere in 1991 I think. Not pictured but also retired are 40 painted monopose plastic clanrats from the white plastic Warhammer Fantasy Regiments boxed set and 20 Stormvermin (my larger Advanced Heroquest Skaven used to fill this position in the army.

I love these models, but I can't really use them in my current games. 
But back to the new. The core of my Skaven army is a huge force of Clanrats. I bougth two Island of Blood/Spire of Dawn sets and struck a nice deal on some more clanrats from this set. Then I forced myself to apply a very simple paintjob on a lot of them. Right now I have 149 painted up and based. The release of Age of Sigmar saw a goodbye to the base as an instrument of measuring. I took advantage of this by basing my Skaven on ovals and cavalry bases holding five at a time. That save a lot of time setting them up. Where I play we have returned to measuring from the base again but I have had no complaints about this way of basing so far.

Quick, quick, kill, kill!
An added advantage of basing Skaven in groups on oval bases is that it makes them bunch up a bit more which perfectly fits the nasty bunched up skittering mass of cowards a Skaven Army is.

The older warpfire thrower teams have actually been rebased twice since the release of Age of Sigmar (once from 20x20 to square cavalry base and now to ovals). 
The Screaming Bell makes a great centerpiece to this army and especially the Cracks Call spell tends to worry opponents I play (looking at you 4" movement Stormcast).

Somehow 149 clanrats sound like more then it looks, maybe I should go for double that...(queue batman slapping and yelling 'no' here). 
As I have two full Island of Blood kits I had two warlords to paint. The first one is in the center bottom of this picture. I went for a warpstone armour look and a lot of red. The second one is on the top left(ish) side (by the warpfire throwers). I took of his backpack and replaced his left hand with the extra hand in the Silver Tower set. One of the nice things about Skaven is that you can quite often use human hands to make quick conversions on them.

I love the screaming bell kit. From the blind rat ogre pulling the bell chain to the screaming grey seer on top.
At first I based the musicians in the units on single bases, but I quickly realized this is a bit pointless as they are not quite as important as banners and leaders. So quite a number of them are simply part of the group.

First to the fight Clan Eshin is ready to ambush the first vampire going for this morning's newspaper.
One of my smaller forces are the Eshin Skaven. Deathmaster Snikch has been roving battlefields for decades (only the base is new). He once killed a Giant in one fell charge. Four of the Gutter Runners have been painted recently (after decades on the lead pile), the other six used to run with the Deathmaster in older games. I don't own any Night Runners. If I recall correctly way back when I bought these metal models you simply used the metals for both. I don't really like the look of the current plastic Night Runners so maybe a drunk late night online purchase, but probably no Night Runners for a while, especially as I need a minimum of thirty to make an Eshin formation.

The new Thanqual and Boneripper kit looks awesome (and is most likely very awesome in game).
Brand new in my army is the new Thanquol and Boneripper model. I absolutely love the Gotrek and Felix novels, in large part because of these two. The release of this monument to Skaven megalomania in the end times made me want to own them, but I had so many projects that it took until now before I got one ready for the battlefield.

But the old Thanquol and Boneripper set also looks awesome (and I have Gotrek and Felix somewhere on the lead pile).
It wouldn't do if the big one was the only Thanquol and Boneripper model in my collection. A few years back I picked up the older version with a smaller boneripper second hand. Before painting the big one I had a lot of fun with this more modest combination. In a funny twist of inverted scale creep the older Thanquol is bigger than the newer (Boneripper is another story of course...).

Clan Moulder is represented by monsters and packmasters.
Here is a shot of the two together. I will be using the older Thanquol as a Grey Seer in my army and Boneripper will join my Rat Ogor pack.

Buddy the Hell Pit Abomination and his little friends.
Speaking of Rat Ogors and Clan Moulder. They are represented here with my Hell Pit Abomination 'Buddy'. I had some fun converting two of the Rat Ogors from the Island of Blood set with Warpfire Thrower implants. The Giant Rats are a mix of very ancient metal ones, old plastic ones from a very ugly plastic rat swarm set (that works excellently as separate giant rats) and three from the varying modern Skaven sprues (that are very generous on extra rats (both small and big)).

The trick too make the Island of Blood Rat Ogors not look too mono-pose is a bit of creative converting.
Here is a closer shot of the Rat Ogors with in the background two metal Packmasters (with very old paint jobs) and Throt the Unclean. Also featured is one of the newer packmasters of which I have two.

Clan Skryre and Clan Pestilens feature a mix of old and new in my army.
Lets move on to Pestilens. These are my very old (rebased) Plague Monks, including a very ancient banner and led by Lord Skrolk. I also had four Plague Censer Bearers that I expanded with a quick conversion of a broken metal Plague Monk (left side of the picture). On the right is a much newer Plague Priest that is part of the other build you can make with the Screaming Bell.

The little censer bearer that accompanies Lord Nurglitch is somewhere on my paint tray.
In the center is Plague Lord Nurglitch on his Brood Horror. I impuls bought this model up during a wargaming convention (with borrowed cash) and I have not regretted it since. It would be nice if GW made some warscrolls for these older folks (and also highly unlikely, but still...).

Lord Skrolk's book was the first freehand I was really proud of way back then, and I still like it today.
Here is a bit of a close-up of Lord Skrolk. I would probably do a slightly better paint job on him if I stripped him, but even after more then 25 years I'm still quite satisfied with the freehand on his book. So no acetone for him. Lets move on to our furry little friend from Clan Skryre.

I love the concept of these old poisoned wind globadiers.
I had three poisoned wind globadiers in my old army (two of which where painted). In Age of Sigmar they turn up in units of five. Luckily the old metal models are/where still sold by Games Workshop so I had the chance to add to this unit and paint up the lot to join the older ones (with the orange tubes going to their gas masks).

You can never have enough Warpfire Throwers and Doomwheels, never.
To the left of the Globadiers are my Warpfire Thrower Weapon Teams. Back when I bought the metal ones you had to phone in your orders (internet was not around (yes I'm old)). When I called I was informed that the Warpfire Throwers where being replaced with newer models and the older ones where half price. Being more of a general then an accountant I celebrated this fact by buying four. I'm so happy I'm not an accountant :). The fifth one is from Island of Blood (number six (also IoB) was cut up and used in the Rat Ogor conversions).

My old Jezzail Teams are ready to miss important enemies in the Age of Sigmar.
With the same discount I also got four Warplock Jezzail teams (in stead of two). Number one was in the retired group, the other three are here.

I like these new models, they fit very well with the overall Skaven army look and feel.
Plastic time. Here are two Poisoned Wind Mortar teams. I loved the concept of these in Island of Blood, but I hated the conga-line walk. Using oval bases I could model them as if the front one was loading the mortar.

Ikkit Claw (the Arch-Warlock) is ready to serve as the spill of my Skryre Formations.
Here is a freshly painted Ikit Claw, or the Arch-Warlock as he's called now, standing ready to make my opponents life miserable. Also a quick bit of extra attention on the metal warpfire team in the background, still love these old sculpts.

Banners rule! Every battle I use these two in I secretly take some time to feel proud of these paint jobs.
As you may have noticed my army has two Doomwheels. One made of plastic and one made of metal. I love them both, especially together as the differences in design make the combination look as rag tag as I want my Skaven to look.

You can almost hear this big rat giggle.
The grin of the new driver really captures the old Skaven design ethos in my very humble opinion.

Rattling guns. I picked the red head scarves with white shirts look of the top team in honor of Rambo (John J.).
I remember seeing these Ratling Gun teams and instantly hating them. A few years later I bought them, and now I love them. I guess I'm a bit of a fickle gamer on that account.

The Warp-Grinder Team is cool in concept and fun on the battlefield.
As opposed to the Ratling Guns I instantly loved the Warp-Grinder Weapon Team. Its rules allowing a unit to pop-up from the ground make it especially lovable. I should get more then one of these...let's add it to the 'to-do later' list.

Behind the Warlock is a freehand banner on metal paper, based on the designs in the old Uniforms and Heraldry of the Skaven book.
Here is another quick conversion. I used a Skitarii arm to make this Warlock Engineer slightly different from the other one in my army.

I wonder how far my horde will expand in the next 25 years....
I'll finish off with a quick bit about banners. I still love to make old-school square ones for my units like the yellow banner just above Thanqual here (and the one behind the Warlock Engineer one picture up). I alternate using thick paper and metal paper to make them and go out of my way to convert banner poles to hold the old style banners. One of my pet peeves with Age of Sigmar is Games Workshop's move away from banners in units. Such a pity, on the other handL rules or no rules I will never stop making extra banners, they make the army if you ask me.

Right now I'm concentrating on (temporarily) getting over my Skaven obsession. On my paint tray right now are: a sixth Rat Ogor, Packmaster Skweel Gnawtooth, a unit of twenty Stormvermin (excellent plastic kit!), two Doom Flayers, three Storm Fiends (interesting kit), a Warp Lightning Cannon and two converted Skaven Chieftains with Battle Standards (yeah!). After this lot is finished (they are in varying stages of paint right now) I might just make a quick expansion to Clan Pestilens (the only ones with a battle tome so far). Also still on my want list is Tretch Craventail, a model that I sadly don't have in my force (and that is no longer on sale). Who knows maybe he'll pop up somewhere, he is Skaven after all....

Monday, May 1, 2017

Age of Sigmar terrain abandoned mine shafts for Grudge of Drong

I had a bit less hobby time this weekend as I hosted the first Age of Sigmar tournament my gaming club (Sword Brethren Eindhoven) organised. So no painted High Elves and the Bierlager is still in black undercoat as well. I did however spent my lazy Sunday finishing the build of the two abandoned mine shafts for the first scenario in Grudge of Drong. Here is number one.

It looks like the Dwarves/Duardin/Dispossessed abandoned this shaft halfway through their shift.
The first scenario 'Battle of Grudge Pass' takes place among mines that have been abandoned for richter ore veins further down the rocky valley. The scenario requires four large hills (to be produced). Two rocky fields that I quickly made after the mine shafts. The main material for rocky fields! Yes no everything wins a price for creativity. I did however use the last of my large stones, and I can't remember where I picked these up, so I'll have to keep my eyes out for more.

Making terrain with boulders is one of the easier things in wargaming, just grab some MDF and add boulders*
* to scale to be sure
In the scenario the mine shafts are described as follows:

"There are two abandoned mine shafts on the edges of the pass. These can be represented by a ring of small pebbles about 3" in diameter. Any models which move over these shafts during the battle must roll equal to or under their initiative on one dice or plummet to into the darkness, lost forever!" 

First of pebbles schmebbles! I want my terrain to look cool. Second the placement of the mines on the map in the campaign gives no one a good reason to actually step onto them. So I spent a bit of time pondering this. Finally I decided to make the mines of the 'hole in the ground with some scaffolding variety. This makes it interesting to move (missile) troops onto them to get a nice line of sight.

Nothing gets me in quite as much of a zen-mode in this hobby as terrain building. 
The rule for falling into the mine is interesting but can be altered slightly to make it more attractive ot actually use it in battle. Age of Sigmar lacks initiative but has a Deadly terrain rule (models that charge or run over the terrain roll a D6 and die on a 1). If this rule goes into effect for the mines, a group of archers on the scaffolding get cover and a chance that chargers rushing at them fall into the mine. Now combatants might want to use the old mines for tactical advantage.

If you just start and see what happens you can get some great results (and some dismal failures, but that is what the bottom of the garbage can is for).
To build the mines I cut a couple of MDF bases (completely forgetting that Grudge of Drong actually gives a size indication in the book). I used a plastic wood base from GW as a template and altered course with the jig saw to keep it looking interesting. Next up I used left over bits of polystyrene to create a basic hole in the ground shape. After that I added stones to distract from the 'this is not stone' look of the polystyrene. Next I used a scalpel to cut up the polystyrene some more, then I added (balsa) wooden supports for the scaffolding. After giving the PVA some time to dry I added coffee stirrers to build up the scaffolding itself. I finished up by adding sand to everything that looked flat enough to contain sand.

In spite of multiple cleaning there is still sand everywhere. I should've done this outside.
The second mine shaft was build in a slightly different order (sand first, scaffolding later) but getting carried away I forgot to take WIP pictures.

The two halves of the Renedra plastic barrels have a very ugly fit, but that is well compensated by the possibilities they offer for terrain builders (and the reasonable price).   
I had quite a lot of fun maing the simple crane on the first shaft. First off I took a Renedra plastic barrel pushed a paperclip through it and added some random small bits of rock to the top. Then I tied a sisal rope to it. The rope was tied to the top of the beam, covered in PVA and weighted while it dried to make the rope look (more or less) straight).

A scale counterweight made out of rock and sisal rope.
Next I took a stone, tied it up with sisal and tied it to the back of the beam. There is a simple crane that gives this pit a bit of character.

Mine shaft number one, ready to be painted.
I finished up by airbrush black Vallejo primer on the models. Now all that is left is taking a few dabs of paint to it (and maybe spreading a few of the metal Dwarf tools that came with the Ral Partha Europe Dwarves to the finished version.

Mine shaft number two is also ready for paint (in spite of being almost completely forgotten during WIP photography)
I will have to decide on a color first. I guess I'll go for traditional grey rocks, brownish sand and deep greybrown (Dryad Bark) scaffolding. In between painting this terrain I'm going to give over to a short 'squirrel' moment as my chittering horde of Skaven is demanding 'expansion, expansion, quick, quick!' Keeping focus and wargaming, is it even possible?