Monday, September 24, 2018

Starting a fresh fantasy terrain set part two - Building one (veerhuis)

I had a bit of full social weekend so not much time to work on the fantasy terrain set. Having said that, I did get to spend a lovely Friday night and a bit of my Saturday morning working on the main part of the terrain set: buildings. To start with the ending (as usual). This is how far along I am right now.

Step one: start at the finish. 
For quite some time now I've been meaning to go 'extra Dutch' on my fantasy buildings. That means drawing on the works of Dutch artist Anton Pieck for inspiration. I'm not quite sure how well known he is outside of our borders (I suspect 'not at all') but as the graphic mind behind the fairy tale forest in theme park the Efteling I don't think anyone in The Netherlands is not familiar with his work. For my inspiration I've taken one of his illustration books and used that to make sketches for this build (and I'll be using it on future builds as well). Here's a quick snap of my inspiration, a building called 'Veerhuis' (ferry house). It looks like it features a waiting hall (inn) on the left side and a smaller house on the right with a gate in the middle.

I've got two books of Anton Pieck sketches to draw from (and I'm in the process of grabbing a third one). 
I started out making some sketches (you can see a picture of those at the bottom of this post) and I cut out an (about) 20x30 cm MDF base (8x12 inch). I used this to loosely plan out the floor plan of the building, adding where the doors and the dormers would be.

I decided not to plan this build too much, just add bits and see what happens.
The key to the style of Pieck (in my very humble opinion) is to get the beaten plaster on the bricks walls right. I decided to cut out the gate in the center of the building first so I could do a little experiment. Now this is just some 5mm (black) foam board cut to size. I prefer black foam board to white because if any bits of it ever chip during use, a black patch is less obvious than a white one.

Bare essentials needed to make terrain: a scalpel, a hobby knife, universal glue, a steel ruler, a technical pencil and some random round shape to draw round bits around. Not pictured a triangle ruler.
With the gate cut, I first set it on the base to check if I got the size more or less right. All the sketching so far is just sketching (nothing is set in stone here).

Well that seems to fit more or less properly.
Well that looked ok. Next up I used my finger to smear a thin layer of Instant Wall Filler onto the foam board. I cut of a bit of rough sponge to dab at the thin filler and give it a bit of texture. It is very important not to layer on too much filler, otherwise the texture will get to rough.

Adding a bit of texture.
Next, with the filler still slightly wet, I used a technical pencil to draw out some cracks in the wall, add a bit of brick pattern and make an ornamental border around the gate. I then used a (very new and sharp) scalpel to cut the shapes deeper and wiggled the scalpel in the cuts to make the cracks a bit broader.

And wearing down the surface.
On to the buildings themselves. Here is a side wall for the right side of the house with a chimney added to it.

Side of the building with chimney, not the multitude of lines I drew on wrong (and the edges I had to reattach after figuring I cut out a wrong shape).
I cut out some extra walls and used two coffee stirrers to get a 'top beam' for the roof. One of the nice things about building an intact building (as opposed to going for Mordheim shells) is that you don't really have to worry about the interior look of the buildings (on the other hand the exteriors take a bit of extra time later on).

Adding a basic roof to the structure. You can see the heads of the pins I use to keep the sides of the dormers in place.
I cut up a bit of cardboard to add a basic closed roof on top of the buildings. For those of you interested in sizing: I generally make floors 5 cm (2 inches) high. An average door is 2x3 cm (~0.8x1.2 inches) and an average window sits at 1.5 cm (0.6 inch) above the ground and is 2x1.5 cm (~0.8x0.6 inches) tall. The gate is the width of two doors with a bit of height added by the rounded upper side.

Dutching it up: cutting out a bell shaped gable. The window on top was moved about four times by cutting out new areas beneath it and stopping up the tops with the cutoffs. There's the downside of the 'no plan' approach. 
Next up was the front of the second house. Now this one is going to be very Dutch indeed as it is has ornamental facades. The front of the house has something looking slightly like a bell gable, the rear has a stepped gable. I started by plotting out and cutting the bell gable first. I plan to add some ornamentation (much) later on after getting the basic structure of this gable right.

Another fitting of the building on the base.
Another feature of this house is the chimney sticking through the roof. Here it is still standing a bit very crooked. Luckily I could right the chimney later on. One of the things that rather irked me at this point in the build was that the large gate in front seemed to lead to a rather pathetic and oddly (L-)shaped garden in the back. I decided to add a barn structure to the back of the house with the dormers.

Now this is starting to look like a functional, logical structure. 
Now the gate seems to make sense (at least to me). That'll stop me from wondering why the hell anyone would put up a big gate there, while I should be concentrating on objectives and threats. Next up I drew the rough outline around the buildings as they should end up on the base.

The new floor plan (felt tipped) on top of the old (technical penciled) one. The fun with fantasy buildings is that you do not need to (and should not) stick too much to the plan.
Well there are some discrepancies between the original outlines and the end result, but all in all that looks quite ok to me. Note that the building on the right has a raised front door (two steps leading up to it). That was quite necessary in older Dutch houses to keep out rainwater as there was no proper drainage way back when. Richer houses have raised steps (and richer people lived on the first floor (the poorest getting cellar apartments)). By giving the second house a stable and no steps a small discrepancy in status between the inhabitants on the left and on the right is made. Yes no one will notice that one during gaming :).

Adding cobblestones (I love the textured rolling pins by Green Stuff World).
I used some air dry clay and a Green Stuff World textured rolling pin to make a cobbled inner courtyard. I then used the houses to remove (most of) the clay that would be in the way. The rest of the gaps, discrepancies and assorted holes will be filled with sand or texture paste later on.

Adding texture to the building. There is a gap between the stable and the house (I used a leftover piece of foam board). I think a hole in the wall will just add character.
Next I textured both houses using the same method as the front gate. But as I followed up by adding the roofs, I allowed the filler to dry completely. This gave me a much harder time carving out gaps, rips and exposed bricks later on.

Having some textured bits of cardstock or cardboard around the house makes it easy to try new things.
Up until now I've always shingled the roofs of my fantasy buildings with 1x1cm cardboard. This time I wanted to tile the roofs. So (stealing ideas from how-to books and websites) I took some cardboard I usually use to make corrugated plates.

Step one to making tiling: cut off some strips using a steel ruler and a hobby knife.
With a hobby knife I cut 1cm (0.4 inch) strips and I glued these to the roof. I started at the bottom and added overlapping strips until I reached the top.

Step two: glue the strips to the roof.
The how-to guides have not steered me wrong on this count. If you look slightly to the right you see the glue I've used for most of this build. Maybe a handy bit of information to budding builders. I use transparent universal glue to glue foam board (and cardboard) in place. I don't use PVA for this as universal (all-in-one) glue dries a hell of a lot faster (making my life easier), thus glue is not as clumpy as hot glue and it doesn't sink into the material as superglue would. I also use fine needles (or sometimes in a pinch cocktail sticks) to pin walls together.

Now to make a gutter out of some random plastic tubing...
Although I like the roofing on the shed, most tile roofs on regular houses have a gutter, it carries the rain away from doors and windows so visitors entering during a rainstorm don't get drained going in. I took a small plastic tube I bought through AliExpress. I stopped using straws for hobby purposes as these don't hold paint well for extended periods of time (at least in my experience).

Just use an oversized razor saw to expedite the process.
Taking my overtly large Tamiya razor saw I cut the straw more or less in half.

And glue the bits to the side of the building. 
Then I cut the halves down to size and used some universal glue to get them in place.

Add tiling (and they'll probably really'll show up by the time I start painting).
Here is a shot of the left house with the gutter in place and the chimney (more or less) straightened out.

Always strengthen cardboard with a layer (or two) of PVA glue after adding it to a building. It gives the cardboard a more plastic like strength. Also remove big drops before they dry up.
I finished the roofing by watering down PVA glue and covering the (weak) cardboard with it. Just splatter it on with a brush, wait for ten minutes and then brush it down again (otherwise the droplets you can see pooling on the building on the right will dry up and look ugly for ever and ever).

Next step: aging the building.
Now onto the final steps for the basic shapes, I went around the buildings drawing scratches and bricks on and then cutting there with my scalpel, using the side of the blade to make some space between cuts. I also used a regular pencil to push 'bricks' crooked.

Yes this process took a bit of time, but I think it'll be worth it in the end. 
Here is a side shot of the stable. So far it's starting to look like an interesting building. Next up I'll have to add: three doors (a pretty one and two rough ones), a barn door, a gate, four small windows, two dormer windows, five pretty windows of differing sizes and some shutters. That's where Mordheim has the advantage as you can just assume these have been blasted out. I might have to check out some railway add-ons to safe time. Maybe there are some nice instant windows there (although they'll probably fail to scale properly). Otherwise I'm off to mess around with balsa wood and coffee stirrers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Starting a fresh fantasy terrain set part two - Trees

I got a bit carried away building scatter terrain for my new fantasy village this weekend. Part of this building fugue consisted of assembling bases to hold a bunch of model railroad trees in an interesting way. Yesterday I painted and flocked the bases. So without further ado, here's the end result.

It's not the glow of the runestone that gets you, its the chanting cultist hiding in the wood with guns that does that...

Monday, September 17, 2018

Starting a fresh fantasy terrain set part one - scatter terrain

Recently I played in the Dutch Bloodstorm AoS event and won the Sportsmanship Award. Besides making me smile it came with a certificate and a brand new gaming mat. This last bit has to be celebrated! So this weekend I started building a brand new terrain set to go with it. The 'I have to start scratch building some fantasy stuff'-itch that has been flaring up lately helped a lot. So to start with the ending I went ahead and made a bunch of scatter terrain. Here are some completed project pictures. WIP and a lot of 'how I did it' rambling will follow lower in this post.

The good, the bad and the orky...

Friday, September 14, 2018

Three more Fellwater Troggoths join my Greenskins

Ever since painting the old metal River Trolls Fellwater Troggoths I've been meaning to paint some of the new plastic ones as well. I like the way GW has managed to keep the mix between comical and evil on the faces of the newer models. Besides, when you're on the battlefield, you can't go wrong with pot bellied monsters that puke all over the enemy. Last week I got my hands on three second hand Troggoths.

Warning, troubled stomachs ahead!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Trouble in Teufeltal session three, Battlefield

We ended the last session with a group meeting on the battlements of Schluesselschloss. Smoke and fire filled the horizon, coming from the direction of Tallerhof. Wasn't that the direction the baron and his army took? Micky, Barnard, Gorgor and Kylael stood shoulder to shoulder, watching the flames. A fifth person joined them, but it took a while before he was noticed.

I am not saying orcs in chariots are on their way, but orcs in chariots are on their way...

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Age of Sigmar Campaign - The quest for the Starforge (part three)

It took a bit long to get the report from battle two out of three done, but I think I more than make up for it with this one. Last Wednesday I fought the final battle between me Legion of Blood army and the Seraphon. Having lost the previous one I was the defender of a ruined castle and all I had to do was hold out until reinforcements arrived. You can see what happened next below, or click here to download a PDF version if you prefer.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Age of Sigmar Campaign - The quest for the Starforge (part two)

With all the holidays coming to a close I had a chance to play the second part of my three part Age of Sigmar campaign. The scenario for this one was The Barrowfields from Malign Sorcery (p. 54). My Legion of Blood had to perform as many rituals as possible to discover the location of a hidden Seraphon base. A risky endeavor as failure would point the Seraphon straight at my own home base. It was a nice clash, that due to time constraints had to be decided with a role-off...You can read how it all went down (more or less) in the comic below, also available as a PDF here.