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?