I can't believe it's been four months since I completed my gaming table, some of the Gents are hankering after blooding the new battlefield and I still haven't got a shred of cover to put on it. So in the absence of a multi-million dollar Atmosphere Processor I had a rummage around the Forge and located my scenery supplies.
I decided to start off small, a tester building if you will, to try out a few things (I can't recall the last time I built or painted one) and get a feel for the overall look I want to achieve as I don't want to end up with a odd assortment of scenery that doesn't fit together.
In my opinion scenery can be as important as a nice looking army, after all we spend countless hours getting our miniatures just so, it seems a shame then to field them on a board along with a jumble of unpainted or random clumps of buildings and terrain.
First out of the box were two sections of ruin from the 3rd edition boxed set, I thought they'd be ideal as a small building, possibly a dwelling or shop. You'll have to excuse the absence of WIP pictures here, I got so carried away with the process that I didn't give any thought to using my camera until the work was complete.
I glued the two sections onto a sheet of plastic base, MDF would have been better in hindsight as this is a little bit too flexible, but I didn't have any to hand when the construction urge took me. The ground floor was bizarrely too low for 28mm miniatures, unless you're fielding Ratlings or Squats (hits reset on the clock), so I decided to fill this space with rubble.
Using chunks of polystyrene as a base, super gluing chopped up sprue to them, re-discovering in the process that super glue melts polystyrene...
...the things you forget, still enough survived for me to then use PVA and a hefty sprinkle of sand to finish the debris effect; I also used PVA and sand on the surrounding base which appears to have taken some of the flex out of the plastic.
Once this had all set I sprayed the whole thing with GW Chaos Black spray paint which gave me a good base coat, it also helped seal the sand to the rubble and base. I then set about dry brushing the walls and base with a two layer selection of colours using tester pots from the local DIY store colour matched as best I could to GW's Codex and Shadow Grey (I'm using Dulux Grey Steel 2 and Niagara Blues 1). At around £2.90 for a 250ml pot this is just great for scenery work and it is formulated so that it washes from your brushes with water, saving a lot of time and grief.
The tile flooring was then based in GW Fortress Grey and Imperial Purple, washed in Badab Black to bring out the cracks and give it a dirtied/sooted appearance; followed by a dry brush pass of the base colours and then highlights of Space Wolves Grey and Liche Purple respectively.
The finishing touch was to add a few patches of my flock mix and static grass (Army Painter Steppe Grass) to blend the base of the scorched and rubble strewn building into the green of my gaming mat and to tie in with my miniature bases.
I'm pleasantly surprised with the result, it didn't take too long and despite a couple of technical hiccups along the way and one poor painting choice (I started trying to decorate the interior walls and ended up with the Dark Millenniums equivalent of a Magnolia living room *shudder*) the whole things has come together very nicely. It can now act as a template for the rest of my project which I'm now very motivated to crack on with.
Plans for the future...
As narrative is a big part of the hobby for me, I want the battlefield to be as much a part of the story as the conflicts waged upon it. With that in mind I'm intending to create a fairly sizable Imperial settlement, not as huge or sprawling as a Hive City, but something like a Garrison town that has long grown beyond its purely military roots; with an influx of civilians, trade and religion.
I don't want the town to be just a blasted, crater scape relic; it's going to be a mix of intact and damaged buildings. I got the idea from the Black Library, especially Dan Abnetts Inquisition books, his work really breathes life into the 41st Millennium rather than the usual 'in the grim darkness there is only war'; I want to capture that sense of a lived in Imperium, making it something worth fighting over.