Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dark Secrets Cave Terrain

This week is week 2 of the Dark Secrets league at our FLGS. The leagues this year have been a ton of fun so far. the alliances and season models have been really interesting on the whole (except when you can't find the right ally to play with...), and the patches this year look really sweet on a battlefoam bag. This month, the only badge that is difficult to get is the Hobby badge. To get the hobby badge, you have to create and paint a piece of cave-themed terrain. I have honsetly never made terrain before. I have some bits and pieces in my closet that I have been wanting to use, but just haven't gotten around to it.

This challenge got me to finally go and create some terrain. I really like how it turned out, and want to share how I made it with others, since it was super quick and easy, and perfect for people like me who don't want to spend a lot of time on making terrain just for a patch.

I've been playing a lot of Skyrim in the last few months, so when trying to pick something for "cave terrain" my mind went to the game to try to find something that could go on the tabletop. Some of the coolest caves in the game are the deep caves with giant floating/hanging/growing mushrooms the size of a horse or bigger. So the idea was to create a piece of terrain with giant mushrooms. In addition, I figured the only way to get a forest terrain in a cave would be to make a forest of mushrooms.

To start with, I cut out a piece of plasticard in the shape that I wanted the forest to be, big enough to hide soemthing in, but not big enough that it clogs up the table once you add a few more terrain pieces. next, I put some "mud" (patching putty) on the top of the plasticard, forming it so it looks like layered stone. it was then primed black and highlighted up several colors of grey.

blank plasticard cutout

lightly primed and covered in patching mud

I had this neat little marker that I thought would go really well with a mushroom forest, so I pressed it into the putty before I let it dry/primed it. The sign itself was from a set of WHFB tokens for mysterious woods that I got in a grab bag from some convention. if you have that token set lying around, it makes a nice touch.


For the mushrooms themselves, I started with some paper clips wrapped in greenstuff to give them some more width. I only put greenstuff on the top half or less of the paper clip, depending on how tall I wanted each mushroom. the rest of the paperclip will be used to hold the stalk to the base. I primed the stalks black.

the mushroom heads are made from styrofoam packing peanuts. Note: in case you didn't know already, you can't prime styrofoam... I didn't know that before working on this terrain piece. one good spray from the primer can and the entire peanut disolved. it was neat-looking but messy and completely destroyed the peanut. stick to just painting the peanut as-is.

Adding the first layer of paint to the peanuts

I painted the peanuts with a medium green (it's Holly Green from Folk Art), then highlighted up with a few layers of holly green mixed with sunburst yellow and ice blue GW paints. just keep mixing those colors and highlighting up in layers until it looks nice and fungal. I then added some spots of yellow and brown to add some interesting contrast on the mushroom heads.

they look much better with some extra layers of paint

To put it all together, drill a hole for each mushroom stalk using a pin vice. you want it to be wide enough to fit your paper clip through, but thin enough that the greenstuff stalks rest nicely in the holes. use a dab of superglue on each stalk to get them set properly. twist the paperclips with thin pliers or your fingers to secure the extra lengths of paper clip to the bottom of the board. I used some scotch tape to hold the extra piece down and keep it from getting banged up.

Stalks pressed into pre-drilled holes

And tape on the bottom

Next put a dab of glue on each stalk and push them into the foam toppers. that's it! use some paint to touch up any sections that got banged up with the drilling and assembly. your terrain is ready for a battlefield! It might not be real sturdy (I doubt mine will last more than a handful of games) but it's cheap, easy, and will get you a patch.

And... done! my first terrain piece

Tonight I will be putting this terrain on the table in an unbound game with one of our local Cryx players (SpiderBite on the PP forums and our local forum). I'm hoping to get some pictures and do some sort of battle report after the game. it looks like it will be pMorghoul/pMakeda/Zaal vs. Mortenebra/pSkarre/Coven. should be a really fun game! it's going to take almost all of my models to make 150 points, so that made list building pretty simple. more to come (hopefully)

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