Monday, January 21, 2013

The Deep Places of the Earth

I've decided that there is a hole in my terrain collection. I can build a fine playing surface representing future battlefields and urban clashes, I can have my soldiers fight amongst the burning ruins of a fantasy village, or climb atop rocky hills clad in tall pine. Should the adventure require an underground cavern or the interior of a great dwarven ruin, then I find my collection lacking. With that in mind, I've built a few test pieces.

It was very important to me that these pieces are not dreary and boring grey foam, but instead form a visually interesting backdrop for my games. I decided to try doing some glowing crystals and fiery torches to give the impression of pools of light in an otherwise dark cavern. Since I have orange and blue featured so prominently, I'm thinking that the water features will be done in a greenish tint to evoke the phosphorescent glows of subterranean algae. Another thought is to do some green bioluminescent mushroom growths!

I've included my newly painted Troll Matron as a scale piece. She is on a 40mm round base. The firepit was my practice for sculpting flame, after which I started sculpting up a half-dozen torch flames onto pieces of brass rod. The torch sconces themselves are carved from plastic sprue.

You can see the detail of the torch a little better in this pic. For my dwarven pillars, I went with a rather simple design of notching the corners. I may come up with something a little more ornate and cast it up, but for now I wanted something simple to duplicate.

I brought out my airbrush to do the light spots. I started with P3 Khador Red Base, and worked up through Khador Red Highlight (actually quite orange) to P3 Heartfire. It went very quickly and most of the time was spent cleaning the airbrush, as usual in my experiences. One day I will have proper airbrush paint without tiny  griblets screwing up my paint flow. The blue glow is done in a similar fashion, just with a progression of blue colors whose names have long since rubbed off the Vallejo Game Color labels.

I had the standard from the Avatars of War Berserker Dwarves, and broke out a stick of Instant Mold to try it out. It worked well, and I now have several resin casts of the piece to decorate columns. I painted this fellow up in P3 Blighted Gold drybrushed with Brass Balls, and then washed with a blue/green (the names escape me) glaze. After the airbrushing, I painted a few brighter highlights onto the bottom of the statue, which I think look quite nice.

It's a face only a sculptor could love! I quite like how she turned out, much better in my opinion than the original face (seen here painted the best that I've seen, which is like lipstick on a pig as the saying goes).

Here is a final picture of the crystalline growths on the other cavern pieces. I've gone with 2" high walls, as that is the biggest single piece of foam I have and I've never been successful in hiding the dividing line between multiple sandwiched foam boards. It is taller than most of my figures, so I hope that the black on top will be enough visual cue to players to imagine a ceiling above their figures. 

Thanks for reading, 

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