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“CITY OF THE DAMNED” SPECIAL PROJECT part one

“It is a Dark Time.
The might of the Empire is dust, their crown is lost to them and their glory forgotten.
The promise of an age of peace and prosperity is drowned in blood.
This is your time. For the ruins of Mordheim hold prize beyond imagination: stones of power which can grant all your wishes.
But beware of your enemies.
Fear the Possessed, the Beasts of the Pit which roam the night.
Watch for the thieves of the Rat men, the Skaven of the Underworld.
Dread the corpses who walk like the living: the foul Vampires and their rotting minions.
This is Mordheim, the city of the Damned. This is the home of all your hopes. Be wary or it will be your grave as well.”

Mordheim rb.s.124

CITY OF THE DAMNED - part one: VENTURE

It all started with a single idea that came to me one day. I remember it as if it were yesterday, cause this was the glorious day when I installed Mordheim: City of the Damned and tried it out for the first time. I saw Mordheim in it’s full dark glory and thought ‘Damn! This looks so effective. I should make myself a gaming board based on this…’ You see – terrain making is similar to PC map building. You take base shapes, you texturize them and then colour them. If you happen to plan it beforehand, you will have just that: base shapes, texture pieces and paints – to work with. So , the idea was one of the ‘good ones’ and totally within my reach. Not a priority – just ‘an idea’. From then on it was haunting me throughout my everyday life. Sometimes it stayed dormant for couple of weeks just to emerge from the depth of my imagination without any warning. Many times I was on the verge of realizing it into existence, then just hid it deeper within me like “meh, takes up too much time, I don’t need it right now”. But, not so long ago, the right moment finally came. I was gaming in a local hobby store, where I saw an inspiring collecrion of Mordheim terrain. This was too much – I couldn’t resist. There was just too much inspiration to walk by. I broke that invissible mental barrier – took this like a man – a day later I went to Leroy Merlin, purchased all necessary materials and started working on this project…

GOAL:

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I already had a Mordheim Gaming Board along with all the terrain that  might come in handy throughout a vast campaign. The old scenery set was rather solid but lacked some key features in terms of theme and looks – the most important of which was texture. Back in the days I praised short construction time and playability over looks and strong theme. I produced terrain pieces really fast, but at a cost of visuals. This time I wanted to set looks and theme as the highest priority with playability a bit lower, followed by durability and other usual stuff, along with construction time being the lowest priority. Due to my current Nomad’ish way of life I also wanted for this gaming board to be transportation friendly and rather light. To achieve that I had to fulfill these assumptions:

  • A lot of texture, looks
  • A lot of detail, looks
  • No bases, re-playability,
  • Light, transportation,
  • Easy setup, playability,

As with most terrain projects, I started with preparing a simple visualisation of how much space the foundations will take up on the gaming board. By ‘the foundations’ I mean the simple terrain pieces that will take up most space, creating different levels on the gaming board. In case of “The Colony” gaming board these would obviously be buildings, but this time I’ve decided to use urban hills for the job. This was just a formality, but as usual I wanted to be prepared for what’s to come…

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The base concept was to create four urban hills, that migh be combined in many different ways to create a large elevated space, or set up individually. Along with these, two small urban hills and two platforms were to be made. While small hills might be used for shape diversity and to link the bigger ones, platforms were to provide easy access to elevated positions on the map…

EQUIPMENT:

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One of the most important thing in terrain building is choosing the right materials. Let’s say that I wanted to provide a lot of texture and detail while at the same time I wanted my gaming board/scenery to be rather durable, easy to setup and easy to transport (Not to mention – wallet friendly). Plaster was obviously a bad choice as it’s not only heavy but also not very good to paint on. Plaster tends to get damaged all the time and I personally try to avoid it. Any type of Resin or Hardfoam might do but these are extremely expensive and in case of a project on such a grand scale, they would have required professional equipment to be fully implemented. So I decided to go for styrofoam for base shapes and wallpaper for texture. (I personally hate light terrain pieces, that tend to fly all over the table, but in this case – solid buildings could keep the rest pinned to the table, fulfilling all the assumptions of my initial idea at the same time.

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COBBLESTONE STREETS:

I had all the materials needed along with the concept. The only thing to do at that point was to start working on the project. I started with the most simple of tasks – preparing the ‘cobblestone’ gameboard. It bassicaly took like half an hour with me just applying a lot of basing glue onto the board and then cutting large pieces of a wallpaper to be glued upon it. The picture looks nothing special, but once painted – small cobblestone could be seen all over the game board…

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FIRST STEPS:

As soon as I took on the platforms, an idea of additional items appeared. Having in mind that the upper level should be rather accessible for all the miniatures I added four sets of stairs to the fold. Started with base shape cut out of rough pieces of styrofoam, then added texture on the sides to finally cover certain places with handmade stones. The stones (or just ‘huge bricks’) were made by cutting the base rectangular shape out of styrofoam and then rolling droves of these in my hands so that all the hard angles became nicely rounded.

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DEEP ALLEYS:

Along with all the platforms and stairways I also prepared a set of urban hills. I used ‘Legend of the five rings ccg’ boxes to gain access to base shapes of a similar height. The best method to texturise them was to cover entirety of them with glue and then use wallpaper all over it. Once glue dried out I added styrofoam pieces cut out of the fridge protecting casing ( I like to keep such stuff in case it’ll come in handy – and guess what – it did…). Just like with stairs and platforms, I texturized urban hills with styrofoam bricks/blocks of stone.

Usually at this point I would have spent a lot of time correcting small imperfections, but I’ve figured out to cover them with a finishing touch of fake autumn leaves, once the paint job is done. This way I wanted to strenghten the mood of the entire table while having all the small holes and defects covered.

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ARCHED BRIDGES:

One of the things I usually messed up were bridges. Up to now I can’t recall any of these that would actually turn out to look good. Having excess materials I decided to give it a try, this time tho I used the same concept as in case of urban hills. I tweaked the design a little to better suit the gaming board and added two short bridges to the set.

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FINAL TESTS:

Just after undercoating the this scenery set up couple of different battlefields to take proper pictures. I was able to confront the idea of a modular table with what I’ve created. Checked out different layouts but also made mental notes of what and how many buildings I would require in the future…

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PROVIDING COLOURS:

Paint job followed soon after. I used entire 200ml of Vallejo Black Surface Primer, mixing it with gray and white to provide different layers of both wet paint job and drybrush. After that I also edged all corner stones with GW’s Pale Wych Flesh and added some extras in form of broken skulls, torches and Wyrdstone Shards. I also covered some spots with Autumn Leaves made out of Birch-tree seeds. This set a strong, dark mood to the scenery and comboed nicely with aldready painted ‘Toad Fountain’ and ‘Dead Tree’ pieces…

Epilogue:

More than happy with the visual results I hold the project until end of the year and get back to it with some cool looking buildings later on. We’ll see how it goes once 2017th hits the callendar…

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TUTORIAL: MODELLING WITCH HUNTER’S HAT

Last weeks I’ve been diverting more and more attention to Mordheim. Maybe that’s because I’ve been playing PC version lately. Either way, every couple of years I get that ‘Mordheim fever’ and delve deep into my imagination, staying up whole nights, making something cool for my own Mordheim collection. Right now I work on a brand new Mordheim gaming board thus I figured out to revive an old Tutorial from Mordheim Treasure Hunters blog and add it to the collection here at Scarhandpainting. More articles are already prepared, but I somehow felt like this one will be a nice way to close the 2016th.

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Below I will show you a quick way of making a Witch Hunter’s Hat with basic tools, some green stuff and some plastic leftovers. The thing about Witch Hunter’s Hats is that they are extremely rare and yet they look just awesome. A lot of miniatures can be reborn as proper Witch Hunters just by adding this small detail. So, here’s how I do it:

I USED:

* Modelling Knife,
* Sculpting Tools,
* Modellin File,
* Green Stuff,
* Super Glue,
* Some round and flat plastic bitz (heads in helmets will do too),
* Some tubular sprue plastic bitz (easy to get as they’re in almost every sprue),

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1  I started with preparation of hat parts. For this purpose I used round shaped plastic bitz, cutting off the excess of plastic with Modelling Knife first, then flattening the top area with a Modelling File. Next I used a Modelling Knife to cut tubular sprue bitz into nice hat top pieces. This is how it should look like when done:

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2  I then glued the pieces together, prepared a piece of Green Stuff and rolled it into a thin line. I also cut small pieces of Green Stuff loose and rolled them into small balls.

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3  I applied some Super Glue around the connection between hat's top and brim. I then applied a Green Stuff rolled piece onto the glue and flattened it with a Sculpting Tool modelling it into a strap. For this purpose I used a rounded part just behind the tip of a Sculpting Tool.

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4  I smoothed the texture of starps using a Sculpting Tool dipped in water. I then left the hats to dry.

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5  Once the Green Stuff dried out I applied Super Glue onto a piece of plastic, sticked a Green Stuff ball onto the tip of a Sculpting Tool, gently dipped it in the glue and applied it to a hat's strip. I also flattened the ball with the other (rounded) end of a Sculpting Tool thus creating a clasp.

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6  In the end I modelled a pattern on each clasp with the sharp tip of a Sculpting Tool. Once it was done I let the Green Stuff to dry out. Instead of modelling a clasp yourself, you can use any well sized bitz or even a piece of plastic. Actually anything fitting the hat's strap will do.

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The final effect may not be outstanding but it will do the job of transforming your Imperial Mercenary, or any other miniature into a badass Witch Hunter. See for yourself in the  Warband: ‘Scourge of the Witches’ gallery. Here’s a preview pic:

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I hope you like the tutorial. It is an old piece but I really wanted to have it here at Scarhandpainting.

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“TOAD FOUNTAIN” SPECIAL PROJECT

“It is a Dark Time.
The might of the Empire is dust, their crown is lost to them and their glory forgotten.
The promise of an age of peace and prosperity is drowned in blood.
This is your time. For the ruins of Mordheim hold prize beyond imagination: stones of power which can grant all your wishes.
But beware of your enemies.
Fear the Possessed, the Beasts of the Pit which roam the night.
Watch for the thieves of the Rat men, the Skaven of the Underworld.
Dread the corpses who walk like the living: the foul Vampires and their rotting minions.
This is Mordheim, the city of the Damned. This is the home of all your hopes. Be wary or it will be your grave as well.”

Mordheim rb.s.124

Following the previous Mordheim article I would like to present the “Toad Fountain” – another addition to my Mordheim scenery collection. The same night I started to work on “Dead Tree” I encountered difficulties with falling asleep. My imagination bombarded me with countless visions of cool Mordheim scenery pieces, ruined bridges, fallen temples and overturned carts. Among many otheres was a diamond in for of a big, eye catching fountain…

CONCEPT:

At first I approached this project from many different angles. Wasn’t entirely sure how to handle the main body of the fountain and even what to actually put on top of it. I only knew how I would like it to look in the end. I considered building entire fountain out of MDF pieces or even plasticard. In the end I decided to use a GW’s Tower of Sorcery bottom piece to base the construction at. With that behind me I could have predicted the size and role this scenery piece would fill in my newly developed gaming board. Be it a plaza filler or top piece of an urban hill – I was sure this one will bring a lot of dark and strange mood to my City of the Damned.

SCRATCH BUILDING:

I started the project with cutting out the entire inner surface of the Tower of Sorcery’s base. I had to use a heated knife to do this, cause the plastic was really thick. Once done I cut a huge chunk of plasticard, mounted the construction on it and cut it to match the base of the fountain. I filled two canals in the base with skulls and bricks picked from scratch, then used modelling putty to fill any remaining holes. Having a firm floor in place I then used strips of plasticard to form the inner wall of the fountain. Smoothed the edges with modelling putty and mounted the inner feature, made out of GW’s scenery piece…

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I then started to figure out which miniatures to put around the pool and on the main plinth. Had real problems with that, due to not enough statue looking miniatures. I had some old Sisters of Sigmar, but each one was a different piece. Any other stuff except Stormcast Ethereals was too diverse to be even considered, and the Space Marine like guys looked just ridiculous, and uber epic’ish to be mounted. Totally out of place which you can see below…

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Salvation came in form of Talisman the board game, where four awesome looking frogs can be found. Frogs totally fit into Mordheim’s unhealthy, dark mood – so I decided to ultimately break down the Talisman set and use these four creatures as statues. But what to do with a center piece? I considered leaving it empty or building an altar on top of it. Nothing seemed fitting the space so in the end I decided to take a risk and try to sculpt my own Toad. To do so I picked a smooth, flat egg-like rock and used it as main body. Then I just built the texture around it, mounted it on the plinth and added arms, leggs and facial features. I used small crystal balls on the back of the main Toad so that it fit to the rest of the herd…

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I was really happy with the result of my sculpting, especially while I am not at all that good of a sculptor. Usually I just use random stuff instead of making it myself. Still – this turned out pretty cool so a win for me. I even used the excess of the modelling putty to make more fish and creatures, mixed them with the ones created during the “Dead Tree” Special Project and mounted all on a piece of plasticard to be easily painted outside of the fountain. The scenery piece was ready for another step…

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PAINTING:

This one was painted side by side with the previous Special Project. I had a strong Mordheim fever back then and was so deep in trance as not to take any mid-paint pictures except for one. Real shame, but what’s done is done. What’s worth saying is that I airbrushed a lot, covering entire Fountain with Dark Sea Green from Vallejo and then moving up with Light Grey Green and other colours. Purple and brown points were added to the fray before entire fountain was drybrushed softly with Pale Wych Flesh. I then washed the interior of the pool with some of Vallejo washes and mounted all the newly painted fish on top of tiny translucent pieces of plastic cut out of a coca-cola bottle. After the paint and glue dried I just filled the basin with Crystalline 940 resin halfway up and let it rest for a day. I also cut thin lines of translucent plastic and modelled them to look like falling water using heat. Added them to the construction the next day and had to pack entire thing for transportation to a new home, along with all my stuff…

Something around two weeks later I finally got to work on the “Toad Fountain” once more. I added some streaks and soft glow to the frogs, filled the basin with resin up to the brim and added some leaves inside. I also applied leaves all around the fountain to keep it visually coherent with the rest of the terrain I’m planning to make.

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FINISHED PIECE:

You can see the finished piece below, while more pictures can be found in the “MORDHEIM TOAD FOUNTAIN” Special Project gallery…

This piece can also be found at CoolMiniOrNot, where you can vote for it.

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Epilogue:

I hope you like this piece. I have big plans for Mordheim, wish to bring even more Mordheim scenery pieces to life in the future. Right now I’m working on a complete redesign of my previous Mordheim gaming board. Have a lot of ideas, but due to lack of free time I plan to take small steps. If you want to see more of the upcomming Mordheim related articles, just stick around and they will certainly pop up from time to time.

 

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“DEAD TREE” SPECIAL PROJECT

“It is a Dark Time.
The might of the Empire is dust, their crown is lost to them and their glory forgotten.
The promise of an age of peace and prosperity is drowned in blood.
This is your time. For the ruins of Mordheim hold prize beyond imagination: stones of power which can grant all your wishes.
But beware of your enemies.
Fear the Possessed, the Beasts of the Pit which roam the night.
Watch for the thieves of the Rat men, the Skaven of the Underworld.
Dread the corpses who walk like the living: the foul Vampires and their rotting minions.
This is Mordheim, the city of the Damned. This is the home of all your hopes. Be wary or it will be your grave as well.”

Mordheim rb.s.124

Working with some awesome Tabbletop World terrain bringed back memories of Mordheim and how I used to create fantasy scenery for my own gaming table. The idea to revitalize entire gameboard surfaced in my mind on more than one occasion but such a feat was somehow beyond my reach. To satisfy the muse and pacify my deepest Mordheim desires I decided to go one small step at a time. My attention focused on a piece I wanted to create since the earliest days of Mordheim – a creepy, dead tree. I already made an attempt to bring life to this piece couple of years ago, but the overall effect was rather poor and I ditched the project. This time I was much more experienced and much more hyped, but most of all I have acquired a lot of new skills and got to know new techniques during these last few years. I was ready to take on this Special Project head-on.

CONCEPT:

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The idea was to make a sickly looking tree, hung some stuff on it then compose the surroundings so that the entire piece of scenery would create a nice visual effect. It was supposed to be a cool looking, mood providing centerpiece. The most important features were to be looks and being totally impassable so that the terrain piece won’t cause any placement problems during the game. Along with the tree there supposed to be some sort of eye-candies in form of small detail like a hidden treasure, bones, animals etc. Also I wanted to include either a small crypt or a monument somewhere on the base to provide a stronger mood to the piece.

SCRATCH BUILDING:

After selecting most of the initial materials and bitz for the project I started with the tree. I thought long and hard about  where to get a long wire to base the tree upon, but in the end was able to get my hands on an old Ethernet cable. At that point I knew that I will have to strenghten the entire construction, but for the time being I concentrated on the base shape. I cut the cable into pieces, removed the excess of the outer layer and reshaped the inner wires into branches/roots on both ends of each piece. Then I grouped the pieces in twos and threes, taping them around the main trunk with a paper-tape. In the next step I composed the tree out of the newly created pieces and taped them together…

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Having a tree I concentrated on basing it. Used a piece of PCV to cut the basic shape and glued a bottom piece of the statue I was going to add to the composition. I then cut the excess of PCV and modelled it a bit around the newly aded piece. I based the tree and added a huge natural rock to the base to serve as a sort of a sacrificial altar or something related to occultism (And to add weight to a base that was supposed to hold a big tree). I then used  a basing glue on the entire trunk of the tree and taped it around with pieces of moisted paper towel. Left the entire thing to dry out for the night…

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Upon waking up I started to add texture to the tree. There were two possible ways to achieve a durable and good looking effect. The first one was to use Green Stuff along with other sculpting putties to provide a nice texture. This one would take up a lot of time and cash so I ditched it in favor of the more simple and quicker way. Once again I used basing glue, but this time I covered entire tree. Once it was hard enough I added another layer and used a dryer to help it harden. I also applied a lot of Mourn Mountain Snow – texture paint from GW. Modelled a bit and then finished with a lot of Super Glue to harden the entire surface and strenghten the construction. This way I ended up with a nice looking, durable and highly textured tree…

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Next step was to add more stones onto the base and provide a more natural shape to it. I used Green Stuff and some other modelling putties to create the base shape. It was a bit expensive, but I hadn’t had plaster around and wanted to progress without any delays. I even used up excess of the putty to quick-sculpt some fish and mutated creatures for another Special Project going on beside this one. Somewhere on the way I also started to add bitz to the tree so that it looked more Mordheim-like with hooks, nails, a dead body hunging by the neck etc…

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Detailing took some time as I wanted to bring life to the piece. A short line of running rats here, A bird interrested with the candles there and a half burried treasure chest somewhere else. The work moved steadily forward and with each new feature the ‘Dead Tree’ look much more alive.

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Once everything was in place I covered the entirety of the base with Stirland Mud – tecxture paint from GW. Usually I just use basing glue and sand, but this time I wanted to create something more detailed. ‘No shortcuts’ I told myself when applying the texture. Ended up with a complete piece looking like this:

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PAINTING:

What can I say – I was totally in the mood. Once I sat to paint this thing I couldn’t take a break even if only to take a work in progress picture. Just couldn’t stop. Took couple of hours to complete with me testing new recipes – wanting this one to look superior to all my previous Mordheim scenery. It turned out to be a concept foundation on which I intend to build my new Mordheim gaming board terrain series.

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One thing that I can say about the paint job is that most of it is made using Vallejo Air paints and actually airbrushed. Some surfaces were drybrushed just to be lined with Flayed One Flesh. What is unusual for me is that I almost used no washes, which usually are the main source of highlights in my works. This time tho I decided to go in the direction of a proper airbrushing, rather than risk unpredictability of a wash.  Either way – I finished the project by applying Birch-tree seeds to imitate leaves all around the base and in particular small spots over the altar and monumet. This complimented the entire colour scheme and deepened the mood of the scenery piece.

FINISHED PIECE:

Here is a picture of the finished piece, but theres a lot more in the “MORDHEIM DEAD TREE” Special Project gallery…

Some pictures can be also found at CoolMiniOrNot, where you can leave your votes for this one if you like.

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Epilogue:

“Dead Tree” is not my last word when it comes to Mordheim Terrain. Even now I’m working on a brand new pieces, not to mention the ‘Toad Fountain” which was completed in the same time as this one. Hope you like this piece and will enjoy the entire series. I encourage you to leave feedback, especially in case of any questions related to the project.

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