Sunday, 17 August 2014

EXT: Woeful Tree

More custom scenery! With another commission about to hit my paint tray, followed by endless resin minis in October, I wanted to get this out of my imagination and into the games cupboard as swiftly as I could before it became another procrastinated daydream.

All that Arthurian business the other day got me reading bits of Mallory again. There's a fairly well-known bit where Lancelot squares off against some traitor knight who's spent his days bashing up other, more respectable, round tablers and hanging their shields on the tree outside his castle. He's got forty or so on the branches (ring the gong to take a shot at the champion!) when Lance turns up and breaks his streak.

Whosoever pulleth this brass sword from the permafrost is in for a world of hurt.

This is my stab at something like that iconic tree of doom. I couldn't do hanging shields, I felt. Partly because unless I used real chains or string or something, it was just a lot of snapped glue waiting to happen. And partly because I couldn't find any appropriately branchy twigs in the park. Also, I didn't have a spare $50 to spend.

Crucify him on the Tree of Woah! No! Don't do that, it's probably copyrighted. 

This blasted and bleak stick is what I got instead. I sawed the end off (do this over a knot, kids, and it gives the stick a thicker base that better resembles a trunk at this scale) and screwed it into a stepped cardboard contour.

This then had modelling cement plastered all over it. Not bad stuff to use this, although it's very messy to mix and spread. It's also a bit fragile - because I'd only used a single layer of card at the bottom, I had problems with the weight of the two taller bits causing fractures. Nothing I couldn't fix with a layer of PVA, but all the same.

A couple of slabs of slate as well, embedded in the base layer. 

After that, a layer of watered-down PVA to prepare for paint, then the plastic bits. There's a range of eras of GW chaos represented. It's like plastic archeology. The first ever multi-pose warrior kit had good shields, if deformed hunchbacked troopers, and there's a few of those. The rest are current Warriors and Marauders on the whole, with some spare plating from the trusty Giant kit (still going strong) and an old goblin shield.

I painted that one green, by the way. Somehow, the ancient red marker pen ink I'd put on it about twenty years ago (for reasons forgotten) bled through undercoat, layer and highlight to stain it pink. Weird. But also effective, and thus staying.

Facing the tree is another golden oldie, the Heroquest altar. The original candles were long gone, so I rigged new ones and put the shrine offcut on because chaos needs spikes.

Let's all pretend the original paintwork is invisible. 

The book's left page is modelled in, which is a lovely bit of detail. The right hand side is drawn on with a pen, because that's more reliable than my detailed brushwork. I wondered about keeping this little shrine as a detachable extra, but that didn't work. Without a permanent trench, there wasn't a good way of making room for it on the concrete base.

I did stippled marbling for the tabletop, which I'm quite proud of. You can't see it on any of these photos, but I assure you, it's stirling work. 
Painting Notes:

  • The mud is Rhinox Hide, two watery layers
  • The shields are a variety, obviously, but generally trying to match the Bleached Bone, Snakebite Leather, Golden Yellow and Scab Red palette of my army
  • The Tree isn't painted, because it looks better as it is
  • I'm now using Wild Rider Red as a final highlight on pretty much anything red, over Scab and Blood reds
  • Tyrant Skull as a top highlight on bone now too - it's more yellow than my previous Skull White finish, not totally sure I prefer it yet

Overall I'm pleased. Although I'm never happy with my snow effects, they always look wrong on the ground somehow. Any top tips, anyone?

God. That background image came from somebody's work blog. They live there. Jolly jolly. 

Meanwhile, like a bridge into Tau Light Ochre, here's a knocked-together gun turret thing that could act as an objective marker. Or a gun turret. Whatever.

I see a red door and I paint it Tau Light Ochre

No colours any more just frickin' Tau Light Ochre

I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
This high yield missile pod just makes them all explode

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