As most of you know, I’m working on my Salamanders Army but some times ago, I decided to go back working on my Vampire Counts army, so I took a little break from marines. Not because I was bored of the Space Marines, but I think it’s always nice to have a change in what you paint to avoid breakdowns in the motivation.
Anyway, like on many forums, we have in ours a little section used for presenting all new releases from various manufacturers and one of our members posted a nice scenery from Tabletop World that was perfect for my Vampire Counts, ie, the Graveyard. Though, Games Workshop released their a few times before and since it was definitely cheaper than Tabletop World one (but not of the same quality of course), I got myself three models of it. But later, Tabletop World proposed to buy only the mausoleum and the tombstones, so this was perfects additions for the Games Workshop graveyard.
What you get for your money?
This shop proposes a few models in their catalogue, all sceneries or accessories for your sceneries.
Since I already had a bunch of Games Workshop graveyard, I chose to go for a simple mausoleum and a complete set of tombstones and since I really like Mordheim, I went for a pack of Supplies as well that would have gone perfectly on the table. Each set respectively costs 23 EUR, 20 EUR and 10 EUR. The mausoleum is a single building but the tombstones and the supplies set contain 37 and 13 items.
So basically for 53 EUR, you’re getting a nice amount of items. Shipping cost isn’t that expensive. For everything delivered to France, it cost me 13 EUR.
This shop wasn’t unknown to me and I already knew they were proposing buildings of a really good quality.
As you’ll see on the pictures, those are really nicely detailed and I was pretty amazed by the precision of the details on every items. Regarding the cleaning, I had nothing to do, didn’t noticed a single mold line or a bubble. The casting is really excellent.
Even though I didn’t have any casting issue (bubbles or mold lines), and that resin is of an excellent quality (similar to the one Spartan is using for their minis (you’ll find a review of Dystopian War product on our pages soon enough), it’s a pretty hard resin and most items are packed altogether in small bags so one of the wheel fixation of the cart was broken (though, easily fixed by gluing it back).
The only downside I found (cause I had to find one) was that like on the issue I had on my Dystopian Wars miniatures, the bottom of one item wasn’t perfect and thus, it wasn’t completely flat (again, since resin is hard, it’ll easily be fixed by sanding the bottom of the item).
Tabletop World is clearly providing an excellent quality of sceneries that’ll for sure fit on most of your table. They’re well cast, super detailed and are still not that expensive for the quality and quantity you’re getting.
I was really surprised when I ordered, cause there is no registering option on the website, you’re adding stuff to your cart, proceed to checkout, check for the shipping cost. Then, once you got everything, you’re redirected to PayPal (if you chose to pay with this solution) and you get a confirmation page saying your order has been processed and that you’re going to be redirected on the main page. Since I was a little worried, I poked them by email, because I wasn’t sure that my order had ended properly.
They answered the next day (which is pretty fast in my opinion) and they said that it was their process and that I shouldn’t be worried and a few minutes later, I received a confirmation email with my order. Around 10 days later, I received my order which was nicely wrapped and protected. All items were wrapped in cardboard and were nicely placed in the middle of the box surrounded by newspaper.
In my opinion, Tabletop World aren’t perhaps providing the largest catalogue like other companies who sells sceneries for tabletop gaming like Ziterdes, though, they do provide, a nice customer service (which is pretty hard to get these days), and really good products with nice casting quality considering the price ratio. I just wish they could change their checkout process because it’s a bit weird, but beside that, I do hope they continue like this while proposing some more models to their catalogue.
It’s been a while since I managed to prepare something worthy publishing but sadly when life issues strike – there’s no other way than face them. Fortunately I had a short break from the life recently during which I managed to slap paint over some minis, play some Necromunda matches and of course: write this short walkthrough explaining how to build a Scavvy bunker which I use as my photography background.
Crucial question: What for?
The first question about the project should be: what for?
After ~15 years in the miniature wargaming I realised that although fancy studio pictures of miniatures are very nice what REALLY makes me want to get some new toys is watching the precious models in the action. Nicely painted models placed on nicely prepared battlefield is something just stunning. I still can see beautiful Warhammer Fantasy armies from the battle book and Warzone corporations from Mutant Chronicles zine.
Therefore last year I started building modular gaming board worthy of our miniatures (and Necromunda campaign of course) but because my hobby time is limited and the table is rather big (work in progress aerial pic below) the decision was made to prepare small piece of terrain and paint it the way I want to see the battlefield one day. I was bored using printed backgrounds for taking photos so this small display piece should fix my problem.
The base was planned big enough for about dozen miniatures. I grabbed thick PVC sheet and cut ~5″ x 11″ sheet. As for the back wall – it’s height was determined by size of the gate (about 4″) and spare space in my glass case.
It was cast using Hirst Arts molds – instead of recommended clay I used resin with solid amount of filler. This stuff makes casts „crunchy” and much more fragile (bad idea for mass production) but also easier to work with when it comes do sandpapering or drilling. Of course using clay will also work – just there’ll be a bit more mess on the hobby station.
And here’s the assembled gate. All the edges were treated with sandpaper so it’s easier to install into the frame.
Once again I used molds to cast the frame – not much more to write about here.
The green slime is test of colors I was going to use for tox bombs – never let Scavvy boss out into the combat zone without supply of this nastiness!
And here’s the gate confronted with the back wall. As you can see there’s another frame around the gate. If I remember correctly all these cool parts can be found in the single sci – fi mold.
The entrance is done and inserted into the hole cut in the wall. The excessive bottom will be cut off and smoothed so it can be pinned and attached to the base.
And here’s the general idea of some bits to be added: some floor tiles and some vents (made of headphones broken by one of my cats – thanks a lot Cruiser, you bastard…)
The tiles have been placed into the prepared holes (don’t worry: wallpaper knife deals very easy with PCV sheet, almost as easy as blessed chainsword with heretic’s throat) and also some windows were added. To make the job as easy as possible I simply cut long rectangle shaped hole, covered it with thin PVC frame simulating windows (2mm PVC can be cut with scissors) and added some nails so I can paint rust around them in later stage. Bright rust should work as nice eye catcher especially on dark metallics.
Another step was adding mesh into the windows – I really like such additions especially it looks really decent even if only slightly drybrushed and hit with some brown washes. The mesh was pain in the ass to work with and I had to use special shears to get desired shape. Hobby clippers definitely weren’t enough.
Some more bits added to the junkyard.
Also I attached another sheet of PVC to the back so you cannot see through the windows. Some metallics were painted as well (boltgun + black) – do it as fast and easy as you can, it’s just terrain piece so doesn’t need as much attention as models.
And more bits – this time it’s the final re-arranging.
Rusting!!! I meant painting…
Like I wrote the piece was made to fit the battlefield concept: the gaming board is desert area (something inspired by Necromunda Ash Wastes) with some ruins and abandoned, corroded installations. This brings my fav way of painting (easy and effective that is): painting sand is almost pure drybrush while with a bit of practice you can paint huge chunks of rust really fast.
The natural decision was to start with the rust because I didn’t want to see the mess on the sand. After whole metallics were painted I simply glazed them with different colors: browns, sepia, orange. Once the paints dried some chipped paint was added and also some shading. Details will be added later.
Base was covered with white glue (the stuff you use for wood or static grass) and sprinkled with sand and some gravel. I use the same sand and gravel on bases of my gangers so everything fits nicely. As for the colors – once again I decided to make my life as easy as possible. Sand was glazed with some heavily diluted brown / sepia just to give it some hue and enhance shadows. After that there was a bleached bone / white drybrush and some chalks for the final. I sprayed varnish over the base to attach chalk to the base. Turps also works fine but it’s pretty stinky and flammable so be careful with that stuff!
The material I used to cover the back wall was the filler which I used for casting. It’s something like very fine sand. I didn’t use the same sand as for the base because I wanted to achieve different texture: more like concrete than sand or rock. Again: layer of white glue, layer of filler and voila!
Painting the Scavvy bunker
Painting wall was similar to painting base: glaze, drybrush and pigments. Also color choice was similar to keep whole thing coherent.
Some scale shot – still work in progress…
And the final: PVC edges were painted black, some more details added: turrets lenses, rust here and there, arch-villain posters, oil leaking from the barrels, blood splats. It’s a piece of battlefield, not some sort of Xmas tree so try not to get carried away.
Finished photography background
I must say I am really satisfied how the thing came out – I used similar colors on the Scavvies so these nasty bastards fit the base just fine. And if I ever get bored but this scenery I will just paint some oldie sci fi models (like Cartel agents from good ol’ Warzone), pin them into the base and put in the proper shelf in the display case.
Hope you like it. For more of my stuff – just visit my blog or wait pariently for another text to be spawned.
This time: Build me a… tree worthy of Lorien! That’s right we’re going to help mother nature make a treetop house ELVENSTYLE! So if you are interested in a How To Build A Tree tutorial – read on:
We’re going to need:
a piece of a branch…a piece of wood that generally resembles a tree.
a plate of plastic or hard cardboard as a base
a lot „wavy cardboard” (You know, most boxes are made of it)
lots of sand
lots of PVC glue.
at least 1 pack of green stuff
something that will look like clumps of leaves. I used special modelmaker’s dyed moss.
some plasticard for the actual platforms for the tree house and the pavement.
Some static grass, stones, few pieces of natural branches of trees.
some wire/small iron rods
So starting the fun of Godlike nature construction. We have to have a tree trunk: make a general idea how the tree house is to look like. I decided on a fixed size of the base and I wanted to add a pond to my tree house. So first you make the base. Use strong cardboard and glue a plate of plasticard to it with super glue. The base MUST be strong as we are about to connect the main trunk.
You have it already? Nice! So let’s get down to the actual tree. If you found yourself a satisfactory piece of wood in the forest and planned the general way the diorama is to look like, cut the branch so that it is more or less flat on one end. Place it on the base and make a hole underneath. Than simply nail the branch through the base so that they stick together. I’ve put like 7 nails and poured some superglue around to make sure it’s not going to come apart.
Now we have a stable base lets start building the terrain. I decided to go easy and started to glue flat pieces of the wavy cardboard. Shaping them as I went so that they would make up the general form of the terrain.
As I went higher and higher I added plates of plasticard so that I could have a cobblestone path and a sort of a by-the-pond boulevard. As mentioned I also started making the banks of the pond. I placed the „stones” on the path using superglue to keep them connected to the cardboard.
Once the general shape of the ground level is done, we start the messy part. This involves a lot of sand so make sure you have some kind of a box. To make the terrain look real we will glue the sand to the wavy cardboard with PVC glue. Pour the glue on a side of „ground” parts and simply throw some sand over the glue. It will stick to the glue and after 2-3 layers you should see a nice round hill.
Make sure that it doesn’t stick to the parts that should be sand-free like things that should be a stoned path.
Branches and roots
Notice that the photographs show some other things which we’ve been doing while the PVC was drying. For one you can see more „branches”. This is done so that the actual tree would look like an actual creation of nature’s product of boredom so we’d expect there would be roots and more branches. We connect those by drilling some holes in the main trunk and in the new branches’ bases. We simply glue the previously prepared pieces of natural shaped branches to our tree. you have to drill both the trunk and the new branch and put an iron rod inside to keep the connection strong and stable! you may use some extra green stuff while gluing them together so it will look smoother.
Remember not to glue the new branches before you finish with the staircase and platforms. Just drill and try the new branches so that the general look of the tree will be satisfactory, than go with the construction of the stairs. It will be much easier this way and after you’re done with the stairs and platforms glue the extra branches to the trunk.
Stairs and platforms
Also you may notice the new side bars added to the pond. This is plasticard that will be black and will be the borders of the pond that are not part of the diorama and are considered open waters. Also we started building the platforms and the road itself. The idea is that the paved path will go around the diorama and eventually change into a stairwell of the tree house.
Now you might notice the stairs are going up the trunk. This is done by making small pieces of plasticard. Cut a few strips of plasticard so that they will be of similar width and that you can cut the stairs-steps one at a time and that all will be roughly the same shape. Than make small, but deep cuts in the trunk and glue the steps in. Try to go up the trunk so that this will look somewhat coherent … you can see the cuts on the photo…I used a small modelmakers’ saw to do this. As we go up you might want to start thinking about the platforms themselves. you can see my first platform on the photo below.
Cut any shape you want and attach the platform in the same manner you did with the stair-steps. However, in this case there might be a fairly obvious need to use additional support like a branch and some adapters below the platform level.
Try not to glue the platforms to the trunk and keep them as separate elements. This will make it easier to build them and to construct the whole diorama. The last thing I did in this part was to glue the platforms in after all the painting and gluing of everything else.
This will help the platforms to be stable and will look better. Once you built the stairs and the platforms you might want to add extra edges to the stairs. This rim will add to the overall construction look and will make you believe it’s made by true craftsman and not an overanxious woodcutter who never got to work for IKEA. The photo also shows some important parts on the platforms. A banister, balustrade or a rail around the platforms will add reality to your creation and will look more natural for a high construction structure. I made this using the iron wire and some plasticard. The best way to do this is to simply shape the wire like the area you want to have a banister around. Than make the plasticard pylons and simply make a hole in each and slip them along the wire. Make a small cut in the platform and glue the whole thing together.
Now that we’re done with the platforms the hard part is over. Take the platforms out and glue the previously prepared branches to the trunk. If you want even more branches simply drill some extra holes, put an iron rod in them and form a branch from green stuff. Don’t worry about the actual shape because we’re going to cover them with leaves later on.
Already done with the branches and platforms, are you? Ok… let’s get down to painting. I took the basic black spray available in any construction market/DIY supermarket. Be generous with the spray as the sand will need at least a few layers. Now I went to paint the platforms and stairs. First I painted them with Citadel‚s Bleached Bone , than gave it 2 layers of Citadel‚s Thraka Green wash. In the end I want for two layers of 75%/25% Skull White and Vallejo glaze medium. This last part was airbrushed.
The same treatment was given to all platforms, but the moveable ones were done separately.
Now with the wood itself:
First I gave all the tree parts a drybrush with Citadel‚s Scorched Earth, than a drybrush of Citadel‚s Graveyard Earth and a drybrush of Citadel‚s Bleached Bone. Than a watered down layer of Citadel‚s Devlan Mudwash, a similar one of Citadel‚s Thraka Green wash and again Devlan Mud wash. If you want you can give it a final wash of Thraka Green again and/or light drybrush of Bleached Bone again.
The ground itself was painted with 3 layers of drybrush (Scorched Brown, Bestial Brown, Bleached Bone). The area which was supposed to be underwater parts was given a wash of Thraka Green to give it a muddy/foresty kind of look once the water effect will be applied.
Leaves and final touches
Done? Ok… time to make our tree a proper summer/fall tree: I used special modelmaker’s moss to mimic the leaves on the branches. This can be bought in most proper model shops. I simply used strong PVC glue to glue those to the branches in large mixed clumps and than added some super glue into the insides of those clumps to make the connections stronger.
Now the only thing left is the grass on the ground and the water effect. Some PVC glues are better for watter effect than the actual Citadel‚s water effect itself. Pour this into the prepared ‚pond’ and voila!
See us in Lorien!
You can invite the Ringbearer and his friends once Ian McKellen has ‚fallen into darkness’ in Moria.