Thursday, 23 February 2017

The build-up to building buildings

I've talked a lot about my WH40K Imperial hive city project on here – and I've shown a handful of the robots, servitors, denizens, vehicles and scatter terrain that I'm going to use to populate the thing – but there's always been one vital ingredient missing. The city itself.

And that's because I've not actually started constructing it. The buildings have not been built.

So the other day I cleared some space and started putting some tin cans, foamboard, MDF and plastic parts together to see what would happen.

And what happened was, I ended up spending a lot of time working out which bits went with which, and a lot less time actually building any models.

So I'm afraid I still don't have any buildings ready to share.

But it became apparent during these preliminary fumblings that I was subconsciously drawing a lot of ideas from a single source. A source that was so brilliant, yet so rarely mentioned, that I felt I should probably dedicate a blog post to it.

It was a series of articles published in White Dwarf issues 260 to 263, back in late 2001, written by Paul Rudge.

He gave us a multi-part guide to making foreboding, semi-industrial scenery for the 54mm game Inquisitor. And, although the scale was different to the regular 28-32mm of WH40K, most of the techniques he discussed transferred very comfortably.

I suspect many long-term hobbyists will remember the articles fondly, and just might like to take another look at them.

So, entirely without any kind of permission whatsoever, I thought the best possible thing I could do would be to present the collected article here, scanned and collated directly from the original pages of White Dwarf.*

We had to wait for issue 264 and the Paraelix Configuration campaign scenario to witness the awesome power of the fully operational battlefield

My planned pieces probably won't look anything like Paul Rudge's incredible scenery from over a decade ago, but a great many of the finished elements will owe almost all their existence to it. With a little luck I'll have something in a fit state to expose itself to the world within the next couple of weeks.

*Games Workshop, I did it out of love. Please don't sue me.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Paint your wagon

Last year, while watching all the robot cowboys slug it out on HBO's excellent Westworld reboot, I was inspired to dig out the old wagon you can see below. I still had it in its ziplock bag, completely untouched, after buying it from an independent trader at a Salute exhibition about 15 years ago.

Although it's got a wild frontier look to it, I figured I could get away with it for my Warhammer fantasy terrain if I loaded it up enough to look like a heavy goods cart. In fact, even better, if I made it look like it had been abandoned, it might just slot neatly into my walled town Chaos terrain project. It would add a bit of interest to an otherwise empty street – just another item that was given up when the settlement was overrun by crazed bad guys. It's kind of the Old World equivalent of those rusty cars I knocked out a few weeks ago.

I've mentioned my Chaos fantasy terrain a few times on this blog before (and even mentioned mentioning it), but I still haven't put up any photos. It's becoming a bit of a running theme: constant reference to something that I never adequately describe. It's like an accidental version of the orphaned joke trope, sometimes seen in movies, books and TV shows, where a viewer or reader repeatedly hears either the set-up or punchline to a gag, but never gets the complete story. Tyrion's honeycomb and jackass joke from Game of Thrones is a popular example of this, where his inability to finish the joke is played for humour in its own right.

There's a tiny little coincidence here too, as Westworld itself featured a take on the orphaned setup trope when Lee Sizemore, the head of the park's Narrative Department, wrote what he thought was his best speech, only for its delivery to be repeatedly cut short by a bullet.

Aaaanyway... when I've quite finished comparing myself to two of the best programmes on television, I'll see if I can deign to get back to what I'm supposed to be talking about.

And I promise I'll try not to mention any more TV shows.

While painting the cart I thought I'd have a crack at painting a couple of bolt throwers too. They had the same kind of textures – old wood, rope and rusty iron – so I figured I'd benefit from a bit of batch painting. It's the hobbyist's equivalent of economies of scale.

The ballista on the left was an old Games Workshop model, part of their Orc and Goblin range back in the late 80s, while the one on the right was my attempt to convert an even older model to look a bit like the first one.

These days they'll just lend themselves to whatever fantasy army or terrain is in need of them most. Bolt throwers for hire. Like the siege engine version of mercenaries. Soldiers of fortune. So if you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The B-Throwers!