I started this blog with high hopes for porting across lots of the content I’ve previously worked on for painting and modelling diaries, starting with the River Dock project. That’s still my aim, but the PhotoBucket debacle has left me with hundreds of forum pages full of dead image links, and very little desire to wade through all the mess.
However, I’ve just ordered a copy of GW’s new skirmish game Shadespire, and it’s dragging me back into this painting and gaming hobby all over again. I like what I’ve seen so far, from the fixed lineup of each faction (paint one “set” and move on to something different), to the fast, tactical gameplay and the ability to vary tactics based on the objective and power cards chosen before each game.
So: there’s a new game on the way, which ought to be here before PAX-AUS. With luck, I might even have it out of the box and ready for a few games at the convention. Let’s see how I go…
Details will be important for helping fix the scale of this terrain, so I decided to add some nail holes with a pin vice:
The dock is still going to be the largest flat area on the table, but I’m hoping I can break it up a bit with scatter terrain and some uneven, weathered painting.
Remember those offcuts from earlier? I used them on the upper surface, helping to sandwich the edges in place. It also gives the impression of a slightly thicker dock, which helps a bit… the models in the game will be multi-tonne Warjacks, and I don’t want them stomping around on a flimsy bit of balsa wood.
This is as far as I’ve gotten over the weekend. I needed to get a clearer image of just how big things will be, so I’ve used some foam offcuts to make a rough mockup of where the elevation changes happen.
Now, back to work again… I’ll keep chipping away at this one during evenings and lunchbreaks. If you have any terrain-making links bookmarked, feel free to send them my way – I’m slowly building up a library of reference images and techniques to try on this project…
The design changed a bit after that last sketch, and I decided on a broad wooden dock for most of the low ground (as shown in the plan view on that image). That seems a bit more natural, but also requires a whole lot of wooden bits cut and glued in place.
So, a trip to Riot happened, and I bought (and promptly hacked up) a packet of wooden craft sticks. Wider and thinner than icypole sticks; more like the kind of thing a doctor would use to help peer down your throat. They were easy enough to cut with a craft knife, scoring (both sides!) and snapping them across the grain – or just scoring them twice when cutting lengthwise.
I fell into a bit of a trance while my daughter was asleep during the afternoon, and eventually churned out a couple of hundred pieces of trimmed-down timber…
This shows the ends being cut off, and a few variant widths. Having a few narrower planks helps to break up the monotony, and produces handy offcuts that I’ll use in a minute.
I then started gluing them down to a supporting framework. Some planks have been cut more-or-less in half – that gives the total length I needed, and lets me alternate short-long, long-short across the structure.
After trimming the ragged edge (I did say my cutting was more-or-less accurate), I added more pieces to help stop the ends from warping. I’ve had to split some sticks in half for this, as I actually used up the entire packet in one go…
Over the weekend it occurred to me that I need to find a way of storing this, as even a 2×2 board could be awkward to fit in a wardrobe if it has too much detail on it. Then I remembered about Back 2 Base-ix and their modular terrain boards.
I still want to glue most sections together so I can have a seamless stretch of water at the front, but I like the idea of potentially adding other pieces over time – so having magnets built into the frame is a great idea. If I get really tricky, I could even magnetise some pieces of bevelled picture framing timber… that way the board could have a “finished” edge on it, removable when expansion is needed.
Being a nerd who never really used that Geology degree for much, I started drawing cross sections of elevation across the board…
I think I’ll use 16mm boards for the front of the table, keeping the water level as low as possible. Then, I want to use a few 63mm boards at the back of the table. That will really lift up the higher road, and give me an excuse to make some stairs for the centre of the table…
I mucked around with graph paper trying to sort out 300×300, 300×100 and 150×150 shapes – the basic plan is to have two sections, each made of four boards glued together.
The front section (water, dock and low ground) will be 600mm x 400mm, built up from the 16mm base boards. The rear section will be 600mm x 200mm, built from a 63mm base. This will have an overhang at the front: both for the stone texture on that large retaining wall (shown above), and for the stairwell. The whole piece should sit neatly on the flat docks, and it’s narrow enough to fit on a high bookshelf without too much overhang.
This is a project log for some terrain I’ve wanted to make for ages: an Iron Kingdoms dock table. I’m making it for two major reasons: firstly, it will be used as a demo board for Warmachine learn-to-play games at PAX Australia later this year. It’ll also be a handy bit of terrain for my Iron Kingdoms RPG group, as the Red Shields mercenary company spend a lot of their time getting into trouble on the Ordic waterfront…
It’s early days yet on this project: a bunch of the parts I want are currently in transit, so I’ve started off by sketching out some ideas and planning it all out. The table will be 2′ x 2′ to remove those early-game turns of running everyone forwards. That also conveniently reduces the surface area I’m working on, and lets me put more detail into it.
Textures and surfaces that I want to include:
- Aged (silvered) timber
- Water ripples
- Stone blocks
- Rusted metal
Next post will have some of the sketches – I’m still sorting out what it’ll look like, but I really like the idea of a tiered board that runs from a high city backdrop down to the water level. The buildings will sit at the back of the table (so the people running demo games can stand behind it), while the players will deploy opposite each other on the same level… playing left to right, or vice versa.
So, what might it look like? Something like this:
With a few ideas for reference material and details: