If you are a Game Master it is always exciting to start a new campaign and let your players explore new shores, their peoples, customs and the secrets they hold in ruins old, mountains high and dungeons cold. To make it easier for your players to visualize this unfamiliar environment you may have provided them with a map of these lands, may it be as loot or after some negotiation with a Gnome in the local antique shop. A map may also come in handy for a wargaming campaign to show the position of warbands or armies and natural obstacles.
Often the first iteration of such a map is a simple hand-drawn sketch, but after more and more of the new area is discovered you may want to provide something with more visual appeal, add a background texture or even colorize your map.
I will show you some of my current exploits into the realm of map making that will be of help if you start out to make your own regional maps. I am still in the early phase of developing my drawing and coloration skills, but hope that the following ideas will be of use for your own development as a hand-drawn map artist.
I will show you my process of drawing a map by hand, scanning and cleaning it up and finally colorizing it using Photoshop. I will also provide you with some PNGs of elements such as ruins, towers and a city that you can use for your own creations as well as a generic parchment background. Future iterations will feature encounter maps, too. Continue reading Mapping fantastical fancies – Hand drawn campaign maps for your RPG sessions
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You just started making your own terrain or you intend to make your first piece. Excellent! Looking at a gaming table full of your hand crafted terrain is a grand feeling indeed. But which tools should you get before you start or which tools should you get down the road when you gained some experience with this important aspect of our beloved hobby?
Fear not, as I will show you a selection of tools that will come in very handy for pretty much any terrain project. I will keep it simple and recommend a number of tools for cutting and measuring; painting, sculpting and engraving; and tools that are nice to have, but not essential.
Continue reading The right tool for the job – Recommended tools for making terrain
Last time we fashioned a diorama base featuring weathered gravestones, a gnarly autumn tree and moss-covered flagstones. As promised in this second installment we will focus on an objective token or a small piece of scatter terrain featuring a ruined shrine and a removable birch tree. Naturally nothing stops you to use it as a scenic base instead or to incorporate this idea into a gaming board.
We will also cover how to make a generic flagstone base if the miniature you are working on does not demand a very elaborate base.
Given I already covered the basic techniques in the graveyard base tutorial, I will only provide instructions for new elements and some work in progress pictures with short annotations for the rest. The list of materials needed is similar to the graveyard base one, with some exceptions noted below.
Continue reading Enthroned in darkness – How to make a ruined shrine and flagstone bases
Crumbling gravestones covered in moss, faded letters, weathered by rain, wind and ice, a gnarled tree, the cry of an owl in moonlit night; who does not enjoy adding an eerily beautiful atmosphere to a base that will hold a vampire, ghost or necromancer? But how to go about it, what materials can you use and how should you arrange the scene?
Fear not fellow enthusiast of the dark arts, I shall answer these questions in a detailed step-by-step tutorial. In part one I will build a base for a Vampire Lord based on Reaper’s Judas Bloodspire sculpted by Werner Glocke, but naturally you can use the techniques presented below in any project, may it be a scenic base or a gaming board to add a somber, yet unsettling feel to your terrain.
Part II will focus on an objective token using the same techniques, namely a long forgotten shrine with a tumbled over statue and we will also look at generic flagstone bases.
Finally part three will present the painted miniature. We will also add some further details, such as walls and bats.
Continue reading Unrested souls – How to make a graveyard themed diorama base part I
Dreadful chimes can be heard in the larder, abominations in garish dress haunt the good people of our village and not long until a blood sacrifice to the old gnarly tree is due…yes, …the Quickening and Krampus are coming closer every day. But fear not gentle folk of Greifshold, archwizard Ezren will save your souls from damnation, as he will cleanse the putrid essence belaying our village with his powerful magicks.
*harumph* Oh, I didn’t see you there. Today we will look at a sculpt by Todd Harris, namely the Iconic Wizard Ezren. We are looking at the Bones version, not the metal one. As always after a short assessment of casting and sculpting quality a detailed list of the colours used is provided. Finally some words about the photographic set up may be of use for your own projects.
Continue reading A chill to the bone – Reaper Miniatures’ Iconic Wizard Ezren
It will shock you, but I really enjoy making trees. I know, I know who could have known? No wonder then that I dedicate yet another post to our green (or gnarly) friends.
I already covered birch trees, hazel bushes, oaks and yews, but this time the question is which features make a home-made model tree stand out and more naturalistic than the store-bought ones? What techniques can you use to add this last bit of realism to your trees?
I will address these questions with regard to bark texture, foliage, trunk and crown shape, scenic basing and critters. This is also an excellent occasion to show off my latest tree commission plus some trees I made for my own collection. We will look at oaks, apple trees, plane trees, olive trees and umbrella pines. Continue reading How to make wargaming trees – adding that extra bit of realism
What could be a more essential wargaming terrain piece than the common hill? No matter what period, no matter what setting, hills will be featured. They add visual interest and tactical complexity to any gaming surface, may it be modular boards, gaming mats or just a green table-cloth.
They may be an essential piece of gaming terrain, but making naturalistic looking hills that not only allow easy placement of models, but also easy placement and removal of trees or other terrain features, can be a challenge.
In this post I show you my take on such hills and try to solve some of the problems one may encounter by using the fantabulous power of magnets *gasp*! Obviously this tutorial can also be used for terrain boards. Continue reading Over hill and lofty mountain – how to make magnetised wargaming hills
I just came back from a nice relaxing holiday in Apulia followed by an extended stay in Germany visiting family and friends. Finally some time to prepare new blog posts. I thought I keep the holiday spirit alive and show you in one of my next posts how to make some olive trees and mediterranean pine trees. After all Apulia is well-known for its olive oil production and in fact produces a significant amount of the European Unions output. Pine trees are also a common sight on the heel of Italy, together with Thyme bushes, vineyards and cypresses.
This post is however dedicated to the Sweetwater-Forum miniature exchange 2016. A German forum that was and still is one of my favourite places to discuss wargaming, terrain building etc. in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. I’ll show you the miniature I painted and then in another post the one I received.
Continue reading My soul still seeking for the land of Greece – Sweetwater Forum Miniature exchange 2016
Our yew tree stands already proud, but yew trees are evergreens, so we cannot leave it barren, instead we have to find a good-looking solution to depict coniferous leaves.
In Part I of this tutorial we created the trunk, branches and scenic base of our ancient yew tree. In this second part we will conduct some experiments to find the best solution to depict the leaves, use some simple weathering techniques to add depth to the foliage and finally fixate it with thinned down PVA or acrylic medium. The last step is to matte varnish the tree and then glorious battle around its trunk can ensue! We will also revisit the fallen branches and add some finishing touches to the bases.
Continue reading Leafy experimentation – How to Make an Ancient Yew Tree for 28mm Part II
At last my plans for a skirmish board set during the Second Punic War can advance a bit more and naturally I am very happy to share this progress with you. Last time
we looked at the basics: theming and design of the board, possible materials to construct it, historical considerations (including roman viticulture and villae rusticae
) and miniatures to use with the board.
This installment is all about the laser cut frames for the modules. The design for these has been improved, the material changed from HIPS to Bamboo and it got all very extravagant in the end with the possibility of fancy inlays. All this should be of use for any gaming board you might plan, no matter if laser cut or hand cut.
Continue reading Measure what is measureable – laser cut profiles for a modular skirmish board part II