Arid terrain still preoccupies my mind and we shall not stop at dry desert lakes. Instead, in this second tutorial of the series, I would like to focus on the ever useful rough terrain, or in this specific case a terrain piece that features deeper sand. While you could depict rough terrain with a stretch of land filled with rocks and thorny bushes, I felt it would be much more interesting and challenging to depict an area that features fine, wavy sand, where with each step your troops or characters sink deeper, adding to the exhaustion of sun and thirst. I did also add some weathered rock outcroppings and sparse vegetation to round the piece off.
As always a list of the materials you will need for this build is followed by easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Work in progress pictures will illustrate each step and naturally I won’t break with the tradition of including scenic shots of the final piece. So put on your pith helmet, fill your water bag and follow me once again to a harsh desert environment that offers much more than featureless stretches of land to the modelling enthusiast.
I always found deserts to be fascinating habitats. A cursory look will leave you with the impression that it is hell on earth: sandstorms, unbearable heat during the day and freezing at nighttime. Yet, the desert is not only home to thousands of plant and animal species, it also has a simple beauty to it, dominated by the shapes the wind forms. They are thus a worthy subject for the modeler and can provide an atmospheric backdrop for our games. The exploits of the Crusaders come to mind as well as the cultures inhabiting Northern Africa, for instance the ancient Numidians.
In this first tutorial on arid terrain (more to follow) I will show you how to make a dry desert lake or an oasis that is slowly drying out. Using a similar technique I will also provide you with some ideas how to model a partially dry river bed, with only a small stream of water remaining. Per usual I will talk about the materials needed and provide you with step-by-step instructions how to make a cracked lake or river bed and scratch-built a dead tree to add further interest.
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
Browsing my blog it becomes apparent that I have a thing for modelling trees, evidenced by earlier posts on oaks and birch trees. But what about bushes, shrubs or hedges? There is a variety of shrubs and bushes that one could depict on the gaming table and construction will be very similar in most cases. That said I chose to make a hazel bush for this tutorial given they have a distinct, very appealing bark texture and the fruit lends itself for base decoration. Oh, and I think squirrels are adorable, so why not give them some scale hazels to forage?
Per usual a step-by-step tutorial will guide you through the creation process, with additional background information and scenic shots of the finished bushes.
The Battle of Great Plains or Campi Magni in 203 BCE was a disaster for Carthage, ultimately resulting in Hannibal being recalled from Italy to safe the day and finding his master in Scipio Africanus at Zama a year later (cf. Goldsworthy, 2003, 294-298).
At the first charge of the Roman cavalry both Carthaginian cavalry and infantry at the wings were driven from their ground, leaving exposed the centre formed by Celtiberian mercenaries. But it was here, faced with their imminent demise, that they made a name for themselves and allowed the Carthaginian and Numidian commanders Hasdrubal and Syphax to escape:
The Celtiberian line, though stripped of the support of both the wings, stood their ground; for neither did any hope of safety by flight present itself, as they were ignorant of the country, nor could they expect pardon from Scipio, against whom, though he had deserved well both of them and their nation, they had come into Africa to fight for hire.  Surrounded, therefore, on all sides by the enemy, they died with obstinate resolution, falling one upon another; and, while the attention of all was turned upon them, Syphax and Hasdrubal gained a considerable space of time to effect their escape (Liv. 30.8-9).
This was not a singular event, quite the opposite: Diodorus Siculus explains that “the Celtiberians advanced far in fame and were subdued by the Romans with difficulty and only after they had faced them in battle over a long period” (Diod. 5.33.1). And indeed they were one of the last to be overcome by the Romans after 200 years of upheavals and conflict on the Iberian peninsular (for campaigns in the 2nd century BCE see Quesada, 2006b).
But who were the Celtiberians? How did their panoply look like and how did they fight? I shall give an overview of the historical background of these fierce warriors, tactical considerations when using them in Field of Glory and finally some thoughts about sculpting and painting of my – now sadly OOP – Corvus Belli Celtiberians.
You will be all familiar with the famous caulking method to make beautiful flexible wargaming mats. However, this technique does not only come in handy to cover an entire gaming table, but can also be used for scatter terrain, such as rough terrain, roads, villages and even hills. It can also be used to create a very versatile photography mat.
In this first installment I focus on making some flexible rough terrain featuring some rocky outcrops, brush and small bushes. I took my inspiration for this piece from ekimdj, who not only has a very nice blog, but also wrote a tutorial for flexible desert terrain on the Sweetwater-forum, so if you are able to read German check it out (it is pretty picture heavy, so you can follow it easily in any case).
This tutorial will also come in handy if you want to learn how to create basic groundwork, flexible or not. This technique can be applied to a small base or an entire terrain board.
Per usual I will give an overview of the materials you need, followed by detailed step-by-step instructions and finally some ‘action’ shots showing off the piece’s flexibility.
Last time we focused on general advice if it comes down to taking scenic photos of your treasured miniatures. We covered the choice of camera, lighting, backgrounds, scene composition and photo editing. If you did not read part one of this tutorial I suggest to go back and have a look, as this part will be based on this general information.
We look at the initial idea, finding the right props for the job, setting the scene to bring the idea to life, framing the scene and finally photo editing. The last point will also include some falling snow effects.
In the early morning hours you finish your latest work: it turned out exactly as you envisioned; it looks glorious. But wait, how to share your work with the wider wargaming community? Easy! You take out your smartphone and take a snapshot. You look at the picture and, to your detriment, all the glory disappeared. All you got is a blurry picture that is way underexposed.
However, you don’t need expensive equipment or even a light box to make nice pictures of your miniatures. In this tutorial I will show you how I take my scenic shots. I am not a professional photographer, but I try to improve my photography skills on an ongoing basis and would like to share the experiences I made so far. I will cover the camera I use, materials needed to set up your scene and provide before and after shots to illustrate the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. A second installment guides you through a complete photo session, moving from the general to the specific.
Some years ago I made my first steps into miniature terrain building. Alongside my ever-growing Carthaginian army I also wanted to have some nice terrain pieces for Field of Glory. A system that requires players to have a good selection of terrain that goes well with a specific army. I did not want to go the felt pieces route, so I decided to make a variety of mediterranean pieces: A lake, a group of mediterranean pine trees, an olive grove, several fields, a swamp and a number of hills.
I will present some of my early works and provide some brief notes on how I created the pieces. As I am working on improved versions of these I will, as of now, not provide detailed step-by-step instructions. Some of the photos are of an older make, so please excuse the sometimes less than stellar quality. The pieces will also go up for sale very soon in a new section of the blog, so if you are interested watch this space.