Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Go Big or Go Home

I've been letting this blog (and my painting) really slide lately. Part of that is the fact that I've just been busy. Part of it is also that much of my gaming time has been taken up by writing modules for Faster Monkey Games.

Even though I managed to get to the painting club month in March, I haven't done much else. I've been been missing the old paintbrush (and making terrain), and the dark elves haven't been holding my interest enough. I still intend to finish them, but I think I need a "Project."

The Project?


Now, I'm not going to make the ENTIRE realm of Khazad Dum and populate it with dwarves, orcs, and balrogs, but I am going to make a 3D terrain set for running skirmishes (probably SBH or SGD) in LOTR-style goodness. 

I should mention that I plan on using the books as the basis for the maps, not the movie. Mostly there isn't a LOT of difference, but if you see something that you didn't see Viggo and Orlando sprinting past, that's why. I plan on using Karen Wynn Fonstad's "Atlas of Middle Earth" as a major reference.


Location, location, location: The way I see it, it needs to have at least the three main "scenes":
  1. The Watcher in the Water
  2. Balin's Tomb
  3. The Bridge of Khazad Dum
It would be nice to be able to set up a generic chamber or hallway in the mines as well. 

Modularity: I don't have room for the whole thing to be of a piece, so I need to be able to break it down and set it up relatively easily. 

Durability: I had a Moria set once, made from WorldWorks Games's excellent folding scenery, but it got sort of smashed up. I want this to be a little tougher. I have GW's starter set for the LOTR game, which includes some nice bits (pillars, etc.) so I'll be raiding that  for bits. I will also probably use some Hirst Arts blocks as well. (I'll post pictures of the old Moria set if I can find them.)

I have a nice, thick square of 1" plywood that's painted a very dark gray with sand for texture. I may have to lighten that a few shades, but it will be the board that the scenery rests on.

Minis: I have (as you know) quite a few orcs, so I feel the denizens are fairly well covered there. I have a few cave troll types, too. From my previous set, I have the FOTR (Gandalf, etc.) and I have some "Skull Pass" GW dwarves. All set, right?

Wellllll, almost. I need two things.

The Watcher in the Water

and this guy

I own a GW balrog. I've even based and primed him. He "just" needs to be painted. The watcher is a different kettle of tentacles. I don't fancy paying GW prices for the "official" one, so I may go with some bits like Reaper's "Creature Components", or maybe convert the "Well of Doom." We'll see what looks like the best choice. I want the tentacles to be independent (not connected), so they can strike from different parts of the pool.

Speaking of the pool, I'll need to make up a murky pond bit of MDF scenery for that, as well as the door into Moria (maybe a river of lava, too?). The bridge should be "breakable" as well. 

Lastly, the rules. I'm confident Song of Blades and Heroes or Song of Gold and Darkness can give me most of what I need, but warbands will need to be worked out, along with skirmish conditions. 

So what's the first step? I think I'll begin with ol' Smokey up there. Let's get that balrog painted to set the mood. After all –

"There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the earth."

I'll take him to the painting club this weekend. 

WIP pics to follow.

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