Monday, 25 May 2020

Epic adventures continue

My tiny foray into the diminutive realm of ‘pocket 40K’ continues! The largest addition, both in terms of size and work, has been a terrain tile. In fact, it’s less a tile, and more a glorious millionaire's-shortbread chunk of a thing.

I had been thinking for a while that my tiny guys deserved a setting, which led to a bit of pondering. While my tiny minis are taking on a 2nd edition vibe, I wasn’t keen to mimic the terrain of the era. It was super-colourful to the point that the minis often got rather lost on the boards. That bright green and yellow Orks might blend in is saying something!

During the lockdown I’ve watched a documentary or two about WWII and the images of war ruined cities like Berlin and Stalingrad burned into my mind. Looking at photos of them I was struck by how the palette was both so monochrome and so… inverted. In many cases the ground was dust-choked to the point it was almost white, while the buildings were black thanks to the awful fires which raged up them.

The other thing that was interesting was the undulation of the ground. Piles of rubble would tower over the roads, while in other places the ground would collapse into the sewers or basements. I wanted to reflect this rather grim reality of war in the tile.

With the main sculpting done I added some of the amazing Specialist Games plastic Adeptus Titanicus terrain. The tiny objects are stunning! They really bring it to life… and into the 41st millennium.

Painting was super simple. It was a mix of rattle-can spray with washes over the top. Instead of modeller’s pigments I tried, seemingly with some success, a combination of Citadel’s Contrast Medium mixed with creme or grey paint to mimic the dust. I think I mixed in some baking soda to add grit. The smooth transitions of the white ‘dust’ works well I feel and it’s less of a faff than pigments, which need setting with further chemicals or they rub off on your hands if you touch them. Which is annoying. I also drybrushed in black, rather than light tones. This mimicked the way the dust would sink into the recesses while the upper surfaces would remain dark. Counterintuitive, but it looks pretty good.

I wanted the tiles to act as display bases too. I chose the 9x9cm format as I had found some dinky little 10cm³ display cubes on ebay. But being impatient for them to arrive I began the sculpting before the display boxes were delivered. More due to blind luck than anything else, it all came together perfectly. The tile fits the box like a dream.

My itsy bitsy Blood Angels and Chaos lads have also received reinforcements. These take the form of classic red Terminators and Death Company for the former, and some Thousand Sons for the latter.

The iconography on the loyalists wasn’t easy but I felt it came out well enough. By 2nd edition the BA system of markings had solidified, with the Studio having rolled-out the Sergeant’s black shoulder pads to the Terminators too. It’s a very visible way to make him different so it works well at Epic scale.

Alas as I clipped off the Thousand Sons from the sprue, their little head-crests kept snapping. I was left with a bit of a mess. So I made the unwise decision to convert them by adding tiny bits to make up for the lost details. This was… challenging. But the result is a nice variation in their silhouettes, with one sporting the more modern pharaonic headdress which has come to signify the automaton-like sods. In the photo below they’re pretty much done apart from their bases.

There is perhaps an incongruity between the super-bright 2nd edition style miniatures and the rather somber verisimilitude of terrain. But I feel the dull surface actually makes the minis pop all the more. They jump out from the dull grey of the background in quite a pleasing way, so I’m calling this a ‘win’.

Next on the ever-longer to-do list of doom are some Chaos Trolls and [gasp!] a Silver Tower!