The Road to Adventure

I’ve finished the base for my dwarves in time for MFCA this weekend. The wooden plinth (something I picked up at a craft shop) is being stained. I’ll attach it when it’s dried.

I applied some subtle washes (some browns, green, and blue) to the rocks to give each of them a slightly different color from its neighbor.

I’d like to add a few mushrooms & flowers, maybe a touch of grass, but we’ll see if I have time between now and Thursday.

Here’s the gang on the road to adventure.

And here you can see how the wheel ruts on the base match those on the display base.

A Home for Dwarves

I’m heading to MFCA in Philadelphia next weekend and planning to show a few of the dwarves from ToadChapel. Here’s a display base I’m hoping to finish in time for the show.

Basic structure created with a mix of Super Sculpey & Super Sculpey Firm. I find the proper consistency is just about midway between the two. The standard consistency warms in your hands and won’t stand serious mushing around, while the firm is so stiff it tends to break when you handle it. Working it up into a usable consistency is enough to make your hands sore.

A little structure added with Milliput. Without distracting from the figures, I’m trying to suggest that something interesting lies just ahead.

Some basic paint applied. I’m repainting the base of the dwarf who’s in the road so she matches better, rather than trying to match the painting to her base.

This is a bit of a rush job, so hopefully some well-placed flock will cover up some of the rough patches.

Happy hobbies to you!

Herling’s House

I’ve been working on a grand (by ToadChapel standards) home for the ambitious Herling.

I shall probably need to remove the door (🤞🏻) to properly paint the wood paneling and the goblin head knocker.

The house itself is human-sized, but Herling’s moved in as his political star has risen.

~

On that narrative point: I haven’t forgotten that I’m overdue for an update. I’m working on it!

Secret Fronteris Kill Zone

I’ve slowly worked up a decent kill zone to fight some 100-200 point battles on.

This one fought me all the way, and I’m still not completely satisfied. My plan is to add some dead vegetation over the top to tie everything together.

I’ve added some fun details to give it some personality.

In any event, it should look good when we’re fighting it out in the far future. I can’t wait to get my first game on it!

I Might as Well Have Built an Actual House

Well here’s something mildly stupid.

I take no responsibility if you go cross-eyed doing this.

I survived by spreading the work (and it was work, which I try to avoid at all costs) over several sessions. I just used up leftover paint from other jobs as I tackle other projects.

I need to complete the roof and add some trim and this will be mercifully finished!

Spooky Scary!

Will & I bashed out a load of graveyard terrain in two sessions this week. Probably 10-12 man-hours between us, but it went by fast as we were having fun listening to music and solving all the world’s problems.

This is the Sigmarite Mausoleum set, augmented by a church from Pegasus. I have a few details left to do on this (like the skulls around the statue), and we have a boatload of fences, gates, graves, etc to paint, but nevertheless we generated a ton of really nice terrain in what felt like very little time.

I highly recommend tackling this kind of project as a team, as it’s not overly fussy and you can negate the tedium by spending quality time with people you would want to hang out with anyway.

We’re looking forward to our first game battling over these spooky little chapels!

Let There Be Dirt!

ToadChapel needs some rock, soil, and life upon which to grow.

Let’s learn how to make it.

This is a method I use when I want groundwork that looks genuinely good, but doesn’t take an eternity. You wouldn’t necessarily want to use this method for, say, a 3′ x 3′ skirmish wargaming board…

[Casper provided for scale]

~ STEP-BY-STEP ~

Begin by gluing good old dirt to something thin & flat. I don’t actually sift the dirt beyond the biggest and most obvious foreign objects. Instead, I sort of pan it and get the right mix of sizes to suit my needs. Make sure to crush any large clods or they’ll collapse later in the process and screw something up.

Here you can see wood glue thinned with water applied heavily over the top of the dirt. I use the same wood glue underneath, let it dry overnight, then cement it down the next day.

Prime in black.

These are the paints I’m using for the earth & rocks. I’m using cheap hobby paints because I’m going to need a lot and this is very rough work. Don’t use your model paints! These big bottles cost fifty cents each.

These are the stages of the painting process, beginning at the top.

12:00 Paint the whole tile brown.

3:00 Drybrush with light brown.

6:00 Pick out the rocks with medium grey. Basically, the more you do the better, and rockier, it’s going to look. I’ve also highlighted the larger rocks with a light grey.

7:30 Apply some washes

I start with some water just to help things flow more naturally and thin out any real obvious ink stains.

Merrily slop some of your favorite washes all around. I like a mix of colors, warm & cold, dark & light. These are Secret Weapon Baby Poop and Flesh Wash, with a few dots of black ink.

Quite fun to paint these thin colors across the tiles using a Japanese style watercolor brush.

To soften and blend all these subtle colors, use your breath to give them their final shape.

9:00 Time for some vegetation!

Wood glue & water daubed over the ugliest parts of the base. I try to surround some nice rocks with moss, carefully avoiding the rocks themselves. Taking pains to achieve these little details makes a lot of difference, to my eye.

A heavy baking dish makes a great indoor flocking station.

This is the base after two applications of moss. It might take more than one pass to cover up the parts you want and build up a little volume in the deeper patches. Take your time and don’t lay it on too thick just to finish in one go.

A layer of lighter flock on top softens the look and creates the appearance of volume

Now it’s time to apply a few painted highlights and finish these pieces off.

My favorite highlight color for moss, for multiple reasons. I think fluorescent green gives the most natural looking moss, at least as I envision it in ToadChapel.

There is a problem, though: the flouro paint fades. As you can see, the huge board above needs to be highlighted again, as the highlights have all but vanished when viewed from from tabletop distance. I ain’t looking forward to it, I can tell you!

To take the highlight one level higher and help hedge my bets against the fading, I’m using a very pale yellowish green.

There is it. It looks good from a distance and it holds up under scrutiny. It’s not painted so loudly that it detracts from the figures and scenic elements around it.

Trouble headed to ToadChapel by the Woodland Road!

~

As with the washes, there are all sorts of ways to incorporate hidden connections into the modular pieces. Not only do these little diversions make the creative process more fun, they could also come in handy later when creating a scene.

Wood glue. Best stuff ever.

Abstract art.

And that’s it! Hope you found something useful or interesting in this tutorial. I gave you a picture of a cat, so you can’t complain too loudly.

Leave a comment below if you have any tips or questions for me. Happy hobbying.