Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just Hanging Around In The Forest

Hello and welcome to an eco-friendly issue of the Dispatch!

For this issue, we are going green as we look at the next battle in the Dark Thorn. Having encountered the D'Wagurr (aka the Dwellers... finally came up with a name for them!), the Vahgr (aka the Wolfen... didn't feel right just renaming one of them) move to eliminate these foul creatures from the Thorn by calling on the forest to assist them. As the trees themselves rise to the the challenge, the D'Wagurr minions are driven forth from their caverns by one of their cruel overseers and a vicious brute! Who will carry the day as the Vahgr fight to protect their home? Then we'll be taking a look at another terrain project for Malifaux, along with a quick stop at the Roaming Monkey to see how it is shaping up as well. Nope, I still haven't played a game yet but the setting it just too rich and inviting to let that stop me from making some terrain for it! But enough talk. Let's do this thing!

From Whispers To Howls Of Defiance
A Song of Blades and Heroes Battle Report

After killing the D'Wagurr minions, the two hunters took a couple of the carcasses to their pack leader. Upon seeing the bodies, the blade weaver decided that they must act quickly to destroy these creatures and discover how they arrived in the middle of the Dark Thorn. Calling upon the spirit of the Thorn itself, the Vahgr are joined by some of the wardens of the Dark Thorn as they set out to stop the D'Wagurr. Meanwhile, a zealous D'Wagurr overseer has decided that it is time it make a foothold in the Thorn and is leading a group of minions with a brute up to the surface. Something happened to the other scouts and he was not going to risk wasting any more.

The board was quite basic for this battle as it was supposed to be in the Dark Thorn. Makes terrain selection easy; trees, mores trees,... and a hill.

Next, the two forces deployed on opposite sides of the field and the battle was underway! As the D'Wagurr force included an overseer, they were able to make group moves and also had their quality rolls improved when they were near him. This let them race across the battlefield on their first turn, eager to take down the Vahgr warriors.

For their part, the Vahgr lacked a model with the leader special ability which made their activations a little trickier. One bad roll and suddenly the turn is over, potentially leaving troops in some vary precarious positions. No worries this turn though as the whole war band steadily advanced across the board.

For their second turn, the D'Wagurr put their group activation ability to good use and swarmed over one of the Dark Thorn wardens (these are some plastic Games-Workshop dryads I had ordered...) and quickly ripped it apart!

The second group of minions raced forward trying to set themselves up to support the last minion but he managed to fall short on his charge and couldn't connect with the Vahgr hunter.

With the D'Wagurr overseer out in the open as a very tempting target, the Vahgr blade weaver attempted to charge forward... a move that apparently surprised his own force as much as the Dwellers! Rolling up only one activation on three dice, the blade weaver moved forward and waited for the inevitable onslaught.

The D'Wagurr didn't disappoint as one group activated and charged the blade weaver from behind while the brute lumbered forward and attacked. Supported by the minions, the brute was easily able to knock the blade weaver down.

The hunter that had been charged the turn before didn't fair much better as he was also knocked down by the minions attacking him. Things were truly looking grim for the Vahgr at this point!

In a desperate attempt to help the downed blade weaver, the other hunter and one of the two remaining wardens tried to engage the minions surrounding the weaver but only managed to knock one of them down.

A minor act but in this case it was enough. The weaver stood up and launched itself at the downed minion, savagely ripping it to shreds! This sent a wave of panic through the D'Wagurr war band as other minions broke and ran. Another minion fell to the weaver's blades while the other fled the battlefield along with their leader!

This was enough to break the few that remained and the rest of the D'Wagurr war band fled the battlefield, leaving the Vahgr triumphant again!

With their attempt to gain a foothold on the surface thwarted, the D'Wagurr were forced to return the the sanctuary of the cave that they were using to enter the Dark Thorn. Little did they realize that in their dash to safety, they were leaving a clear path for the Vahgr hunters to follow. Be sure to check back for the next battle as the Vahgr assault the D'Wagurr cave in an attempt to end this threat once and for all!

Let's All Just Hang Around For A While
A Malifaux Terrain Project

Most miniatures games include rules for terrain but Malifaux takes it a step further by introducing some special types of terrain. Each of the different regions have a number of suggested terrain pieces along with some special pieces and events to add a little flavor to the scenario. One of the pieces that caught my eye when I first saw these lists was the hanging tree. In my experience it is a pretty unique piece and it seems pretty iconic of the Malifaux universe. The question was of course how to best build one of my own.

Several years back, I had picked up some Halloween decorative trees from a Michaels store and though I had thought about incorporating them into some kind of swamp terrain piece, I never did get around to actually getting it done. Turns out this was a good thing as one of these worked perfectly as the core of my hanging tree.

The tree came with a base attached to the tree so instead of cutting it off and trying to find some other way to mount the tree, I just went ahead a attached the whole thing to a larger base.

In this case, a base that is just shy of 6" inches across. The reason for this is simple. The rules for the hanging tree state that it effects models that move within 2" inches of its 50mm base. Rather than having to repeatedly check the distance from the base of the tree, I decided to make it so that any models that move onto the base are effected, not to mention it also makes the whole piece that much more stable. While this does mean that it is a little easier for models to move around the tree to avoid the effect, I think it will make things easier in the long run and look better as well as it gives me more room for modeling the base.

As for the base, I used a round piece of MDF to give it a nice and sturdy base. To attach the tree, I actually used a wood screw that I drove through the base and into the tree because I wanted to make sure that it was very firmly attached. In fact it wound up being so firmly attached that the head of the screw sheared right off! Oopsy. Glad I got in the right spot on the first try...

Next I applied some spackle to the base to give the whole thing a more natural sloop and also so that I could add some "decorations" to the base. In this case, three plastic skulls, a whole plastic skeleton, and a whole plastic zombie. After all, this thing is supposed to look spooky, right? What better way then to have it surrounded by some of its former occupants.

Once the spackle was dry, it was time to add some sand and get to the painting! Whoo, wait a minute. There's something missing! How can this be a hanging tree without something to hang from? That's right, ya gots to have some nooses if yer gonna have a hangin' tree. To make these, I used some thin gauge floral wire that was twisted around and around to make it look like rope. I found the easiest way to do this was to loop it around a thin stick and then twist it around using some needle nose pliers.

Once had twisted it into a rope, I made a loop for the noose and wrapped one end of the wire around the rope to form the knot while I wrapped the other end around a branch on the tree.

With the nooses attached, it was time to prime it and get to paintin'!

For the ground, I went with my usual brown with some dry-brushed highlights but I only did this around the edge of the base. As I went further in, I blended in some black to give the soil around the tree a more ominous and unhealthy look. I carried this though with the tree itself as I dry-brushed it with shades of grey to give it more of a dead look. The final steps were to paint the bones and body so that they would stand out and then hit the base with some flock (yeah, static grass is the rage but I'm trying to use what I have on hand). For the flock, I again kept this around the edge of the base so that it looks like the grass has thinned out as you get closer to the tree, like the tree is radiating a deathly energy itself.

And there you have it! A hanging tree for Malifaux or any other setting were the worst of the criminals are sure to get their just rewards for their dastardly deeds. Next I want to make some markers to represent some mysterious effigies and a graveyard as this covers all the special terrain options for a pioneer town, then I'll work on some of the other pieces. But more on that later.

A Place To Hang Your Hat After The Hanging
Another Malifaux Terrain Project

It's been a while since I posted anything about the Roaming Monkey but it is finally complete! Well, on the exterior at least. Not sure how exactly I'm going to fit out the interior so just the outside will work for now. And here it is (minus the sign... still gotta whip that together).

I decided to go for a very beat up white wash look for the Monkey as it is supposed to be a frontier saloon. Can't be anything to fancy you know. Truth be told, the faded white wash effect was actually an accident! It turned out that the paint I wanted to use for the outside was getting rather thick with age but rather then just chucking it, I decided to give it a go and see how it would look. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. I think it really did manage to convey the worn look that I was aiming for. I still need to work on some more outbuildings to build up Torments Reach but combined with the other terrain pieces that I already have I'm really looking forward to how it's going to turn out.

The Parting Shot

And there you have it! I think this is the longest Dispatch that I've written in a while so I hope you've enjoyed the read. As always, thanks for checking out the blog and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to either leave them right here on the blog or you can email me at SinCitySnowman@gmail.com. Until next time, remember: when it doubt, use your noggin!

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