+ inload: Painting The Ashes of Armageddon gameboard +

+ Third Army: The Wastelands of Armageddon +

+ A Steel Legion Heavy Bolter team hopes to chalk up some kills against the orks of Waa-Ghazghkull. +

+ No, not the Steel Legion 3rd Army Group described in this article [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] on The Ashes of Armageddon blog, but the Third Army of wargaming: the tabletop scenery. +

+ Armageddon Wasteland terrain +

+ I've been threatening to repaint my second-hand Realm of Battle board for ages. I bought it painted in a white polar scheme, and used it for many years for various games. In fact, the Steel Legion I'm currently repainting were originally painted white specifically to have an army to use on it – and since they're getting a glow-up, I thought the board ought to follow suit. +

+ This was a surprisingly swift process. I used a dish sponge to apply some slightly diluted raw sienna acrylic over the surface, excluding only the exposed rock, which was already painted grey from its previous incarnation. I used Pebeo studio acrylics, which are affordable and tough enough to stand up to the inevitable bumps and bashes of tabletop warfare. +

+ Once dry, I repeated the process with raw sienna and buff titanium – not in an even mix, but allowing them to mix and mingle on the surface, leaving the pure raw sienna visble in recesses. I then gathered some sprays – black primer, camo brown and camo green from Halfords, plus GW's Wraithbone spray and used them to add some quick smoky detail here and there. +

+ Once that had all dried, I went back in with a large soft brush and buff titanium to pick out some texture with dry brushing. I then heavily diluted some Skrag brown and Liche purple (I think Phoenician purple is probably the modern equivalent) and used these to work into the cracks and crevices to boost the contrast in tones. +

+ I also used these very dilute mixes to add a few discoloured patches – surface vegetation? Chem-waste pollution? Dirt and debris? – it doesn't really matter which, as such additions are mainly there to avoid weird blank gaps in the surface. +


 + The board in use +

+ It was a treat to use the board in a game with Bob Hunk – keep your occulobes peeled for an upcoming The Ashes of Armageddon battle report – but I'm keeping that secreted under my hood until it's all written up and fits into the narrative. +

+ For the moment, then, here's a couple of shots of the finished elements of my gradually-being-repainted Steel Legion force:

+ These details show two things of note: firstly, the importance of contrast between your models and your table if you want them to make an impact. The rims of the bases frame the model and make a statement, while the dark armour, guns, gloves and boots define the features and make the models 'read'. That's even the case here, where the figures are intended to read as camouflaged. Without that built-in (and unrealistic) framing and contrast, the models would be literally camouflaged against the surface, and you'd lose a lot of the visual appeal of a game. Bear this in mind when deciding on your schemes! +

+ Secondly, the difference between basing and terrain. One could, of course, prepare and paint the whole board using the same paints and techniques as used on a model's base, but it'd be considerably more time-consuming and expensive, not to mention more likely to be fragile. You'd end up with something more akin to a diorama rather than a playing space. +

+ The 'Third Army' needs attention, but it also need a slightly different mindset – happily, a more forgiving one, for the gaming table will rarely garner as much attention as your models, and thus can be treated with less attention to detail. +

+ While explicitly intended to represent one of the many Wasteland areas of Armageddon, the finished result is pretty flexible, and can pull double-duty for other games – or simply as a pict-capture backdrop. +



Suber said...

Huge fan of everything here (as usual!). The board looks awesome, pretty nice work!

Codsticker said...

That is a great improvement on the Realm of Battle Board- really nice work.

Dallas said...

Really nice work. I have a board similar to this and struggle a bit with making appropriate "scatter" terrain to use on it - shrubbery Patches, rock piles, hills, and other LOS blockers. Any ideas or tips?