castle battlement3

Let’s all make a castle Part 1

Hi all,

Like I wrote last time, August was pretty much a write off.  With all three partners getting/still sick and traditional summer activities which don’t involve being inside in my studio, not much was done.

On a plus side, GenCon did invigorate our want to play games and we laid out the formats for both a Malifaux and Age of Sigmar campaign for our club.  It is with these campaigns in mind that I’ve started sculpting a 28mm scale castle for the game.

For the Malifaux campaign, each person was to choose a faction that they will be representing with their crew.  They then choose 35 soul stones worth of models and upgrades that must have a henchmen leading them.  Your leader is not free since you have to pay their soul stone cost as if they were being hired to support a master.  You also are restricted to 1 upgrade card for your entire gang and its soul stone cost is doubled.  I’ve figure out my starting gang for Malifaux and have completed painting them.

Malifaux Nekima Malifaux Adult Nefhilm Terror Tots

It is a small starting crew for Neverborn led by Nekima and supported by 2 terror tots and a mature Nephilim.  However the upgrade card I gave the crew allows the tots to grow up into the more viscous versions of the models.

Age of Sigmar is really coming along with our group.  At first, we all had different levels of uncertainty/rage over the changes happening to a game that brought most of us into the system.  Some of us thought it was dumbing down Warhammer and that it had become a beer and pretzel sort of game.  However, once we actually starting playing the game we found that there is a great deal of tactics involved.

Like Warhammer, AoS rewards balanced armies that can participate in the majority of phases; hero, magic, shooting and combat.  Skewing to dominate any phase at the expense of the others may work for certain confrontations but it will be equally poor in other match ups.

As people who enjoy the stories behind the games we play, what really has gotten us behind this game is that we can dig deep into our model collection and play with troop choices that we have never played on the table before.  Like most games, Warhammer had a wide selection of units to choose from but there were definite choices of what to take over others due to their effectiveness on the battlefield.  In AoS, you still have stronger/weaker choices but the playing field flattens the bell curve to a point where everything at least has a chance.

Along with opening up the types of units, now called warscrolls, you can use, AoS also introduces round bases to the game.  No longer are you resigned to cramming your models onto square bases with the limitation that they have to be able to rank up.  The round bases allow you the space to really highlight the model you have put together.  Adding to the idea that you don’t need nearly as many models as a traditional Warhammer game, you can really take your time to give each model the love it deserves.  I have been putting models that used to be on 20mm squares on 25mm rounds and 25mm squares on 32mm rounds.  Larger models are being mounted on circles and ovals to suit the nature of the model.  Here is an example of my Demon Prince on a round.

Age of Sigmar Demon Prince

We are enjoying the game as it has really satisfied both the gamer and the hobbiest in all of us.  Even the guys in my group who said they weren’t going to rebase their models have changed their minds after a few games.  It may not be for everyone and AoS is definitely not Warhammer.  However, if you give it a try, you may find that this is a game that can offer a lot of fun.

Now finally,  let’s talk about my castle project.

Games Workshop has just put out a rather large castle.  Like most things Games Workshop, the model is beautiful and very expensive.  It is also very chaos oriented as it has lots of skulls and pointy bits all over the battlements.  I play Chaos an may pick up pieces of this castle for my collection when I can afford it.  In the mean time, I figured that I would sculpt a modular castle terrain kit that would work both in AoS games but also be useful in other fantasy/historical settings.

The first modular bit I will be working on is a standard castle wall.  I want to create a wall that you can put a catapult on or have troops in pitched battle as they try to stop the invaders from entering the rest of the keep.  I looked at pictures of various historical castles and decided to make my castle walls out of large stones that have been squared off.  The wall will be 6″ tall and have a removable top so that the inside can be imagined as either a building or a solid structure.

The way I began this project was to create an armature using MDF and cutting my design on my laser cutter.  An armature will give me a skeleton to build upon as when working with any sort of putting, you need a hard surface to push/pull against.  The armature for a model is usually wire but as this project is basically a bunch of flat surfaces, MDF boards would give me both a surface and the additional bulk I will need when I finally make a mold and cast this piece in resin.

The first piece I started on was the top of the battlement.

castle battlement1

This laser cutout will be the edge of the battlement on the top of the castle wall.  I decided to make my wall sections 12″ long. That way it will be easy to use them on most standard table sizes.  A human sized figure will be mostly hidden from view behind he high points and many archer/crossbowmen models will look good in the gaps.  The high I chose will also allow for setting up larger ballistic weapons.

castle battlement2

Next I used a ruler to give me some guide lines for my sculpting process.  I wanted the stones to be fairly uniform in size.  This grid pattern will help me do that.

castle battlement3

Here is the front with the Apoxy Sculpt applied and shaped the way I want.  As you can see, the stones and mortar lines are defined and I added surface texture to make dry brushing an easy technique to paint up the terrain piece.  I will continue this pattern on the other side of the piece and then repeat the process to create a second side for the battlement.  I realize that some walls only had this section on the outward facing of the wall.  We will include the option of having it on both sides depending on what style of castle you want to create.

That is all for now.  Next up will be the battlement floor which will also serve as the top of the castle wall.

Peace Out, eh?

Minicannuck Kevin