Everyone who’s played Warhammer 40k in the ’90s will remember the green death world cacti with the red spikes made out of styrofoam and toothpicks. I built a few of them myself back then, but unsurprisingly they didn’t survive the dawn of the new millennium. More recently Jonas over at the Oldhammer Forum put together a whole bunch of these which are looking great.
Inspired by Cheetor’s excellent Alien Flora & Fauna series I’ve been meaning to extend my own collection of terrifying terrain for a while now but most things haven’t progressed past initial assembly.
During one of my hunts for source materials I came across an item that immediately jumped out at me as a modern version of the cacti of death though – a rubber massage ball from Tiger, available also in bright green.
Dark Angels livery makes for surprisingly effective camouflage on many jungle worlds
A dark green wash and far too many red spiky protrusions later I had a suitably alien looking plant, made for the ages. To complete the death world look, I added jungle foliage (some of which taken from a toothbrush holder also bought at Tiger) and a broken old skeleton to the base. Ironically, painting all those spikes did give me tense shoulders so I guess I’ll have to buy some more of these massage balls…
I bought a set of Dwarf stone sculptures from Scibor Miniatures recently as I intend to build up a small collection of themed terrain to go with each of my armies.
The statues, or rather what is left of them, match the classic Warhammer style of Dwarfs very well.
Ironbreakers advancing through the ruins of their empire
I took a simple approach to painting. Undercoated black, I drybrushed three layers of grey on with a final highlight of pure white, matching the pre-painted rock formations by Gale Force 9 in my collection. To finish the weathered stone effect I dabbed some dark green ink into some of the recesses.
Seeing the statue of his ancestor toppled sends this Slayer into a rage
There is a liberal smattering of skulls and some vegetation on the bases of the fallen statues, which provide a nice counter point to the dark stone.
A Dwarf Slayer is stalking the ruins
Some static grass and the usual brown finish I use on my miniatures’ bases tie the scenery in with the battlefield and armies fighting over it.
A Dwarf king of old, battered but never broken
I’ve finished theming the Aegis Defence Lines for my Mordian Iron Guard (part 1 here if you’ve missed it).
Below, a set of binoculars to scan the horizon for hostile activity. It’s taken from the Rogue Trader era plastic Space Orks who were clearly more sophisticated in those days.
Mordian observation post
The stacked ammo pouches suggest a sniper position. Are those kill markings or is someone just counting off the days?
Mordian sniper position
A game of noughts & crosses to pass the time between attack waves.
Aegis Defence Line section
The centrefold of last month’s Heroines of the Imperium, sure to make any Guardsman rise to the occasion in battle.
Sisters of Battle poster
A standard issue field blanket. According to the soldiers, it is so coarse that you “wouldn’t wrap a corpse in it”.
Storm Trooper Sergeant
Looks like even the stalwart Aegis Defence Line couldn’t provide protection for an unfortunate Guardsmen here. Only his bloody handprint remains.
Mordian Iron Guard officer
Since I am in the mood for Warhammer scenery at the moment, I decided to make two staples of wargaming terrain – the wheat and the ploughed field. I had various versions of them in my collection over the years but these ones are meant to last.
The ploughed field looks neglected, and we can see the reason why – marauding bands of Beastmen have been terrorising the local populace and driven them off their land.
Two scratch-built types of fields
The wheat field was as simple to create as finding the right type of door mat in my local DIY store, cutting off a slice, painting the edges brown, and sticking the rest outside my door. Two purposes fulfilled for a fiver, not bad.
Wheat field made from a door mat
I glued the corrugated cardboard onto a sheet of sturdier cardboard to prevent it from warping, make it less prone to move around during games and to make sure it will survive many a battle.
Ploughed field made from corrugated cardboard
A tip for removing the upper layer of the corrugated cardboard: wet it lightly with a moist sponge and pull the layer off when the water has just soaked through it without having reached the middle section.
Cheap and quick scratch-built fields to wargame over
I finished the second burial mound and added a small themed vignette to the set. Looks like some adventurous robbers were caught by the barrows’ inhabitants and hastily made their getaway – or were dragged down into the gloom to their own graves.
Ghoul haunting the burial mounds
The wheelbarrow and sword are taken from one of Kev Adam’s Snorkling sets by Foundry Miniatures which I had in my bits box. The helmet is from an old plastic Citadel Miniatures Skeleton Horseman.
Grave robbers’ abandoned booty
Inspiration can come from unexpected places. I haven’t created any scratch-built terrain in a long while, but when my girlfriend brought me a papier-mâché tray and asked whether I’d have any use for it (I know, she’s a treasure!), it struck me immediately – burial mounds.
The tray made for four sections, two of which I started work on. Not sure yet whether I’ll do four barrows in the end or use the second set for something else. Maybe Goblin mud huts?
Cairn Wraith guarding its tomb
Work in progress on the second burial mound.
The source material, quartered. In case you are wondering, it used to hold kiwis.
Source material for the burial mound