Welcome to the Jungle

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.

Warhammer 40k death world jungle terrain

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…

Set in Stone

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.

Scibor statues for Warhammer Dwarfs

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.

Scibor statues for Warhammer Dwarfs

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.

Scibor statues for Warhammer Dwarfs

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.

Scibor statues for Warhammer Dwarfs

A Dwarf king of old, battered but never broken

The Thick Grey Line

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.

Aegis Defence Line

Mordian observation post

The stacked ammo pouches suggest a sniper position. Are those kill markings or is someone just counting off the days?

Aegis Defence Line

Mordian sniper position

A game of noughts & crosses to pass the time between attack waves.

Aegis Defence Line

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.

Aegis Defence Line

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”.

Aegis Defence Line

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.

Aegis Defence Line

Mordian Iron Guard officer

Beastmen Roaming the Fields

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.

Beastmen roaming the fields

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.

Beastmen roaming the fields

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.

Beastmen roaming the fields

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.

Beastmen roaming the fields

Cheap and quick scratch-built fields to wargame over

Grave Robbers Beware

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.

Burial mounds

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.

Burial mounds

Grave robbers’ abandoned booty

Something Stirring in the Barrow

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?

Barrow with Cairn Wraith

Cairn Wraith guarding its tomb

Work in progress on the second burial mound.

Work in progress barrow

Barrow construction

The source material, quartered. In case you are wondering, it used to hold kiwis.

Work in progress barrow

Source material for the burial mound