Tuesday, 31 December 2013

And Lo, Sainted Tigran made a castle of his ass: A terrain piece and horrid history of terrain building


I've always appreciated good looking terrain.  It is such a perfect accompaniment to well painted models and has a valuable role to contribute to the narrative of any battle and the continuing story of any army that crosses it.  That said I've never been one for making it: or maybe not anything notable for anything but cringe factor.  I remember getting a book from the public library when I was a child.  My head was full of knights and dragons and the book demonstrated how to build medieval castles out of wood.  I painstaking hacked up plywood and constructed a ramshackle hill that was supposed to terminate in a raised moat.  Somewhere along the line I'd screwed up the measurements and the "island" intended for a majestic castle was so crumped up it would have struggled to accommodate a 28mm scale outhouse.  Even to my 10 year old mind it looked like ass.  That sentiment remains and whenever I tried to build a terrain piece in the intervening years It ended up half completed and eventually made it's way into the trash.

"Valiant Guardsmen, go over there and die."
It didn't mean that I didn't like the idea of constructing terrain.  Two of the most inspiring GW books I owned were the How To Build Terrain" books they produced in the late 90's and early 2000's.  I just never got anything done.  So where am I now?  I decided to build some small scale terrain to compliment my imperial guard or maybe populate a 4x4 gaming board;  Nothing overly epic or ambitious.  That was always the problem;  I think my ambitions outstrip my means.  GW terrain looks nice but there is something sterile about it.  While it looks quite sharp and livens up a table it really doesn't capture the personality of individual armies.  Somewhere between the last terrain "How To" and now somebody decided it would be better to sell terrain rather than show people how to produce it.  To start things off I decided to build around a theme I had explored for a while,  Use GW produced pieces as a "crutch" and try to personalize the piece with some additions from other sources.

An excruciating death, canonization, then millennium of inclement weather and bird poo.
 St. Tigran has existed in my personal guard lore since the late 90's.  At the time he was a canonized hero of yore who lent his name to a lunar class BFG cruiser.  Eventually he became a war hero who inspired the formation of a special forces component in whatever guard army I was building at the time.  Most recently he is recognized as the, "Hero of Arras Plain" who silenced the orbital defences there in spite of the destruction of most of Pohlesia's calvary divisions; think Balclava with orbital bombardments and a heroic if not happy ending and you get the idea.
The future saint.
A couple of years ago I picked up a Dragon 1/16 scale SS-Sturmbannfuhrer.  With some slight adjustments I felt the model would make a suitably imposing basis for a piece of statuary.  Then I changed the idea for the army and suddenly the model required a significant modification if it were representational of my guard army.  I tinkered with the model on a off and sculpted additions with greenstuff, andreas scuplt and some milliput that was well past it's best before date.  I also had some inquisitor kit kicking around and found him a nice looking sidearm/carbine.
I like that the monument has a warm colour that will make a battlefield vibrant.

Once the statue was complete I mounted it on a plinth made from imperial ruins.  it might have looked better if I had made it larger but I can't justify "floor models" if I'm only going to build a 4x4 or want to transport it easily.  A special thanks to GW and their new technical Nihilakh Oxide.  I'd mixed my own verdigris solution in the past and experimented with homewrecking (I mean decorating) crafty products as well but they were a hassle plagued with long prep times and consistency issues when I forgot how I'd made up a previous batch.  The technical paint went on easily, is readily available should I run out and looked very nice considering the negligible effort it took.

Not the best shot but hopefully you can see the verdigris added to the statue.

2 comments:

  1. Very nice. I'd never heard of St Tigran previously but will look him up.

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  2. Glad you liked him. Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately the paragraph here is everything that exists on him because he is a fabrication on my part. He may not be true grimdark canon but I figure he got off pretty well just the same with a statue raised in his honour :).

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