Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A Small Part Of The Frozen City

Somewhere in the frozen city...
It's taken me a long time to sort out terrain for Frostgrave but at last I have constructed enough pieces of general terrain to make a small but relatively densely-built part of the frozen city as well as some special terrain pieces to be able to play a few of the scenarios in the basic rulebook. The game has also provided an excuse to get some old fantasy figures out of retirement and onto the table after a little rebasing and touching up. I've added a few newer figures as well to make up a couple of warbands.

My basecloth is a 36" x 36" square of table-protecting material. This is used upside-down, painted in grey emulsion, textured in places with PVA and chinchilla dust, painted in patches with a black wash and then when dry with more patches of matt white emulsion. I didn't use snow flock on the base as I reasoned that this was likely to come off inconveniently and probably leave marks. The whole looks pretty good with the terrain pieces on top and rolls up reasonably conveniently for transport.

The terrain is made from wood offcuts, cardboard, mounting board and balsa wood based on 3mm MDF. The rough hewn brickwork effect is scored onto balsa wood using an old pen. I made the main pieces before taking photos but have taken a few shots of some of the scenario pieces as they were constructed, as the techniques are pretty much the same. The examples below show the monk's cells made for The Haunted Houses scenario.

For elements with balsa wood walls, I first cut the wood to size and roughly to shape so that the pieces would fit together. Then I scored rough brickwork onto the balsa using a ballpoint pen. 

Balsa wood pieces cut and scored
I made sure the brickwork looked correct across adjoining edges and cut individual bricks at the top wall edge to give a less regular effect than the wall being the same height all along. I made sure that each cell had an entrance, either cut to appropriate size as as an open doorway or an open gap in the stonework.

All parts were then assembled and stuck together using PVA glue on an appropriately sized MDF base.

Assembled room, with rubble mixed and ready for application
There's a fair bit of rubble on the ground in my city. This is useful for covering edges and filling difficult areas on the terrain pieces but also I think gives the finished item a great look. The rubble is made using a really cheap and simple solution that I first discovered some years ago making ruined buildings for WWII terrain, from crushed peanut shells roughly milled with the help of a coffee grinder. This was mixed with PVA glue and a little water and then applied in rough heaps to selective areas at the base of the walls.

Rubble added to the base
Once the rubble had dried, i used a small amount of Milliput to fill the larger cracks between balsa wood pieces and tidy up corners, and textured to the remaining areas of the MDF bases with a basic basing mix of filler, PVA glue, sharp sand and a little water. I sprinkled this with some scattered chinchilla dust.

Finally, all pieces were painted grey and washed with black. When dry, I added patches of Woodland Scenics snow flock in layers, to give a finish a little like snow and ice that has thawed and then re-frozen.

Completed room
Some of the buildings I made have non-balsa walls which required a more subtle texture than their bases. Areas requiring this lighter texture were painted with a PVA/water mix to which chinchilla dust was directly applied to give a sort of rough-plastered wall effect. The building shown is the central structure for use in The Mausoleum scenario.

The mausoleum
I applied the same light texture to some plinths for statues for The Living Museum scenario. The statutes that stand on these plinths are separate items so that they can easily be moves as normal creatures once they become animated.

Statues on their plinths
I also made a grille - the entrance to some underground chambers, perhaps, or a closed off well or shaft. I'll write some rules for a scenario using this for a separate post.

The entrance to underground tunnels, perhaps?
I'm pretty pleased with the overall effect and looking forward to playing a few games of Frostgrave at the club!