Last month we kicked off the new monthly series in which I share my thoughts and basic instruction for constructing the various pieces of terrain required to play a proper game of Kings of War. Thanks to all of you for the strong response and kind words for the tutorial on creating a forest. This time we tackle another key type of terrain for Kings of War, Blocking Terrain. And there is no better Blocking terrain than a building!
In this second installment, I am going to tackle one of the most visually stunning pieces you can make for your gaming table, a building. In Kings of War 2nd edition, buildings are defined as Blocking Terrain. As such, units cannot engage the building, other than pivoting, and have to move around them. This means that buildings can significantly affect the way two armies engage each other on the table. A building in the middle of a table really can break up a killing field while a building on the edge of the table will give an army natural protection for their flank. Buildings can also be significant Line of Sight blockers which can be a great reprieve when facing a gun line! Locally, we play our buildings as height 4 which even provides protection for those pesky Dragons!
One benefit of units not interacting with buildings is it frees us to concentrate on the aesthetic of the building and not be overly concerned about its playability. Over the years I’ve used just about every method available to create a building. One of the easiest and quickest methods is to use resin buildings. A quick search on the internet will find many manufactures making great quality buildings. Here’s an out-of-print example from Pardulon Models. This building was a kit of separate resin wall, floor and roof pieces that could be assembled in many different configurations. By having the inside of the building fully detailed and painted I was able to magnetize the roof to the upper story to allow me to garrison the building. The benefit of resin buildings is the can be assembled quickly, have excellent detail and relatively good durability. The one drawback is they tend to be expensive.
Another common method for creating buildings is to make them out of foam core. This is an especially useful technique for making brick or adobe buildings. I’ve used this technique to great effect several times over the years in making desert themed buildings. The benefits of using foam core are that it is inexpensive and it really opens up your creativity. The downside is that it can be rather time consuming and the buildings don’t stand up to the wear and tear of gaming.
Finally, I wanted to mention plastic. Over the years there have been a number of plastic building kits, most notably from Games Workshop, but more recently from some of the smaller manufactures. In particular, I have grown quite fond of the Ruined Hamlet set from Warlord Games. This kit really displays why using plastic for your buildings is a great idea. It is relatively inexpensive, assembles quickly yet is very durable. Also, it is much easer to customize that a resin building.
Step One – Materials
Here is the list of materials that I used to assemble and finish my buildings. Please note that this list uses many of the same materials that we used last time to create the forest. Also, the list assumes you already have common supplies like glue and brushes. Feel free to substitute to whatever brands you prefer or materials you already have on hand.
Step Two – Clean and Assembly
I started by sorting out the pieces and removing the mold lines. I found a dull X-acto blade scraped along the edge was great for removing the mold lines. Next, I used Google Images to research various ways that the pieces could be assembled. I then played with the pieces until I figured out how I could build a good number of unique buildings. I assembled all the buildings together with CA glue.
Step Three – Basing
Basing, when done correctly, will give terrain a professional look and tie individual pieces of terrain together into a collection that looks uniform when presented together on the table. For these buildings I used the same ¼” Medium Density Fiberboard that I used to build the forests in last month’s tutorial. I have found that this material is thick enough that it will not warp when slathered in glue and paint. I started by making a set of base patterns out of cardboard. To keep a uniform look I maintained a consistent ½” “border” around each piece of terrain. I then cut out the cardboard patterns and took a picture to remind me of which piece went with which base and in what direction. I then traced the base patterns onto MDF and cut them out using a jigsaw. I sanded and beveled the edges with a palm sander using 220 grit sandpaper. Next I adhered the terrain to the bases using 2 part epoxy.
Next I pushed Apoxie Sculpt along the edge of where the terrain met the base. Then with a wet finger I feathered out the clay to blend the bottom of the terrain into the base. I allowed everything to dry for 24 hours.
Step Four – Customization
Not one to leave anything stock I found plastic strips that matched the size of the rafters that came in the plastic kit. I also purchased some pre-made scale bricks that were the right size to work with the buildings.
I carefully whittled down the edges of the strips with a sharp hobby knife to give the plastic strips the appearance of wood and to make them match the existing pieces. I then cut the strips to length and attached them to the assembled buildings with CA glue. This allowed me to customize each building and make each one unique. I attached the pre-made scale bricks to the buildings with CA glue to build up the rubble and heighten the sense of dilapidation.
Using two Ruined Hamlet sets I created the following pieces of terrain.
Step Five – Sand
Next I covered the base with PVA glue followed by sand. I then broke up the texture by adding patches of model railroad ballast. To give it a little more character and play up the ruined feel I liberally ran the sand and ballast up the walls and into the cracks, holes and over the rubble piles.
Step Six – Paint
I started the painting process by base coating all the pieces with a coat of Grey Primer. I chose to go with Grey since all of the stonework was going to be grey. Also, the dark brown color I used for the bases covers the grey very well. Next I dry brushed the stonework with Dark Grey followed by lighter dry brush of Grey. Finally, using a very dry brush and a light touch I applied a final highlight of white. For the bases I started with a heavy basecoat of Raw Umber followed by a light dry brush of Raw Sienna across the surface of the sand to highlight the texture of the sand.
Over the years one of the best things I have learned is that stone is never a uniform color and it’s very easy to make realistic stonework by using washes. For this step I used Agrax Earth Shade (Brown) and Anthonian Camo Shade (Green-Brown) from Games-Workshop but you could use whatever washes you have available. It is also easier to stick to warm earth tones but I have also successfully used reds and purples in the past. I started by applying a “drip” of wash to the stonework letting it run down naturally into the detail. Working quickly to avoid having the wash dry out I removed the excess wash with a cotton swab. Finally, I feathered in the edge of the “stain” with a wet brush. I focused on applying the washes to large expanse of stonework and to areas that would collect water or moss. When done correctly it yields a subtle effect that gives a nice mottled stonework.
Step Seven – Texture
In this last step I applied the same textures I used for the forest as this ensures that all the pieces are consistent and look to be part of a set. I brushed on splotches of PVA glue over which I sprinkled 2mm Late Summer Static Grass. Once the glue was dry I added bushes made from dark and medium green Super Turf soaked with a mixture of 50% water and 50% PVA glue. I formed the wet Super Turf into a ball and applied it onto a patch of PVA glue. Next I added grass tufts and flowers to the base with a drop of CA Glue. Finally, after everything is completely dry I hit the whole piece with matte varnish to lock everything in and dull down any shine left from the PVA glue or washes.