Wargaming Swamps

May 13th, 2021

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I’ve been trying my hand at building terrain for a good few years now, on and off, and while I’ve always tried to improve as I went, I never really stopped to look at old (and very old) pieces that I’d done that I could improve now that I have a bit more know-how and, more importantly, patience. So, here’s me trying my hand at blending some old piece of scenery into my existing set of forest terrain, thus adding some more swampy pieces to the mix.

First of all, let me start by saying that were it not for the puddles on these pieces, which I’m unreasonably fond of, I probably would’ve ripped them apart and started over. As it stands, I wanted to add to them and bring them up to snuff (my snuff, anyway) without damaging the base model or putting too much elbow grease in. This is why the edges are still rough and not as tapered as I would’ve done them should I have attempted the project nowadays.

I started out with a shoddy-looking bit of terrain, representing a couple stagnant pools of water surrounded by plateau-like rocks. They were poorly shaded, hastily assembled, and just looked plain bad, even if the playability was not lacking and they did their part for the cause. Or, at least, it wasn’t lacking after I took off the wholly impractical fallen trees that had been glued across the pieces in the first place, taking away most of the flat surfaces and making the pieces into giant, impassable terrain splodges on the table.
What. Was. I. Thinking?!

Anyway, I set myself the following objectives and limitations:
- I would need to blend the jutting rocks into their surroundings some more
- I would replace/overlay the existing flock with the same mix I’d used on my swamp trees
- I wouldn’t taper off the edges of the pieces, nor would I insist on painting them fully as I have a lighter brown mat and their original colour would help blending them into it
- I wouldn’t do anything to damage/change up the rock faces themselves as, barring a really close look, they would serve my purposes for the time being.

Deep breath, and I went about it.

I first laid down some tiling grit (spackle?) against the rock sides, creating a sloping shape all around them and trying to keep the pools clear of any brown goop.
Once that was dry, I lathered it liberally in white glue, spread about with a wet brush, then laid on soft grit sand that would blend in with the one already on the bases. After that had taken and was reasonably dry, I brushed diluted white glue over the entirety of the areas to help keep even the finest grit in place once the colour was to be added.

Finally, I brushed browns on, both light and dark, in a couple layers, and set it up to dry.
After that was done, I put out some grey and black and did up the rock faces, starting out dark and highlighting up to a similar hue to my other rock pieces - which were also given a makeover a while back, but I can barely call it that since those ones weren’t even finished before.
I also dry brushed along the top and edges of the faces and lower down the slopes, trying to pick out some of the larger pebbles and setting up a transition between the grey and the browns below.

I then mixed up some more flock, lathered the existing, drab static grass in white glue and then plopped the new mix down. I kept away from adding more branches, bushes, and even tufts (though I might end up adding some of those) because I wanted to keep every surface as flat as possible, for gaming purposes.

I took a few snaps of most of my now existing forest/swamp setup and was quite pleased with the way it all looks, bearing in mind I’m comparing the finished pieces to my own standards and existing stock, and not the gloriously jaw dropping shit that other, more experienced crafters are putting out there on a daily basis.

Thanks for reading, and have as nice a day as you deserve!

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Tags: Costin Becheanu, Grizzly Gripes, Miniatures, Wargaming