Hi everyone and welcome back to the 2nd installment of the Black Templar Keep build.
This time I’ve been focusing on the Landing pad for the centre of the table. You might recall the picture from the last article where I just had it sat on a single piece of foam board as I tested the layout. The first job was doubling that up and gluing it together. I scored the foam with a craft knife on each side so the glue had something to grab onto to and then it was just a liberal application of No More nails and a big pile of books to press them together. Those old codex’s come in useful from time to time let me tell you! Then I just left that for a day and when I came back I had a sturdy chunk of foam to play with.
As I mentioned I like to add little details that don’t really make any difference to the playability of the terrain but add to the story. I’m somewhat obsessed by the idea of bases being like the tip of an iceberg, tantalizing glimpses of more secrets hidden underneath. There’s lot of that with the trenches and of course you can imagine the Fortifications would all have access inside. So for the landing pad it was a good opportunity to bring this into the piece with just a simple door. I have spares from the Bastions as they all need to be scratch built (we will get to that in the next update!) so it was just a case of whittling it to fit by taking the top and bottom off it with some clippers. But it’s amazing what difference a simple addition can make to a piece of terrain.
Once I had the door done I started carving and turning the block of foam into a more organic form. Really what you want to do is soften the hard edges and bring in some natural looking cracks and crevasses. I’ve carved a lot of rock formations over the years so I have a good idea how the end product will look but generally you don’t want to go too far here. Once I had a shape I liked I carved in the door shape and fitted that in.
It was all ready for the next stage. Usually I’d go for my tried and trusted Polyfilla followed by PVA/Sand/polyfilla end coat but this needed a little more precision due to the landing pad sitting on it so I decided on an air drying clay for the base of this. It sets like rock so will be durable but is a lot more tactile when do it. Pop on your favourite battle report/podcast and get stuck in. It took me about an hour and the end result was below.
You need to leave this for about 2 to 3 days to set properly and you can tell as the clay goes a much lighter colour. Then I just popped a thin PVA/Sand coat to just add a bit of texture to the piece and that is the base rock all done. Hopefully the sand coat will allow for some lighter shades to be picked up when I am drybrushing it. Time will tell on that front.
Next up was the landing pad itself. I knew I wanted some ramps to it to make the terrain piece more usable in game and give that air of realism to the terrain piece. I sat and pondered how best to do it when I realised the flaps were perfect for this. I was able to clip them down to a rectangle, shave off the rivets and from that I added a foamcore board back to extend it and then finished it off with some tread plate plasticard. The end result was a massive tick in the box for me and you can picture a supply shuttle landing and having its cargo taken to where it’s needed.
Foamcore is a great medium as it is strong and light but be aware that aerosol will melt the foam centre so as I will probably coat these with Leadbelcher first I decided to just seal the edges with some no more nails rubbed in and once dry this is all ready for painting now.
In game there is a bit of slip from models on the ramps and we needed a bit of blue tac to make infantry stick in place which wasn’t ideal. When I’m painting it I might try and add some rivets to give a bit more for the base to grip onto to but honestly I didn’t mind the blutac solution myself. My test opponent had blobs of 20 Genestealers which was less fun but we got through it! Another reason why it’s really important to playtest your boards. Better to know the issues early so you can get solutions.
So there we go, one of the main scratch built sections is done. Next up is the Bastions and the trenches as they get a bit of love to make them fit into the theme. A few ideas floating around already so I hope to see you again in update 3!
What sort of terrain do you usually play with? Do you have a gaming board you’ve made yourself at home? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed this article here’s a few ways you can support us: Check out our commission service and let us get your army painted and ready for battle. Place your next order with our affiliates Element Games using our referral link here. Share our posts and tell your friends. Thanks very much!