Sunday 29 July 2012

Terrain Project - The Dominion Wastelands

I decided that it was time to revisit my not-Invid Invasion game setting from a few months back.  The figures for the setting were already chosen (and given their USE ME stats), but I still wanted a unique battlefield to further develop this world. My desert table works well for colonial settings; and my red planet board is great, but was seeing too much use. I needed a new 2x2 board to represent Earth itself, but with a few twists. So, after a few evenings' work, I present the Dominion Wastelands.

In my setting's timeline:
Earth has just begun reconstruction following a devastating war. Most of the world is still inhabitable, but the landscape has been dramatically altered. The cobalt-plasma warheads used in a global bombardment had petrified many forests, leaving hundreds of acres of deep blue stone in their place. The unusual radiation had produced gigantic crystalline formations of a completely alien nature.  The world's defenses were almost completely annihilated, and the few surviving warships were still pursuing the previous enemy. The Dominion invasion took the survivors completely by surprise. 
At first, their purpose was unclear - their nature was completely different compared to the alien species that had been encountered before. But once they started enslaving the human population, it was understood what had drawn them to our world.  
The Dominion wanted the crystals.

The crystals are from Gale Force Nine, as shown here before.  In that same article, you can see the test piece I made for my Dominion Wastelands battlefield. It was just a basic styrofoam hill, painted with a nutmeg-colored craft paint, flocked with a green-brown blend, and finished with some blue aquarium stones and bits of hobby grass. I liked it - it seemed like a good compromise between the type of prairie found on Earth for hundreds of years and something that you won't see anywhere on the planet today. 

So I followed the same basic formula.  I took a 2' x 2' hunk of particle board and basecoated it with the nutmeg craft paint. While the first coat was drying, I cut another half-dozen hills out of scrap packing foam. I've found that craft paint doesn't cover styrofoam well on its own, so I basecoated the hills with some old tan acrylic house paint. Once that was applied, it was a simple matter of getting everything covered with the craft paint.

The hills dried pretty quickly, and it would still be a few coats before I was finished with the board itself. So I decided to wash over the hills with some black-tinted acrylic wood stain (cheaper than trying to use miniature inks, and easier than trying to mix my own). Once the stain had dried, I drybrushed the textured edges of all the hills and flocked the surfaces of the flat-topped ones. By now I only had about six hours worth of work into the project, spread across two evenings.

The next step was to flock the table and seal all the surfaces. A major heat wave prevented me from working outside, so I had to painstakingly flock the table indoors. I worked in four separate sections to avoid making a big mess.  Then I sealed the table and hills with watered-down Elmer's glue from a small spray bottle. 

My test piece had included some tall grasses/weeds and blue rocks. But I wanted these hills to be more versatile - they would be useful in more settings if I didn't add those details. So I decided to make a few scatter terrain pieces with the weeds and aquarium rock. There was still some heavy black mounting board left over from my HOF-FT tiles, so I cut a half-dozen irregular bases from it and went to work.

I'm quite happy with the results of the table. The hills are a bit taller than the ones on my Red Planet or desert boards - which will help if I decide to include larger mecha in these games. Human structures are easy to add from my current collection - GZG shanties and BWS Startown Slums look great as post-apoc buildings. Proxie Models and Gamecraft Minis ruins are ideal as the remains of fallen Earth cities. 

I am still lacking structures for my Dominion alien invaders. But that's a project for another time!



  1. Cool concept and excellent board work too.

    Looking forward to how this one plays out.


  2. Excellent modelling of the hills and board, Chris.