Saturday, December 9, 2017

SE Asian Jungle Ruins: Staircases, Statues, & Columns

A row of statues of ancient warriors being slowly reclaimed by the jungle
Here are some more jungle ruins I created for my upcoming Furgrave (Frostgrave:Ghost Archipelago) campaign. I'm really happy with how they turned out.  I decided to do some research into what a temple ruin looks like when found in the jungle to get some ideas for small pieces to scatter here and there about the board. I pulled out a book I'd bought long ago about Angkor Wat called, "Angkor: Heart of an Asian Empire" by Bruno Dagens. This small paperback has a wealth of paintings, sketches, and photographs of the Cambodian temple complex when Europeans first stumbled upon it. I grabbed a post-it note, and began to leaf through the pages, writing down notes like, "Lion on pedestal," "Row of warrior statues," "Staircase," "Pools," and "Bridge."

This 1995 book by Bruno Dagens was the inspiration for this batch of terrain

Next, I went through the various boxes and ziploc bags of figures and terrain items, waiting for inspiration to strike. I had the Hirst Arts plaster terrain that my friend Tim had given me earlier this year, which included lots of stone pediments of various sizes and shapes. I got the idea to assemble a staircase out of these. On either side of the staircase, I would have a statue on a pedestal. Looking through my lead animals, I found a pair of Iron Wind Metals 25mm lions. They were rearing and striking out with a paw and looked perfect for the part. I needed to make the steps wide enough that my 1" figure bases could fit on them, so I pulled a bunch of pieces out and decided on three steps. I decided that the jungle had overtaken whatever the staircase led to and would simple glue on foamcore and set various plants into it.

Construction done on the ruined staircase
It took only an evening's work to assemble the staircase, simultaneously doing the other three pieces below. I used Tacky Glue to hold the plaster pieces together, and epoxy for the lions atop their pedestals. I like how building it up with various layers of the pavement pieces gives it a worn and deteriorating look. You can see the blue foam core, which I trimmed to a slop with an X-acto knife behind the statues. Once assembled, I spraypainted the entire piece matte black.
The finished ruined staircase - note the model railroad bushes (pink, red, yellow) glued into the ruins itself before flocking.
Since spray paint never seems to get into all the crevices of plaster or resin terrain, I coated the entire piece with a 50/50 mix of acrylic black paint and water afterwards. It sat out to dry overnight, sinking into all the recesses and shrinkwrapping itself onto the stone cases. This made it easy for the next step, which was dry brushing. First came a medium gray dry brush, then a lighter gray in highlight areas. Then I turned to the foam. I pulled out a handful of wire small trees and shrubs from the model railroad terrain lines out there. I poke a hole in the foam and then filled it with Tacky glue. The wire stems were inserted into there.
Another picture of the staircase - I love the way the lion statues on either side set off this terrain piece!
The ground flocking came next. I painted the areas that would be covered by grass with white glue, sprinkling on Brown medium railroad ballast. This was followed up by a 50/50 glue and water coating on the ballast, which was sprinkled with Woodland Scenic Turf Earth. The next layer was more Woodland Scenics blended green turf. Finally, various pieces of clump foliage were glued to the ruin, in cracks in the pavement, leading up the sides to represent the advance of the jungle, and onto various pieces of stone.
The two rows of warrior statues assembled
I really liked the idea of a row of warrior statues on an extended pedestal -- perhaps used to line a walkway to a temple? However, I had no suitably scaled SE Asian figures (all of my Ancient SE Asian armies were in 15mm). When digging through my various bins of unpainted stuff I found a bag of plastic figures of warriors from different periods from history. I think they belong to a board game called "Mythology," maybe? Even though they weren't technically Asian, I thought they'd look good as statues.
Squirrel adventurers explore a temple complex guarded by a row of warrior statues
Once more I assembled the pedestals using Tim's generously donated Hirst Arts plaster blocks. I decided to go with two rows of 4 statues. I would base them as two separate pieces so I could either have them facing each other in an entrance way, or create one longer walkway. I used the identical method to prime, paint, and flock the two warrior rows. I was really happy with how they turned out. Now, I'm thinking I need to make a row of paving stones to create an overgrown walkway alongside the statues to really make the piece jump out on the tabletop!
This was perhaps the easiest of all four of the pieces to assemble -- the wooden pegs make great columns, I feel!
Finally, I thought of creating some random groups of columns to show portions of temples or buildings peeking through the jungle. I had in my previously purchased boxes a half dozen wide, wooden pegs that look for all the world like fluted columns. I decided to take more of the plastic figures from the Mythology game and place them atop the pedestals on the columns. More Hirst Arts plaster pieces, and some smaller bits atop the columns, and this piece was assembled and ready for painting.
Looming from the jungle, a row of 3 columns marks the location of an overgrown building to be explored
Painting and flocking was done identically as above. I am thinking that it would be neat to have a number of these types of pieces for the tabletop. It would be especially cool to have some pieces with random, tumbled columns, or broken statues on the ground. Definitely food for thought! An added bonus is that I purchased nothing for these pieces -- it was all stuff I had sitting around in my collection, in various drawers or closets.