Work in Progress

Middle Earth scenery

Posted by steve_pickstock on 21 Jul 2021, 10:13

I am not saying it's hot in my attic but this just happened ...
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Still not entirely sure what he was doing ...

Still at least I have been getting stuff done.

I know this is being published early in the day, but Mrs Pickers wants me to put clothes on again and leave the house, so I wrote this on Tuesday evening. It's also slightly cooler upstairs.

On with the ruined walls.
These pictures show the state of play at the moment. The walls have been fixed to the bases, and the first rubble has been added. There is still more detail to add to the walls, then I am going to really hit them with the rubble etc.

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I am quite satisfied with the progress on these, but there is still away to go.

Thanks for looking in, depending on where you are - stay cool, stay dry and above all stay safe.
Regards Pickers.
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steve_pickstock  England
 
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Posted by Peter on 22 Jul 2021, 18:07

These new wall sections look wonderfull so far! :thumbup:
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 28 Jul 2021, 15:26

Good afternoon from a thundery Mersey valley. This Wednesday there has been a series of lightning storms rumbling up the valley for the last couple of hours, but fortunately only a light rain. Not enough for Mrs P's garden, but she's enjoying the thunder and lightning anyway.

As you are probably aware these posts are a summary of the work I have done on this project over the week since the last post. I work on this and the Musketeers project (and others) together to make best use of the time.

Continuing on with the ruined walls, trying to get the 'ruined' part built.
I added the achitectural details on the inside of the walls under the walkways. Then I tried out a new version of the Tile Grout/Mod Podge mix that I use, only this time with grit, gravel and decorative marble chips all mixed in and pre-coloured with yellow-ochre craft paint. This should, I reasoned, save me a lot of layering of materials and still bulk up the ruins.
The first mix I did was a bit heavy on the aggregate, and lacking on tile grout, so I changed the balance and started applying it.

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I even went back to the original wall section and added a bit of the rubble to the end.
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And yes, that is a pair of cyclopses (cyclops?) in the background.

Next I went over these and painted the exposed styrene, applied more of the dirty wash, then thinner layers of grit/gravel/sand. The idea being to fill in around the edges and blend it into the landscape. Once this had dried I sprayed a diluted matt wash using a little sprayer such as you would use for sun-tan lotion from my local super-market. And once that was dry, assorted dry-brushes of yellow ochre, pale, sand and finally white.

All of that brought me to this:-
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Looking at all of the oieces together, and considering how long ago it was that I first did the big wall section, I am really happy! They all look pretty much of a muchness - paintwise, not bad matching Pickers! :yeah:

Now, I could probably get away with this as it is, but I decided to get going with the greens.
I started with clump foliage. That was secured with either Tacky Glue or the UHU Por as both of those stick to polystyrene without damaging it. Once they were adhered they got the matt spray to secure any loose material.
The same happened with the rubberised horsehair. This is really good for taking up a lot of space without usig a lot of material. That was treated the same way. All of this takes time - glueing time, drying time, etc, which is why I have only done so much. Still I am quite happy with the results so far.
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Once this is all glued and set I will go in with some scissors and prune back the rubberised horse hair, to give it a better, hopefully more natural looking shape.
I also have some old dry grapevine twigs to use as dead tree trunks amongst all of this, along with more tufts and some flower clumps.

Thanks for looking in stay safe, Pickers.
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Posted by PaulRPetri on 29 Jul 2021, 00:53

Great work as always Steve! You have really nailed Middle Earth!
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Posted by Peter on 29 Jul 2021, 11:34

Nice work on those wall sections Steve! :thumbup:
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Posted by C M Dodson on 30 Jul 2021, 10:29

Very nice indeed.

I have found that cheap cat litter, spray dyed with the colour of choice works very well for rubble.

The white that’s left partially showing looks like the cement line.

Best wishes p,

Chris
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Posted by Santi Pérez on 01 Aug 2021, 23:29

PaulRPetri wrote:Great work as always Steve! You have really nailed Middle Earth!

I join this opinion, Steve. Well made! :thumbup:

Santi.
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 04 Aug 2021, 09:51

Thank you to those that have commented, it is always very much appreciated. Be aware that I always appreciate criticism, good or bad, otherwise how else do we improve?

C M Dodson wrote: ... I have found that cheap cat litter, spray dyed with the colour of choice works very well for rubble ... The white that’s left partially showing looks like the cement line ...
Chris

This is a thought that crossed my mind too. It's a good idea, and probably if I hadn't found a heap of grit lying on the edge of the parking area by the local laundrette, one which I might have followed up.
The decorative marble chips work well enough for my mind, I think they were 2.99GBP a pack, and there are loads in a pack (so, of course, I bought two, because you know - reasons) So at the moment, with a kilo or so of beach sand from Anglesey, I'm pretty well stocked for basing materials.

Okay! Another pre-prepared update - I have to drive up to the other end of Liverpool to pick some things up. It could take me all afternoon, or I might be done quickly, who knows?

This is the final update on the walls and the ruined watch tower.
The idea behind these pieces was for them to have been ruined for a couple of hundred years and the wild forest of Amon Hen is creeping over them, in some cases burying thenm or hiding them from sight.
Apart from the Seat of Seeing they will function for pretty much anywhere in the Realms of Men - Arnor, Rhovanion, Ithilien and so on.
I had done quite a lot in the last update, so this time it was really just finishing touches.

The gateway
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The original wall section
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The rest of the wall sections
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The watch tower
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The main things done to these was trimming off odd strands and adding clump foliage of a different shade of green to the brambles, adding more tufts to fill in spaces, and adding some more creeping plants. I was going to add some fallen trees etc but decided not to - the ground around the wall foundations would be deep enough really for trees, and that gives me an excuse to do some more spot scenery of 'rough/impassible' terrain and fallen trees.

I think that this is them pretty much finished. They will probably get another spray coat of the matt wash to fix everything in place better, then it is on to the ruined building and I hope then to start turning out some appropriate figures.

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Guess what I found during my rummage the other day? :xd:

Thanks for looking, in and stay safe. Pickers.
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steve_pickstock  England
 
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Posted by Graeme on 05 Aug 2021, 03:49

Nice job on the broken down overgrown scenery. The ruined watch tower is just awesome! I look at parts of that and I can feel that they're just about to shift. Don't show that one to your local building inspector, the whole project might be condemned. :xd:
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 11 Aug 2021, 15:27

Good afternoon all
Hope this finds you well.

I am changing the name of this thread because, as you can see the scenery is coming to an end, and I am moving on with adding some figures.

So, this week I started on finishing the last of the big Middle Earth pieces - which paradoxically was actually the first of the big ME pieces.
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That was the middle of April and it was really a test piece to see what I could do with polystyrene sheets.
Turns out that, apparently, you can do quite a lot with them.

To bring this completion, first off I mounted the building on a polyeurothane board, and added grass mat.
Once that was glued down I added some beach sand, over tacky glue to 'blur the edges' of the building and where the joints of the grass mat were. Once that had set, I sprayed it with the matt medium mix (50/50 matt medium and water + a couple of drops of washing up liquid), to stabilise it, then I added some grit over more tacky glue (and another spray of matt medium) followed by some old grapevines for old tree trunks.
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This wall will be largely covered by rubberised horsehair and clump foliage.

I suppose that once the blue styrodur blocks were painted I could really leave it like that, couldn't I?

No.
Of course i can't. :P
Time for some greenery and lots of it. :-D

Et Voila!
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And I think that will do.
I could have done more with it, some of the rubberised horsehair inside the ruin, but I also want to be able to place up to twelve 20mm round bses in that space, so I probably will not.
The only thing left scenery-wise is the mound on which the Seat of Seeing will stant, but I will keep that for next week.

I know Sean Bean said that I'd brought a cave troll but he was lying. These two Troills are from Alliance's 72030 War Trolls. Set1, I've had them years and it feels like now is a good time to get them done.
Went through my usual processes - based them on 40mm wooden disc bases, put mod podge and tile grout mix on the bases. A white undercoat, followed by Vallejo Dark Skin tone, Washed the figures with my dirty wash mix, then dry brushed them up with Dark Skin tone first, then the same with white mixed. The scaley flesh was done Vallejo Air Black mixed with the Dark Skin tone to get a dark grey, dirty washed and then dry brushed with a light tone of the Black/Dark Skin mix.
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The thin Air Black was painted over the armour sections as a base, then various mixes of Vallejo steel and black and assorted washes were used, to get armour that looked like it has been badly abused.
I think I will go back and add some more detailed black wshes, around certain areas to bring up the details, but overall, I think they will do nicely.
I will leave the bases until I know what I am doing with the rest of the army.

Thank you for looking in, stay safe all. Pickers.
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Posted by Peter on 12 Aug 2021, 08:08

Wonderfull work again Steve! Also thanks for the painting guide for the figure! :thumbup:
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Posted by Susofrick on 12 Aug 2021, 09:10

Very nice scenery. And I understand fully well that the building looks ruined after these two beasts came to it! Very great trolls (even if I prefer the John Bauer version of trolls)
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 12 Aug 2021, 11:12

Susofrick wrote:Very nice scenery ... (even if I prefer the John Bauer version of trolls)

Thank you.
I had to google John Bauer. The name wasn't familiar to me at first. But when I saw the images I realised that I did know his work. He is very much in the same school as Arthur Rackham and Brian Froud.
And yes, I agree - I much prefer those types of troll, but sadly they don't really fit Tolkien's trolls - either from the books or from the films.
Still it was nice seeing them again.
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Posted by OwenChpw on 13 Aug 2021, 02:07

Very nice trolls, I think the models look quite nice already, but if you want to add black washes into the recesses, it could add more contrast to the model, but they seem to have shading already.
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Posted by steve_pickstock on 18 Aug 2021, 17:34

OwenChpw wrote:Very nice trolls, I think the models look quite nice already, but if you want to add black washes into the recesses, it could add more contrast to the model, but they seem to have shading already.

Thanks.
I decided instead of washes to use a fine line pen along the joints in the armour.
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I think it looks okay, certainly I think it is just enough detail to finish these Sh@gnasties off.

Aso this week after some time carving details off the figure as discussed in the Alliance Releases thread
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=23741&p=275005#p275005 I have been working on an Aragorn figure.using one of the Southern warriors,
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From this, it will be understood, my figure painting really needs some work.

During the week I also began to look at the Orcs i want to use in games of Osprey pUblications Dragon Rampant, this is our littel club's goto game.
But while I was looking for the orcs, I found this old lad. He's suffering a bit around his feet with paint chipping, but he doesn't look too bad for a repainted .50p supermarket saurus.
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I will not be using him in this army.

So when I had finished sorting through the orcs, matching figures, grouping them, basing and rebasing, I ended up with this:-
Four units of 12 orc warriors
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A unit of archers
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My own attempt at a Dark Rider using a Zvezda figure, of course the Allance figures are available now, but he may get a game occasionally.
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Two units of warg riders, one of which will include a leader when there aren't any Dark Riders, and one which will count as scouts etc.
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Throw the two trolls into this, and add in some of the Alliance Dark Riders for another unit of 6, that gives me a lot of points to play with. though I may see if I can add another unit of archers,

The orcs will get tarted up, faces will get more detail, make them stand out, weapons and armour will be highlighted. I may raid my stock of Caesar shields for them so I have something nice to paint red eye symbols on. Of course the bases need doing, but i don't think they will take a long time to knock into shape. So they will be the first thing I focus on.

Thanks for looking in, stay safe all, Pickers
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Posted by Santi Pérez on 18 Aug 2021, 19:59

steve_pickstock wrote:...My own attempt at a Dark Rider using a Zvezda figure, of course the Allance figures are available now, but he may get a game occasionally.
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I personally think that your conversion of the Zvezda French knight into a Black Rider is better than the Dark Alliance figures. Steve. Great work. :thumbup:

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Posted by PaulRPetri on 19 Aug 2021, 02:37

Excellent work on those trolls Steve! I agree with Santi your Black Rider conversion looks wonderful right out of the Bakshi film!! Which is "Aces" in my book.
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Posted by C M Dodson on 19 Aug 2021, 07:39

Wonderful work indeed.

There is a ‘feel’ of the films with your creations and the high standard you are setting.

Best wishes,

Chris
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Posted by Rich W on 19 Aug 2021, 23:49

Really great stuff Steve. The scenery is brilliant and the figures look great. I really like the Dark Alliance range and painted a few, but other priorities get in the way. But seeing all this makes me want to put them higher up the queue again!
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Posted by Peter on 23 Aug 2021, 18:14

Fantastic stuff again Steve! :shock: :thumbup:
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