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Iron Kingdoms Caravan

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Okay, if I were doing this properly, there are several stages I should have taken pictures at, but unfortunately this whole thing has been a "make it up as I go" business.


Back-story: I'm running an Iron Kingdoms RPG campaign, and it mostly involves overland journeys punctuated by the occasional "dungeon" full of encounters.  So far, the "dungeon" has typically been a big train full of cars (since Iron Kingdoms is a bit of a fantasy-steampunk hybrid), but now the PCs have reached the end of the rail and are venturing along an old road into the dreaded Thornwood.  They'll need supplies, and since there's at least one steamjack in the party, a good portion of that will just be for all the COAL they have to haul along (and a way to cart the steamjack itself when it's not fired up).  Toward that end, I'm working on making some wagons, Iron Kingdoms style.


These aren't finished yet.  This is just as far as I got over the weekend (time split up among various minis on my worktable as well).




The Dancing Hut (WIP)


This isn't really part of the wagon caravan, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the PCs might end up acquiring it at some point (unless they blow it up first, which is a very real possibility as well).  So far, I've cobbled together the basic structure and slapped on the basic paints in a rush to have something that's "barely good enough for the table" in the event that I can't get any more work done on it before its time to come on stage in the campaign.


The core body is made from a strange plastic mini Barbie house toy I found in a thrift store -- basically a hollow shell/facade that had a hinge where it would swivel open, but was totally empty inside, and had no floor.  (So, it would be useless to serve as any type of container, it has no opening doors/windows, no interior decoration of any sort that would justify opening up as a "play set" and I'm no expert on Barbie -- nor can I guess at the magic keywords to get it to appear in a Google image search.)  I used an inverted plastic Warhammer movement tray that just happened to be the right width to bridge the bottom of the house to serve as a support that I could attach the "chassis" and legs to.  The legs themselves were made from pieces from yet another unidentified toy source -- some sort of construction set that looked vaguely ZOIDS-ish, but had a combination of joining types (square blocks that link together, plugs that fit together Micronauts-style for a degree of rotation, and clips that attach to bars to make swiveling joints), and not a brand or manufacturer or patent inscription to be found anywhere.


But the important thing is, "Find small toy house, or vaguely house-like box-like shape.  Affix giant robot legs.  Find some sort of tubes or cylinders or domes or whatever to glue onto the back to look like a boiler."  Tada!  There are the basics.


As for the rest, it's a mix of bits from a grab bag of Warhammer (Fantasy and 40K) and Platformer/Tehnolog/Robogear leftovers I acquired a while back, plus some craft sticks, with lots of epoxy putty for gap-filling, and a few brad nails for railing posts and such.


For future steps:


1) Washes and dry-brushing so the red brick paint job isn't so "flat."  I still intend to keep it roughly "Khador red" since this campaign is themed mostly on Khador (and Russian fairy tales).  Also, it can use a bit of touch-up; some of the paint wore off during handling.


2) More bits and bobs and doodads.  At the very least, I need some windows and maybe a hatch on the front.


3) Some "distress" for the roof.  I'm thinking maybe some very light green applied as a wash in streaks in order to get a "verdigris" look, and some darker wash for "patina."


4) Some sort of paneling on the legs, along with some gunmetal and bronze dry-brushing here and there.


5) SOMETHING for the windows.  Flat yellow panels just won't cut it.  Either I need to gradient out to a golden brown near the frames, or cut out some sort of lattice-work screen to put down over them, or such.  I don't think I'll try my hand at free-hand painting of any patterns, however.


6) Possibly some sort of a base.  Presently it's shown standing on a terrain piece I put together from Hirst Arts "fieldstone" blocks from various molds, painted up in several layers of "dirty grey" dry-brushing and washes.





Okay, for this wagon, I took the easy route: I actually found a plastic toy wagon in the thrift store.  It only had two wheels (in the back), but I happened to find another pair of wheels with a metal rod axle, and hot-glued those up front.  Unfortunately, I don't think I can count on finding more wagons (or passable facsimiles) in the thrift store on demand.


This is the personal wagon and "home on wheels" for Tsarevitch Ivan, the kind-hearted, soft-headed, and a little bit vain and spoiled "protagonist" that our heroes are accompanying in sort of a big glorified "escort quest" that is the campaign (unless the players rebel, that is, which I must be mindful is always a possibility).  In any case, it's the least practical of the designs -- its shape is actually loosely inspired by that of a pop-up camper that my family used to take up to Oshkosh for the EAA "Fly-In" (now "Airventure") when I was a kid.  Or, rather, it's inspired by the shape of said camper when actually deployed; here, it's a rather unwieldy shape for actually taking on the road (and partly an excuse for why a week or so is passing in between each dungeon, giving the PCs time to heal up a bit, because it's a bear to get this thing down a partially overgrown forest road).


The main body is made from foam-core illustration board held together with Tacky Glue adhesive, and more brad nails (the heads of which make passable rivets).  The body of the wagon had a few plug-in holes that I imagine were once used for affixing some sort of Conestoga-type canopy top (not included), but I re-purposed them as spots to "pin" the housing in place.  (Actually, both of these projects have an awful lot of pinning going on, as I don't want glued-on pieces popping off left and right as soon as things get handled.)


Normally, I would've just gone with layered thin cardboard for the shingles, but this time around I decided to try a thin layer of epoxy putty, and just sculpt the shingles with a hobby knife and a dental tool.  I still need to finish the rooftop "spine," though I am considering putting some rooftop spikes along there, if I can find any more of that Warhammer 40K "Chaos Tank Spiky Fencing" (not its official name, but that's what I think of it as) to put there.  The rooftop hatch, platform, and hanging lanterns are Games Workshop terrain "bits" that I got in a grab-bag deal.  The seat cushion is just epoxy putty where I took a hobby knife and made some diagonal impressions to suggest quilting.  The flag is ... from a grab bag, so I'm really not sure what it's from, but it looks like someone went to the trouble of replacing the original flag post with a brass rod, so it's surprisingly sturdy.  I printed off a sheet of "decals" at 600 dpi, including several Khador emblems, and used a couple of the emblems on the flag.


As with the Dancing Hut, I'm considering taking some screen fabric and putting it into the side bay windows (even if it means I have to pop off the window pieces, and glue the screen down BEHIND them before replacing them).




For the remaining wagons, I have a few goals:


1) Have something that looks like a wagon (two of them) done in time for this Saturday's game.  It needn't necessarily be pretty.  After all, players are players, and they could well decide to break down a wagon for kindling, or drive it off a cliff, or blow it up.  Or, like the last time I spent all this work on a travel caravan for a fantasy setting (World of Warcraft campaign, papercraft wagons patterned after the Darkmoon Faire wagons), the druid whipped out this spell that nearly rendered overland journeys moot, because the entire party could step into a plant and then pop out of any other plant "of the same type" ON THE SAME PLANE, REGARDLESS OF DISTANCE, thus instantly bypassing whole intervening regions I'd worked on, because there was no good reason there WOULDN'T be a convenient tree of the same general type in the target location, and....  Grrr.  What, me bitter over that after all these years?  NAHHHHHH.  ;)


2) One of the wagons needs to be able to carry a steamjack, preferably via a tilting platform in the back, as per the engineer's stated design plan (as in, the steamjack backs up onto this L-shaped thing, and then the whole thing tilts back to put the center of weight of the 'jack over the rear axle, so the whole thing won't upend when the support legs are retracted).  I think I might use a few Tehnolog/Robogear/Platformer panels for this, since those have a very clunky '80s tech aesthetic (lots of frames, lots of rivets) that could be adapted to the steam-fantasy feel of IKRPG as long as I add some big gears and paint lots of bronze.


3) The other wagon needs to be a "portable confessional" for our traveling Priest of Menoth and his squishy followers (NPC minions).  Just about anything will do, but bonus points if I can slap some symbols of Menoth and such on it.  Various Warhammer 40K Space Marine bitz will probably work fairly nicely (what with those purity seals and scrolls and whatnot).  Maybe even some bitz leftover from a Warhammer Fantasy "flagellant" pack.


Alas, I'm kind of short on wheels right now, unless I cannibalize other wagon projects.  I have an old (incomplete) Vampire Counts wagon, but I don't think anyone wants to ride around in what amounts to a coffin-shaped horse-drawn hearse.  (And, besides, it really only seats the driver and ONE passenger.)  I have a Mage Knight "Atlantean Ram" chariot that might be incorporated into a wagon; right now it only has two wheels, and they have very conical "hubcaps."  Somewhere in my garage is a Mage Knight "Black Powder Rebellion War Wagon," but ... I have to actually FIND it, and after all these years (I think I put it out there a DECADE ago), prospects are not high.


I expect that I may have to dig into my cache of spare HeroClix/Mage Knight bases (I've cut off bunches, as Clix minis made for my primary supply of cheap plastic minis before Bones came out) for alternative wagon wheels.  The rims of those things have an interesting look, and as long as I come up with a suitable "hubcap," I think they might make for plausible wheels for a steampunk-ish wagon.  That might be more of interest to other hobbyists than "Look at the thing I found in the thrift store that I repainted, and which I will probably never find again even if I wanted to," so I'll try to take some pictures of that along with a few items for improvised wagon wheel covers.


Oh yeah.  Tangential wish for Bones: WAGON WHEELS.  Okay, so maybe selling wagon wheels alone would be too "niche," so maybe a Wooden Cart that just happens to come with four wagon wheels on it.  Or, if it simply must be a creature ... an Oboroguruma!  (Japanese cart-ghost.)  Yeah, I could work with that.  :)







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I love these like nothing else I've seen so far this morning! Big fan of IK, and Khador in particular. I am working on a Slavic-themed Pathfinder game right now, and these are perfect inspiration.


The legs, I think, are from a walker from those IMEX? guys from a few years back. They used to make huge sets of Hex terrains, and some of the bigger sets came with machines (cars, walkers, robots) and guys that looked a bit like Imperial soldiers from WH40K. Those are the spiritual ancestors of the Chemical Plant and Hex terrain sets that Pegasus Hobbies still sells under license.


Very cool stuff here.


BTW: Wagon wheels. Two quick suggestions. Aside from the expensive alternative of buying from somebody like Privateer Press' parts store, you could hit up a craft place like Michaels, which should have plastic wagon wheels for sale with their craft building stuff (here in California we get Missions sets, not sure if they have them elsewhere), and they also will have "Toobs" of plastic soldiers and pioneers, which you can cut the wheels from. Alternatively, you could invest in Instant Mold (find through Cool Mini or Not) and some Stick Putty. You press the wheel into the Instant Mold when it's warm, let it set, then use the Stick Putty to make the wheels. You could have dozens of wheels in a few hours, though they will probably need some cleaning up.

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The legs, I think, are from a walker from those IMEX? guys from a few years back. They used to make huge sets of Hex terrains, and some of the bigger sets came with machines (cars, walkers, robots) and guys that looked a bit like Imperial soldiers from WH40K. Those are the spiritual ancestors of the Chemical Plant and Hex terrain sets that Pegasus Hobbies still sells under license.


Very cool stuff here.


BTW: Wagon wheels. Two quick suggestions. Aside from the expensive alternative of buying from somebody like Privateer Press' parts store, you could hit up a craft place like Michaels, which should have plastic wagon wheels for sale with their craft building stuff (here in California we get Missions sets, not sure if they have them elsewhere), and they also will have "Toobs" of plastic soldiers and pioneers, which you can cut the wheels from. Alternatively, you could invest in Instant Mold (find through Cool Mini or Not) and some Stick Putty. You press the wheel into the Instant Mold when it's warm, let it set, then use the Stick Putty to make the wheels. You could have dozens of wheels in a few hours, though they will probably need some cleaning up.


IMEX: I know the models of which you speak, and those aren't the ones -- although I actually have some parts from those sets incorporated into the figure elsewhere.  Basically, there is a Russian Federation company called Tehnolog, which made a game called (here) "Robogear," featuring some really clunky designs (really, the models feel like they were designed in the 1980s or so), figures that scale around 40mm or so, and some brittle terrain plastic sets.  (Supposedly no glue is required, but if you try to pop structures back apart, pieces tend to crack off of the joining parts -- and I've had quite a few break while trying to assemble as well.  This might, however, be due to heat exposure, since I live in Florida and all.)  I've seen Robogear and related models released under IMEX, Airfix, and Pegasus Hobbies.  It'll be visible when I post some pictures of other angles of the Dancing Hut, but I have a dome piece that I think was from the Chemical Plant set that I used for the main part of the boiler in the back.


They have some walker models, and I've actually fixed up a few for a cyberpunk/sci-fi campaign.  However, they're much smaller than the Dancing Hut's legs.  I probably should disassemble the leg segment (it's presently holding together without any glue) to show the component parts.  Basically there is a basic "leg" segment that has a "clamp" on one side, and then on the other is a hinge right next to a squarish plug.  I actually used two of those "legs" to make each one of the Dancing Hut's legs, with a square "link" piece in the center to join them together.  (In the picture, it is the blocky section, relatively clean of greebles, that looks like a sort of "ankle joint" on the reverse chicken legs (or a reverse knee?).  More of those blocky joining pieces are used to make the chassis underneath the house body.


Michaels: Thanks for the tips.  Actually, that's EXACTLY where I went to look for wagon wheels!  :)  To my surprise, they didn't actually have any in their model section, and I'm sure I've seen some before.  Hobby Lobby would be another possibility.  


However, I did find a set of metal "gears" at JoAnn Fabric that includes some metal pieces that look sort of like wheels, complete with spokes, but no cogs: Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Sprocket Gears.




I'm thinking of using the 5-spoked wheel shapes as wagon wheels; they're a little smaller than HeroClix bases (around 1.25" diameter, maybe), but large enough to work, I think.  I suppose I could do the same for the three-spoked ones, but I'm seeing those more as "control wheel" pieces (plus, they're a bit smaller).


I just checked the JoAnn Fabrics site, and also found something like this (picture from Etsy):



These actually look pretty nice; I might just have to swing by there and see if they have any in stock at my local store.



I've been using epoxy putty and Instant Mold for a few features (mostly for decorating bases, lately -- I hope to have some picture-worthy examples to share later), but the putty doesn't seem to work all that well for anything quite as fragile as wagon wheels with spokes.  I do have some Games Workshop wagon wheels, but those are actually TOO SMALL for the scale of wagon I'm aiming for, for this project.  One of my considerations is that if I can manage to make a master of ONE really good wheel design, I may use Instant Mold to make some push-mold copies for a full set of wheels.  I just have to keep in mind that it's Wednesday already, so whatever I do, I need to make it quick, and putty-curing takes some time.  I only have today and tomorrow.  (Friday night, it's time to pack away all the craft stuff, and clean up the house to be presentable enough for company and set up the table and have all the hand-outs organized, and then Saturday it's time for the game.)

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Those Jim Holtz cogs are a godsend for steampunkers. I have a box full myself. They also make other interesting bits like keys, and they have another cog set that's actually nicer, which more "classic-looking" cogs more similar to the ones in your second pic. Michael's also stocks this stuff (Jo-Ann is owned by the same company), so if one is out of stock, you can check the other.


Lately, I've been going the route of solid wheels, of the sort where they look like the tops of round tables turned sideways. They're easy to make out of those round wooden disks Michaels sells in packs of various sizes. (They keep them with the popsicle stick craft bags, not with the weird wooden shapes.)


Not to hijack, but an example of what I mean is here.


Real easy to make.


BTW: The wheels on that are in the medium-low range. The packages come with diameters up to twice these.

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On Saturday, we actually used the wagons (or such as I had done by that point):




Although it probably would have looked more plausible if I had some of the "Khador Gun Carriage" wagon horses (BIIIIG horses) to pull these monstrosities, those aren't sold separately.  Instead, I used some old plastic Battle Masters (Milton Bradley / Games Workshop) barded horse models that I happened to have painted up in a red-and-black scheme that seemed to fit Khador nicely.  I still need to get some putty to fill in those holes on their backs (where the Chaos Knight models would originally plug in).




I resorted to digging into some plastic Pegasus Hobbies "Hexagon" sets (AKA terrain for "Robogear" from Tehnolog, imported from the Russian Federation) to make a "jack wagon" to carry the party's steamjack and its supply of coal.  Although the Hexagon/Platformer sets are intended for a clunky sci-fi look comparable to circa 1990s Warhammer 40K (only minus all the SKULLZ and Gothic elements), all those rivets look perfectly fine for the clunky steampunk-fantasy aesthetic of Warmachine / Iron Kingdoms, I think.  (I just tried to avoid use of some of the more "high-tech" looking decorative elements).


Up on top is a crane/launcher that normally went on the back of a circa-1910-era toy truck from a Disney's "Atlantis" toy set ("Aqua Evac").  Here's a picture of the original toy part in use:




The set was noteworthy because it basically consisted of a clunky dieselpunk (?) submarine toy, and an entirely out-of-scale toy circa-1910-or-so truck.  The truck is plausibly in scale for use with most of my gaming minis, and I wish I'd gotten a couple of more copies of the set for the truck alone.  (Not that I run games set in the 1910s all that often -- it's been a long time since I've run my "Deadlands Nouveau" scenarios -- but it's perfectly plausible to have on the street in a *1920s* Call of Cthulhu or Deadlands Noir game.)  The nice thing about the set is that it's semi-modular.  You can take apart the big submarine and rearrange the pieces to make some other, smaller vehicles -- with certain special pieces that ONLY reconnect a very limited number of ways, and then certain accessories that plug into standardized holes here or there -- after the fashion of the old 1970s Micronauts toys.  Alas, ALSO after the fashion of those old Micronauts toys, some of the pieces are a bit flimsy, and after the plastic has had some time to age, it has gotten a bit brittle.  After a few bouts of assembling and disassembling, breakage is inevitable ... but it still makes for some nice fodder for conversions.  (If only I had a couple more of those Evac sets, I could probably make a plausible Space 1899 airship, or such....)


The wheels are from the old Tonka "Legions of Power" construction toy line ... which, incidentally, had some AWESOME box art for the time.


(Alan Guttierez has a pretty cool gallery of Legions of Power cover art on DeviantArt: http://alangutierrezart.deviantart.com/gallery/34097377/Legions-of-Power )



Complete sets come with nauseatingly high prices on Ebay, and then there's the S&H to think about, so my acquisitions in this area have been less-than-pristine, and solely through garage sales and thrift stores (and that, not for a VERY long time).


On the very front end, I have some sort of Gorkamorka trailer piece that looks clunky-techno, and weighs a fair deal (being pewter and all), so I affixed it to the front, pretty much right over an axle, to serve as a counterweight to the steamjack model (a heavily modified partial "Beast Number 9" kit) loaded up in the back.






(Tangent: I did the floor tiles here using the same style as the "Dragons Don't Share II" terrain I painted up, and I think I like this approach.  I basically base-coated grey, then spread a thin wash of "pewter grey" over everything, and added splotches of dark green, brown, and "terra cotta" here and there, mixing it in and dirtying it as seemed appropriate, and finally dry-brushing everything a light grey once it had all dried.  In normal lighting, the boards still read visually as "gray," but the little touches of color make it more visually interesting and more plausible as stone, I think.)


This wagon was built up from an old Mage Knight "Atlantean Ram" wagon model.  The conical "spikes" were originally the wheels of the chariot.  I popped them off, then drilled pinning holes into the shaft on each side, and used Instant Mold and epoxy putty to make clones (albeit inferior ones) of the cones so I'd have four wheels -- or four wheel spikes, anyway, because the wheels just seemed a bit low-clearance.


I took some HeroClix bases and applied the circular stickers to the bottom that used to be included in old Mage Knight kits; the stickers weren't really all that sticky anymore, but a bit of paint helped seal them in place, and then I drilled holes right through that I used for wire pins to attach conical "spike," Mage Knight "wheel" and interior "axle" together.  The rear wagon body is made from Hexagon frame panels, and by sheer coincidence, the standard "floor" panel is the same width as the chariot, so it meshed together quite nicely.  I used some craft sticks to make a reinforcing "chassis" structure underneath, so it wouldn't be held together solely by superglue along a thin matching edge (and wishful thinking).


With the extra clearance, the ox would be treading air, so I popped the two joints where the side-beams would attach to the chariot.  Right now, they're hanging, not attached to anything, but that isn't immediately obvious when viewed at typical angles at the table top (and in any case, I tend to use "imaginary hitches" for the horses placed in front of wagons anyway).


The chariot-driver comes as part of the model, and I opted to leave it as-is; the fact that it's masked seems to fit the Menoth follower look anyway, so I just hand-waved it as a "Sulite wagon-driver" henchman who's basically just there as a plot-convenience to mind the wagon.  I don't plan on having any forest cart chases and exciting Dukes-of-Hazzard-style wagon jumps over ravines (Yeeeeee-hawwwwwww!), as much stupid-fun as that might sound, but rather these are just niceties to explain how our heroes get all their bulky loot from dungeon to dungeon (and serve as a nice bit of barrier terrain when the group "circles the wagons" to defend against some random roadway encounter).


Next weekend, our heroes have opted to take the optional side-quest to visit the Dancing Hut (yay!) so I'm going to try to put in some time in the evenings this week to prettify it a bit more.

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In my IKRPG campaign, the PCs finally encountered the Old Witch of Khador, and the Dancing Hut.  Game-wise, it was an excuse for a "mini-dungeon" type of setup -- the Old Witch offered to let the heroes borrow her Dancing Hut to help them navigate the Thornwood in their journey, but there was a catch: They would have to first manage to get into the Dancing Hut, and defeat the gremlins who had infested it, in order to stop its berserk dance.


The PCs succeeded (of course!) without blowing the whole thing up (yay!), and now the hut is a vital part of their caravan.  Toward that end, I had to make a base for it, approximately 120mm in diameter, as the Dancing Hut is well into "Colossal" range for the setting (with Huge models getting a 120mm base).




The hut is still a work in progress, as I've had my hands full trying to slap on basic paint for various encounters that might or might not be used for the game.  (I try to avoid making the game a "railroad," but that means I have to plan for a great many possible branches, and inevitably some of those won't get used.  Still, a lot of the models I'm painting up will be useful for a friend's Khador army, and I'm sure I'll find uses for the miscellaneous monsters.  The Hut itself is probably going to end up as quirky battlefield scenery.)


The main progress made on this was that I mixed up some whitish-grey-green "verdigris" to wash the "copper" roof with.  It came out a bit thicker than I'd intended, so I had to go back and dry-brush "copper" again in hopes of making it look like something than just a solid light green roof.  I'm going to have to go back and work on it some more. The light green verdigris streaks should look as if they've been pouring down from above (i.e., streams of rainwater tending to collect in certain areas, and thus corrosion happening more there than in other spots), but here it just looks like the whole thing is solid green except where it's been "worn off" at the high points (maybe because of running into branches while traipsing through the giant forest?).  I think the two bronze smokestacks ended up getting the closest to the look I had wanted.


The windows are undergoing further work.  In the picture, alas, there's a bit of yellow-orange splash on the frames that needs to be cleaned up.  I've got some curious plastic "fabric netting" material from some little throwaway bag packaging, and I'm thinking of spray-painting it black and cutting little pieces to glue into the window frames.  It would (ideally) result in a sort of diagonal diamond-pattern "latticework" to the window panes, to make them look a little more quasi-archaic.  (I'm used to depictions of fantasy houses with windows made out of bottle glass and such, or strips of polished horn, rather than solid glass panes.)  The upper "balcony" also needs some work, and I'm thinking of turning the area just outside the upper door into a "window box" with some sort of simulated floral arrangement.


For the base, I used a plastic lid, with some scrap plastic framework to add weight and support toward the center of the lid (so the whole thing wouldn't just compress under the weight of the model), blended in with some bits of epoxy putty.  I also used bits of putty to sculpt suggestions of half-buried stones and tree roots.  I had a couple of plastic trees on hand -- a Woodland Scenics 4" tree, and a shorter plastic tree from a Weapons & Warriors game.  The former tree was meant to be flocked, and the latter originally fit with CARDBOARD "foliage," but instead I used some plastic "leaves" bits from a grab-bag deal of scenery bits (mostly Games Workshop) -- in this case, the plastic leaf segments left over from someone's assembly of the "Citadel Wood / Twisted Copse" boxed set.  I drilled holes in the leaf segments and used the tips of the "branches" of the trees to act as "pins" for attachment.  The trees serve to camouflage a wooden dowel going up from the base to the underside of the hut's main body for support.


Aside from general paint touch-up and the aforementioned idea with the windows and the flower box, I'm considering making some "armor paneling" for the legs in the hopes of making them look a little more stylistically reminiscent of Khador warjacks (and painting them up "Khador Red," toward that end).  I still haven't decided whether or not to remove/cover the "Barbie" logo on the door.  It's not immediately visible as a glance, and somehow it seems amusing to leave it on as a bit of an Easter Egg detail.  My little joke has been that this is "Barbie Yaga's Dancing Hut.'"  ;)

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A couple of pictures of the Dancing Hut in action in our IKRPG campaign, a weekend or so ago:







The main differences for the Dancing Hut from last time would be a little more touch-up work, mostly around the window frames, and some more work on the base.


The ruined buildings used in the picture were from assorted Mordheim cardboard-and-plastic buildings -- some incomplete -- that I picked up in a box at a "game bazaar" at a local game store years ago.  (Sadly, the store is gone, along with the "game bazaar."  They had a special event where people could come and bring in used game items to "sell" in the store.  The catch was that all purchases were in the form of store credit: You'd work out your total sale, go to the register, and get a store credit receipt filled out to the "seller" -- and then he could use that to buy even MORE gaming junk from the store.  ;)  I ended up with some pretty decent "bitz" that way.)


The Mordheim buildings were basically just printed cardstock pieces with plastic pieces that would attach to give limited relief detail in the form of box windows, gables, doorways, and occasionally a broken section of remaining roof, with corner joiners and horizontal support beams to link the parts together.  It mostly looked nice, except that some of the buildings had some trompe l'oeil details painted/printed on that were at odds with the actual 3D details, and the walls were really far too think to be plausible as being "brick" walls as per some of the textures.  That, and the buildings were falling apart, missing pieces, and tending to buckle or fall over if any metal minis were perched on the upper floors.


I decided to "refurbish" them a bit for use on the tabletop.


1) I had a number of plastic "bitz" from other Warhammer building sets to use for additional decoration and to replace some of the missing window segments.


2) A bit of dry-brushing and simple bits of paint can do wonders to make the plastic elements "pop" a bit more.  Plus, I spackle-painted out a few of the trompe l'oeil details, and some of the "graffiti" that was just too repetitive.


3) I used some Apoxie Sculpt {sic} two-part epoxy putty to do some gap-filling and reinforcement, and also to sculpt in brick details where I thought they were needed (including over top of some of the old "brick" trompe l'oeil textures).  Instant Mold was also handy with the putty for making some passable replacements for missing shallow relief details.


4) I used a bunch of craft sticks ("popsicle sticks") and coffee stirrers to "plank" the floor segments, and to add a few more supports to the walls.


5) To deal with the problem of the buildings tipping over and so forth, I cut out insulation-board foam "foundation" blocks for all the buildings, then used the tip of a hot wire cutter to carve out "flagstone" patterns.  I went back and filed/sanded a bit to remove some of the fibrous "hair" that results when using a hot cutter on this sort of foam, and then painted the foundations up in a brown-grey-olive mix, and did a bit of dry-brushing in lighter grey to bring out details.


I really could easily keep going with these, adding more debris, planks, bits of broken furniture, posters, signs, etc., but my main goal was just to have things ready for a session.  Alas, the PCs didn't spend as long in the city ruin as I had hoped (I had a lot plotted out), and the nature of the campaign is that it won't really have "recycle" value later on.  So, for now, the buildings go back in the box, and I may revisit them some more in some future campaign where I need a ruined fantasy medieval-ish city.

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