Scenery, the Third Army: Part 2

As well as writing for Black Library, author Guy Haley is a keen hobbyist, with a certain fondness for Orks and Orruks of all shapes and sizes – he even refers to himself as a “quill goblin”. Continuing from his last article, where he looked at the crumbling ruins and twisting woods of the Mortal Realms, Guy is looking at the industrial wastelands and ruined cities of the 41st Millennium and how he’s building his own battlefield.

Guy: I believe scenery is the unheralded third army in any wargame. Scenery sets the backdrop for the story of your battle. It provides blocks to line of sight, cover, objectives to fight over and interesting tactical choices to ponder. More importantly, scenery pieces are the only models absolutely guaranteed to stay on the board the whole battle through! Surely, taking all this into account, our scenery deserves as much TLC as our warriors?

A few weeks ago, I wrote this article about Warhammer Age of Sigmar. As promised, I’m returning after a hectic period of painting to talk about Warhammer 40,000.

I have quite a lot of Warhammer 40,000 scenery, mostly older Forge World pieces. I have a huge ruined resin building, a set of roads, bunkers, defence lines and the like, but it doesn’t really present any single unified theme when set out on the tabletop. When I learned that 8th edition was coming out, I promised myself I’d create a themed battlefield. I decided I’d like to build an Imperial outpost with an industrial theme. With this in mind, I bought the Forge World Realm of Battle Board Generatorum Nexus.

I’m a big advocate of multi-purposing the resources I have. Wargaming is not a cheap hobby and requires plenty of storage space. Scenery especially can take up a mass of room. In my last article, I repainted my Realm of Battle as desert terrain, so my industrial outpost is also in a desert environment. I was going to use plenty of Promethium Relay Pipes and other scenery kits, and other… stuff. I hadn’t planned it out in much detail if I am absolutely honest.

And then the Sector Mechanicus kits came out, and my plans really took off.

The layout I have here is made up of a Ferratonic Incinerator, Galvanic Magnavent, Promethium Forge, Alchomite Stack and the aforementioned Promethium Relay Pipes, plus the Forge World board. As you can see, it isn’t completely finished yet, but I am close.

This is how the finished board will go together. In one configuration, anyway.

Every themed board requires a centrepiece, just as every army does. I created a processing plant for mine, and I have finished it. The Sector Mechanicus allows an impressive height, but you don’t want every scenic element this large. The processing plant is two levels high, tall enough for most games, and I have the option to expand it. Although most of the parts are glued together, the two levels and the chimney that tops it are not. This allows me to have two separate pieces instead of one.

A scenic centrepiece, as important to an aesthetically pleasing game as any huge monster or tank.

I won’t lie. The plant took a long time to paint. These kits are as crammed with detail as any other Citadel Miniature, and I had to do them justice. I only drew the line at painting all the little pipes and wires underneath the decking (man, those designers are so dedicated, it’s borderline crazy). There had to be a compromise somewhere!

I’ve been writing a lot recently and my painting time has been limited to an hour a day or less, so I painted the whole thing in bits and glued it together as I went. That kept things manageable and gave me a sense of achievement as I slowly saw the plant coming together on my desk.

To speed the process along, I kept the paint job simple. Orange for the industrial machinery, cream for the decking and ladders, steel and brass for the details. Everything was sprayed brown (because I spray everything brown!) and drybrushed very, very heavily. I mean, it almost isn’t drybrushing. You want it a bit streaky and worn looking, but covered solidly, while preserving the brown in the recesses to give the impression of rust and the accumulation of industrial grime. To get this effect, I went over each part two or three times. After picking out the details like the wires, instruments and Adeptus Mechanicus identification plates, I applied liberal ink washes to them (this hides a multitude of rough painting sins), and to some of the rivets. A couple of transfers finished it off.


Remember folks, all over a sprayed on Mournfang Brown undercoat.

OrangeWild Rider Red (heavy drybrush), Ushabti Bone (medium drybrush on the edges), Agrax Earthshade (on the rivets and for streaking)

Cream – Ushabti Bone (heavy drybrush), Pallid Wych Flesh (medium drybrush)

SteelLeadbelcher (basecoat), Nuln Oil (heavy wash)

BrassBrass Scorpion, Nuln Oil

To finish this all off, I have to conclude the painting of the external tank and the promethium pipes, repaint my old Battlefield Accessories and my Sentinel power lifter (another old Forge World kit), and paint my Forge World board. It seems like a lot but it won’t take long. The measure of the work was in the industrial plant, so I should be finished within a fortnight. I’ve enough pieces left over to make a control platform and a free standing machine which will add more cover to the board. At some point down the line I’ll add a set of Munitorum Armoured Containers, then this set will be complete. I’m on the home stretch now. When I’m done, I’ll be sure to send a picture your way.

Next time, I’ll be back with the tale of how I’m updating my Death Guard army with new models for Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition. I’m looking forward to it, if only because it’ll be nice to paint something other than girders…

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