Friday, 16 October 2015

Hard Work in Gotham City

Well, It's been a while since I posted anything, partly due to health and partly due to a couple of commissions that took a fair bit of time up. And partly due to my nephew erasing all my RE4 save games so I had to do it all again. I had to. there's no choice there.

No Choice. 

Anyway I painted up some lovely Guild Ball teams (fishers and alchemists) which were tons of fun but I utterly failed to take any photos, Some infinity for the same client that are almost finished and I will photograph, and the big one- A Gotham City demo board for Knight models Batman miniatures game, commissioned by Firestorm Games. 

(the full sized version, not this one)

The base buildings were sourced by Firestorm itself, and they came to me assembled, They are from this chap and are pretty detailed. I enlisted the help of Dom and gave them a patchy spray job, first of textured paint, then black, then a dark grey, this would give me a base to drybrush up from. I gradually lightened the colours upwards as I painted to exaggerate the shadows and floors, I also added a metric ton of grey and white splodges to represent the years of Pigeon Poo accumulated on Gotham's rooftops, seriously I'm surprised Alfred doesn't make Bats take his shoes off when he enters the cave.

Whilst they were drying Dom and I planned the basic layout, We had four buildings with 6 upper floors, I always feel height is a really important part of catching the eye with a demo table (hence the crane on the Malifaux board) so at least one building would be four stories, and that would be close to the centre of the table. The second tallest next to that with the two smaller buildings across the street.

 The street is 20cm across exactly, as Dom worked out this would require effort to cross in game (especially with pavements to) meaning players couldn't just stay hidden all game. I decided to fill the blank areas with a small park in the corner, a disused car showroom opposite and a filthy bins area behind the taller buildings. These extra areas would break up the grey and add some variation to the table.  

I really like demo boards to tell a story, they should set the scene for the game and help the staff member to really get the players involved, so I decided to add the Gotham Towers sign to the tall building, and paint the bottom floor as though it had just exploded, scattering glass and shrapnel everywhere. 

Behind this building I added a parking lot in terracotta slabs, (I'll take a minute here to mention Metcalfes Self adhesive Paving Slabs, these are ace! Cheap as chips, pretty good scale wise, relatively durable once sealed with a couple of coats of PVA and they have a lovely texture, they make paving very fast indeed)  This was a bit more colour and gave some more realism to the board

Lamp posts are apparently super important in Batman, so Tom from Firestorm knocked one up and asked Marty of Model Display products to cast the top and bottom, with a lollipop pole and a streetsign attached they do the job lovely.

I ordered some fire escapes from TT combat, this manufacturer lacks the fine details of people like 4Ground, but they are unearthly cheap, and they finished the buildings off lovely, ready for painting. (as these aren't TT combat buildings a little Modification was required, but they are still worth the £3 they cost me, especially as they come with dumpsters too!)

Most of the resin vehicles are my Ainsty castings cars I've shown on here before, but a few more I picked up from a car boot sale, they are close to perfect for scale so I made one up as a Pizza delivery car and the other (pictured) in Nolan's series GPD colours. 

The ruined Car lot was fun to build, with trash everywhere and a lot of graffiti, some I made up on the fly, others (like sprayzilla) I found online and just had to replicate. Graffiti and waste are the sort of details that really bring a board to life, the creation of that lived in feel that convinces players that this isnt just a battlefield, it's also people's home.  Here's a bunch of photos of the car lot to hopefully illustrate to you what I mean.

It's also a tremendous amount of fun painting graffiti and whilst I kept it off the main facades of the other buildings, the back alleys, dumpsters and refuse areas are covered in it, it's hard to stop once you get going! The park was next, a simple clay surface with sand/static/pebbles and clump foliage on top, I wanted it to look overgrown and patchy, I ordered some ballustrades from a railway hobbyist company and they were so much bigger than I expected they made great walls all on their own!

I added the tops of Brettonian knights helms across the wall posts, with some gargoyles on the gate. each animal is different which will make sense if you've been to Cardiff and seen the walls near the castle. the rest of the buildings started to gain some character now, with billposters and graffiti, as well as signs (Firestorm Games, Axis Chemicals and Gotham Tower) I tried to make them all unique, as well as giving them different coloured window frames to help the staff know how to build it when it's delivered. then I weathered the bejeezus out of absolutely everything. green and brown inks, sprayed through a mister and painted on by hand where I wanted it heavy, they soaked into the posters as well as the gaps in the pavement.

the Red rocket on the side of the Cola Machine means something to Tom who used to work at Firestorm. He's a sick puppy. I wanted as much of a 'used' feeling on the rear of the buildings as on the used car lot, so more newspapers, a couple of skips and dumpsters and a dividing wall to hide all this from the stuck up staff at Gotham towers. All the newspapers are scaled down replicas of newspapers from the various Batman films, The posters are all from the movies or comics too. all the magazines scattered around are actually the front covers of Batman comics, each one the first appearance of one character or another (the poster on the grate in the park is poison Ivy's first appearance for example) You can see some extra detailed Graffiti in the alley, some of which is covered up by the dumpsters, another small touch that I hope adds realism.

Oh- and a basketball court, home-made hoop complete with police chalk marks, lovely. I finished it off with a bunch of extra window dressing- more posters, bins, fuel cans and road markings. 20cm gave me a strange road size of three lanes, so I looked for some American lane markings and did the best I could. I'm pretty sure these would involve a massive crash if anyone tried to follow them, but hey ho... The crosswalks and grates at the sides added more detail, although I couldn't find a good scale american corsswalks and traffic light set, so I may make those in the fullness of time. 

There's a ton of extra detail I can't begin to show with photo's, including the safe on the floor by the Jokers van shows a crime in progress, the glass and wood blown out by the explosion on the road, and all this extra detail really helps the story comes to life. To finish off fully I'd like a few more cars, but for now I'm calling this one done, I hope the boys at Firestorm enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it:)