Monday, July 13, 2015

The Defenders of Hexoatl Display

Today I have a special guest post by hobbyist extraordinaire Steve Foote. He creates amazing armies and display boards for Warhammer Fantasy and recently he made an End Times inspired Lizardmen display that really caught my eye. I'll let Steve take it from here.

Steve: I'd like to share an overview of my Warhammer fantasy Lizardmen display board for the SCGT 2015 event in the UK. There were many stages in its planning and construction but hopefully this whistle stop tour will give a sense of how it came together.

I have been a massive fan of the Lizardmen army from my return to Warhammer at the beginning of 8th edition. They are full of character, colour and have references to Mayan culture and architecture (which has always fascinated me), plus they have dinosaurs. Did I mention dinosaurs...
It became very easy to decide what to do for my display board, I was totally inspired by this illustration from the end times book that described the last stand of the Lizardmen vs the Skaven in their homeland of Lustria.

Now I've made temples before for table top gaming, so knew I could create that, but it wasn't until I hit upon the idea of using a plasma ball to give the impression of the exodus engines in action that it became a goer.

First job was to sketch up some concepts, keeping in might that I needed to have space to show the army off! Plus decide on layout, height and basic colours.

Happy with this look, I now wanted to look in more detail at the temple. For example, how many levels would I need and how can I ensure the plasma ball would fit.

Simple, buy the ball and make up some card templates. These are brilliant for not only test fitting and the amount of materials needed, but also for a sense of real life scale.

With the temple roughed out (before carving details) I made a rough base so I could test the plasma ball in place and make sure that I could route the cables through the metal rod that held everything aloft.

Here you can clearly see that I'm making sure the hole left behind in the jungle floor matches the template foot print. Testing again that the army would fit on the final piece and with the mechanics all sorted it was time to start construction of the base board. Using my card templates I cut out the cracked earth blocks and using my precision tool (angle grinder), I formed the cracked edges.

A great addition was the use of mdf laser cut tiles, these added some real history to the overall effect, plus with the path being broken when the temple took off helps sell the idea that the temple had just taken off. You can find these mdf tiles for sale at Hollow Tree Studios if you are interested.

Everything got a coat of black spray to ensure all the gaps and cracks in the earth went to darkness.

This next stage may feel strange as all the colour work here, which I used children's acrylic paint tubes for, would be covered up with more paint, flock, clump or dried leaves in the end. For me this exercise allows me to balance the piece and understand how it's going to finish up. It's a kinda scamp, to ensure all the correct elements get dropped in the right spots.

At almost every stage I built the display board to ensure it all still fitted, I was colour matching correctly and not blocking or covering important features or space for models.

Next up was one of my favourite stages, the planting... Adding all types of plastic plants, tufts and leaf litter real brings the jungle floor to life.

Now I really wanted not just the display board to be themed but the army as well. With all my existing models, it seemed simplest to create some Skaven unit fillers to the units.

This brought the whole display together and as my list was full of dinosaurs, they added some much needed height so as not to be over powered by the terrain.

Here's the display at the event which won me the 'Coolest Army' award.

One last shot of the plasma ball doing it's thing at dusk.

Tyler: Like I said at the top, I think this army is amazing. Everything from the display board with the ingenious use of a plasma ball, to the super characterful unit fillers really make this army stand out. The Skaven Grey Seer is one of my favorites. Since this he has also created a really cool Tomb King army and display themed around the crocodile god Sobek and I can't wait to see what he has in store for the Age of Sigmar.

You can follow Steve on Twitter here. I have discovered so many great hobbyists and hobby inspiration on Twitter since I joined about a year ago. I highly recommend all hobbyists to scope it out. You can also see a whole lot more pictures of the display over the Innsmouth Gaming Club blog.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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