I have quite a bit on my mind so this post might be a longer one than usual. Obviously, the world is kind of falling apart at the moment (or certainly the United States is) and while I’ve seen many people celebrating the extra hobby time (which I have been enjoying as well), it is definitely getting scary out there and I have a feeling we’re going to be mostly inside our homes for quite some time. I hope each one of you stay safe and can make the most of this time at home too. Its pretty much the only option we have.
For this week’s hobby update, I can finally share a task that has been driving me insane the last couple of weeks. I once again foolishly decided to power through all the trees I thought I needed to play the next scenario and was driven mad by the tedium of it. The end result is that I do have a bunch of trees now for Scouring of the Shire games which is nice. I think these can do double-duty and work for a lot of Fellowship of the Ring Journeybook scenarios too one day so all around, it is a good thing.
However, I do have some annoyances with these trees (besides making them). Despite my best effort, I could not perfect highlighting the trees and so they’re all made a bit differently from one another which shows. I started using flock as I had with pine trees. This works for darker foliage (using Woodland Scenics flocks) but anything lighter than dark foliage does not work sadly. Woodland Scenics just doesn’t have the range of colors to make this work. Unfortunately, I tried to use some of my flock from Scenery Express on the next batch of trees which does not blend like Woodland Scenics does. You can see these trees on the right in the picture below. Thanks to a tip from Bret, I then tried dry-brushing which is cheaper than buying a lot of flock and worked better than anything else. I think that is what I will generally do in the future since the pre-made Woodland Scenics trees can stand up to the “abuse” of drybrushing but while I like how those trees look, I’m still not completely satisfied.
I have a hard time accepting that playability and durability is what matters most in making terrain and it is hard to maximize those two things and still have something that looks fantastic. Either that, or maybe I just know how to make a miniature look good with a paintbrush and I can’t quite match that with terrain and that frustrates me.
Speaking of annoyances, I also feel like while my terrain basing has improved compared to the Hobbit terrain I made a few months ago, it still isn’t quite where I want it to be. I chose the wrong dark color for the flock because it is too dull to match the mat I’m using. There are plenty of richer, more vibrant flocks and I’m not sure exactly why I chose the color that I did. I mostly used it shade either the edges or the shadows left by a tree but I’m contemplating ordering some better flock from Scenery Express down the road and trying to cover up the dark green I used on these trees. I have no idea how successful I will be but I figure it is worth a shot and would help the terrain match the mat even more which is always something I’m keen on.
The other thing I did is not include almost any tufts on this terrain. I’m not sure how much the tufts add to the look and I have learned how they can negatively impact the playability. For those of you who have more terrain experience than me, do these tree bases look a bit bare? What would you add to give them more life and bring The Shire to life, if anything? I think I’m satisfied with them but I’m always happy to receive some advice on how to improve at the same time.
The pictures above hopefully show off what I’m talking about but if not, you can see the Ruffian I managed to hammer out this week amidst all the terrain. He looks better than that picture shows and I’ll take some close ups when I get him varnished and based. That’s now 10 out of 12 done. Not too shabby!
Here is a quick peek at the Farmer Maggot “board” layout with the trees done. It could probably use a couple more pieces of scatter terrain and maybe a hill or two but all in all, I think that looks quite nice. If you look closely on the left, you see a new crop field in progress that looks much different than the previous one. Why is that? The one I originally made continues to warp so I wised up and ordered MDF bases instead. I’ve got two which should fit my needs perfectly and those will stand up to gaming much better I think anyway. Once I get the two cropfields done and some hedges to go around them, I should be ready to get a game in finally!
One unfortunate reality of being in quarantine is that hobby supplies are now much harder to get and require ordering online and then patiently waiting. I’m currently waiting for some more flower tufts to finish up the crops above and I am going to need several other supplies to finish the remaining projects that I have. While I think many people are quite happy to have extra hobby time, it could quickly become unproductive if we have any delays in our postal service. I’m contemplating ordering what I think I need this weekend, to ensure I can keep hobbying for quite some time into the future. Its a crazy way of thinking but seemingly necessary right now.
That wraps up my hobby progress but I have figured out a couple of things this week which I also wanted to share. I have realized over the last week or two why I’ve been eyeing just about every other skirmish wargame that exists. When I set myself to a hobby project where I need to grind through stuff or it just gets tedious after a while, I suddenly start thinking, “Wouldn’t it be fun if I played X game in addition to MESBG?” or “I should paint X because that is really cool looking and would be a nice break from what I’m doing.” Obviously, I should do a better job of not allowing myself to be in a situation where I’m not enjoying whatever I’m working on but I do think that I may need to take up a second game to give myself a little hobbying variety. I’ve certainly been doing enough thinking about it over the last couple of weeks or month or so.
I’m thinking I may scoop up Fallout Wasteland Warfare’s starter set and give that a shot. It has Solo play in the game (unlike most wargames). I’d love to paint and make Post-Apocalypse terrain one day. The game requires fewer miniatures to play (though perhaps it offsets this with terrain, we’ll see). It also has excellent support from Modiphius with lots of scenarios that look intriguing as well. Assuming I follow through and pick it up, Fallout will very likely always be a back-up or reserve game for me. I’ll paint it when I need a break from MESBG and it would be unlikely to overtake MESBG as the core subject of this website. So have no fear if you visit for the Lord of the Rings content. It isn’t going anywhere!
Alright, that is enough hobbying grumbling from me. Please do stay safe and I’ll do my best to do the same. I hope to continue to share fun hobby projects in the coming days as an escape from our bleak reality at the moment.