Minefields

Rough and impassable terrain comes in many forms and can be useful in directing your opponent’s models, protecting your flanks, or locking off portions of the battlefield. While an area of rough terrain can be represented by a template of broken ground, ruins, or scrub brush, it’s much more entertaining to create a thematic piece of terrain with some special in-game effects.

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make some effective minefields along with some suggestions for incorporating them into your game with unique terrain rules.

Supplies:
Foam core, hardboard, or styrene card (for basing)
Halfjack Mine Markers.
Square and flat basswood strips

Tools:
Formula P3 Super Glue
Formula P3 Hobby Knife
Wood filler putty
Sandpaper
Formula P3 Modeling Drill & Pinning Set
Formula P3 Pinning Expansion: .50mm

Building the Minefield Bases

In the Trollkin Waystones hobby blog, I described a few different methods for basing your terrain. Features like rough ground and woods benefit from having a base that clearly defines the boundary of the terrain’s area.

For these minefields I’m using 1/8˝ hardboard, but you should feel free to use whatever basing material you are comfortable with.

The first step is to decide the quantity, size, and shape of your minefields and cut out the bases. I’m making three pieces: two oblong shapes and a rounder, oval shape. There’s no reason you can’t go crazy and nearly cover your table in minefields or make really larges bases. Imagine a scenario with an objective in the center of a minefield that’s 30˝ across, each side braving the minefield where every step could prove disastrous!

When cutting out the shapes, keep them as organic as possible so the forms will appear as natural-looking areas on the battlefield.

With the shapes cut out, bevel the edges of the templates and rough up the surface with sandpaper. By sanding the surface, you’ll create a “tooth” that will allow the glue to adhere a little better.

Use Formula P3 Super Glue to attach the Halfjack Mine Markers. Space them evenly in random-appearing patterns. The intention is not that the visible mines are the only mines in the field, simply that some of them have become exposed through battle or weather. Therefore, it’s not necessary to place too many mines onto a single base.

Once the mines are in place, spread on some wood glue and apply sand and gravel. The rocks around the edge of the Halfjack Mine Markers will help them blend into the sanded surface, but add some extra sand on top of a few so the mines aren’t all uniformly exposed.

On the larger base, I wanted to add a little variety, so I modeled a crater from an exploded land mine.

To sculpt a simple blast crater, apply a ring of wood filler putty and smooth out the sides with your finger. Press a few pebbles into the putty while it’s still wet. Once the putty dries, add sand and gravel.

Extra Details

Before adding any extra details, paint and flock the bases. Doing it at this stage will allow you to use a large house brush for the painting and get through it quickly without fear of accidentally knocking off the extra details like warning signs and barbed wire.

To make warning signs for the minefields, cut some basswood posts and super glue planks across them. Press the center with the point of a wood pencil to represent the depression of a nail.

Cut some 1˝ posts out of basswood. To form an X, cut a notch into each side with your hobby knife and super glue the two pieces together. Then, clip the bottoms so they are level. Finally, attach a brass pin to the bottom of each post so they can be pinned to the minefield bases.

To make the barbed wire itself, twist two pieces of .50mm brass rod together. Wrap a single piece of brass wire around this to form the “barbs” and apply a dab of super glue to hold it in place.

Paint the signs and posts and glue them in place on the minefield. Attach the barbed wire by inserting the ends into holes drilled in the posts.

Using Minefields in the Game

A fun aspect of creating thematic scenery is generating house rules to give the terrain elements in-game effects. Here are some ideas for incorporating minefields into your games of WARMACHINE and HORDES:

The simplest rule is to treat the minefield as impassable and too dangerous to risk crossing. Treating it instead as rough terrain makes sense, too; the models are slowed as they carefully negotiate the land mines. I imagine a unit of Trencher Commandos flat on their bellies as they cross, stabbing the dirt in front of them and awaiting the telltale “clink” of their knife finding a mine.

If you’d like to make things more exciting, you could treat the terrain as open terrain; models can run across the minefield with reckless abandon. However, any models that move across a minefield other than to change facing need to take a test to see if they trip a mine. Roll a die as soon as the model’s move brings it into contact with the minefield: On a 1 or 2 a mine explodes and that the model suffers a POW 14 damage roll. You can adjust the lethality of the mines by increasing or decreasing the POW of the blast or using the blast template to define larger explosions.

Another idea is the “press your luck” method: Treat the minefield as open terrain, but have models test for every full inch they move through the minefield. The first inch will result in an explosion on a roll of 1, the second inch, on a 1 or 2, and so on with increasing odds. The model can choose to end its movement at any time after testing. So models could move cautiously an inch or two at a time, or press their luck and try to cross the minefield in one go.

Deadly terrain can also be devised for other factions or environments:

Yuri the Hunter has some bear traps that would make suitable substitutions for land mines. Triggering a bear trap could result in no damage, but cause the model to be immobilized for one round.

For desert terrain, there could be sand pits inhabited by Razor Worms. This could be represented by a sandy area with the worm’s horn breaching the surface. Models that disturb the dormant Razor Worm would suffer a single melee attack using the warbeast’s rules. Similarly, Cryxian Hell Divers could inhabit an area of swampy terrain, with their burrow markers used to indicate the area.

A forest of “unfriendly trees” could incorporate parts from the Wurmwood model, attacking intruders or draining magical energies by affecting the focus or fury cost of spells cast by models within the wood.

Conclusion and Contest

So now that you’ve got some great ideas for themed deadly terrain, let’s see what you come up with. The challenge is to build your own minefields or come up with some suitably treacherous terrain for the battlefield. Send in pics of your finished creations, and the coolest one will win the original minefields I built for this blog.

Photos of the contest entries are due by the end of the day on July 1st. The winner will be announced the week following the entry deadline. Send your photos along with your name and address to: [email protected]

Entries don’t have to be exact recreations of the terrain in the blog, but should be along the same lines. The idea is to inspire you to make your own terrain that will suit your gaming board aesthetics and faction themes. Readers can enter as part of a group or as individuals. However, there’s only one prize, so if a group wins, the terrain prize will be sent to the group to become part of their collection.

Next Time

Next time I’ll show you how to build a Cryxian bile chamber laden with pipes and smokestacks. The tutorial will focus on techniques like making swampy terrain with tall grass and using converted model parts.

I’ll show you how to make what I can only describe as a “Bile Thrall filling station” with the following parts:
x1 Bile Thrall Trooper #3
x1 Leviathan Body
x2 Stalker Left Legs
x2 Stalker Right Legs
x2 Cephalyx Overlords Right Arms
x2 Thunder Head Tubes #1

For some extra details I’ll also be using Risen models and the ubiquitous Deahjack Chimneys.

‘Til next time!