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Starting off with a finish


zulu.tango

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I've been wanting to do something like this for a while, and I'm finally pulling the trigger.
I want a place to share my work and receive comments on it that isn't one of the socials or discord. Plus I can upload here from work, which is certainly a boon. 

Opening project is going to be sharing the progress to date, and completion of, a display board for my take on the Euclidian Starstriders kill team (previously posted in the kill-team channel). I started the board last year, and completed the majority of it in February of 24, but finally got the final piece (a 3d printed aquilla lander) and am working to complete the vision of the board I had when I started. Seemed as good a place as any to start a blog. I'm still learning the in's and out's of the site, as well as the blog, so it might be a rough start, but here we go. 

At the final tournament at my FLGS in '23 I won a raffle for the starstriders kill team. As a challenge to myself I wanted to paint both the team, and a display board for them before the next tournament (roughly 2 months later), which is how this whole endeavor began. The team itself took a little over a month to finish (and can be seen here - 

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With the team finished, and my self-imposed deadline looming I started on the board. I knew wanted the to feature both xeno terrain, and a flyer. I ended up buying the OOP eldritch ruins pieces at a decent rate off Ebay, and after deciding I wanted the orbital asset to be represented by something more befitting a rogue trader's unique status (and therefore not an official GW model) I found a free STL for an aquilla lander and the idea was set. 

My general idea was the rogue traders invading an Eldar Maiden world, looting the broken ruins of a dying race in service of themselves, and the emperor (in that order). I'd recently bought a set of GSW's color-shift paints and was looking for a project to try them out on, and believed that they would help drive up the "alien" look of the ruins when compared to my starstriders. Overall I'm very happy with the results. The "shift" doesn't photograph well, but in person it does look pretty alien. I ended up weathering both the terrain and the "floor bits" (more on those later) with pigments which further dampens the effect, but makes the more exposed/polished areas catch the eye more. 
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The base for the board (and all my boards) is XPS rigid insulation Styrofoam. I have plenty of it at my house from when I worked construction and took a 4x8 sheet home from a jobsite on one of my last days. For this board I also cut a sheet of 1/4" plywood to serve as the bottom, since my last two boards had some minor issues with adhesives melting through the foam. I like to have elevation changes on my boards in order to better showcase the miniatures, and this one was no different. After playing around with it for a while I settled on a pretty easy two-tier layout that left enough room for the rather large terrain pieces to sit flat and not impede the view of the miniatures. 

I used an eldar terrain roller, also from greenstuffworld, to create what would be the broken "floor" being reclaimed by nature. I used milliput as the medium for the roller and while the results are fine, it was a mistake. I'd never worked with milliput before and trying to do a decently large piece in one roll was way more difficult than it needed to be. The milliput was difficult to work into a uniformly flat sheet, stuck to the roller without a substantial amount of water to lubricate, and was generally a frustrating mess. In retrospect I would have just used an oven-bake clay...but mistakes are how we learn. The final result was fine though, especially for my needs, since I could break off the best pieces and bury or discard what didn't work. 
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Once I had the terrain and "floor" pieces painted I used a combination of two or three different terrain pastes to make up the bulk of the ground. No particular reason for the variety other than I was basically using up what I already had. I knew I was going to cover up the majority of it with a different texture so the color/consistency didn't matter a ton other than that it was generally brown and lumpy. I cut strips of plasticard to make fences around the burner bases I used before applying the terrain paste because previous experience taught me that was far preferable than using just the placeholder bases. I would have liked to build up more depth with the paste to fully envelop the bases...but I was running out of paste and didn't want to buy more, so settled with a slightly lower level that leaves parts of the base rims exposed. Call it a lazy tax on quality I suppose, but overall I'm fine with it. 
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I bounced around on what to use as the ground-cover and settled on tea-leaves from a citrus tea blend my wife bought ages ago and had been sitting in our pantry. The colors in the blend incorporated the purples and yellows from my star-striders, and the pink/tan foliage pieces helped to serve as some color-pop while blending both the ground-cover and the colors I'd chosen for the eldar terrain. It also had a fringe benefit of making the whole board smell like citrus which was pretty pleasant, and still faintly notable even 4 months later. 

The flyer I had planned for the board wasn't ready ahead of the tournament, so I made the decision to not include it in my initial iteration, which was frustrating, but in retrospect a good call since I would have been significantly more rushed trying to paint and incorporate the flyer in the given time. 

Overall I'm very happy with the final results. I don't have any particularly great pictures of it yet since my light-box at home isn't large enough to fit it...but maybe someday. 

This first post took a lot longer than anticipated so I'll end it here. Next post will be detailing what I'm doing with the board now that I've got the flyer

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*edited for typos and arrangement

Edited by zulu.tango

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