Questing in the dark
|My progress with the core box set so far|
I definitely have a soft spot for legacy mechanics and Blackstone Fortress uses them thoughtfully without breaking the game. I have managed to snaffle the expansions as well, but they're staying untouched until we've completed the base game content. I picked up miniatures for the optional retinue characters as well, but again, they're waiting for us to finish the core box story.
In the mean time, I have been painting the miniatures and I have to say, I've really enjoyed painting them so far! Each miniature in the set is crammed with intricate details - easily some of the most characterful sculpts Games Workshop have released to date!
I'm taking my time painting these miniatures, staying pretty true to the box art with my own little twists here and there!
|The Asuryani Ranger, Amallyn Shadowguide surveys the hallways of the Fortress, noting the skulls of foul Ur-Ghuls littering the dark corridors which await her...|
|Imperial Robot UR-025 kicks aside an Ork skull as he advances implacably through the darkness|
|One could almost associate a hidden sentience with this ancient automata...|
|Sightless Ur-Ghuls skulk in the shadows of the ever changing shadow Fortress, just waiting to drag unwary explorers to their doom...|
|A single Ur-Ghul is a deadly foe - a whole pack could mean certain death|
|A Spindle Drone scans the skull of a long dead adventurer|
|Silent extensions of the Fortress' alien will, Spindle Drones should not be provoked lightly...|
Making 3D Blackstone Fortress Bases
I always like to add some additional character to my bases and these miniatures would be no exception. I looked at several options, but eventually settled on doing it the hard way!!
If you're a lunatic like me and you want to replicate my bases, you'll need the following:
- Very fine sand
- Some small / medium gravel chips (between 2 - 4mm across)
- Styrene in several thicknesses (I used 0.5mm, 1mm, 2mm, and 3mm thickness)
- Some skulls (the Games Workshop skulls pack is the holy hobby grail)
Start by sanding the miniature bases relatively flat then glue the miniatures in place as they have tabs which you'll want to cover.
Next, cut some long strips of Styrene. I cut several 15cm lengths of both the 0.5, 1 and 2mm Styrene, but only a couple of the 3mm thickness as I only use it sparingly. I deliberately kept the width of these strips irregular (between 3 and 8mm) so that not all of the shapes would be the same size.
The main reoccurring shapes within Blackstone Fortress are triangles, so unsurprisingly, I would recommend cutting the Styrene strips into triangles of different sizes and angles. You will need a lot of them and it will take a long time, but stick with it and keep the triangles very small as otherwise you won't fit many on the bases.
A note on alternatives: I have seen people 3D print similar bases and toppers, but they are expensive to buy or produce, the quality is generally poor at this scale because of the print grain and most of all, they seem a bit too regular to my eyes. I know it's not for everyone, but this method does give you far more control over your basing and each one will be a unique 3D construction!
|This is about half of what you'll need for the explorer bases. I also cut a lot of the ones in this picture in half as they were a bit large when I started gluing them down|
Try to use different thicknesses next to each other as it will give you a nice uneven, stepped effect a bit like the giant's causeway in Ireland.
|If you keep this in mind while making your Blackstone Fortress bases, you can't go far wrong|
|This tiny base only needed a few triangles and a smidgen of sand...|
|...whereas this greater possessed offered the opportunity for a more elaborate base!|
Painting your Bases
Painting the bases is extremely easy - I have been base coating my Blackstone Fortress miniatures with a bone colour, but white would work in much the same way. I'd recommend starting with a bone colour as it gives a nice, richer shade on the completed miniature.
Start by painting over the base colour with a 50:50 mix of Nuln Oil & Drakenhof Nightshade to add some contrast to the deeper recesses.
|The 50:50 wash adds a little shade to the recesses and flat surfaces|
|The Akhelian Green immediately adds a nice turquoise colouring with the first coat|
|A second coat of this contrast paint deepens the colour|
|Two coats of Soulstone blue further deepen the paving colour and recesses while giving a beautiful surface sheen|
|Try to keep the chips and skulls to a minimum so as not to overwhelm the miniature|