With Steam roller 2015 we started adding objectives to our lists, so they practically became one more model in every army. Most players might be satisfied with 50 mm tokens or an empty large base, but for modellers like me, this is an opportunity to show off…
As usually happens with my sculpting projects, this all started with one random idea for a cool Arcane Wonder objective, which led me to try and think up a ‘Khador themed’ variant of each objective type and that in turn morphed into brainstorming variations for multiple factions (since I knew that my gaming buddies would probably want some custom objectives for their factions when they saw mine), so throughout this short article series we will explore multiple variants of each objective and ideas on how to link them back to a few different factions in the game.
As usual let us take things slowly and start with the ‘simpler’ options: Piles of Stuff! By that I mean Stock Pile, Armory and Fuel Cache, three objectives that are basically a pile of tightly packed crates, weapons, ammunition and fuel barrels. Incidentally, that is exactly what you get from PP’s resin objective markers and those are perfectly fine to use as the above mentioned objectives, especially if you value your time/sanity more than ‘being special’, but since I am all about ‘being The Special’ I obviously had to pick the less sane approach 🙂
At this stage I just started drawing varied stacks of crates and barrels and imagining details to inject more character into them. My general idea for a Fuel cache would be boxes of coal and barrels of water/fuel, for Stockpile just a pile of crates and boxes, while the Armory is a pile of crates and boxes with a few shells thrown in. Lets call these the ‘Vanilla’ objectives that can be added to most armies regardless of theme; the next step after that is adding character:Talking about ‘theme and character’, Trollblood pygmies and whelps came to mind instantly. Each trollkin unit has assorted ‘mini-trolls’ hanging around their bigger kin, adding a bit of humor to the faction overall, so taking our cue from that, we could use them to create small ‘vignettes’ on the table. For example a Borka themed Fuel cache/Stockpile could easily be his booze stash: just pile up several barrels and crates of assorted alcohol and a pyg getting drunk on it (ideally you could bits-order and use the Keg carrier from Borka1).
Now, given the theme of my armies (Khador and Circle of Doom), my version of an Armory/Stockpile has to include at least one rack of Fell blades/axes; I should also point out that you could do this (racked up halberds, swords and so on) with non-Orgoth weapons for other Hordes factions that don’t really use light artillery, but want to use the Asset protection special rule.
Crates and barrels:
To put these ideas into practice first we need to get a bunch of different crates, ammo boxes, cannon shells and assorted wooden barrels; for that you have a few options: one way is to go trade/buy bits from other tabletop wargamers of other systems in your local gaming store/club; you will have the best chances with (Ex-)Warhammer fantasy players with Ogre kingdoms, Brettonia or Empire armies (I remember those plastic kits had many extra treasure chests, random provisions and barrels on them) or people that regularly buy GW’s plastic scenery kits. Alternatively many ’boutique model manufacturers’ produce various crates and barrels (usually in their ‘scenery’ or ‘accessories’ sub categories) that you can buy online. Also keep in mind that you have a number of ammo crates and other such details on Warmachine/hordes models, like for example Khador’s light artillery: both the Mortar and the Field gun models come with an extra crate and/or spare shells you could use for these objectives (I am sure if you go trough PP’s online store for parts you can find quite a few such details you could buy separately for a small sum). That said, my main skills are ‘scratch building’ and sculpting, so I chose to make those elements myself :We start by gluing together some small rectangles of 0.5-1 mm thick plasticard to make the ‘core’ of our box and then patiently cover the outer surfaces with a thin layer (less than 0.5 mm) of green stuff, to which we can apply our usual wooden texture: first you press in more deeply some horizontal lines, to outline the individual ‘boards’ and then, while the putty is still fresh, use a custom ghetto tool (Splitter) to lightly trace some ‘wooden grain lines’ on them.
You’ll notice I left my box open (without a lid), and used some more modeling putty to smooth out and ‘slope’ slightly the inside surfaces of the box, to make it easier to cast in resin (so that it doesn’t get stuck in the mold). After casting a few resin copies of the basic unadorned ‘open box’ and with some more green stuff and ghetto tools (mainly the Beveller) we can sculpt a bunch of different light artillery shells, rifle ammunition, grenades or even wine/brandy bottles inside the open crates, to give them some more significant details and ‘character’ depending on the type of objective we are aiming for. As an example, in the picture above you can see the process of sculpting some light artillery shells like mine, using the same two Beveler ghetto tools (0.8 and 0.5 wide ‘edges’) we used to sculpt Orgoth blades ( – Linky- ). Anyway the general idea is to first put down an even layer of green stuff, use the Bevelers to press in the outline of the object you want (cannon shells in this case), keeping the rounded side of the tool turned toward the inside of our outlines, in order to give them a cylindrical shape and then use ghetto tools with different points to push/pull any excess putty away from your outlines, creating a depression around your object (if you use ball point tools you can make this depression look like it is packed with hay for example).Besides the open crates we would also need some more closed boxes and chests, so the next step was to make a lid for our open box and give it the same wooden texture as the sides. Since I wanted a little variation between the sizes of boxes I also made a smaller and a shallower box and cast those in resin (mainly so that I did not need to sculpt every single box entirely from scratch). At that point we had to add some extra details to the outer surface of all our wooden boxes, by making thin ropes of modeling putty (less than 0.8 mm thick) and flattening them on the corners/edges of the resin boxes to make them look like proper crates. Keep in mind that you have to be patient and press on the box only 1-2 strips of green stuff at a time, leave them harden and then add the next strip… The process for the shown boxes took me roughly one week and was spread across several short sitting (add a detail/corner to each box variant and leave them be for at least 6 hours, then repeat until you’re done).I tried to keep the designs simple and ‘spartan’, since we are talking about army supplies not treasure chests. In the picture you might notice I made one set of crates with wooden textured edges (upper ones) and one set with smooth corners/bands (meant to be later painted metal), while the open crates corners vary depending on the contents (ammo box has wooden details, while heavier artillery shells have ‘metal’ framing and so on…). After four rounds of resin casting I got enough crates to make all the objectives everyone in my gaming group might want/need.Next I needed some wooden barrels for my Fuel caches. Obviously it would be easier to use some fuel barrels from 40k tank kits (I still have some laying around), but I feel they look too ‘modern’ for a steampunk-ish setting like the Iron kingdoms (except Retribution and Convergence, that look pretty ‘high tech’ already, so it can work for them) so I sculpted a couple myself. As ‘core’ I used some wooden barrels made for scale wooden models of historical sailing ships, covered it with green stuff and applied the same ‘wooden texture’ as on the boxes, let that dry and finally added the metal bands keeping the planks together.
Once we have dealt with the ‘boring task’ of bartering/buying/sculpting and casting all the crates, boxes, chests, barrels and miscellaneous other bits needed, we can finally start playing Tetris with our bits, dry fitting different combinations to our heart’s content…
Vanilla Stockpile/Armory:For starters let us make a ‘plain vanilla’ objective, much like the official PP’s resin objectives. The idea here is for it to represent both the Stockpile and Armory objectives and (if we stretch it) could work as a Fuel cache; that means it needs a pile of boxes, crates and at least one barrel, with some artillery shells and gears thrown around for spice.
Vanilla Fuel cache:Next on the list would be a ‘vanilla Fuel cache’, more appropriate for Khador, Cygnar, Menoth and Mercs than other factions that don’t use coal and water as fuel for their heavies. The main elements are the barrels (water, Menoth’s fury, oil or other liquid fuels) and at least one big-ish crate of coal (I used one of my resin-cast rifle ammo boxes, that had too many air bubbles on the ammo to be salvaged and just filled the box with craft glue and basing sand to look like coal). As secondary detail I used some of the smaller crates and some GW leftover cogs and gears (dwarf artillery kits), but you could easily add mechanic tools and jack spare warjack parts to taste.These are my interpretation of generic Stockpile, Armory and Fuel cache, without any particular connecting them to any specific faction. With that out of the way, lets inject some character…
Trollkin Stockpile/Armory:As I mentioned during the ‘brainstorming of concept ideas’, Trollbloods objectives can instantly get ‘very characterful’ just by throwing an appropriately posed pyg or whelp in the mix. As you can see in the picture, the objective is essentially the same pile of ammo boxes, crates and artillery shells as the vanilla version, but I added one of the pygmy loaders passing extra shells to ‘someone off-screen'(leftovers from the trollkin battle engine) and the objective overall is distinctive and gains more color…Talking about color, you can see how the brighter pygmy loader adds a nice contrast to the duller browns of the composition behind it, making the objective stand out a bit more than the vanilla version.
Trollkin Fuel cache/Effigy of valor:
For this objective we are adding a bit more focused ‘Borka-theme’ to the mix, by assuming beer, ale and brandy are what fuels Trollkin beasts and warriors alike. This isn’t a wholly new idea, if you search PP’s Modelling forums, you’ll find this concept used every so often (I even remember a hobby article series on Handcannon online a couple years back themed around Borka, with a giant keg instead of the Krielstone and other such conversions…), but it works well with Trolls so lets use it… Ideally I would want to use Borka1’s keg carrier, but since I didn’t feel like bits ordering one pygmy from the states, I used the other loader from the War wagon, bending his legs in a slightly different pose, to make him scale over barrels and stuff to reach some liquor on a big ale barrel. To make the tiny bottles of spirits, I used a small (2-3 mm) section of 1.5 mm wide plastic tube (the ‘shaft’ of a Q-tip), added a rounded half sphere on top, let that harden, then pinned in a short length of brass rod (to be the ‘neck of the bottle’) and finally added the ‘mouth and cork’ on top. This was also the objective primarily meant to use the open crate with bottles inside we made before.Again the objective is for the most part the same as the vanilla option, but the addition of the over-eager pygmy and the bottles with their bright colors work well to accent the more subdued tones of the rest of the model.
Saving the most complicated idea for last, let us make an armory/stockpile of arcane weapons. I should point out, that you could use any melee weapons from your own faction instead of my custom orgoth blades, especially if you have a Hordes faction that generally doesn’t field artillery, but would still want the Asset protection rule from this objective…The first phase is the same as for all other objectives so far, as in I stacked up a bunch of boxes, but left roughly 1/4th of the base free of crates (the rack of Fell blades and axes will go there and I threw in some mortar shells laying under it). At that point I sculpted a Doom reaver helmet left on a crate next to where my fell weapons would be.Long time followers might remember that at the end of my second Circle of Doom article (the tutorial on sculpting Orgoth blades) I left some sketches of other possible shapes for Orgoth weapons and in the meantime I did end up sculpting some of them; it is a side activity, parallel to any current sculpting projects at any given time, so I consider it a form of daily practice to hone my skills and refine this ‘soul storm’ pattern. I plan to eventually use some of these blades on my Khador models, but for the most part I just sculpt the shapes that intrigue me the most (trying to scale them down to single wound infantry size) and will later figure out what blade looks best on which model… Anyway since I have them ready, might as well use them on my Khador themed objective (I should point out that if you want to copy this idea for your own objective, but don’t feel like sculpting your own Orgoth weapons, you can alternatively bits order a bunch of Fell swords and the Fell axes of Zerkova2’s Reaver guards for the same effect).With the blades taken care of, I just had to make a weapon rack for my cursed pole-arms. I started by making a frame out of 1 mm thick plasticard, covered its surfaces with a thin layer (less than 0.5 mm) of modeling putty and lightly traced the wood grain texture in it. When I finished texturing all the visible surfaces I cut a ‘comb shaped’ piece of plasticard for the top, sculpted that too (only the top side) and finally added my Fell weapons, ready for painting…As you can see in the picture, I left the weapon rack and one halberd detached for ease of painting; the Orgoth weapons are the focus of this piece, so I wanted to give them the proper attention…… And here you can see my own complted Orgoth themed Armory.
Next time we will focus on Bunker objectives and similar structures; in the meantime if you have questions, comments or suggestions, leave a message on the MoM forums in this series’s thread ( -Linky- ).