You may have seen a fun new terrain piece in the background of my recent battle report (Cultists Rampant!). It’s a gigantic sci-fi bridge from Pegasus Hobbies, and I love how it turned out so much that I bought another one. (It’s also super cheap at $15.99 on their website.)
Here’s a peek from the game earlier this month, with a tank parked atop its rusted, pitted surface. THE TECHNOBRIDGE fits right in with the rest of our grimdark sci-fi terrain!
I’m ashamed to report that this simple, effective terrain kit languished in my projects pile for probably 2+ years until I got around to building and painting it. It’s simple to put together – a sprue for the large bridge panels and another sprue for the guardrails, and you’re done! All sci-fi terrain kits should be this easy.
As far as painting, I wanted to try some rock salt chipping to create rusty pits and gouges in the metal surface of the bridge. I painted the whole thing black, then sponged on some bright orange spots in the center of the two bridge channels. I sprinkled rock salt over the orange areas and stuck it in place with a quick spritz of hair spray.
My friend Jim had gifted me a spray can of metallic silver, so I used that spray over the entire model. Once that was dry, I used a toothbrush under running water to gently loosen and scrub off the salt, revealing the spotty orange rust patches. Then the entire TECHNOBRIDGE got a heavy black wash to dull down the shiny metallic finish and the bright orange rust spots. After that, I did some gentle sponging with oranges and browns to punch up the rust effect throughout the model.
This was a VERY fast paint job, accomplished exclusively with spray cans, heavy washes, and various chipping/sponging effects. No small paintbrushes were harmed in the creation of this TECHNOBRIDGE!
I think the overall effect is great, and I’m continually impressed by the sheer size of this terrain piece. You could comfortably drive a Land Raider across the TECHNOBRIDGE. In fact, it served as the centerpiece of a forthcoming battle report from last week’s game of Grimdark Future Firefight! Here’s a sneak peek.
It’s been a while since we checked in on our Nightwatch campaign. I’ve actually had these photos on my phone for a couple months, just haven’t gotten around to doing the writeup.
Anyway, we gathered a few months back to play the fifth (5th) session of our Nightwatch campaign. A proper, by-the-book Nightwatch campaign is a carefully scripted affair, with seven sessions that slowly increase the intensity and danger, culminating with an epic “boss battle” in the final session.
So by that metric, you can see we’re quite advanced by this point in our campaign. Our characters are proficient and deadly, and they’re outfitted with all manner of deadly weapons, artifacts, and gear.
We’ve played a variety of objective-based scenarios up to this point in our campaign. For our fifth session, we decided to try a seemingly simple game mode – survive for seven turns. That’s it! Nothing more complicated than that.
It seemed easy, but the players barely escaped from this game with their hides intact. The danger started early and often, as terrifying beastmen began emerging from the depths of the Embermoon Forest on turn 1.
From there, the danger just increased expontentially. The slower characters, like Jim’s knight Sir Joshua, got bogged down in grinding melee combat just a few inches beyond the heroes’ deployment zone.
This meant that the more mobile characters, like Vincent’s alchemist, had to stay somewhat nearby to protect their slower comrades, and couldn’t race ahead to engage the beastmen reinforcements that were arriving every. single. turn.
This game featured repeated appearances of Terrors – those horrid, panic-inducing monstrosities that represented the near-pinnacle of the Nightwatch bestiary.
Terrors were nearly as powerful as the players’ characters, capable of dealing out fearsome amous of damage, and they arrived with frightening regularity as the game wore on.
It was, as evidenced by these photos, an absolute bloodbath in the Embermoon Forest. The beautiful autumnal foliage was splashed with ichor and gore, the branches blackened by explosive grenades and errant mage bolts. The entire valley was hazy with smoke as the battle wore on. Who would emerge victorious?
Heroes fell in the chaos, then gained their feet, only to fall again. A well-placed magical wall of vapor managed to block a rampaging mob of beastmen reinforcements, gaining precious time for the heroes to organize their defense and gain the upper hand over the savage interlopers.
The beastmen attacked with exceptional savagery, and their onslaught prevented the heroes from moving … anywhere, really. Let’s take a moment and be thankful that this wasn’t a scenario where the heroes had to race around the battlefield and visit different locations. If that had been the case, they would have been doomed!
The heroes spent the final turns in a desperate huddle, hacking at the hordes and using every tactic in their playbook to stay alive until the conclusion of the seventh turn.
These two photos offer a glimpse at the utterly relentless attack that they withstood in the final turns of the game.
And then, as quickly as they had come, the beastmen withdrew into the night, sounding horns and loosing arrows to cover their escape. Who can say what signal caused them to retreat? Perhaps they were called back to their villainous master to serve some darker purpose? Whatever the reason, they fell back in haste, leaving their dead and wounded to moulder in the wilderness of the Embermoon Forest.
And thus concluded our most frenetic, brutal game of Nightwatch yet! We have one more “regular” session ahead of us, followed by an encounter with the savage chieftain of the beastmen … stay tuned for more!
Recently I banged out a few Necromunda-style sci-fi terrain pieces after getting inspired by some posts that came across my social media showing nifty examples of aquarium filter panels being used to create terrain tiles.
I’m a sucker for cheap, creative ways of replicating the various pricey terrain sets that have come along in the last few years. In this case, the sci-fi floor tiles from Games Workshop are undoubtedly cool, but the amount of money required to make an entire tabletop of these premium pieces would probably buy a small island in the Seychelles.
So when I saw that someone had created some decent lookalikes using those super cheap plastic aquarium filter panels, I knew I had to give it a shot.
These panels are roughly 6 inches square and came in a pack of 10 for $14.99 shipped to my door. That’s my kind of price!! They come with a pleasing crosshatched pattern, plus a few round circular areas that looked ideal for future detailing.
As you can see in the photo above, they also come mounted on plastic 1-inch pegs that lift them off the ground. Very cool! I ended up snipping off the legs because these panels are made of flexible, somewhat soft plastic, and I knew I’d have to work hard to make them lie flat.
To that end, I mounted the plastic panels atop several layers of heavy corrugated packing cardboard that I had lying around. First I hardened these pieces with several layers of black paint and Mod Podge, then I glued the plastic panels down using a goopy outdoor adhesive. I had to weight them down with books to make sure the panels remained flat – they are soft and somewhat flexible, and the edges threatened to curl up without some weight.
The tiles looked great out of the box, but I decided to take them to the next level by affixing some additional bits – grating, plasticard, corrugated cardboard, just a variety of textures to break up the surface a little bit and create some visual interest. You could skip this step entirely, because the base filter panels look superb as is.
I also added some skull glyph plates that had been languishing in my bits box for years. Because this is 40k after all!
As you can see, the whole thing got sprayed black, then silver using regular old rattle cans from the hardware store. I covered that with a heavy black wash that dulled everything down and set the stage for the grimdark phase, which featured heavy sponge application of browns, oranges, and yellows, plus some decals and propaganda posters to punch up the zaniness.
Oops, looks like the decals weren’t quite dry in these photos. They look great now, though!
The circular details on the filter panels look particularly fantastic. They could be hatches, manhole covers, or drains leading to a fluid reclamation system. Whatever they might be, they look tremendous!
I’m inordinately pleased with how these turned out. I’d say 75% of the painting work was accomplished with rattle cans of spray paint, and I never used a detail brush at all – just sponges for the final highlights.
The best part was that I only used 4 of the 10 tiles in the pack to make these two delightful terrain pieces. More to come for sure, and soon!
Following their tactical defeat in the darkest depths of the sumps in Hive Sacrament, the forces of the Imperium fell back in the face of a frenzied pursuit by a hodgepodge of cultists. Some were sworn to serve the hereteks of the Dark Mechanicum; others bore the sigil of the many-armed Star-Children. Shockingly, among their number strode a few power-armored Astartes of the Dark Angels. Why would the Sons of the Lion make common cause with such vile heretics? Truly, it was a riddle wrapped within an enigmas.
Welcome, dear reader, to the second session of our Grimdark Future campaign, The Cauldron. The first session was an epic 8-player affair, featuring two side-by-side games set in the lower levels of Hive Sacrament. With the forces of the Imperium generally routed (with some exceptions), it seemed appropriate for the heretics to continue their uprising by pushing into unexplored areas of the underhive.
The heretics caught up to their quarry in an abandoned service sector, which showed signs of having been the site of a battle years or even decades ago. Here, amongst the blackened platforms and rusted catwalks, the defenders of the Imperium would make their stand.
Here’s our table setup, featuring some exciting new pieces of terrain.
We’re playing Grimdark Future Firefight for the first portion of this campaign, starting at 250 points and escalating to larger games as the campaign proceeds. For this game, each player brought 350 points of units. The game was structured as a 3-on-3 team game, which was large but not unmanageable (since we are veteran OPR/Grimdark players).
As the game got underway, the cultists boiled forth out of the depths of the underhive, sweeping like a foul tide into defensive positions that were thinly held by elements of the Adeptus Sororitas, Imperial Guard, and Space Wolves.
John’s Guardsmen and Rian’s Sisters of Battle had a fairly advantageous deployment zone, as it featured a lower level where they could maneuver in the backfield in relative safety and out of line of sight. From a tactical standpoint, I couldn’t easily see their units from where I was sitting, and I honestly forgot where some of them were located! Literal stealth!!
Daniel’s newly painted Genestealer Cult warband, the Starchosen of Manifest Salvation, played a central role in the heretics’ assault. Quite a few of his hardest-hitting units had the ambush or scout ability, which in Grimdark Future Firefight gives them the ability to either deploy further forward or pop out and ambush unsuspecting units later in the game. He used both abilities to great effect.
In the pic below, Daniel’s crusty mutant races forward to menace a fire team of Imperial Guardsmen. This beastly creature was defeated, but his mere presence disrupted John’s advance and helped isolate his snipers so my long-range cultist riflemen could pick them off.
Speaking of snipers, they proved to be a high risk / high reward unit for John’s warband. They seized the high ground early on and laid down punishing fire on the few heretics who were caught out in the open. After some losses, the heretics adjusted their tactics, sticking to cover and using their relatively few long-range firepower to eventually take down the snipers.
On the flank, Parker formed up his Space Wolves and advanced to meet the cultists. After some hot dice rolls in the opening turns, I was confident about my chances here. Unfortunately, the Space Wolves rallied and pushed back the cultists, ultimately seizing the objective on this flank.
In the end, the heretics had swarmed over most of the board, despite taking horrendous losses. The game came down to a handful of key dice rolls in the final couple of turns.
One such clash came when Parker’s Space Wolf equipped with a jump pack (!) and a flamethrower (!!!) landed behind my long range cultist sniper. In a miraculous display of zealotry, the cultist made all his saving throws and managed to return fire and pin the Space Wolf, effectively neutralizing the threat on the final turn of the game.
And so an uneasy silence settled across the abandoned hive sector. The defenders of the Imperium withdrew to better defensible positions elsewhere in the underhive. The cultists went to work harvesting equipment and weapons from the fallen warriors and carrying out unspeakable rituals in the black depths of the hive.
Truly, a dark tide is rising in the depths of Hive Sacrament. While the pilgrims still go about their holy duties in the upper levels, the fate of the Gamma Euphorion star system is being decided in the grim, gore-splattered underhalls of the resplendent hive city.
And so our second campaign session concludes with the hard-pressed defenders of the Imperium once again seeking to stem the tide of heresy. Stay tuned for more – our next game(s) will see the players bringing 500 point warbands for Grimdark Future Firefight. More to come soon!