Skip to main content

Painting the Ruins of Glendale Village

I back too many Kickstarters. Or, I did for a spell, at least. I've since scaled back quite a bit after a few too many board games arrived, often a year or so later than promised, and then have sat unopened on my shelves.

One Kickstarter I am glad I backed, however, is Nord Games' Ruins of Glendale Village. I backed it before getting a 3D printer for my birthday last year, but I think I'd still back it today, given the high quality of the pieces and very reasonable price. I opted for their "Journeymen" pledge level, which netted me two hefty four-piece unpainted sets of scatter terrain ("Set 1: Shacks & Guard Tower" and "Set 2: Abandoned Church"), and I supplemented those with three or four of their add-on pieces. The pre-painted versions pictured on their Kickstarter page looked fine, but not better than anything I felt I could easily accomplish on my own, and so decided I'd rather stretch my dollar by picking up more pieces and putting in the sweat equity of painting them myself. Also, I knew if I painted them, they would have a better chance of matching my existing pieces.

It seems the folks at Nord Games licensed some Hirst Arts molds, crafted nifty ruins, and then cast them in a special plaster called Merlin's Magic. My pieces were extremely well packaged, yet somehow one of the longer ruins still broke in transit. The funny thing is that I easily glued in back together, and I literally can't discern which piece it was that broke. All of the the pieces have a really nice heft to them, and I've already knocked them into one another a few times while prepping and painting them with no damage, so they don't seem particularly brittle.

I started out priming these by brushing on black gesso, but it was taking too long and abandoned the approach for a simple black spray primer, which worked out fine.

I consulted a couple of Black Magic Craft (BMC) videos on YouTube to guide me through the painting process, one of which made me reconsider my original approach to how I was going to paint these ruins. I bought these pieces assuming that I'd go with my oft-used three shades of grey (a base coat and two rounds of drybrushing). But the recent tutorial on improving the look of stone work by picking out some bricks in different colors caught my attention, and this seemed like a small enough project to make it worth trying.

I took some notes while watching "Better Stone Painting" (episode 109), and I coincidentally already had most of the exact Craftsmart paints he uses in the tutorial (I picked up the couple I still needed from Michael's). It's a solid set of colors to work with, but I found after taking a few pieces through the entire painting process that the Craftsmart Grey didn't really have enough contrast after the washing step in the process, and was hardly, if at all, noticeable in the end. So for the final several pieces I added a darker grey, Craftsmart Graphite, which was much better, and became suitably subdued and blended with the rest during the drybrushing stage.

I definitely departed from the BMC tutorial in two significant ways. I had never tried drybrushing before applying washes, as he does in his tutorial, and so I gave it a go on the first couple of pieces. I think it's a mistake, and I still far prefer saving drybrushing as the last step of the process; applying the wash last seems to essentially obliterate the drybrushing in my experience with these ruins (and in general).

Less significantly, I also abandoned his idea of adding brown or green washes in spots. I tried it on the first couple of pieces, but I don't think it added anything to the overall effect, and may have even muddied things up a bit more than I would like.

The other BMC tutorial I benefited from was "How to Make a Better Black Wash for Terrain" (episode 105). I had purchased all of the ingredients he uses from Amazon, and put together my own batches of black and brown wash. I actually liked the results of these homebrewed washes better than Army Painter's "Strong Wash" or "Dark Tone," both of which I tried on the first couple of pieces in this project. I ultimately just used the homebrewed black wash, and I was glad I made it myself, because I used quite a lot of it (probably the equivalent of three or four bottles worth if I had bought and used the equivalent in Army Painter washes). I would have to experiment a bit more before using this homebrew wash on actual figures, but for terrain it works great. And buying the raw ingredients means I have enough to make many more batches, enough perhaps to gift to my game crafting buddies (of which I've acquire a few now).

Below are some photos I snapped. I wish I had taken more "process" photos as I went along, but most of these are snapped after I had completed the whole project. Click on any of them to enlarge.

This is the first piece I painted, when I put the washes on last over top the drybrushing. I didn't like the effect as well as when I reversed the order on subsequent pieces. Still, not bad... 
Experimenting with washes here. The right side was a lot heavier and darker than I wanted. This piece was done several weeks ago (it took a while before I could carve out the time to turn my attention back to the remaining pieces), but I think the right side was done using the Army Painter "Dark Tone."

Closing Thoughts and Parting Shots

I'm ultimately happy with how these turned out. I didn't have much in the way of ruins in my scatter terrain collection, and this was a satisfying way to remedy that in one fell swoop. If anything, I was so pleased with the results that I logged back online to see if I could pick up any of the other sets, but I can't find these listed on the Nord Games site anywhere. They've since gone on to launch several other Kickstarters, but it's looking like their excursion into making cool miniatures gaming pieces like this may end up being a one-off, which would be a shame.

I will say that once again I seem to perennially misjudge how long these projects will take me. Maybe it's simple inexperience, and I'll get faster with time, but I sat down to crank this out in a Saturday afternoon, and the whole thing stretched into a few evenings in the following week to get to the other side of. Deciding to add a fourth brick color (graphite) to the mix certainly added to the time spent, but I also feel like other crafters crank this stuff out faster than I can.

Now I just need to get a game of Frostgrave or Sellswords & Spellslingers on the table and fight some skirmishes among the ruins. Alas, that will not happen for at a least a few weeks as I push everything along with my compatriots in the Second Saturday Scrum Club as we march toward launching Scrum Con 2019 in a little over two weeks! Hope some of you will consider joining us here in the Washington, DC area for our first little game convention!



    Couldn't resist!

    1. You know this is one of my fave songs off one of my fave albums!

  2. The variation in color looks very good.

  3. Lovely looking ruins,I like the line painting stone episode 109!
    Best Iain


Post a Comment

Well-thumbed posts

The Great Games Purge: A Tale of Loss, Folly, and Redemption

Around the time I entered college in the late 1980s, my up-to-then lifelong gaming pals dispersed geographically, and if we did cross paths again (some of us didn't), our time was usually spent in Olympian bouts of drinking, smoking, and trying to impress young women (sometimes successfully if transiently, more often in vain). Playing euchre, a card game that meshed better with drinking and smoking all night, became the default gaming pastime in college instead of role playing games.

I did, however, spend my senior year of high school and first semesters of college (circa 1987-90) as the weekend manager in a comics and games store in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio, and so I was still very much surrounded by gaming geekery. And being located a few minutes from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base meant that a fair number of airmen would frequent our shop, often divesting themselves of their amassed collections for a bit of cash when they got tired of hauling their games to whichever new po…

NOVA Open: My Curious Excursion

As I've mentioned plenty of times since starting this blog, I'm new to the whole tabletop miniatures gaming hobby. I am having a blast, and it has become something of a consuming pastime, sometimes scarily crowding out my interest in other things that might have once captured my imagination and arrested my attention.

So it stands to follow then that I decided I should go today to check out the biggest miniatures gaming convention in the Washington, D.C. area, NOVA Open. I liked the backstory of how the convention started as a big BBQ in a local fella's backyard, drawing about 32 players for an afternoon of fun back in 2009. It smacked of just the kind of community-building inspirational success story that's hard not to like.

Unfortunately, that homegrown spirit and sense of fun wasn't in much evidence today as I roamed around the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Virginia (just across the Potomac River from D.C.).

The last time I was in that hotel for a conference wa…

All Together Now: 'Sellswords & Spellslingers' and the Pleasures of Cooperative Gaming

I've always enjoyed a good competitive match as much as the next guy, whether it was sports in high school or video games (HALO, etc.) in my thirties. But regardless of the game, I've always been partial to team play, and the best cooperative games put all of the focus on succeeding as a team. That's one of the reasons I was enthusiastic about getting Andrea Sfiligoi's latest release, Sellswords & Spellslingers (Ganesha Games), on the table for this month's Second Saturday Scrum Club gathering.

Last year I had organized a Halloween game (recap) to beta-test Sfiligoi's Run From the Dead, which is built atop the same cooperative mechanics as Sellswords. I was surprised when I discovered these rules were re-skinned for the fantasy genre and released last December ahead of Run From the Dead. Hopefully, the zombie apocalypse version of the rules is not too far behind because I definitely think Run From the Dead is the best tabletop miniatures rule set I've …

Scrumtacular! A Scrum Con Success Story

I seem to fall into an emerging demographic: the middle-ager who has been in a gaming deep freeze for the past several decades (usually since high school or college) but has emerged from hibernation with renewed passion for a pastime that brought a lot of joy before being abandoned for so-called adult endeavors and responsibilities.

And like many a good fantasy tale, it involved me stumbling upon a forgotten treasure suffused with magic and mystery that set me down an unforeseen path. I was unwittingly drawn into this new adventure when I recognized, after unearthing a box in the basement filled with a couple hundred Grendier, Ral Partha, and Citadel miniatures from the 1980s, just how much I missed the inspiring pleasures and camaraderie of the gaming that took up so much of my teenage head space. 
I dabbled in board gaming when I could over the decades, and I even tried to get into a regular role playing game for a few weeks in 2002, but I was in the early days of a publishing care…

Photo Fun with the Wife (part I)

My wife's hobby is photography. She has a great eye, and she is passionate about good photography and photographers the way I am about the great illustration and illustrators of yesteryear (see my press Lost Art Books for more). I long ago gave up taking photos of anything on vacation when she and I are together. One only has to take a photo of the exact same point of interest enough times and see how superior your wife's turn out in terms of composition, dynamism, color, and "feel" before you realize it's best to leave such business in her far more capable hands.

She's not, however, a gamer, and I think she was a bit taken aback by my rekindled interest in a hobby that hadn't been part of my life for about three decades. I'm sure she didn't quite understand all of the time and energy I recently began devoting to the collecting of little lead men and beasts. But because she is a beautiful, supportive partner in all areas of life, she accepted thi…

Take the High Road: Making Cheap and Easy Dirt Roads

I have wanted some good roads to add to my games for a while now. My first attempt was a couple of years ago when my standards were a bit lower and I wasn't sure how much I was interested in investing in this new hobby. I bought some PDFs of cobblestone roads that I sized, printed, and glued to felt. The result was okay, but the way my laser printer  produced the roads ended up being quite reflective to the point of almost being glossy looking. The combination of glue, paper, and felt also meant the roads had a wavy consistency and almost always curled at the edges. I used them once or twice but was never happy with them.

I've been meaning to take another crack at making some roads now that I have more terrain-making experience under my belt and find the process less intimidating. If I had to pass on any advice to newcomers to terrain making it would be to watch a number of YouTube tutorials or check out a site like my pal John's 1,000 Foot General, and then just jump in …