GOTHIC GRAVEYARD ARENA
|Graveyard Arena: Close-Up|
I've finally completed my "Graveyard Arena" - or, at least, enough of it to bother taking a picture. The whole thing consists of separate modular pieces that are sitting atop the same fieldstone "arena floor tiles" that I used for the jungle arena at the palace of the Elephant King for my Ironclaw game. Each of the terrain pieces sits on a grassy base, so that it can give the impression of a grassy graveyard - and the areas left exposed on the fieldstone base represent the cobblestone walkway through the graveyard. (Admittedly, this graveyard has an awful lot of walkway compared to burial space, but some concessions must be made for game playability!)
|Graveyard Arena: Front|
Here's a front-on view of the whole thing. The squares are each 1.5" x 1.5" - the perfect size for fitting Mage Knight miniatures bases - so I have an assortment of some of my painted Mage Knight minis here for scale. (I have yet to actually play Mage Knight ... but when I do, I plan on having plenty of terrain for my figures to do battle on! Never mind that I only buy the cheapest "Weak" models I can get. ;) ) The pieces are from a variety of Castlemolds sets. The fences, alas, are just toothpicks and cardboard; I have yet to reach the level of mastery to try casting plastic fences using Chris's Graveyard mold. One of the tombs is actually a plastic piece from the old Milton Bradley/Games Workshop "HeroQuest" game, and another (in the far background, mostly obscured) is one that I sculpted and then made an elastomer mold of, back in 1994. (I finally found a proper graveyard for it.) The central monument has an angel miniature on a pedestal. Here and there are cloaked figures - copies of a "Darth Sidious" plastic figure from a Star Wars board game I got at the thrift store a while back.
|Graveyard Arena: Top|
Here's the top-down view of the graveyard pieces initially arrayed on a 2x3 grid of board sections (each board section having 4x4 1.5" squares on it). The figures are from Mage Knight: a Manticore in the upper left corner, a Hydra at the top, a Feral Bloodsucker in the lower right, and a couple of Crystal Sprites flanking the central monument. (All of them are repaints.)
|But that's not all! I made some more fence sections, and some wall/door/window sections for a "shrine" to put in the graveyard, and other features. Below are some photos I took of some D&D Miniatures kitbash jobs around the "shrine".|
|Axe Sister in Graveyard|
This is an "Axe Sister" miniature from the Harbinger set of D&D Miniatures, which I decided to do some detail work on. She's standing against a wall section (3" wide) formed of pieces primarily from the Gothic Dungeon Accessories (Mold #41) and Gothic Panel Accessories (Mold #43). I used the doors from the Dungeon Accessories, and painted in the recessed areas to suggest windows, with a greenish glow emanating from somewhere inside the shrine. The statues are from the Gothic Panel Accessories.
The "angel statue" tombstone in the foreground (viewer's left) is from an old Rafm "Vampyres" miniatures pack called "The Cat". Some other gravestones are plastic headstones from the Games Workshop "Skeleton Army" pack, but I glued shield icons onto them to give them a little more variety.
|Axe Sister Close-Up|
And here's a close-up of the model. (I didn't like her featureless face or Samurai-cut-high forehead as originally painted on the mini, and I figured with a little work, she'd come out nicely. I used bits of Magic Sculp "crumbs" left over from kitbashing a character for
Actually, this shot came about accidentally. I've been playing with the "close-up" feature on my digital camera, but it's pretty awkward to get a decent shot: this close up, the viewfinder does not give an accurate idea of how the picture is going to wind up, because it's off to the side of the actual lens. (At a distance, this is no big deal, but this close, it makes a big difference.) Furthermore, the flash is offset as well, so I've been having trouble with shadows ending up in bad places, if the flash just happens to catch the edge of a statue or archway. Anyway, while trying to photograph the minotaur, I caught this, and I thought that the "orange glow" sky effect (actually, the family room wall, in shadow) looked particularly creepy.
|Minotaur in Graveyard|
And here's the minotaur (my one "rare" mini from my D&D Miniatures Entry Pack) painted up and posed in a "shrine" in my graveyard set. I wasn't overly impressed with the plastic minotaur miniature as it was - particularly with the smooth and dull-looking face. So, I used some putty to give him some furrowed eyebrow ridges, to rough up his "mane" some more, and to fill in the seams where the arms and head are glued to the body. While I was at it, I sculpted a loincloth for him, and glued on a pack and some morbid trophies. I think the result, while not contest-quality, is still a bit more impressive than the original model. As for the archway that I'm photographing him through, that's the back side of my "graveyard shrine", with an arch made from Mold #44 "Gothic Additional Accessories", and a base made primarily from Mold #42 "Gothic Arena Accessories". I had to score part of the edge of the arches and cut them off while the hydrocal was still somewhat moist and soft, in order to bend the gothic arch to fit flush together on a narrower base.