Thursday 7 January 2016

Wargame Terrain as stand-alone diorama pieces?

Earlier this week I picked up the Military Modelling Guide to Military Dioramas by Graham Dixey (see this post for details). It should come as no surprise that I have already read it from cover-to-cover.

It got me thinking.....

As you can see from these images, just some of my many scratch-built terrain pieces, I like to add what I call 'clutter' to my terrain bases. I think it adds character and interest to the pieces. This clutter comes from a wide range of sources - some shop bought others scratch-built or sculpted, but all added to the model or models to add interest.

The Guide to Military Dioramas talks about this as an art form - to try to tell a story and I believe I have done this with these (any many more) pieces of terrain.

What I intend to do in the future is to try and produce 'stand-alone' terrain pieces - scratch-built models that tell a story or terrain dioramas. What do you think?

So rather than just plain terrain - I don't think I have ever produced 'plain terrain' - I will attempt to model structures and then add to them, more clutter or just some fun - and try to produce Terrain Dioramas.

I wonder if it will work? I wonder if there are others who might like to join me and instead of just building a plain model the next time we are modelling some fresh terrain, we could think about how it could be improved as a diorama, Terrain Dioramas. Is this a new trend?

Please tell me what you think, is it something that you would be interested in or am I just trying to complicate things?

There are lots of question marks in this post! and now an exclamation mark!

Think of it as my New Years Resolution.

Happy New (modelling) Year.



Anonymous said...

I thought you pretty much do that already! :)


Paul´s Bods said...

Wargame Terrain as stand-alone dios..IMO, you´re one of the best at it, so as to wether it will work or already have achieved it :-D
Happy new year

cianty said...

This is a very interesting topic and I am quite torn on it. When I first started painting my first proper building, the Blue Wolf Inn, I immediately wanted to go the diorama route. I added a drinking trough, lots and lots of flowers, ivy, crates, barrels, sacks... All of this was only possible because of the building's base. The building came with a big base that provided plenty of space for such accessories - just like the ones you posted above. Later I realized however, that these bases don't work for me, in fact they are even bad for immersion - when placed on a battlefield. The assumption for such bases is that they are placed on a gaming board which looks similar, so usually this is a mix of earth, mud, stones and grass. This may work for many houses placed on a grassy battlefield. But my setting has always been inside the city. So there are cobblestone streets and flagstone pavements. Of course there can be mud too, but then there is the problem with the elevation: I don't find placing a 5mm thick base representing earth on top of a stone underground very believable. Because of this I cannot really use any buildings which have these kinds of bases attached to them, not even when the only consist of cobblestones but are still too thick to be believably placed on the board (yes, I'm looking at you, GrandManner Napoleonic range). Because of this I am very happy that the buildings from Tabletop World and Stronghold Terrain either have no base at all, or the base is not attached. The last house I painted was Stronghold Terrain's Tavern and I did not even paint up the base. For gaming purposes I find it simply useless.
For display purposes inside the glass cabinet, however, that is an entirely different story. It is great to have a fully modeled detailed base to place the building on and create a little scene with figures and then just take the building out of that and use it on the gaming board without the base. Depending on how much time I have on a gaming evening I then place all those crates, sacks, cats, barrels, etc on the gaming board to have the board be one huge diorama. But that really depends on the time and if I am in the mood to do this for just a few hours of gaming. Also because I am totally running out of space in my cabinets so I just squeeze my houses in there, leaving no space for bigger bases and diorama eye candy. Yet I recently bought a few Town Square pieces from Tabletop World, which are just perfect to serve as bases for houses inside a cabinet and place models and details on.

I see a conflict between dioramic building bases and gaming board compatibility.
Still, I very much enjoy creating dioramas with my houses and little scenic items such as barrels, crates, animals, etc. I just don't glue them on bases but keep them as loose pieces so I can set them up either inside the cabinet or on the gaming board when I feel like it.

Heisler said...

I like the whole concept. While what I'm building right now are not meant to be stand alone, I could certainly increase the base size enough to start adding extra bits to give the building more "flavor" and give a clue to what the building is for when you an see the sign on the front. In other words; I'm in!

Tony said...

Thanks for the comments.

I am working on some olde style Oldhammer buildings at the moment - something I have wanted to do for some time, but other things have got in the way, however after reading the Diorama book I thought that it would be possible to combine terrain and diorama in one piece.

I know that I already add small details to my bases, mainly to add interest, but I wonder how far I can take this?

I also believe that the use of bases (or not) should not hinder or restrict the diorama idea - for example I know that Christian already combines 'clutter' bases to add to what I already think of as dioramas - the dock side dioramas are more than just a wargame table set-up. As I look down at my desk I can see finished models that I think could have more 'clutter' or some additional theatrical addition - and I don't mean people, just some thing to give a clue as to what the building is/was used for or even a little bit of fun.

I hope I am making myself clear - actually, I think the only way this is going to be clear is to Build Something rather than just talk about it.

Once the Oldehammer buildings are finished, I'll look at producing a new piece which combines the ideas of this post - a Terrain Diorama.

Thanks again.


El Grego said...

I'm about to start making my own scenery for games soon, so this is the approach that I am hoping to follow. Terrain is the backdrop for the drama set up by the figures, and deserves attention.

Tony said...

"I'm about to start making my own scenery for games soon, so this is the approach that I am hoping to follow. Terrain is the backdrop for the drama set up by the figures, and deserves attention."

Hear, hear and well said.....

I look forward to seeing your terrain.


M. C. Monkey-Dew said...

Have to agree with Classic40K. Seems you have already internalized that concept.

Mind you that is not a reason to try your hand at doing so deliberately :)


Tony said...

"Have to agree with Classic40K. Seems you have already internalized that concept.

Mind you that is not a reason to try your hand at doing so deliberately :)"

I think I just need to see how far I can push the idea.....