I carefully avoided the spoilers for The Hobbit until I was ready to bust in late November. At that point, I could not stand it anymore and slaked my thirst by drooling on the new GW Hobbit minis instead of movie spoilers. Santa ordered the Escape From Goblin Town game from GW. I had to wait until New Years Eve to open it and then I gobbled it up!
- Goblin King Inspection
Crawl up on the soap box….
There are things about the Hobbit movie stylistic differences from the LOTR that are not to my satisfaction (as if my opinion mattered). Of course, that is true of every TOLKIEN thing that has come down the pike. In the movie (and by extension the GW Hobbit game), that means the Goblins are a bit too cartoony and feral to my tastes. Of course, the minis in the GW game accurately reflect Peter Jackson’s movie. Likewise, I think some of the dwarves look a bit silly, but the same can be said for many humans (again as if my opinion mattered). But yet again, GW’s sculpts are spot on for the actors. I could also moan about the prices of the minis, but they are still cheaper than the original GW metal LOTR that first came out ($7 a blister for 3 minis or $2.33 a pop) ten years back.
Step back to reality – PJ and GW made the choices they made and I have swallowed the whole thing again. No doubt, in ten years I will like all these things immensely and they will seem dirt cheap.
Step off soap box….
I actually wrote that bit back in January. As I finished basing the Misty Mountain Goblins (MMG) and put together Goblin Town, I realized it did not take me 10 years. These lads rock!
Anyway, I bought the Games Workshop Escape from Goblin Town box set, 3 Platform sets, and 2 more sprues of Goblins from e-bay. I had been working on things cavernous since early last year and this stuff fit right in. These platforms paint up like a dream. I used Kyrlon brown primer, a nice dark brown base coat, and then dry brush with a Apple Barrel English Ivy Green craft paint here and there (for algae slime) followed by a heavy dry brush with GW Bleached Bone. I painted the bone bits with more GW Bleached Bone with the occasional GW Skull White highlight.
- Great Goblin’s Throne Platform
I began to think of how I could make easy to set-up large scale underground terrain that represented large cavernous spaces (like Carlsbad Caverns or the descriptions of the D&D underdark or the Goblins mines of the Misty Mountains).
Zuzzy makes a fabulous latex rubber game mat called Despoiled Reaches that I thought would make a great basis for my concept. For the mat, I just did a dry-brush of Delta Ceramcoat Hippo Gray and Quaker Gray to raise the detail. Very easy and quick (probably an hour all told for a 6′ x 4′ mat).
Additionally, they have some very nice Sulfur Mounds, Sulfur Vents, Limestone Spurs, and Hills that are made to match the style of the game mat. I used Krylon gray primer on the mounds, vents, and spurs plus a set of GW craters and then did matching dry-brushing. In my opinion it looks fabulous and almost seamless. I also made some Styrofoam pillars / rocks / cliffs, glued railroad ballast to these, and gave them the same paint scheme.
To add to the cavernous diversity, I also bought the cool Gale Force 9 D&D “Caverns of the Underdark” and dry-brushed the bases and some highlights of the spires with Hippo Gray and Quaker Gray to match. These make a nice forest of stalagmites with some oily black pools and purple crystals. I stuck a couple of the large Zuzzy broken stalagmites in the area to tie it back to the rest of the features.
- Underdark Stalagmites, Pools, and Crystals
Someone pointed out on TMP the Angry Badger platforms and I bought one of those kits. Very nice indeed. These are a snap to assemble and disassemble after a game. They have great wood-grain and paint up very nicely to match the other pieces. The set includes two high walkways (about 4″ tall}, a large platform that is about an inch tall, and a pair of ladders that the minis can scale. Nice synchronicity with the GW platforms. I plan to get another set. If you check out his site, you will also see other neat fantasy stuff.
All that is left is to add some custom stuff. A few coffee stirrers later, I made a couple of ramshackle bridges to span platforms and have plans for a few more tottering towers, perilous bridges, a couple of cranes, and a zipline or two. Last I have box of Wargames Factory skeletons whose bits will be painted and scattered about the Zuzzy mat and the Angry Badger platforms to tie it all thematically together.
- Mine Pits and Platforms
So back to the Hobbit EFGT boxset. I have been making a big push for 3 games this spring set in the Shire, in old Arnor, and Isengard. I almost waylaid myself with the detour to the cavernous stuff, but then realized that it was a great way to add the industrial / ravished earth look to Isengard. I even decided not to paint my Ziterdes walls (that I had planned to paint white to match my Gondor White City Terrain) and left them gray with some highlights to match this stuff rocky / cave look.
- Protect the Crystal Farm
The Great Goblin looks back at his realm…
- The big cavern
Here is a picture of the Zuzzy mat, GW craters, Zuzzy mounds/vents/spurs, the Angry Badger platform, a couple of my homemade bridges, and Saruman on an inspection tour of Isengard. Of course, add some other features and it is Moria, Misty Mountains, Minas Ithil, Morannon, Angband, Mt. Doom, etc.
- Moria, Mordor, or Isengard Terrain
Although I received many compliments on my Isengard game lay-out, it was mostly by happenstance. I still have a set of cranes, platforms, wheels, and infernal machines brewing for a future game, but in this case I love it when a non-plan comes together.
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