When I was a boy, I was fascinated by dioramas. The idea that the real world could be reproduced in miniature fired my imagination, and museum field trips usually found me pouring over the tiny reenactments of historical events located in those institutions. When my father bought my brother and I a train set, I had considerably more fun making little trees and cliff faces for the table than I did running the train itself. Watching The Lord of the Ring’s special features on the miniature workshop at Weta reminded me of the simple joy I took from seeing the world in a much smaller scale.
I mentioned on Monday that I might have to pursue crazier paths in order to bring my imaginary world to life. That was the preface for this post. In truth, I’ve been playing with the idea of scratch-built miniature terrain for the last two or three weeks, mostly to keep my hands occupied with something other than a cigarette. I picked up a copy of Games Workshops How to Make Wargames Terrain to see if there might be a germ of an idea there. After pricing a few of the needed components and finding them to be much cheaper than I had anticipated, I tried my hand of creating two small pieces, both of which are sites from my campaign world. I’ll let the results speak for themselves in the pictures below.
I readily admit that this is without a doubt the geekiest thing I’ve done in regards to this hobby of ours, but it was very satisfying. The wonder of tiny worlds which I had has a child hadn’t vanished – it was merely slumbering. And while sculpted terrain isn’t the easiest way to reproduce what’s in my head, nor the easiest to transport, there is a visceral reward to being able to place something on the table in front of you and say, “This what you see.” Especially if you’re already using miniatures in the game and can now move them about the three-dimensional shard of your world which has suddenly appeared.
Sculpting these pieces takes some time, but the majority of it was spent waiting for paint or glue to dry overnight. The actual time spent working on them only amounted to two or three hours each. If I was working on two pieces simultaneously instead of consecutively, I figure I could turn out small pieces in fairly short order. All that’s missing right now is the inspiration to make more and the confidence to build larger, both of which will come in time.
Yes, it’s a different way to go and it’s certainly a little daft, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. It could also be something that other artistically inept referees might want to play around with. I might even document my next project and make a “How To” post out of it.