We’re calling it the Mos Eisley Project. But, no, the Corvus Cluster is not transitioning to a Star Wars theme.
We’ve simply been fighting a number of battles in the deserts of Hegira, and we’re enamored by the potential of an exotic, sci-fi-oriented urban setting.
The Gaffer and I have a sizable collection of desert-themed buildings, mostly historical but including a few Star Wars-specific structures. We’ve also been watching the Disney Channel’s “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.”
All of this has conspired to fuel a new terrain project for us. There are many desert worlds across the Corvus Cluster, so why not create a really detailed, desert-themed community?
Not only would it be a fun terrain project, it would provide a great setting for some narrative skirmish games at conventions (if we finally shake the hold of Nurgle).
As we’re enamored by the architectural look of Mos Eisley, and our historical buildings are easily convertible to that style, we’re going to go for it.
We’re not going for an overtly Star Wars look, mind you. We’re going to add a bit of 40K gothic to tie it together. The Imperium is a galaxy-wide empire, so it’s obvious that in a backwater region like the Corvus Cluster, you can expect local architectural styles (along with practical climate considerations) to lead to a variety of “looks” for a city.
(I mean, when they built Notre Dame and the Taj Majal, the “common people” of early M2 were living in mud-and-wattle huts. So it fits to have a clash of styles between the rulers and the rabble.)
Step by Step
Our ambition is huge but likely attainable. (I’m a good nudger. The Gaffer) We’d like a good 5-foot-by 6-foot town, another section of city walls with trenches and bunkers outside, and a space port. Of course, that would take a 5-foot-by-12-foot table (at least) (Nudge, nudge. TheGaffer).
Yeah, maybe. But we’re smart enough to know that we begin with baby steps.
Right now, we’ve enough existing buildings to fill a 5-foot-by-5-foot table. So our first goal is figuring out a nice-looking layout. Do we want wide streets for vehicles? Or do we want a maze of narrow alleys and a series of walled compounds, so as to create a nasty environment for skirmish gaming? (Why not both? The Gaffer)
As we ponder all this, I’m working on roofs. Most of our historical buildings have roofs that are just dirt-covered boards. I’m cutting MDF sheets to replace these removable resin roofs, so I can build a skyline that’s more high-tech. I want to see solar panels, radar dishes, antennae, and other technology that suggests the sci-fi theme we’re going for.
I also want more domes. A few colorful domes will add a little flavor to the skyline, particularly if there’s a few antennae sticking out of them. (How-to article coming soon. TheGaffer)
Although not absolutely necessary, I like to sprinkle a convention game table with little surprises. I get a kick when people notice these little “extras,” as they take such delight in them and often take photos.
For example, I’ve got a model railroad neon sign that screams “girls, girls, girls,” and I want that flashing at the entrance of a sizable 16-inch-in-diameter cantina I’ve bought online. I also have a scantily clad pole dancer miniature (don’t ask).
Elsewhere, I might put some women in tech overalls, just home from work, watering a trellis with flowering vines. Or an Administratum official being carried down the street on a palanquin. I might even slip a rusty Dalek peaking out of a pile of rubble. (Maybe I’ll finally get to build my bar vignette in your Cantina? TheGaffer.)
As I’ve just bought a bunch of Arbites Enforcers, I’m thinking of a scenario involving a cult uprising or a food riot. So I’ll need to add sufficient lighting so that I can create the illusion of burning buildings.
The nice part of this is that such vignettes aren’t a burden. I just add them to the town as they occur to me, and as I feel the urge to create them.
A Space Port
The Gaffer has a sizable collection of aircraft and space shuttles, so he has in mind to add a space port in the future.
As it happened, I’d purchased some time ago a laser-cut aircraft hangar from Impudent Mortal Terrain, which happened to be at the Historicon gaming convention last November. (Nudge, Nudge, Nudge! TheGaffer.) While there, The Gaffer picked up a laser-printed warehouse. So, we suddenly had ourselves the beginnings of that space port. (As soon as I get the shanties, the market, and the MBA building upgrades done…TheGaffer)
We haven’t focused too much on the details. (We’re trying to get the basics done at the moment. TheGaffer.) Until we get these two buildings completed, it’s all talk now. I’m playing with the idea of creating a runway out of the vinyl floor tiles I use for my asphalt roads, but The Gaffer has some other ideas we need to discuss. (A landing pad in addition to the runway! TheGaffer.)
Between us, we’ve got a whole bunch of cargo containers, shipping crates, and other odds and ends. Once we add a control tower, and a bunch of other junk, we should be able to pull it off. If only I can get The Gaffer to stop harping (nudging. The gaffer) about that Forge World Thunderhawk that’s been sitting in a box, still in pieces, on my shelf for the last five years. (Six, but who’s counting? TheGaffer)
As you can see, I’ve collected a number of photos of various Mos Eisley buildings to provide inspiration and ideas for future projects. But one of the big challenges has been to figure out the “look” we want.
A lot of our Middle East-themed buildings are historical buildings purchased from the Miniature Building Authority (MBA). These pre-colored resin buildings come out of the box ready for play, and we’ve decided that we’ll use their factory-set color as our base. But we’ve a bunch of laser-cut, resin, and homemade buildings as well. This latter batch needs to be repainted so they match more closely with the MBA buildings.
They don’t need to be a perfect match, mind you. It would look weird if the town was monochromatic. But, in an old desert town, sun-baked and sand-blased stucco ensures a somewhat similar “look,” particularly when they’re all built from the same local rock and clay. So a garish mishmash of colors won’t do.
We also don’t want to overdo the conformity. There needs to be a bit of color, perhaps faded, to some of the buildings.
Now, I’m a paint-by-numbers painter—I make no bones about it. So, I’m relying on The Gaffer to provide the guidance. He’s got a talent for colors. (Plagiarism is the most sincere form of flattery. I ain’t that talented. TheGaffer) My only contribution is to point at some of these Mos Eisley photos and say, “I like that combination.” (You’re too modest. TheGaffer)
The Gaffer already has repainted a number of our non-MBA buildings, and I’ve got a bunch of homemade buildings to start painting. I’ve got the beginning of six high-tech roofs planned, and the pieces all ready for priming.
I’m also painting my 3D-printed cantina with Mod Podge and sprinkling fine grout over it to recreate a stucco look. These projects should keep me busy for the next few weeks. (Photos will come.)
We’ve got a vague plan to run some games at Historicon 2022. Whether we’ll submit to host games at a few 40K conventions will depend on what happens to our current issues with Nurgle’s pestilence.
In any case, this project should provide us with fodder for a number of practical how-to articles on terrain, so you’ll be hearing more about this project. Cheers!
NOTE: Except for the photo of our game table, all of these photos are just concept art and terrain on our wish list, courtesy of cyberspace.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.