Isstvaan III was reborn in plague and fire, and its surface became a scarred and ruined graveyard of civilisation. The life-eater virus unleashed at Horus’ command reduced all organic matter to sludge then orbital bombardment ignited the gases released by the actions of the virus. Firestorms thousands of kilometres wide swept the surface of Isstvan III and after the fires died out, they left a realm of ash and smoke scattered with the twisted carcasses of burned-out hives and dead cities.
This description in Book I caught our attention and, as we are in the process of updating and painting all our scenery, we thought it would be awesome to convert up some terrain to represent the remains of Isstvan III. Our ruined buildings and pipes would work well enough, but we wanted to go further and create some of the terrain mentioned in Book I. It would also give some fun additional rules for playing games with these terrain pieces.
It provides rules for mysterious forests and rivers, mysterious structures as well as a host of other scatter terrain. We decided not to make any forest and the sculpted skull pools on the GW Realm of Battle Boards look perfect as ‘grave slime’ with some green tinted water effects paint on top. It was on the battlefield debris that we devoted most of our efforts.
To build the scenery we used the following tools (not show is the base material we used for the models. We used a canvas board material, but we’d recommend using plasticard as it is as strong and easier to cut!):
(also learn from our mistakes and wear gloves when using expanding foam; it is a real pain to get off as water makes it stickier!)
The wrecks of Legion tanks, land crawlers and other civilian vehicles are everywhere on Isstvan III, their crews turned to sludge and hulls scorched by fire. The weapons on many of these wrecks may still function if an operator is willing to pull the dead from their seats and trust to fortune
This is the easiest way to show signs of a recent massive conflict and luckily we had a couple of spare vehicles lying about to turn into wrecks. First we built the rhino normally, leaving doors unglued so we could position them on the base. We then went to town cutting up the vehicle and using drills to simulate weapon fire, and we thought the dead gunner was a nice opportunity to show a last stand of a nameless marine.
Next thing we did was spray a load of expanding foam onto the base then pressed the rhino down onto it so it interacted more naturally with the base; it looks like it was in the thick of it before it got hit/wrecked. To blend the expanding foam into the base we used polyfilla and stuck the sand mix to it using pva glue. The end result looks like this:
We also knocked up a wrecked land speeder. It is meant to look like it got hit whilst skimming and then crashed into the ground, throwing dirt up in the process. We used expanding foam to build up the dirt then used polyfilla and sand to blend it in, like with the rhino. There are a couple of details on the model, like the gunshot hole in the pilot’s helmet maybe suggesting why it crashed. It will have a multi-melta attached, as a deadly weapon you can try and fire in game.
The dead are everywhere on Isstvan III. The shattered remains of thousand of dead Legionaries lie heaped like flotsam on a seashore, leaking liquefied flesh from the split joints and broken eye pieces of their armour.
Such a cool idea, and very grimdark. The idea of piles of dead was too cool not to include on the board. We struggled for a while how to represent it on the table though. We had a box of old plastic zombies lying around and added what spare bits we had. Initially we just tried to build up bodies by themselves but it did not look like much of a mound. Instead we went back to the expanding foam and then placed the bodies/marine bits in the foam as it expanded. This looks like it actually offers a cover save and the foam can just be the liquefied remains of the population.
Whilst biological matter was eaten by the life-eater virus so there technically should not be any human corpses, we figured it helped make the corpse mound look more corpse-y and remind that humans had fought on the planet too.
Drop Pod Carcass
Hundreds of drop pods remain from when the loyalists deployed to bring Isstvan III back into compliance. Now many remain strewn across the grey sea of wreckage and ruin.
Again another image too cool not to do, we managed to get some drop pods really cheap on ebay and set to work making them look like terrain rather than models. We decided to have them on built up bases to represent the damage caused by their impact. Having cut out a suitable sized base we then added expanding foam before pressing the drop pods down in it. We think this makes the landing look realistic, what do you think?
We then added polyfilla and sand to the based so it would match the boards. We pressed them in at a slight angle as well just to give a bit more interest to them. These drop pods were heavily inspired by the board that was at Warhammer World for a while with all the drop pods lying about. There’s still one more drop pod to build and we think they’ll look pretty great all together.
The centrepiece of our Isstvan board will be the crashed thunderhawk tile from ForgeWorld. We’ve started working on it already and decided to paint it in Emperor’s Children colours so it would stand out from the board. In addition it presented some fun themed battle opportunities around Saul Tarvitz and his actions on Isstvan III.
That’s all we’ve done so far. The debris is currently sitting outside having been sprayed so there should be updates on them shortly! Let us know what you think of the terrain.