Friday, February 5, 2010

Song of a Splintered Focus

I need new projects like I need new holes in the head. But I've always had an interest in anthropomorphic animals, probably due to (a) being nearly-named after a character in a much-beloved childrens' series, (b) loving the Wind in the Willows and the Reddy Fox stories (and others by Thornton Burgess), (c) being taken to see the WinW offshoot, Toad of Toad Hall (a play) as a kid, and (d) the Planet of the Apes movies. Oddly, I'd only run across the Redwall series recently and had avoided reading them.

So when I came across Splintered Light Miniatures' Splintered Lands range, I resisted as long as possible. One reason to resist was as a biologist I didn't like the all of species X (usually carnivores) are bad, everything cuddly is good. However, before Christmas, while in a skirmish mood, I picked up the well-regarded Song of Blades and Heroes rule set, then while accidently cruising through SLM's website again, I noticed the Splintered Lands mini's were matched with a sourcebook for SBH.

That got me thinking in the background while I worked on some other projects, and then I came up with the idea of using the mini's for more than a single species (e.g. hares being painted as a couple of species of hare/rabbit) and creating a background storyline of invading species, a real world biological concern. I also ditched the goblins, kobolds, and dwarves from the scene, but kept the minotaurs, satyrs, fauns, and lizardmen; the first three now belong to the invading side, and the lizardmen also being split based on the species I will paint them as. It will get a bit complicated with good deermice vs. bad housemice, but the starter kits provide plenty of variety.

So five more books for SBH later (I picked up the three expansions plus Splintered Lands PLUS the Mutants and Death Ray Guns ruleset), with $100 of well-armed animals on the way and a bit of doodling on paper, followed by hexmapping, we have:

To the north are what I'm just calling the Homelands, village-states with most villages being the home of one of the good native species (some villages are polyglots though). Across the Sea of Strangers lies the Empire of Horns, source of the Invaders - geckos, European hares (the Homeland is NE North American centric), Norweigan and black rats, housemice, swift foxes, shorttailed shrews, minotaurs, fauns, and satyrs (and more). The area of the homelands outlined in red is what the Invaders have conquered to date. Each hex is a couple of miles across.

While starting this new project up, I was in Michael's using up a coupon, when I came across their selection of Creatology wooden 3D puzzles. I'd heard about them before, but decided to flip through them to see if anything interesting came up. For $1.50 Cdn. I bought this castle and with some textured stone spray paint turned it into a facade for Highcastle, home to the deermice. It can't really be fought in or on, but can be fought in front of.

This is after spraying, I still need to do some touch ups, base, add some features (e.g. moss/vines climbing the sides) and then roof. I want to seal it really well, the textured paint has turned out to be kind of wussy even after drying a couple of days.

This hopefully gives some indication of scale. The lady is a Crimson Skies hero clix figure, so about 40mm. Way bigger than the 15-18mm animals, but it gives you some idea of size, I think the Splintered Lands figs will fit in nicely.

These are the roof pieces (they fit onto the pointy bits in the previous pics). The wood came with brick markings, which got sprayed over on the main structure, but I've painted them over here in black, then filled in with cranberry wine for the roof slates.

I'm not going to fool anyone that I've recreated Helm's Deep, but I think it should look great as a fairy-tale terrain piece.

My tip to give you the edge is paint after assembly; I tried to be efficient and just spray the boards before punching anything out, but needed to re-spray everything anyway.

There's a London Bridge puzzle for $7 I'm thinking of now; just not sure how often I'd have anyone skirmish on it or near it.


  1. Can I ask what you used to draw the map with?

    God luck with the Splintered Lands minis - I have avoided them as I can see myself collecting lots and lots and my piles are too big now (very uncomfortable)...


  2. Sure, no problem. The map is made with freeware called AKS Hexmapper. The fly in the ointment is it can be hard to find now, the site I got it from is gone, and while there was a Yahoo group dedicated to it (with the files), the moderator has disappeared and now no one can join. However, just in the last couple of weeks people have decided to form a new Yahoo group to keep the software going -

    It's a nice piece of software, if pretty basic; very Greyhawk-ish if you like the old school of mapping. There are user-made tile sets for it too that add variety (the red borders in my map are one such tileset). I have Campaign Cartographer as well, but by the time I re-learn how to use it at even a middling level of skill, I'm moved on from what I originally wanted to map...

  3. Thanks for the link - If you want a few maps for 15mm skirmish games have a look at though these cannot be edited.