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Steve Patterson's BFG Terrain: Planets

Novo Lindum, showing the terminator between day and night sideNothing accentuates a miniatures game more than well-painted terrain. Not only does it make the game look better, improving the feel, but if properly done can make the game easier to play.

For instance, a major tactical factor in Battlefleet Gothic is the position of the sun; having to shoot "upsun" is more difficult, and Eldar players need to know sun direction to make their moves. We decided to use the simple method of painting planets with a day and a night side. This makes the sun's direction immediately plain to all players with one glance at where the day side is pointed. Try it! It's quite simple to do, and actually makes planets easier to paint by cutting the amount of painted surface in half.

Barren planet CerebusTo the right is the barren planet Cerebus, which we use for flare-zone and outer zone planets. The core is a 10cm (4") styrofoam ball, sealed with white glue. The whole was then primed with black spray primer then half the globe was masked off with newspaper and masking tape. The model was base coloured with Citadel Shadow Grey spray paint.

When dry, circular pieces of masking tape were put on to mark out craters. Note the large circular crater near the centre; it was placed there to mask a dent made by accident during the glue-coat phase. The model was then lightly sprayed with Skull White, just enough to create a "rocky" look. When dry the crater rims were dry-brushed with white paint, then all the masking tape was removed and the inside of the crater rims blacklined on the sunward edges. The model was then mounted on two concentric circular pieces of black foamcore board, using a round toothpick and white glue. The name, type, and size of gravity well in centimeters was then lettered on the base with white paint.

Mining planet InfernusHere's the mining world of Infernus, used for inner zone worlds. Again the core is styrofoam, but this time it's sealed with white glue covered by facial tissue to give a wrinkled texture. Again the whole globe was primed black and one hemisphere masked off. The sunward face was sprayed with Testor's flat red enamel. When dry, the north pole was sprayed with Skull White, then the highlights up there drybrushed with white. The mid latitudes were given a wash with cheap craft paint, using a terra-cotta-ish colour, then drybrushed with a light brown from the same company. Then the masking was taken off and the model mounted and labeled as before.

As an added touch, some cadmium yellow dots were painted on the dark side to suggest mining complexes working overnight.

Civilized planet Novo LindumThis is our civilized planet Novo Lindum, which we use for habitable zone battles. This model is based around a 15cm (6") styrofoam ball sealed with white glue. (If I had to do this again, I'd sand down the ball after this step to smooth it out.) Like the others, it was primered with black spray primer and then had the night side masked off.

The day side was then sprayed with white undercoat. Continents were painted on with Liquitex raw umber, with mountainous areas painted with burnt umber. The oceans were painted with two coats of Liquitex ultramarine (which is semi-transparent, so two coats are necessary) and then the shallow areas were blended in with a 50:50 ultramarine and white mix. Then forested areas were dabbed on using a flat, light green. Arctic areas were sprayed with white, and then white was drybrushed on near the centre of mountainous areas and to simulate cloud cover. Finally the model was mounted as above, but using larger circles to keep the base stable.

The model is not yet finished, as city lighting has not yet been painted on the night side and full cloud cover not yet applied to the day side. When this is finished, I will put up a photo of the completed model to show both the day and night sides.

Created by Steven Patterson, last updated December 5, 2002
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