The Pyramid of Shadows D&D 4E module is a cornucopia of dungeon environments. There’s Egyptian, cavern, water, forest and stone brick all rolled up under one twisted prison roof. This bevy of colliding landscapes is forcing Ben’s terrain mind to work overtime. This week were going to focus on The Bridge encounter and its homebrewed Water Bottom Boys inhabitants.
Encounter P3: The Bridge
This particular encounter is water-based and is right off the Pyramid’s main entrance. Since Ben has no flippin’ idea which room the group will explore next, he’s prepping the more unique rooms first.
The Bridge room definitely qualifies as a distinct area. We’re not just slapping down some 3×3 stone tiles and throwing a handful of Orcs into the fray. We’re talkin’ water terrain, rope bridges and colorful baddies.
Ben starts every encounter prep with the monsters. The Sahuagin Raiders are a big player in this adventure (4E Monster Manual, pg. 224-225) but that race poses a small problem as Ben is still trying to acquire all the appropriate miniatures. However, it does create a great opportunity as Ben has been itching to rebase some dusty, old Heroclix minis.
Ben nabbed these Heroscape Grut Orcs at a previous Gen Con. Mostly because he really liked the paint jobs. However, they don’t look anything like WotC’s traditional Orcs. These chaps are blue and thin. But that’s ok – they’re perfect for this aquatic-ish encounter. If you look hard enough, you could even say these fellas have discrete Water World gills. This group will be a rare offshoot of the Sahuagin race…outcasts if you will.
The Pyramid of Shadows mod has lots of turf war undertones to it. There are all sorts of groups trapped inside this prison and trying to lay claim to certain areas. So Ben is going to make a homebrewed gang of his own. Their leader will be “SogA the Terrible” and his soldiers will be the Water Bottom Boys. Get the whimsical reference?
The Rebasing Steps
So how did Ben rebase these Heroclix miniatures exactly? Nothing to it. The secret is in the base itself. Give this element enough TLC and you’ll be quite pleased with the end result.
Step 1: Debase
The original Heroclix manufacturing process makes a clean cut a little tricky but don’t fret. Start by carefully snipping away most of the plastic base. You’re going to end up with a thick plastic nub on one of the feet. Just trim that off and then use sandpaper to even out any excess plastic.
Step 2: The Inspiration
Ben always has some inspiration to point him in the right direction. Thankfully, GamzaTheEternal made an excellent water basing video. His insights really got the creative juices pumping.
Step 3: The Paint
Ben picked GW Regal Blue for his base paint color and covered the entire base. This particular shade also blends nicely with his Vallejo water effects material.
Step 3: The Flock
Ben likes to layout the base flock elements ahead of time to ensure the miniature has a leg to stand on – don’t rush this step. The quality is in the details.
- Boulders: Try Woodland Scenics Tallus Rock
- Stones: Woodland Scenics Grey Rock
- Grass Reeds: Army Painter Battlefields Swamp Tuft
- Logs: Woodland Scenics Dead Fall Logs
- Mud: GW Rhinox Hide paint around the large rock edges
Step 4: The Water Effect
Ben has run the gamut on water effect products – it can get quite frustrating finding the material that works best for you. Basecrafts encouraged Ben to try the Vallejo water effects line. And while Ben can’t for the life of him figure out a perfect way to apply the gooey material cleanly, there’s no arguing the final results.
For this particular project, Ben did a few test pieces before settling on Vallejo’s Pacific Blue. It matches well with his paper terrain lake sheet. He used a toothpick to apply the material which worked out swell as you sort of get a running stream/river effect. For best results, apply two coats.
Step 5: The Glue
Putting that water effect on the base is hard enough so save the miniature glue-down for the very end (or it’s gonna be mess city). Ben uses super glue to adhere his minis to their bases. Throughout this process, you should have an idea of how each mini will fit on its final base. Keep your selected mini next to the specific base as you build it. You’ll get quite flustered if you mix up which mini goes where.
And that’s how you end up with a menacing water-based monster clan…not too shabby, right?
Next week we’ll explore the specific terrain for this watery bridge encounter!
Questions to Ponder: What do you think of Ben’s rebase idea? Do you like these Heroclix miniatures? Got any other Heroclix favs? How would you have done the bases differently? Ever used the Vallejo water effects product? How do you apply it? Got any alternate paint or base material suggestions?