Thursday, December 1, 2011

If Ya Want Sumfin' Done... Part 1

The Purging of Kadillus by Gav Thorpe skips over the opening engagements between the forces of Ghazghkull Thraka and the combined resistance of the Piscina Free Militia and the 3rd Company of the Dark Angels. At the end of the Prologue, Tauno is on watch and sees a dust cloud approaching Kadillus Harbour and after readjusting his magnoculars multiple times discovers that there are endless columns of Orks approaching on foot. He then promptly drops his magnoculars like a chump. The book picks up with the 1st chapter being The Tale of Boreas: Dark Cathedral. This is a great snapshot of what is referred to as "Ghazghkull's War" in the original Storm of Vengeance campaign pack from 1997, but it skips over the whole opening engagement.

SoV (Storm of Vengeance) also ignores much of that initial onslaught but it does kick things off with If Ya Want Sumfin' Done, a scenario where Ghazghkull lays claim to a coveted objective that the Imperial forces do not understand the significance of at the time. A small elite force of Orks led by Ghazghkull himself breaks away from the main assault on the city to seize a small geothermal plant inside the northeastern end of Kadillus Harbour. Master Chaplain Uriel and Lexicanum Charon move in to intercept the Ork forces but fail to hold the power plant.

This is a really important battle because it helps to set the tone: we are being overwhelmed. One of the exciting things I'll be doing with the Battle for Kadillus event is to flesh out that initial invasion of Kadillus Harbour and the bloody city fight that is alluded to but remains largely undocumented in either SoV or PoK (The Purging of Kadillus). Ghazghkull's forces surged into Kadillus Harbour and then dug themselves in once they had been cut off from reinforcements. The 3rd Company of Dark Angels and the Piscina Free Militia were unable to root them out initially, and the Orks had laid claim to key objectives like the Dark Angels Basilica, the city's orbital defenses, and of course, the geothermal plant. Though we will see tables with all of these key objectives assembled between now and April 19th, 2012, this week I began work on the table for If Ya Want Sumfin' Done...
My starting point begins with this scenario map out of SoV. As you can see it is a 4'x4' gaming area with a couple of diagonal city blocks and a couple of horizontal city blocks with the geothermal plant centrally located on the western edge, if that makes sense. Now one of my pet peeves with GW's representation of cities is that you have a bunch of free standing buildings scattered all over the place and they don't form blocks. A couple of years ago I began work on my own city table that utilized giant movement trays for the buildings themselves so that I could swap buildings in and out and so that I could set up my table in blocks. I've elected to use the same construction ideas of this table.
One of my major concerns when laying everything out is ensuring that all of the city blocks are spaced far enough apart to allow for "real" traffic but to be tight enough to block lines of sight. I decided that the ideal width between most buildings would be 2 Rhinos wide - enough space for 2 normal sized vehicles to pass each other.
Now the idea of a square movement tray to set up blocks is fairly easy to understand. You cut a bunch of squares and rectangles and put your scenery on them. In my case every base is 12" wide no matter how long it is, and it has a 1" border of sidewalk all the way around. This means that if I build scenery pieces that are 10" wide I can drop them onto my movement trays at a whim. The problem I ran into was that when setting up a table with diagonal city blocks my squares and rectangles would be hanging off the table edges; which is both unsightly and prone to people getting caught on the scenery and knocking it around. To deal with the issue I cut a variety of city block sections that are half squares or half rectangles with a 45 degree diagonal edge.
The sidewalks, as mentioned, are 1" wide. I cut them from standard foamcore and glue them down with white glue.

You will notice that I left a square gap. Scattered throughout my city blocks are 1"x1" gaps. I have left those behind so that I can put in street signs, overhead lights, or whatever other details I want that can be swapped in and out.
Just like other miniatures I put every building on a pink or blue foam insulation base. These vary in thicknesses based upon what I am doing. This allows me to incorporate basements or craters into the buildings I build and it allows me to swap scenery pieces in and out of a base as often as I like.
Here the pink foam base is cut and set inside one of my diagonal trays. You'll notice that I've cut card into 1"x1" squares and glued them down on my foamcore sidewalks to create the effect of sidewalk squares. You'll also notice that some of them have cracks or that there is an incomplete section. This is because I try to waste nothing if I can, so off cuts will eventually just become battle damaged sidewalk/curb.
Here I had an already assembled GW city building that Matt Weeks donated to my table construction efforts. Like the sidewalk there are cardstock tiles cut and glued inside and outside the scenery piece to add to the level of detail. These sorts of details will only be added to and accentuated as the process of building the table continues.
Finally here is the culmination of several hours work. All of my diagonal hard board bases are cut. I've started test fitting various pieces of scenery that have already been assembled and painted for previous projects and at least half of the table's bases for its city blocks are accounted for. Now begins the hard work of constructing and painting the buildings. These will be largely intact as its made very clear throughout SoV that damage to the geothermal plants could cause catastrophic mass destruction.

More next week.


sonsoftaurus said...

This sounds awesome, and looks like you've got a great start.

I just recently read PoK and knew it was based on earlier established background, but having skipped over 2nd ed wasn't aware of the SoV stuff. Interesting! I like it when they pull up stuff from years past and expand it a bit, like A-D-B did with the Red Corsairs/Night Lords/Marines Errant.

Impcommander said...

I also, just finished reading PoK, which Sons was awesome enough to lend me. I have to say that this is gonna be awesome. I think i have the Piscina Campaign PDF lying around here somewhere...

xNickBaranx said...

I'm glad you guys are excited. I'm sure you can probably track down a PDF of SoV online with a little rummaging. ;)

I've got making the Scenario/Force booklets on my list of things to do. Hopefully I'll have them done in the next week or two.