Monday, May 1, 2017

Wild West Exodus Hex Swamp

Those of you who went to Salute and visited the Warcradle Studios booth will have gotten to see the board I made for them. They've got some pictures of the Hex Swamp up on their blog, including a walk-around video of the board. You can also find out more information about the upcoming second edition of the Wild West Exodus miniatures game: http://blog.wildwestexodus.com/blog/2017/4/26/hex-fane


In this post I'll go through some of the process I used to build the board and show off a few detail shots of the finished board.

The guys at Warcradle provided an overview of what they were looking for, and some reference material for details like the statues and the altar. The concept for the board was a mesa in the middle of a swamp with a stonehenge-like formation atop it.

I built the board out of insulation foam, and burned depressions into it with a heat gun.



The mesa was formed with layers of insulation foam. When cutting the rocky steps into the side of it, I made sure to leave plenty of area for a model's base to stand, and made sure the steps themselves weren't too high. Each step is low enough to look like it could be believably climbed.


The henge-stones are also made of foam, but they are made from two layers sandwiched over some MDF board so they will be nice and sturdy. The seams were patched with wood filler putty, and everything was carved onto a rocky shape and cut with cracks.


All the stones plug into the mesa, and a partial circle fits over the top. Having some of the stones broken away allows the center of the mesa to be more easily accessed.


The center of the mesa is paved with stones, made from a sheet of brick-textured styrene.


Once the construction was finished, I painted everything using a mix of browns and greys with an organic process of washing and drybrushing.


The stones were all kept separate for painting. Here they are inserted...


...and then with the top stones added.


Some of the reference material included various Native American designs, and I painted these onto the stones.


The hexagram was painted into the center of the circle. The final touch was to add some skulls, bones, feathers, and candles (seen in the final pictures).


The base of the table was sanded and painted, and I built a wood frame around it. The frame would help hold the water effects in the recesses, and it matches the other black frames that I had made for their previous Wild West Exodus demo boards.


The trees were made from Woodland Scenics plastic tree armatures, with clump foliage and cotton "moss" hanging from the branches. The trees on the exterior of the board are still alive, but they are devoid of leaves as they get closer to the center and the Hex altar.


Over the swamp, I built a series of wooden walkways, and a ruined house. These were all constructed with basswood strips of various sizes.


The wood was painted, keeping it mostly grey, since it was old and weathered. I attached the trees and wood bits to the table and added some flock and static grass. The edge was painted black. This is the final shot, with everything finished before adding the tall grass and water. If you want to see the process I used for the grass and water, it's very similar to my Swamp Grass Tutorial.


Here's the finished Hex Swamp in all its glory:


The aforementioned skulls and feathers. The feathers were sculpted from modeling putty, and the bones were scavanged from my parts box.


The altar itself is magnetized so it can be removed.


The candles were a last-minute addition (which is why they are missing from most of the glamor shots). They were made with the process I demonstrated in my Candle Tutorial.


The concept included some statues of a shadowy figure, with black ichor running down from her eyes and spreading out into the swamp. The effect was achieved by swirling some black and green paint into the Envirotex Lite resin as it cured. The statues themselves were made out of a princess figure bought at the craft store, with robes, horns, and the staff sculpted over top. All that remains of the original figure is the lower skirt and the face.


One final touch was the addition of a few monstrous angler fish lures breaking the surface of the water. They are sculpted on clear bases so they can be moved around the board. Don't get too close!


The collapsed house has a boat tied up, as though someone had recently visited. Perhaps he fell victim to the creatures in the water, or perhaps there are darker forces at work in the Hex Swamp..?


'Til next time!


  1. Thanks for another excellent tutorial.

    I saw the board at Salute and was blown away. As for the game I can give that a miss but your board certainly helped to grab my attention as I was passing!

  2. Beautiful work. Very inspirational.

  3. This was one of the fantastic boards which caught my eye on Salute.
    It's great to see how it was made.

  4. I thought this demonstration game had the best terrain to be seen at Salute. It certainly served it's purpose in getting me to look at a game I would other wise have passed by. Thanks for posting the construction pics!

    1. Thanks Simon! I'm always happy to hear from people who get to enjoy my scenery in person! :)


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