The festive season is very much upon us and so once again it is time to hoist the Christmas banner atop the front page as I look forward to spending some time with family and friends. That said, as we rattle towards the end of the year, I am still catching up with posts from the summer holidays; where does the time go?
This then is a post to document the little extras, and flights of fancy, that I indulged in as part of the ‘Congo’ game that I hosted in the summer. The scenario called for the mighty Kong’s lair to be delineated with some form of markers. Fortunately, the ‘Adventure Pack’ that I had picked up from Wargames Foundry came with four skull topped totems that would be perfect for the job.
As nicely sculpted as they were, when it came to painting them they just felt a bit small to act as the final portent of the all powerful Kong; something needed to be done. As a simple solution, off cuts of roughly hewn blue foam were glued to some ‘Warbases’ MDF circular bases with the existing metal totem pushed into the top. With a liberal scattering of additional skulls, they were complete and just required paint effects to sell the illusion.
Flushed with success I decided to see what they looked like in situ and whilst delighted with the overall effect, I felt that there was too much of a gap between the totems, certainly big enough to drive a giant ape through – more were required! I toyed, briefly, with the idea of replicating the existing versions,* but something, somewhere pleaded for more! Researching the area and period, I had seen many an image of the wonderfully disturbing fetish totems, carved idols often covered in rusty nails and spikes, used to embody the spirits.
*after all how difficult would it be to stick a skull atop a bamboo skewer?
Having convinced myself that this was the direction that I wanted to go in I tried several times to achieve the desired effect, but sadly to no avail. I can’t remember the exact point that my addled brain drifted to children’s toys, but the recollection of the Playmobil penguins used in my Batman scenery prompted a different line of enquiry. Having successfully stalked my quarry through the often impenetrable maze of a well known online auction house, it wasn’t long before a consignment of plastic primates landed on the doormat of ‘Awdry Towers’.
In a frenzied bout of modelling the required elements were assembled leaving the painting table reminiscent of the worst atrocities from the Congo basin. More blue foam and the addition of some chain and my creations were starting to get to where my imagination had led me. Although at this stage, I had decided against spiked totems, I did think that some indication that the natives had been making offerings to appease Kong would be a nice idea and duly added some plates and crockery. Finally, they were painted to match the original markers and et voila!
Now you would think that having already spent far too long on my pulpy pedestals that my creativity would be sated for the time being, but alas gentle reader this was not the case. Buoyed with enthusiasm for the project, I reviewed the games terrain chart in search of any other likely subjects. A ‘pile of skulls’ was fairly straightforward, my worryingly large collection of plastic body parts yielding just what was required, but a jungle trap and quick sand would need a little more thought!
I can’t tell you just how much I enjoyed tinkering around with these final two pieces. All sorts of items were pressed into service including a plastic Zulu warrior’s arm, Empress Miniatures terrain bits, cocktail sticks and some of the new Games Workshop crackle paint for the dried mud!
Several ideas were discarded in favour of new versions, but ultimately I happened upon a couple of solutions that worked. Interestingly neither of them were used in the scenario, with our intrepid explorers narrowly avoiding the pitfalls in both the games that we played, but they will be there to trap the unwary another day.
Finally, then, and purely in the interests of completeness, I should mention the plastic tokens that I picked up for the game. I need to stress that the rule set comes with a cardboard sheet of press out tokens, sufficient enough to play the game. For some reason I always find myself looking to replace these with something more substantial so as to protect the originals, what I am saving them for I don’t know, but there you have it – all very special, as my wife would say. These particular versions were from ‘Blotz’ and laser etched Perspex, all perfectly serviceable and a reasonable price to boot. Having gone for white tokens, to match the original card versions, I did find that the different engraved designs were a little hard to distinguish, but a splash of ink soon resolved the issue, the excess simply dabbed away.
So with the terrain pieces assembled, the madness should have stopped there, but alas this was not to be the case. Whilst I was scouring the terrain tables for possible ideas to build, I happened across several creature encounters that I could represent, but that story will have to wait for another day.