I quite enjoy bringing thematic objective markers to my games. I feel it adds a little extra theme and attractiveness, as well as providing a slightly varied modelling experience. With that said, I’ve recently created objectives for the Marvel Universe Miniatures Game (“MUMG”), as well as my Trollbloods army for Hordes.
As a starting point for objective markers, I determine what I need from a size and theme perspective, usually by reading through the various scenarios for the game system. In the case of Hordes, the Steamroller pack scenarios specify that objectives have 50mm bases, and looking through the scenarios there aren’t any that require more than two, and flags with 40mm bases are also needed, with the maximum being four. For MUMG it’s a little more complicated, with the scenarios objectives as follows:
- Energy Pillars – three 40mm bases
- Relic – two 30mm bases
- Headquarters – two 40mm bases
- Rifts – eight 30mm bases
- Infinity Gems – three 30mm bases
So, in total I need to be able to field up to eight 30mm bases and three 40mm bases in any given scenario. I started here by making my pillars and relics only, and will be doing the rift and infinity gem tokens in future.
The bases I used were from Wyrd Miniatures, but you can use any round lipped base, or even just laser cut MDF rounds.
I note that each of these games also have zone based scenarios, where a certain area of the board needs to be marked out, but I’ll cover options for this in future (as I haven’t worked out a solution I’m happy with as yet!).
After working out what the base requirements are for the objectives, I now think through the theme I want for the objectives and what’s possible on the given base size.
For my Trollbloods, I decided to go with a relatively cheap option by making large stones with runes carved into them. I figured this would tie back to the Krielstone and Runeshapers I run in the army, as well as being something that can be easily scaled to different base sizes.
For MUMG, I spent some time thinking about different options, including building something like the tesseract from Avengers. Some of my initial thoughts were: a round bead with a square frame made from plastic rods or balsa wood; a foam cube with a circuit board type pattern carved on it; or, a textured base with maze or crop circle design painted on to it. I may still try some of these ideas for the rifts. At the same time I was prepping for this, I was also looking at different terrain ideas, at which point I stumbled upon the multitude of Infinity terrain that exists. I eventually settled on some Alien Artifacts from Micro Art Studios as my relics, and futuristic lampposts from Antenocitis Workshop for the pillars. I sourced both of these through The Combat Company, and highly recommend them for online ordering, they have always been quick and open in their communication and dealings over the years I’ve dealt with them.
Having decided I was going to make rock objectives for my Trolls, I started investigating ways to make them. As I had some offcuts from a foam insulation board about, I figured that would be a good starting place and commenced shaping some pieces into rocks that would fit on the various bases. To do this, I used a hobby knife, a serrated knife and an electric carving knife I had not used in some time. Once the basic shape was cut, I glued them down to the base with PVA.
Once that was dry, I used slightly watered down multi-purpose filler to coat the foam, which I sanded back slightly once dry. I then put watered down PVA on the base and dipped it in my sand mix, and once I’d let that cure, I then over-painted it with water down PVA glue to lock the sand on there. I also glued a few larger stones down on the base, partly to cover areas I’d missed and partly to make sure the bases tied back to my Trolls bases. Then I carefully used a sculpting tool to carve rune designs into the rocks. For inspiration I Googled a few images of Krielstone’s. Once those were in there, I then painted the whole thing with two coats of watered down PVA to seal it.
To start these, I first checked that they would fit on the size bases they needed to be on for gameplay purposes – which they did, although only just! I wanted to make sure that the relic and pillars were clean and slightly removed from the scenery given the ‘other worldly’ sort of vibe to them, so I started by texturing the base. I used a product I wasn’t familiar with for this, being Citadel Astrogranite Debris texture paint. I didn’t have any basing sand/soil that was fine enough for the look I was going for, so figured I might as well test this out. The “paint” is actually very thick (for paint), and I found it somewhat difficult to work with. You definitely can’t paint it on; I ended up using a sculpting tool to spread it on the bases, but it still didn’t quite come out the way I envisaged in my mind. That being said, now it’s painted up and ready to go, I think it looks acceptable and I’ll probably experiment more with the texture paint going forward as I’ve got quite a bit of it left!
Once that was done it was on to prepping the models. The Antenocitis Workshop lampposts came with detailed instructions for cleaning and prep of the resin parts (which I found after I’d cleaned them the way I normally clean resin, whoops) which would be quite handy for less experienced modellers. The kits themselves had limited flash and mould lines and were very quick to prep. Each lamppost only has three parts (the post, the fluorescent ‘light’ part, and a cap for the top) so no real assembly was needed.
The Alien Artifact models were at the opposite end of the spectrum, having significant flash and mould lines (not all of which I was able to clean off), and the three parts they were comprised were slightly challenging to get together properly. Also, each part appears to be miscast slightly, missing a chunk out of the skirting where the top meets the bottom, as well as the mould halves not quite aligning properly leaving a large mould line. This is definitely not for beginners, and I wasn’t overly impressed with the quality, especially given the price relative to the Antenocitis Workshop pieces.
Given a big part of MUMG was each side taking control of the objectives, I thought it would be cool if you could easily represent this on the objective itself. To that end, I also purchased two packets of Wyrd Miniatures 50mm coloured bases, one red and one blue, so that these could sit under the pillars for the appropriate side. These should bring a slightly cooler aesthetic to the table than our usual dropping a dice next to the objective.
Thanks for reading this overview of my recent objective creations. Below are some finished pictures of the objectives, painted up and ready to play with. I’ve used them all in recent games and they are fitting well with the theme of the games and factions as appropriate.