As a side project I have started working on a small Japanese garden themed terrain piece for my mate Wade, with the aim of combining foliage, animals and water effects with some human influences all in a small space. I have never used so many components all in one terrain piece before, so the challenge is to make it all work spatially, practically and thematically. Thankfully, the Japanese already do this in their gardens, so there is plenty of inspiration around if you go looking for it. The terrain piece is primarily going to be used for games of Ronin, though I can imagine this kind of garden in an Imperial palace, Eldar Craftworld, or even a samurai themed Space Marine army's Fortress Monastery.
The first step was to look for some reference material and visit some Japanese gardens. We have a local cherry blossom festival, so I was able to get a good look at what a Japanese Garden looks like in Spring and take some photos.
|My daughter doing her best samurai impression :-)|
I also engaged in some search-fu and found two images that I thought would be helpful:
|I like the colour of the water and the koi in this one.|
|I like the lily pads and vermillion bridge in this one.|
Wade was kind enough to give me an ornamental cherry tree terrain piece out of a set he had ordered in over the internet. I also found a groovy little bridge at my local pet store that would fit the scale, and some two part epoxy resin for the water effects. The next step was to mark on the display board where all of the elements would sit. I arranged them in a vaguely triangular shape with the bridge, tree and pond at the vertices.
I smoothed out the polystyrene hill with some clay, allowed it to air-dry and then sealed it with a few coats of PVA. When it was completely dry I painted the water a dark turquoise colour, then ran a bead of PVA around the pond and added some shell grit to represent the bank. The entire circumference of the "wet" area of the terrain piece will have to be raised ~ 2 mm to that I can pour the resin; at the moment there are gaps where the bridge will fit. Using a photo for reference, I started painting some small fish in the water.
I added a black shadow to each fish to maximise the illusion of depth and coloured them, again using the photo as a reference. I love the autumnal palette of koi :-)
The next step will be to paint the bridge and make sure the circumference of the pond is sealed, followed by the moment that will make or break the project: pouring the resin!
See you across the table,
P.S. I found the samurai themed Space Marines on the Painted 40K blog which, if you haven't discovered it already, is a wellspring of inspiration for 40K artists. Check it out :-)