Legion Terrain Crashed Fighters

Legion Terrain on Etsy makes some amazing scenery specifically for Star Wars Legion. It’s sized well, designed well and as a bonus for lazy people like me, can be ordered pre-painted. The selection now includes some really killer looking set pieces, and more keep getting added.

What caught my eye initially was a series of crashed fighters spotlighted on the Etsy page. After finishing my first crashed x-wing terrain project, I wanted to try something tighter and with more useable cover options. I ordered all three options, painted. They arrived in about a week, packed well and looking really good right out of the box.I honestly could have used them with no more work and would have been super happy, but I wanted to try to push myself to try something new with these pieces.

I started by taking a 1.5’ x 3’ sheet of 1/8” plywood as my base. All the tutorials I had read suggesting using MDF boards for bases, but I had found a few sheets of this plywood cheap at the Orchard Hardware near my work and liked how light and firm it was. In the end it worked out really well without adding a lot of weight to the final product.

I laid all three out on the plywood sheet in a rough semblance on what I wanted them to look like when mounted, then drew a rough oval around each ship, allowing enough space around for the minis to stand and move through. I spent a fair amount of time on this layout before marking the boards up as I wanted to know that the final product could serve as more than just an impediment to forward movement. I wanted the troops to be about to move through the broken parts of the ship, as well as use it for cover from multiple sides.

A cut and sanded base, with the pencil markings for where the ship would be placed.

A cut and sanded base, with the pencil markings for where the ship would be placed.

Once I had marked where the ships should glue down and the outline of base, I cut each out with a jigsaw. I then followed up with a sanding bit on a dremel to round the edges of each board down. This helped the base look more naturally sloped up, rather than having just a hard edge all around.

The next step was priming the wood. I primed one coat in black automotive primer, which goes on heavy and thick. When I primed wood in the past using the Citadel or Army Painter primer, the wood soaked up the paint and needing three or four coats to look even. With a coat of automative paint its well covered in one go. I let that dry for a few hours, then primed a second coat of Army Painter leather brown primer on top of that. This did take two coats, with an hour or so of drying between. In the end it was an uneven dark brown, with mottled darker patched here and there.

And before you ask, yes this did obscure the pencil markings for where I wanted to place the ships. Lesson learned.

I opted next to glue the models down on their respective bases. I smeared an ample amount of PVA glue on all parts of the model which would touch the base, set the individual parts on the base, and held them in place for a minute or so to let it begin to set. PVA dries really slow and will slide with gravity, so I had to be careful to leave each base on a flat service undisturbed for about 24 hours while it dried completely. One of the ships was on towel which was bunched on one side just slightly, and when I checked back 30 minutes later the ship had slipped about half an inch off its mark. Oops.

Once all the ships had dried onto the base, I added a few assorted rocks to each base. I used Woodland Scenics river rocks because they were mostly flat. This would give the base some variant terrain without blocking movement. A mini could stand on one these rocks with no problem. It offered the option to impose some optional difficult terrain on the base, and most importantly would help the base blend with the battlemat I planed to use it on. These rocks were glued down with the same PVA glue as the ships and allowed to dry almost the same amount of time.

NextI took the PVA glue and an old drybrush (one I had already ruined) to brush a thin layer of glue across the surface of the board, careful to get glue close to but not on the ships. I then drizzled a very small amount of playground sand on top, turning it over as soon as I was done dropping the sand to in turn knock sand off. This had the effect of losing about 70% of the sand I had dropped, keeping just the stuff which was in the thickest glue, or which was in the most direct contact with the base. I had learned on a previous project that if you dumped the sand and let it dry, ALL the sand would stick and it would look way too thick on the model for anything but a desert base. The sand needed another 24 hours before I felt it was dry enough to continue work.

I now had a ship on a brown-black base with a thin layer of light tan sand grit. The sand good OK, but my board was going to be more of a dusty battlefield, not a dry desert. So I opted to do one more texture layer before I started painting the base. I used Stirland Battlemire to give all the bases a more rough dirt look. This not only made the texture for natural and uneven, but also ensured the sand I had glued down was colored to match the rest of the base. I let the mud texture dry a day before doing anything else. I was worried it would come right off when I painted over it, but most of it held really well without the need for any overcoat.

All three ships on their base, with rocks, sand and mud texture.

All three ships on their base, with rocks, sand and mud texture.

A closer look at the X-Wing on its base, with the sand and Stirland Battlemire mud texture present.

A closer look at the X-Wing on its base, with the sand and Stirland Battlemire mud texture present.

The next steps were to get the final colors on the base. Re-examing all the ships, I opted at this point split the look. For one of the crashed tie fighters I decided to do a thick, wet mud look, This would match the crashed X-wing I had created previously, and I could use both on a swamp table I had plans for. The remaining tie fighter and x-wing would be prepped to match the battlefield mat I already owned.

I painted the muddy tie fighter first since it would be fast, and I already basically knew what to do. I started by painting yet another texture layer on the base. This time I used Vallejo Black Mud, which goes on thick and dark, and looks slightly wet even when it dries. This still kills your brushes, but looks amazing.

While I let that layer dry, I re-painted the rocks. They were a dusty khaki-tan out of the box, so I re-painted them in Army Painter uniform gray, then drybrushed increasingly lighter shades of gray (created by mixing in small but increasing amounts of white) on top of that to bring out the ridges and contours of the rocks. I finished with a very light brushed on pass of Commando Green to make the rock look slightly moss tinged.

That done I did a few more spots of the black mud to thicken it up in placed, then let all that dry.

Next was the flocking and turf. I used Woodland Scenics scenery cement in a spray bottle to splritz uneven patches of glue on each base, then sprinkled some green fine turf over the glue. Like with the sand, I shook and blew off ALL excess immediately. Some of the glue had hit the ship models - i was careful wipe off most of what had landed on the models, but I did leave the turf which was attached low on the ships where they met the base. This I thought looked pretty natural. I let that dry for a few minutes then did a second pass of the same thing with coarse turf. This pass I used less glue and sprayed it more sparingly. The coarse turf looks thicker and I did not want this to overwhelm the base. I let both of these dry about an hour, then did a second pass over everything with the scenic cement spray. This glue dries hard and clear, so the grass is set firmly on the board while looking its usual color.

Once the grass was all dry, I started pouring and painting on liberal amounts of Vallejo Still Water. This stuff is amazing. It dries on hard and smooth, but looks wet. Pools of it will dry to look like pools of water, and painted onto an object the object will appear wet. I painted this onto all of the rocks and on all of the base where there was no grass. I then poured it out into the spaces between the winds and the rocks to make it look like muddy water had set into a puddle.

Final of the Tie crashed in the mud.

Final of the Tie crashed in the mud.

With this last coat also dry, I was happy with how the Tie Fighter crashed in the mud looked, and went back to my other ships. The remaining tie and the x-wing were meant to go on a battlefield mat which had a more rocky arid look. The first thing I did was a light layer of additional texture using the Vallejo European Mud. This was a lighter brown than the black mud I used on the previous tie, and looked less wet when dry.

Like with the mud tie, I drybrushed the rocks while the mud texture dried a bit. I used the same paints with the exception that I did not add the light green as a final layer. Once the that was done, I did some drubrushing of a few light tan and pale green colors on top of the textured base to lighten it up and vary the coloring. I chose the colors based on how they looked compared to the colors on my game mat.

The step at this point was the flocking. I used spray on scenic cement and a fine burnt grass turf in a shaker to layer the grass on with a semi-random pattern, like patchy grass with dirt or rock showing through underneath. Like with the muddy tie, I poured then immediately blew off all excess.

That was it for these two. I might take a second look later with more experienced eyes, but the models look good on the game mat, and provide a look I am pretty happy with.

X-wing final.

X-wing final.

Alternate Tie Fighter final.

Alternate Tie Fighter final.