Spiders, Cocoons, Nests and Rocks

Bug based scenario bits and pieces, with BONUS ROCKS.

In the mid 1990’s, I traded for some of the plastic spiders that appeared in Warhammer Quest. I didn’t play WHQ back then, but I wanted a number of spiders to hang out with my Ripperjacks, Milliasaurs and Giant Rats to cause trouble for characters in my Necromunda games.

Necromundan Milliasaurs, not appearing in this blog post.

I ended up with 12 WHQ spiders.
Like on Terra, on Necromunda, spiders are generally one of two varieties, orb and wolf. I quickly and crudely added some sort of putty to the abdomen of three of the spiders, to designate them as the orb variety, then lined them up with the milliasaurs, the ripperjacks and the giant rats, ready for paint…

A decade passes…

The giant rats were finally painted in 2009 and rebased at some point since.

I also painted the Ripperjacks as proxy facehuggers around 2009.

The Milliasaurs didn’t get painted for another couple of years, until 2011.

The WHQ spiders were also painted rather poorly around this time I think. The paint job is dated by the use of Macharius Solar Orange, which makes the first stage of the paint job being from around then for certain.

It was a spray-black-and-paint-some-leg-segments-a-flat-colour affair, so I never subjected the spiders to the double humiliation of poor photography and being shared in public.

Time marches on inexorably…

Nine years later, Rangers of Shadow Deep – the game that I have been prepping for recently – features a pair of scenarios that deal with spiders and spider nests. So I finally dug out the WHQ spiders and gave them a pretty rudimentary, but at least less flat paint job last week, and their 20+ year journey to the gaming table was complete.

While I was at it I dug up a few spider nest models that I got from Bad Squiddo Games in about 2016 (*I think*) and painted them too. I mean, based on the track record above, if not now, then when? Best to get them done now, so that in a few years a relative throws *painted* miniature spider nest models into a landfill, rather than unpainted ones.

I tried a few things while painting the nests, none of which worked out exactly as I had intended. I wanted to avoid the nests being too brown and cream coloured, as I find that far too many things in my fantasy painting queue feature brown and cream. So I went for a blueish white instead.

It worked adequately, but not as well as I had imagined. But the important thing is that they are good enough for what I want them for.

Goon Master “Slimed Human” (link in image)

Note the cocooned humanoids, 3D printed “Slimed Human” files from Goon Master Games. Those were kindly printed and provided by my gaming buddy Aiteal , in three different sizes, ready to be the gruesome discoveries that drive the story in a few scenarios.

Some barely visible rocks near my house.

“Finally!” you cry, “Finally the guy gets to the rocks!”
Well its time to fill your boots imaginary reader! Fill them with rocks!

“Badlands” from Gamemat.eu (link in the image)

I bought a set of Gamemat.eu “Badlands” rocks from local seller Hobbymad a few years ago. They are evocative, light, substantial pieces of durable terrain, terrain that I find very useful for filling the background when photographing my painted miniatures and they get up to their painted miniature business.

If you regularly look at the photos on this blog, then you will have seen the set of vaguely Road Runner, vaguely Vasquez Rocks “Badlands” set in pretty much all of my Gaslands photos, anything post apocalyptic, anything desert themed. They were a fantastic purchase.

Other rocks, also very near my house.

But people don’t like buying rocks. “Rocks!? “I’m not spending money on rocks!” they say. “I can get rocks for free! You sir, are an idiot for buying rocks!” they cry. “LOL!” they exclaim.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s another photo of a rock located moments from my house.

One of three things happens at this point:

1. Delusion: the other party never gets rocks for their terrain, and never has rocks in their games.
Likelihood of occurring – 91%. Subject should have bought faux rocks.

2. Regret: the other party gathers rocks (cost = time), creates or buys bases, glue, paint, sand, filler etc (cost = time and cash) and makes impractically heavy gaming rocks out of actual rocks, at a definite, measurable, absolutely-not-free cost. This rock terrain will not survive a single house move andwill never make it to a convention game without performing wrecking ball duties on other hobby items in transit.
Likelihood of occurring – 7%. Subject should have bought faux rocks.

3. Smartarsery: as per “2” above, but user spends his/her time and money on bark mulch from the garden centre, and uses that instead of rocks. This is definitely a better option than 2, but still takes time and money.
Likelihood of occurring – 2%. Subject should probably have bought faux rocks.

“Highlands” from Gamemat.eu (link in the image)

It is safe to say, therefore, that I am a fan of buying rocks for miniature gaming. The Badlands rocks were great, so I decided to get the Highlands set above for my creepy, northern European inspired, fairy tale and classic role playing game inspired terrain.

A photo of somewhat theatrical looking resin rocks, located inside my home.

I did actually spend a little bit of time adding tufts and a few washes to these, which may render my rambling rant above void, but I cant hear you because of my fingers in my ears LALALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU LALALALA.

29 Responses

  1. I’m with you on the rocks stance. I only differ in that I would champion cheap fish tank / reptile tank rocks from online pet suppliers. With careful selection, you can pick up some convincing yet reasonable rocks.

    Nice spiders too. I like that the paint job does all that is required to tie the WHQ spiders with the nest dwellers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are absolutely right Axiom, aquarium rocks should have been an option. A glaring omission on my behalf.

      Painting involved a lot of making things up as I went, so the spiders in the nests are a little greyer than they should be. I may ever go back and darken them up a bit. But yes, it does give me a kick to have the terrain tie directly to the figures like that.

      Thanks for the feedback!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Looking really good! I was just about to go “but you can get rocks…” and then you made an excellent case for buying rocks and I completely changed my mind. Well done, sir.

    Liked by 3 people

    • How I have managed to get this post, this far without declaring that “I rock” is a marvel…

      Your pirates will be attacked by those spiders one day, just you wait…

      Liked by 4 people

  3. So many different things happening here at a time! First of all, those spiders are ace. Most probably I shouldn’t be watching at pics of giant spiders just before going to bed, I guess I’ll blame you for tonight nightmares. Anyway, they look awesome.
    You certainly made a valid point for rocks. I don’t think I’ve ever got that kind of large rocks for a board precisely because the weight issue. I’ve tried to replicate that texture with putty on my current ongoing board, but the results have been… well, less than optimal. Even more than awful, you could say. Ahem. So I’m currently keen of looking for practical solutions, and this stuff certainly meets the requirements, so thank you for pointing me on this direction!

    Oh, BTW, I also love the landscapes close to your home! I’ve been under lockdown in the city for three months now and I really crave for some fresh air!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I won’t lie, I’m a proponent of bark mulch rocks from the garden centre. But that’s partly because we have a whole bunch of bark mulch around anyway. So it’s essentially free (but very bulky). I use it as is for photo backgrounds but I imagine if you wanted it for gaming terrain you can probably just spray paint and hastily dry brush it. Estimated cost, very low.

    Anyway this whole post is very appealing, bought rocks and all. The web-bound humans turned out fantastic! A nice repurposing of their original form. And the spider nests look dusty, creepy, horrible and gross. So, perfect!

    Liked by 3 people

    • My feelings on miniature tabletop rocks are in reality less polarised than I stated in the post, if I am honest πŸ™‚ I figured that the comments would be “Rocks?! You bought rocks??!!”, so decided to get my retaliation in first, in a hopefully mildly amusing way. The link in my response to Suber above shows what can be done with painted bark, and it is probably the most realistic option available. But the hollow plastic/resin rocks do suit my requirements perfectly.

      The webbed up humans are just loads of fun (unless you happen to be the human of course). They remind me of a stylized objective marker in a video game, which is perfect really.

      I’m glad that you like the nests. They caused me a fair bit of grief. I had to modify the plan as it went, which looked like it might end up being the worst of both worlds – slapdash and time consuming – but they do the trick I think.

      Thanks for the feedback Al!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Great stuff mate – lovely vintage spiders there, and the blue/white on the nests & victims works really nicely! As for the rocks, couldn’t agree more. I went in for a big box of pre-painted bark a few years ago, and it is amazing how versatile the stuff is.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I didn’t know that it was possible to buy pre-painted bark Alex. Is it durable stuff?

      The entire spidery sub project is quite fun all round really. The cocoons are probably the stars of the show, funnily enough.

      Thanks for the feedback Alex!

      Liked by 3 people

  6. While i completely agree on the real rocks argument, i disagree on bark. It takes little effort and time to make it look good, in a single afternoon you can make enough for a table, either that or foam. And it will not cost you 115 freaking euros, that’s *way* too much for my budget, i’d rather use the limited money i have for hobby on minis (which will probably also spend years unpainted in a closet…).

    Great work on the big Nopes. If you want to craft spiderwebs, the same stuff they use for Halloween decorations strengthened with PVA will be firm enough to have actual pewter minis on top of it, there’s a video about this on the Critical Crafting YT channel if you want to see it in action (along with a sassy spider plushie :P)

    Liked by 3 people

    • My opinion on bark rocks isn’t really negative at all – it was a straw man to fuel a mild rant really πŸ™‚ Bark rocks regularly look absolutely great although I don’t really want to want to work on it myself.

      The price tag on the gamemat.eu rocks isn’t nothing, that’s for sure, but I have them stored in a plastic crate and I reckon that they will see me to the grave. But horse for courses and all that πŸ™‚ I do own a genuinely stupid number of unpainted miniatures, which isn’t something that I am proud of.
      So while I do still buy miniatures, I don’t feel that the miniature budget is badly hit by rock purchases really.

      That’s an interesting idea about making some webbed areas. I will look into it/

      Thanks for the feedback jherazob!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. No comments. I guess.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. It works!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. They look great – my wife would hate them all with a passion so you’re clearly doing something right.. wait.. here she comes – I’ll get her opinion…
    “hey, have a look at these!”

    “euuuuuuuugggghghhhhheeeeeuuuuuuuuuuggggghhhhh!”

    “euuuuuuuggghhghh”
    “I like it, but I don’t like the spiders.”

    “ok thanks, you can go. now.”

    So yeap, I was right. Well done!

    On rocks.
    I’ve been tempted to pick up some of the Woodland Scenics rock molds as well as some dental plaster, because that stuff is lightweight and can apparently survive a car crash. And still works out a lot cheaper. Of course, the obvious downside is time to build and space to store, which is why I haven’t done it yet.

    I do also have some terrain made from real rocks – which I created back as a young adult. I went to the tram tracks near my old high school and filled a small box with a variety of different bluestone shards. I based them on thick balsa strips and surrounded them with cat litter, and flock. I’ve still got them today and they do make appearances on the battlefield now and then. I can’t recall if I still have the box of bluestones 20+ and 6 house moves later, but the tram tracks are still there. Point being, for a young person with plenty of time and without the unlimited wealth we all apparently have to be able to buy 40k boxed sets and resin rocks from Europe, real rocks and some creativity are a valid option.

    Oh, and Aquarium “scenery” kicks arse. Especially when it’s on sale for half price! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bah. there were two instances of
      *sour face*
      in there between the eeeeuuuuggghghhghghghgs. I guess using pointy brackets instead of asterixes made wordpress think I was using html tags.. <

      Liked by 2 people

    • πŸ˜€
      To date, I have not visited Australia. I am under the impression that even the plane on the way over will be full of spiders as big as my head. It causes trepidation. I imagine that life for an Australia based arachnophobe is difficult. My sympathies to Mrs. Azazel.

      In the 90’s, I glued actual rocks to hardboard bases and painted them. They worked well as terrain pieces, but storage (where they behaved like wrecking balls) and transport (where they behaved like high velocity wrecking balls with intent) put me off the idea for good. They were made with close to zero expense though, as you say.

      I have spent a lot of time searching for aquarium rocks to suit my projects, but have never found the right items at the right prices. They do seem like a perfect option if available and inexpensive.

      Thanks for the feedback Azazel!

      Liked by 3 people

      • All you have to remember around here is to know which spiders are harmful and which aren’t. Oh, and all of the snakes can kill you. And be careful/aware at the beach. No crocs around here, though – and no bears or lions, so we’re mostly good. πŸ™‚

        I do recommend checking out the local pet barns though – I got both of these for a song, plus another boxload of stuff that somehow dissappeared into a vortex, despite being a large box filled with more of this stuff…

        https://azazelx.com/2018/12/09/endor-style-scenery-from-the-pet-store/
        https://azazelx.com/2019/01/12/back-to-the-pet-store-1-desert-bluffs/

        Liked by 3 people

        • The only “natural” predators in this part of the world are the clergy, and the only thing that could kill you is a human.

          That said, a spider wouldn’t have to be poisonous to creep me out. I don’t really like them…

          I saw your aquarium items before, they are great. In my experience, none of this stuff is ever cheap in this country. I suspect that it is related to economy of scale, with Ireland being a quite small country population wise. But I do keep an eye out πŸ™‚

          Liked by 3 people

          • Well, “cheap” is a relative term. When I see something the size of one of those and they cost me between 1/4 to 1/2 (at worst) the price of a piece of GW terrain, essentially pre-painted and pre-assembled, I figure it’s a pretty good deal. We only have 23 or so million here, but I’ve just looekd up the population of Ireland and it’s much smaller than I thought, given how many are in the UK….

            Liked by 3 people

            • It’s about 5 million here total IIRC. Colonial and related historical reasons explain why the population and wealth here is so different to the UK.

              Check out the movie “Black 47” if you get a chance. It’s a fun action/revenge movie set in Ireland in the mid 1800s, which will give a little background history while still being an entertaining popcorn movie with muskets and a great cast.

              The prepainted element of the gamemat.eu items and aquarium pieces (my buddy uses a few in his games) is huge to to me. What it comes down to is that I don’t really want to spend too much time on background items, so if I can speed up the walls and rocks, and then focus on more interesting (and usually unassembled and unpainted and more expensive) pieces like, for example, Realmgates, then I’m happy with that.

              Liked by 3 people

              • Just did a search and found it. I should have a watchable copy within …a reasonable amount of time. I’ll check Netflix as well, but either way πŸ˜‰
                I get you on the prep time. I generally don’t mind painting them somuch as prepping them. Painting a large piece can be relaxing, while prepping them a right pain in the arse. I have a badly-fitting Ophidian Archway based but not finished sititng in the shed that I need to get back to. Once I get it to the painting stage, I might not hate it anymore. I think I’ll have to use The Tray to get (force) myself to finally get it done, though! :p

                Liked by 3 people

                • The first few AoS terrain kits were tricky to assemble. I bodged the Ophidian Archway and Co together, focusing on sturdy construction over aesthetics in places. They were fun to paint in the end though. Now that some time has passed since the assembly stage, you might really enjoy it perhaps πŸ™‚

                  I have to be in the humour for assembly, so I try not to force it. I have a Warcryer Citadel almost ready for paint, but until I really feel like tackling it, I’m going to avoid it.

                  Liked by 3 people

  10. I use real rocks, woodland scenics rocks, and have bought terrain. As long as it looks good, it’s fine with me. I use one honking huge piece of quartz that is just stunning that I found here in Massachusetts , as well as a nice piece of granite that I got from the Eagles nest in Germany. That last piece has some lovely scars on it that likely came from a glacier.

    Btw stunning work on your rocks and spiders!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. […] Spiders, Cocoons, Nests and Rocks […]

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