Thursday, March 2, 2017

Twilight: 2000, The Look on the Table, Part 2, Buildings

Today's piece will continue on the vein of part one with terrain. Terrain as we all know, makes the wargame. You can have great looking figures on a lousy table and it can ruin the effect. But vice versa can often make a game memorable in a good way.

Twilight: 2000, is as I said before, is a unique post-apocalyptic experience, not everywhere was nuked or fought over as part of the frontline, but everywhere felt the war. Everywhere felt the shortages, the collapse of modern civilization, law and order, and the lack of fuel. Everywhere is crowded, dirty, neglected, and standing in mute testimony to a lost age, but not a forgotten one. They are also symbols of what could be again, and what may still be worth fighting for.

This article will mostly concentrate on man-made terrain, as natural terrain will have not had much time to change, with only 2 years having elapsed since the exchange.

So, how do we reflect this on a table top?

Home Sweet Home

Very few buildings in Twilight: 2000 have power. Most haven't had their exterior cleaned in years. Many are either abandoned completely, left to the elements, or overcrowded with refugees looking for any port in a storm. Which type of building is entirely up to the proximity of said building to a conflict zone or a nuclear strike.

Inspiration can be found in a lot of places for buildings that are in places that have been fought over..Grozny comes to mind:

Note the details in the photo, many of the buildings are bombed out shells, with soot stains on the upper parts of the windows, (the soot stains are subtle, weathering has done it's work there). All the trees are dead husks, and the road is quickly becoming a churned up mess as the asphalt has been damaged from multiple tracked vehicles passing by. This is what the average conflict zone in the Europe of Twilight: 2000 should look like.

Even in places where the fighting was either light, or non--existent, there would still be damage, more due to neglect, rather than deliberate, man made damage. It might look something like this:

Note the mix of boarded up and empty windows (looting of intact window glass in Twilight 2000 is going to be common, nobody's making it any more). Note also the weathering on the roof especially, the yards gone to seed and the beginnings of weeds growing up from the sidewalks. This look is going to be common in Twilight: 2000 Britain and North America.

For nuked areas, the look is going to be a mix of this, as the nuclear exchange in Twilight: 2000 was a limited one for the most part. You can certainly pull ideas from such movies as "Threads", "The Day After" and "The War Game", but remember, those movies depict an exchange far worse than anything Twilight:2000 does.

But, here are some images for ideas:

Note the soot and small bits of rubble EVERYWHERE. Everything is weathered and dirty from the fallout coming down, no effort has been made to clean up (people are just trying to see the next dawn). This is going to be common on the outskirts of most places that got hit by a nuke,

This would be common closer to ground zero. Note the lack of roofs or windows, but that most of the buildings are still standing. Everything has burned, so remember to reflect that on your table and there are veritable piles of rubble that have not been cleared (though in Ruins of Warsaw, you would see systematic clearing of the rubble to re-purpose it for walls and other structures).

Putting it Together

So, now that we have seen some ideas for how the look should be, how do we reflect this on the table top, remember the themes: rubble, neglect, and time. All of these are going to play on a Twilight: 2000 table. But yet, people are going to re-purpose things to reflect the new reality, and new needs. Have your buildings have a story, and do not be afraid to doctor up any kits you get. Remember, Twilight: 2000 is a fountain for your creativity, let it loose.

So with that said, let's look at a couple of buildings I did up:

This is the first of two railroad buildings I worked up, I was living in DC at the time, so it was not hard to look around for weathering effects on buildings, especially abandoned ones. The posters and signs were homemade, taken from signs on the internet, then appropriately weathered. The boards were made of Starbucks swizzle sticks. 

One of the sides of the building that show clearly the weathering of the brick face, some white and light grey paint, mixed together and painted gingerly, then washed with some black work wonders here. As for the bit of grey paint in the lower center, that is a painting over of graffiti, it is a method that is in common practice in the US. The sign is there to warn folks this area has been evacuated due to radiation on orders of CG, 1st Army in 1998. I pictured this building being on the outskirts of Perth Amboy, or Linden, one of the NJ refinery towns that got hit in the CONUS strikes.

Here is my attempt at a tar paper roof over the plastic one that came with the kit. I cut up strips of toilet paper, then glued them paper mache style to the roof after soaking them through with a mix of white glue and water. You then let it dry overnight, paint it black with a mix of grey (I would say 70/30 black), let that dry, and then drybrush some off white or light grey on the top..the effect looks great. I got it from a guy who was doing scratchbuilt buildings for zombie games.

This building has a different story, it's in a small town in the Ozarks, and New America (a right wing fascist group making a play to take over the US that figured in several adventures) has set up shop in this building..and the locals are demonstrating their displeasure..violently. Note the shattered window, and the bullet holes. The paint is fading and weathering, I did the same method with the roof as the building above, and the trim was in a light blue, which was also then hit with a blackwash after it dried. In short, a great, gritty look.

 The weathering is more pronounced in this photo, and a New American propaganda poster and a proclamation of  some sort has been affixed to the building. In short, for just a little bit of work, the building looks just great. 

This is more of a generic ruin set I made from some cork I got at CVS, it's meant for bulletin boards, but it works great for this. Just that, some pushpins and some super glue (I used wood glue, but it turns out super glue works better). It's all you need for some awesome ruins, the other items are completely optional, but they really added to the look. Note the poster taken from the internet. I scoured the internet for Soviet propaganda posters and film posters. It's a gold mine out there if you know where to look.  

A close up of a poster I found, it was an online collection of Soviet Civil Defense posters from the 1980s. They looked great, and a little bit of smoke wash, and they will just pass nicely. the base coat is a nice grey, then just drybrush it an off white or lighter grey, then hit the whole thing with a heavy smoke wash (I like my rubble burnt out).

An overall look at the project, the wooden beams are swizzle sticks and the grates are taken from cartridge boxes, they're the plastic inserts that hold the bullets in place in the box. One thing about being a wargamer...always be on the lookout for cool ideas to beg, borrow, or steal. I have done my share of it. The cork ruin idea came from the same website I have Maxim to Minimi posted.

In short, terrain items are only as limited as your imagination..and your bits box. Dare to try some things, you'll be surprised with what you can accomplish!

One note, I will be expanding this to a part 3, I want to discuss uniforms. I will be supplementing an article by Mr. James Langham, as he has done a fine study on the subject, but I want to discuss it from a miniatures standpoint. 


  1. Very nice buildings, still following all of this with great interest.

  2. Great. Miss my tabletop gaming days,

  3. Awesome. Gives me some motivation to do similar work. Thanks again!


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