Warmachine is one of the best skirmish- level fantasy/sci- fi games out there. Unfortunatly, the game can rely heavily on templated for weapons fire and "cloud effects," basically templates that remain in play. Instead of buying several sets of templates for this I decided to build one for my most commonly used cloud effect: The Old Witch of Khador's Murder of Crows. Template was originally supposed to be a joke using cheezy birds and springs.
1. Springs- These have a tight coil so they are resistant to permanent deformation when laid over. These were purchased at a surplus store called Ax- Man.
2. Doves- These are soft, plastic doves mounted on plastic, chrome plated rings. The doves slide right off, no cutting required. I picked these up at Michaels.
3. Doves on Springs- A combination of 1 and 2. More on this below.
4. Template Base- The template has a 5" diameter. A regular Gale Force 9 Warmachine round template was traced onto plastic card and carefully cut out with a sharp razor blade.
5. Doves on Springs on Base- 1 and 2 combined with 4. More below.
6. Old Witch- My unpainted Old Witch figure for size reference.
As stated above, the base was cut from about 1/8" plastic card. Each spring was cut into three pieces at various points to vary the height of the birds and to create a fuller effect. A bit of the coil on each spring was straightened and bent upwards to mount the birds to. This was insanely difficult due to the tight coils of the springs. Even with two pliers and a side cutter this was the most time consuming part.
Each dove have a hole in the bottom where it was mounted on its original ring. A bit of super glue was poured into the hole, then the bird was pressed onto the straightened coil of the spring. This offered a secure mount. On some doves, and additional bird was glued to its wing, to add more to the template without adding more springs.
Once the doves were attached to their springs, the springs were glued to the base. They were attached with superglue and randomly placed in such a way to allow the Old Witch to stand flat in between nearly any group of spings.
After the springs were attached and dry, the base was covered in white glue and regular sand was poured over it and allowed to dry.
With the sand in place the piece was primed black. The ground was drybrushed from a dark brown to tan. The crows (not doves because they're black now, not white) were lightly drybrushed with gray. The springs were left black.
The standard mix of flock was stuck down with white glue in patches. When it dried I used the template in a game. It was awesome.
The crows are a very soft plastic, so the paint flakes off easily. It is disappointing. The paint also seems to come off of the springs easily when they are bent. Maybe a couple heavy coats of sealant will help, but do to the flexible nature of the template, I have a feeling it won't.