Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Infestation of Casavant Prime

To build up some content on the site, I'm going to be posting a few of my past projects that were kind of like milestones in my development as a sculptor. I'll call them "Old Strains," and you can feel free to check them out if you're curious.

F.T. W.

With my budding work on Tyranid Scenery from scratch coming along, I was asked by some friends in Toronto to breathe some Tyranid life into their table build for Games Day Toronto 2008. These guys had been bringing original tables to Games Day for a couple of years, and the previous year their extensive trenchwork table had been beaten out by a PC speaker and a smoke machine. This year they were determined to bring the pain to their long-time table nemeses.

The meat and bones of the table were actually constructed by the original build team and took the form of a cityscape with a canal running down the center, and me, Accommodator, and our creative ilk were given free reign to add some flare to the cityscape by transforming it into one that was in the beginning stages of a full-blown Tyranid infestation. I jumped at the opportunity to have a focus for my until-now-largely-aimless Tyranid scenery building.

We built the table up from pink foam and some ruins, plotting out fields of landed mycetic spores and strange, stonehenge-looking Tyranid fortifications protecting colonies of atmospheric processors. We also took a page out of Starcraft's book and spread a Tyranid goop made from tissues and PVA glue (Hydra's formula) over much of the city.

00 Make me a table
00 Make me a table
01 Ballparking
02 Ballparking
03 Mycetic Spores and Nid Fortifications _Large_
05 NidHenge _Large_
04 Mycetic Spore landing zone _Large_
06 Phage spreads

Much to my chagrin, I was forced to actually paint something, and the niddy terrain actually came out pretty nicely:

08 Painting Terrain
07 Spore Landing zone
12 NidHenge_Painted
13 Emergence
18Nidoforming the river
19 Landed Mycetic Spores
20 Landed mycetic spore

The rest of city and much of the creepy tissue and glue material was painted by other friends on the build team. We gave the creep a slimy-looking finish by hitting it with some floor wax.

The mycetic spores wound up looking just as I'd hoped they would. Remember this?
Field of Landed Spores
Well, this is pretty damn close to what I was imagining, and it makes me smile:
11 Landed Spores

Hydra over in Germany sent us a converted warrior that he called Bob the Scuba Nid or something, and it inspired us to do a little more with the board's canal in the form of some hapless Imp Guard and a wet Tyranid surprise.

14 Water
15 Canal Attacker
16 Bob the Water Nid
17 Ambush

We dubbed the board "The Infestation of Casavant Prime," but the choice of the name "Casavant Prime" was not arbitrary. Back in the distant mists of time (or, you know, 2003), a selfless dude by the name of Michael Casavant gave birth to the Tyranid forum all of his own accord. I mean, it wasn't yet called Warpshadow, but it was the first Tyranid-specific forum ever created, and Mr. Casavant (also known as "Phage") did it all under his own steam: taking care of the web design and hosting out of his own pocket. For years, he took on the lion's share of maintaining the board while myself and the other Gestalt member, Teatime, mostly watched. Eventually, Phage handed things over to the very capable hands of Ross Nickle/Accommodator, and the creator's involvement in the day-to-day runnings of Warpshadow became minimal, but he still pops in from time to time, making sure that the lights are still on and the discussion is still happening.

So, as some small token of gratitude for all of Phage's work over the years, we decided to name the Warpshadow table project after him: dubbing our planet "Casavant Prime" and even going so far as to name the green, starcraft-creep-like-goo we spread across the city "Phage."

We were able to finish the table just in time for Games Day Toronto 2008, and it was a huge hit (another member of our staff running the table informed me that Jervis Johnson even came by to check it out while I was deep in conversation with someone else and completely oblivious!), and we had folks gaming on it all day. Although the scenery was nice I credit Ross/Accommodator for dragging us in so very many people with his genius idea to embed LED pucks in the board to give us some creepy, green lighting effects:

Atmospheric processor
You have been InfeSted

In the end, all of our hard work was rewarded when the table took the award for Best Table at Games Day.

Victors and the Spoils
Lime light

But it didn't really matter. Though at the time I was still stressed out by all of the work of the table build, now, looking back on it some three years later, I'm kind of amazed at all that we accomplished. It is often the case with modeling projects that, when you look back on them, you can become desensitized to what you have accomplished as you've been forced to watch the thing grow from nothing into the finished product. You notice the mistakes you made and the things you'd like to do better next time, and you are blinded to your own successes. However, when I look back on the table we all made together, I am still damn proud of what we created, and I still think it may have been the most fulfilling project I've ever had the fortune of being involved with.

Setting upYou have been InfeStedNiddifiedClose-up on Nid HengePart of the Build TeamEmerging
Atmospheric Processor ColonyTake heed!Atmospheric processorAtmospheric processor colonyAtmospheric processor1Nid Henge, protecting the atmospheric processors
Landed Mycetic SporesDeploying from the Mycetic SporeAccommodator and the Lime LightLime lightF.T. W.Victors and the Spoils
Here's the Casavant Prime: Games Day set on Flickr.

And here's the build thread for the whole thing from Warpshadow.

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