Decorating Movement Trays for War of the Ring

090502wotrtrays89aMovement trays for War of the Ring can be enhanced with all sorts of decorative additions. This adds to the look of the army, particularly if the additions are themed to match the army.

Brian shows off his newly learned modelling skills, by creating trays specifically designed for his Army of the Dead. See some photos of his work in progress as he masters the art of shaping green stuff.


Click on any photo below to see a larger version of the photo.

Movement Trays

Movement trays are an essential part of War of the Ring. It is no good spending lots of time on painting the figures and then just putting them into unpainted movement trays. Preparing the movement trays in the same way as you would the bases of the figures makes them match in nicely.

What works even better if you then add decorative touches to the movement trays. Items such as arrows in the ground, discarded shields or weapons can add a nice finishing touch.

Brian decided that he wanted to add skeletal parts and weapons to the trays for his Army of the Dead. The idea is to make it look as if some more of them are starting to appear out of the ground. The photos show the work in progress. Check out the skeletal hand gripping the edge of the tray as it emerges to pull itself out of the ground.


 Initial Coats

When you are happy with the result, spray the completed tray with black to undercoat it. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly. Then give the tray a heavy dry brush. For large areas like this, I use student acrylic paints that you buy in a tube from an art & craft store or a newsagent. An alternative is to buy pots of sample paints from a hardware store. The aim here is to not spend much money. Buying the higher quality paints in very small pots gets too expensive if you are covering many trays or large areas of scenery.

The first colour I use is Burnt Sienna; a standard artists colour. This is a slightly darker brown than Games Workshop's Bestial Brown. I like to cover the holes for the bases as well, although some people prefer to leave it black or dark brown. It is your choice. I prefer to colour it the same as the rest of the base so it blends in to the scenery better when their are casualties and figures have been removed from the trays. If you are going to paint the holes, then angle the paint brush and paint the tray from several directions to ensure the paint also is on the vertical sides of the holes.  


Layers of Dirt

Drybrush more and more lightly once each layer is dry. Use less pressure on the brush and ensure that most of the paint has been wiped off the brush.

After the Burnt Sienna, I use Raw Sienna (a light yellowish brown that is a little lighter than Vermin Brown). Then Yellow Oxide (a yellow with a tinge of brown. It is like a mix of 2 or 3 parts of Bubonic Brown to 1 part of Vomit Brown).

Finally I use White, or an Off-white. The latter can be made by mixing White with a touch of Yellow Oxide thrown in. Careful - a little yellow goes a long way. For the Army of the Dead bases I used more white highlighting than on my other bases. This was to represent the crushed and disintegrating bones which had mixed with the soil.


Painting Details

Now you are ready to paint the details. First the bones. This is easy. Because the details have already been painted the same of the base, the bones are nearly there. Just add a medium drybrush of Bleached Bone, being careful not to lose the shadowing of layers of brown that you have already built up. A final mix Bleached Bone and White just on the high points will finish them off nicely.

Shields and weapons should be painted as you normally do, but be careful not to paint too far onto dirt. If you do, then you can always cover it with some grass, instead of going to the effort to repaint.

The final touch is to add some grass. I use water based Polymer Matt Varnish dabbed on with an old paintbrush to define the areas I want the grass. I obtain this from an art & craft store in 250ml screw topped containers. It dries quickly with a matt finish and dries clear, despite how white it looks in the container. I do not use watered down PVA because that dries slightly milky and sligihtly shiny. Howevr, if you are giving the whole base a spray coat of matt varnish, then it does not matter which you use.

And finally a picture of the finished base, with some Army of the Dead ready to wreak havoc amongst the faint hearted.


Bases decorated by Brian Baynes and painted by John Shaw.