After managing to complete my hill within the deadline of one month I have what I think is a more ambitious project, a canal. I have always wanted to make a river and I have failed many times. Its not so easy as it looks and even when you get it done the final water stage is usually not exactly what you were thinking of. One solution to the numerous problems of a river is making a canal and thats really suitable in the Iron Kingdoms. First of all as they are regular in size they are pretty simple to do in sections and have them join up. Also when making a river it always seems to sit above the table level rather than flush with it or better still embedded in it. It just looks wrong. A canal gets past some of this as its banks (tow-paths) are supposed to be raised.
So what are canals according to the rules then? Well in Warmachine they are discussed on page 88 just after hills. Wwarmachine has two types of water, deep and shallow. I think that a canal would be deep. So that means a model can't run or charge through it. Movement is halved and further still all actions, spell casting and giving orders is impossible. Yyou can't even feat while in it. Ending your activation in it causes one damage point. So getting into the water isn't such a good idea! Pathfinder doesn't help out here as it isn't rough terrain. So putting down a canal on a table is going to cause all armies a lot of trouble. Well maybe the gators won't worry about it too much. It does bring a lot to the Warmachine and Hordes table though. Pushing or slamming models in will cause huge problems for them. Any crossing point is going to be really hotly contended and makes for the perfect control zone in scenario play. It aids ranged armies that can effect things across the width of the canal hugely. It also makes amphibious and flying really relevant abilities as stated above.
In Warhammer its something else entirely, it is discussed on page 120 of the rulebook. You can't march while in a river but otherwise you can cross it normally. It has a big effect in combat with units in it losing steadfast and their rank bonus. So getting caught in a river is going to be trouble if your foe has the right unit to deal with you. Rivers do have to have one crossing however but the unit crossing would need to reform to fit on the bridge, so realistically for the game you would game a bridge of about 125mm across. There are of course some myterious rivers but they are really not something I am going for here. A necrotic ooze sounds interesting actually but I just want the standard fare, especially if it is to be a canal.
Despite not plaing 40k I checked the rules there to see what they might say regarding rivers. Basically rivers are again either deep or shallow and depending on which they effect movement. Deep rivers prevent it and shallow rivers (streams) are difficult terrain. Simple enough I guess and does the trick.
So having seen that this canal is going to have a big effect on the game I really think it needs to be planned out properly. I want as per the hill to have it as a realistic piece. That means it needs to be fairly wide. Here is where I start mixing Imperial and Metric measurements, enjoy! I am guessing 6" at least for the channel. So that is basically going to prevent all movement across it in Warmachine for standard models. A little annoying but I think reasonable. I could reduce it to 5" and it should be fine. I see the bank portion taking up about three quarters of an inch on either side so thats a total of between 8" and 9". Thats a large foot print. It has to be about 12" (30cm) long as ut needs to divide into sections and these need to divide into the footprint of the board. I do want the pieces longer than wider so there is no other way it works easily. That means its always crossing the board horizontally or vertically at least. No messing around at this stage with diagonals. The styrene I am using for the base is 12 3/4" wide (exactly 30 cm) so thats what I am going for. The question remains then 5" (~13cm) wide or 6" (~15cm) wide.
I want to make a few other pieces for the canal at a later point but these should be given some thoughts here. I want to add a boat. A traditional narrowboat which then shouldn't take up too much space on the canal. Traffic goes in both directions so I guess less than half the width of the whole channel. That offers me a boat with 2 1/2" width. I envisage this as a steam-powered canal boat delivering coal or some other heavy substance. If I went with the narrower channel I could only go with 2" so I can't fit large based models on the boat as easily. I also have to do a Bridge and I would like this to be 4" wide (~10cm). This maintains the nice visual that the bridge is longer rather than wider. It wouldn't be that awesome for Warhammer but well I am really building this with Warmachine in mind. For Warhammer I would need to go with 5" to accomodate a 25mm based five wide regiment. Hmm when it comes to that part I will consider it. I saw in the recent No Quarter number 40 a picture of a bridge they have made and I think I will be copying the form. It is a bridge that can be raised to allow barges to pass underneath. It looks great and hopefully can't be too hard to build. The final thing I want to build is a Warehouse complete with a crane for storage and loading. It would be a decently large building made in brick. It won't really effect the canal too much though I have considered making it a dead end to the canal having the effect whereby the canal doesn't reach across the whole table.
So enough musings. The plan for the all too short month of February is to make three 30cm long canal sections and one with some form of a bridge which hoepfully will be steam powered! So lets see if I can manage this one.