I've just painted over 100 pieces of scenery for Star Wars Imperial Assault. And I'm tired. CombatZone Scenery, a company in the UK, produces a beautiful line of terrain tailored for the game. Rendered in heavy casting plaster, the pieces reproduce the 2-dimensional features printed on the map-tiles, as well as other items like control consoles and supply crates.
Terrain is central to achieving an authentic Star Wars feel... what is Tatooine without the lonely moisture vaporators, or a Rebel base without glowing tactical screens? So I'm happy that there's a way of bringing these places to life in 3 dimensions. The only problem is the cost in money and time. Buying and shipping all this terrain cost me almost $250 Canadian -- and then it was about 7 weeks of intense painting. That's a long time to spend painting crates and snowbanks.
But, in the end, it's worth it. One of my recurring themes is that Imperial Assault is a game that straddles a borderland between board games and proper war-games. A key difference between these two categories is a board game is ready to play out of the box, but a war-game only becomes playable after a long labour of love: collecting the miniatures, imagining the armies, customizing the models, assembling the terrain, planning, painting and presenting.
I've always wanted a proper Star Wars war-game -- one with broad horizons for the hobbyist in me. I suppose Fantasy Flight Games made their game a little bit too structured and a little bit too easy for my tastes. Well, screw them. I'll keep on finding new ways to make Imperial Assault costly and time-consuming.
Thanks for looking. And don't forget: if you like Imperial Assault, I have galleries of the complete painted miniatures for the Rebels, Imperials and Mercenaries.