It's no secret that Stahly is one of my inspirations. I adore his hyper precise paint style and his work ethic when it comes to painting models. So when I saw his terrain posts recently and realised I would be getting terrain with this month's Conquest subscription I was inspired to paint a 2x2 Sector Imperialis board section.  Luckily I had finished the month's Conquest projects with a week to spare.  More after the jump.

I've had the sector Imperialis 6x4 gaming board under my desk at home for probably 4 years and I've never taken it out of the bag it came in. I'm not a gamer so I've never had the inclination to ever start painting it. Another challenge is all my armies have desert themed bases, so I saw little point to painting a city board. However, inspired by Stahly, I thought a single 2x2 board section would be perfect to display and photograph any terrain I received in Conquest.

I didn't want to go out and spend a fortune on paints so I repurposed what I had to hand. I used a can of automobile grey primer to prime the entire board, then I used Black Vallejo Surface Primer through my airbrush to paint the whole board black. I may have saved £10 on a can of black primer but boy did it take ages to prime with an airbrush! Once it was black I used huge artist's water colour brushes to dry brush on the different colours. I had all my sample paints that Instar had sent me so I used those. The great thing with this is Instar paint is cheaper than Citadel and you can get them in bigger dropper bottles. Perfect for painting terrain. The colour choices I made were to help with my desert base theme. Lots of browns, bronzes, sand colours. Even the grey areas had a final dry brush of bone colour to help tie into the sand of the bases. I don't think it's too bad actually.

So what's next? Well, Stahly uses a really cool cloud background in his pictures and he's kindly sent me the PSD file so I'm going to look at getting a 4ft x 1ft long piece printed in a different colour. I also want to practice focus stacking. Focus stacking is when you take several photos on a tripod and change the focus on each picture. You then use photoshop to automatically stick all those photos together so everything in the photo is in focus. After that, it'll be more dramatic lighting and the smoke machine might be making a return.

Final thoughts?
As I'm writing this I can help but think Conquest has rebooted my hobby. It's like I've started again from scratch. I don't feel bogged down with my huge painted collections or my unpainted models. I'm just focused on what is coming that month and then how can I enhance my Conquest collection with extra models and board sections. I honestly haven't been this productive or enjoyed the hobby this much in years. It feels new and exciting again.