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MESBG Terrain Project - Part 4: Temple of the Doomed

Since reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy back when I was in high school, I was captivated by the world that Tolkien had created in his works of fiction. But it wouldn't be until later in life that I would be drawn into Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games (MESBG).


MESBG Terrain Project

Ruined Temple of Karna - Source: Dan Payne


In case you missed the first three parts of this series of articles, you can find links to them here:





Up to speed? Good, let's crack on.


In the last article a few months back (apologies but my 'day' job has kept me busy, as a Theatre and Events Technician based in the South East of England I've been all over the place working on everything from rock concerts to Royal Shakespeare Company stage productions), I promised to focus on a centrepiece for my Ruins of Karna Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games terrain set. So here is my ruined Haradrim temple.


From my research into the Haradrim, there doesn't seem to be anything I could find on their religious beliefs as a culture in Middle Earth. But I figured that they must have some sort of belief in a higher power, after all their fellow allies the Easterlings worship Sauron as a deity. I'm sure the die-hard Tolkien fans reading this are tutting at my lack of knowledge on the subject and I bow to your superior grasp of the source material. So I decided to incorporate my real-world research to shape my design and approach to this terrain piece.


MESBG Terrain Project

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco - Source: Lonely Planet


During my travels in Morocco last year, I was amazed at the stunning architecture that I encountered. Being a blend of North African and Islamic cultures it showcases the local history, design and craftsmanship. A fantastic example of this is the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, the central focus of the city. To replicate this on the tabletop would be a tall order, but I thought I could borrow just a few design features when it came to creating my miniature house of worship for my Haradrim.


The standout feature of the Koutoubia Mosque is its minaret, a feature that most Mosques have but this one has received the royal treatment. Apart from looking ornate the tower serves a vital purpose as it is from here that a Crier will call all local Muslims to prayer five times daily.


I wanted to include this feature as I figured a similar ritual would occur in daily life in Harad. It also provides a central visual focus aesthetically and a high vantage point for gaming purposes. For the core of the temple, I had a ruined cloister from the Ruined Mexican Slums kit produced by TT Combat which I had bought for the regular ruined houses of Karna, so I thought I would look at the rest of their range for an ornate ruined tower that I could use. From their Streets of Venice terrain range, I found the Ruined Modular Villetta Triplicare Rosa kit. It looked sufficiently ornate whilst being ruined and would make for a good prayer tower.



MESBG Terrain Project

Ruined Temple of Karna - Source: Dan Payne


The next key feature I chose to include was a bathing pool. In Islamic culture, cleanliness is considered next to godliness, so it is common to find wash facilities inside or near a Mosque where worshipers can perform ritual cleaning before attending services.


Again I felt that this would add another visual element to my temple terrain piece as well as add a water feature which would make for an interesting obstacle for gaming. To make the bathing pool, I cut the rectangular frame from some 5mm foam core, I then tiled the edge with thin card and painted it separately as a subassembly.


As for the water in the pool, it was painted directly onto the baseboard in an area measured and marked out to meet the dimensions of the rectangular frame. After the initial base coat of a rich blue, I stippled a layer of a lighter blue and white to create the illusion of movement in the water and then hit it with a gloss varnish. I contemplated using resin to make a more realistic pool of water, but I was worried that the foam core frame once attached to the baseboard wouldn't be watertight and I didn't want the resin to spill everywhere.

Ruined Temple of Karna - Source: Dan Payne


I figured that the temple would have been one of Gondor's key targets during their brutal putdown of the Haradrim uprising. So I tried to include a bit of that narrative by painting on some scorch damage and some anti-Gondor graffiti to convey just a bit of that conflict.


Overall I am pretty happy with this terrain piece, I think it works as a centrepiece for the terrain set with enough visual interest and cover to provide interesting narrative-driven gaming.


Well, that's it for this part in my Ruins of Karna terrain project, but stay tuned for the next thrilling instalment.


To check out my latest hobby projects, follow me on






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