Terrain Crafting Projects Page 2

Ice Stalagmites, or Columns:  04-04-14

I made some Ice spikes/columns/stalagmites, if you will, for my upcoming Frost Giant BattleSystem Skirmish games.  They will go nicely with my Ice Bridge, and all of the other terrain pieces for this game.  I plan on putting all of my Ice-themed terrain projects on this page, to keep things organized, so it should be easier for you to find what you are interested in seeing.

These Ice Stalagmites were made using DM Scotty's toilet paper roll tube technique:  the empty tube is crushed into a vaguely conical shape, Hot Glue'd to a base, then Hot Glue is used to texture it.  After that, they were painted with Cool White craft paint (I am debating whether to apply a blue Magic Wash coating...).

I will be making many more of these Ice Stalagmites, for the game, but these serve as an example for you to see how the technique turns out.  They are quite simple, fast, and very inexpensive to make.  I used my standard vinyl floor tile pieces for their base:  cut to size, two pieces of floor tile are stuck together, using their own glue; the Ice piece is then Hot Glue'd to the base, and the whole was painted after construction was completed.  Cheers!

Side 1

Side 2

Side 3
A battle scene with Frost Giants, a Winter Wolf (center, back), three Adventurers, and a White Dragon.

Here is a shot of the Ice Stalagmites on a size scale, along with the adventuring Wizard from the previous scene.
04-13-2015:  Aluminum Foil Stalagmites

Here are some Stalagmites made out of formed, aluminum foil wrap, in the shape of stone mounds.  The aluminum foil was then painted with ABS Glue (ABS Plastic, dissolved into a solvent solution), a thick, black plastic goo, almost paste-thick, which is available from any hardware store, in the plumbing section.  The ABS Glue is intended for use in gluing plastic plumbing pipes together.  It is simply painted onto the aluminum foil armature, then the solvent is allowed to evaporate, leaving behind the shiny, smooth-surfaced, ABS plastic.  Curing/drying of the ABS Glue takes a good 24-hours, to be sure the solvent has completely evaporated, leaving solid plastic behind.  This technique is both simple, and effective.  It can also be used to make Black Puddings, and any other slime-type creature needed.  Simply form an armature, then paint it with the ABS Glue, wait for it to fully cure, then paint as needed.  Cheers!

Close-up view of three stalagmites made from one piece of foil, crumpled into three spikes.  Note the sand which has been glued around the edges of the foil, to spice it up, as well as cover the seams...

Here you can see a different view, and a different stalagmite.  They are Hot Glued to a vinyl floor tile base.  The whole was painted a dark gray, using inexpensive latex wall paint, then the whole was given The Dip treatment (Minwax Polyshades urethane-stain, the Royal Walnut, to be precise).

Here is a view of the Stalagmites in action, with a Wizard about to blast a foolish group of Goblins...

08-17-2014:  New Basing Technique -- No painting required!

I've tried various basing techniques, for both miniatures, and terrain pieces.  I have finally found one that I really like the results of, as well as the minimal amount of time, and effort, involved to achieve the end result.  Best of all, this technique requires absolutely no painting!  I really like that part...

So here are some teaser photo's to demonstrate what the end result looks like when applied to some trees I had made a couple of years ago, but I never really liked their super-simple bases (Hunter Green over the base, nothing else...):

Simple, balh base on the left, and the new technique on the right.

A conifer example next to the blah base.
The new basing technique is to take a mixture of pre-colored, fine-grained sand, lime green for me, add to it some tan colored, coarse-grained sand, along with some even coarser-grained, brown sand (almost like a gravel, in this scale), and stir all three sands together in a bowl.  Paint Clear Elmer's School Glue onto the base, using a cheap, school paint brush (30 for $0.99 at Wal-Mart), then dunk the base into the sand mixture, tap off the excess, then let it dry.  The sands were purchased from Michael's Hobby Store, in the floral crafting section of supplies, near the floral foam products.

The advantage of using the commercial sands, is that they come pre-colored.  This allows me to skip the painting step, for the bases!  This technique works not only for trees, but for figures as well.  Check out the Halberdier figures, which have received the same treatment, below.

Three trees, and three Halberdiers, all demonstrating the new basing technique.
I use a mixture of around 90% lime-green, fine-grained sand (careful not to blow on this stuff, as it is quite lite-weight!), 5% coarse-grained, tan sand, and 5% brown, super-coarse sand (gravel, in this scale of 25-30mm).  I mix them into a plastic, lidded container, for easy storage.  The container is opened, the sands mixed together, then the piece with its base painted with Clear Elmer's School Glue is dunked into the mix, and moved around to achieve full coverage.  The excess sand is gently tapped off of the base, and the figure is set aside to dry.

I lied!  I use a de-commissioned baking pan for the mixing, and application of the sand to the bases.  I do, however, store the sand mixtures in cheapo plastic containers.  The sand will, over time, grind away at the container, so be sure to use something you won't mind destroying the finish on...  This shows the mixture of the three sand types, but the fine-grained, lime-green sand is the largest in the mix, with roughly equal portions of the other two types.  Mixtures need not be precise -- just get them close, and experiment.  There may be times when you need rougher terrain, which means more of the coarser, rougher sands be mixed into your sand slurry.  Experimentation is king, Baby!

As you can see in the above photo, I got too much of the super-coarse sand mixed into the bowl, and the tree on the far right is too rocky.  In a case like this, just gently rub off the excess 'rocks' back into your bowl (add more lime-green, fine-grained sand to get a better mix, like the other two trees in the photo), and reapply the mix, if necessary.

A Mage Knight Figure being used as a Solar, a D&D angel.  Base has the addition of some colored foam bits, to represent some small foliage, or bushes around the figure.  Otherwise, it is the same technique as above.

After this first application dries completely, I strongly recommend spraying the bases with Scenic Cement, or its equivalent.  The sand will rub off with use if it is not sealed with an additional application of glue over the top of the sand mixtures.  Cheers!

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