This is a ruined city house, with its roof destroyed by a fallen meteor.
And it all started with this nice looking little wooden house. I had seen it in my local second hand shop a couple of time. I picked it a few times, wondering what I could do with it, and always put it back. I thought the scale was off, and that fixing the giant holes in the roof would be a pain. And even if I did, it would make playing in it pretty hard.
Then one day, it occurred to me that the giant holes might not need fixing; that they might actually be desirable if I wanted to craft a meteor-destroyed house.
So I started adding wooden beams on the outside, to better delimit the ground and first floor. Those are made from insulation foam, and textured with a wood scraping brush.
I also put the same kind of wood/foam at the house angles. I hat laying bricks at angles, so this provides a nice shortcut to cover the angles and still make it look like some kind of medieval construction.
I then started laying bricks on all walls, even the interior ones. I decided not to glue this build on a base. Because the structure is already so durable (trust me, it's some really heavy and strong wood there), I knew I could just pick the build and lay it on the board anywhere and it wouldn't need a base.
More bricks, and a chimney. I glues some pins at the top of the chimney to simulate a top exhaust. Not sure if the illusion works though.
More and more brick laying. This took some time, but I did it while listening to the Dungeons of Drakkenheim podcast (very fitting in terms of atmosphere), so I had a good time.
Almost there. As you can see, I can hold the whole structure in one hand and everything stays attached. This is one of my most (if not the most) durable builds.
Now is time to cover the top floor with some wood. I took a lot of ice cream sticks, cut their rounded ends and textured them to add wood grain.
Here is what I use. It's a corx screwdriver, it has a star-like shape and with two or three passes on a stick, it simulates veins of a wooded plank.
Then I cut them into smaller bits, so I could glue them into some sem-irregular pattern (one long and one small, in alternate rows).
For durability, I used a glue gun to glue them all, but this required some precise timing as I had to glue them quickly before the glue got cold and some were sometimes hard to get to.
I wasn't exactly sure at first about what to do with the round windows. I decided to glue small "wood" blocks all around it. It does not make much sense from a real-life POV, but the crafting result looks good.
Covered the first floor walls with some matte gel to give it some texture.
And then started painting. My modpodge/black paint mix was a bit too diluted. I used china black ink instead of craft paint thinking that the coverage would be better but... china ink is very liquid compared to craft paint and even if the pigment is stronger, it also added a lot of "water" to my mix, resulting in a way less covering result.
Still, I started painting on it. In hindsight, it was a mistake. I should have covered the whole structure in a second (or third) layer so it would be completely black. Because I skipped this step, the underlying red can be seen between the cracks of the bricks in some places.
After a few coats, it starts to look good!
With a mini for scale. Now what I need to do is add the shingles around those giant holes.
I went with shingles of greatly varying sizes, to give this a disarrayed look, which is how I envision the old cities of the Warhammer world, with their crumbling turrets built in defiance of gravity.
For the top ridge, I wanted to add some decoration and had this plastic snake laying around, so I glued them and covered it in more shingles. In hindsight, this was a mistake. The final look of the top of the roof is weird, and I should just have cut the snake head and glued is below the roof line.
To kinda make up for my mistake I added another wooden beam on top. I honestly can't say if it's better or worse.
This time I applied several coats of my highly diluted mixture, to be sure to cover all the shingles well (I don't want to have any Golden Grahams logo showing through!)
First coat is a deep red.
Drybrush of a more orange red.
And finally a real orange on the last layer. The several layers of mixture I added to the shingles added some irregular grit which is a fortunate side effect.
The effect under my desk light was very dramatic!
I then added a wash, which had the unfortunate effect to create rippled on some of the shingles. I think it's because the pigment of the paint somehow interacted with the plastic coating of the cardboard, dissolving it. It sure added some interesting texture to the build but not what I had been looking for.
And once dried, it gave way to that pretty nice gritty effect.
I went on and colored more individual shingles in various tones of red and orange, more like a real roof.
This, alongside a similar effect done on the wall stones gave a lot more life to the build.
I added another wash on top; otherwise the colored shingles were way too visible.
And then, we could move to flocking the whole piece.
And putting watered down PVA glue on everything to really seal the flocking. This phase is still a bit scary to me. The build looks like a real mess at that stage with all those white splatters everywhere. Thankfully it all turns transparent when it's absorbed by the cardboard.
And a few glamor shots of the final results. I'm very pleased with this build. Mostly because it is durable and that's one of the main qualities I look for in my builds. But also because it conveys this feeling of decrepit city hit by a meteor very well.
You walk into the jungle and come face to face with this horrible statue. Three bird heads stacked on top of each other, their eyes emerald green. What do you do?
This all started with this weird Angry Bird / MacDonalds toy.
I glued it on a piece of plastic to secure it in place, and glued some cheap plastic jewels in place of its eyes.
Then, I let the magic of the drybrush turn this into a statue.
I painted the eyes emerald green and added a drybrush of a yellowish green on top.
A dark brown wash on top.
And heavy flocking to give it an air of forgotten statue covered in moss.
That was a very quick build, and to be honest I didn't expect it to look so great. The original toy is pretty goofy to begin with, but the addition of the emerald eyes on top of the cartoonish birds gives it an aura of weirdness.
Covered in moss and abandoned, this statue guards the streets of a city that has been deserted for a very long time.
This is tiny piece of scatter terrain that would fit well in a Mordheim-like setting.
As usual on this blog, it started with some second hand toys. The blue base comes from a Pet Shop toy, and the gargoyle itself is taken from an Halloween-themed board game.
I glued one on top of the other and added some rocks to cover the mess I did with the hot glue.
And more pebbles, rocks and dirt.
Drybrushed everything gray, then painted a few pieces brown to make it look like rubbles. Also painted the orb green because why not.
With a bit more flocking. I might have been too heavy handed on that one.
I'm happy with the final result. It's durable, made of blocks of plastic. It's stable because the base is large. It's ubiquitous, I can put than on almost any board and it won't look out of place.
I imagine this as a forgotten guard post, hidden inside a forest, possibly the entrance to an underground bandit camp.
The original shape comes from this plastic toy; initially part of a set of stacking toys that I borrowed from my daughter. I like to re-use existing shapes and add texture to them, and I felt it had the perfect shape and scale for a small tower.
I started by gluing some ice cream sticks in the inside of the door frame, reinforcing them on the inside.
Looks legit from the outside, all I need will be a door handle and some visible hinges.
I added them once the bricks were layed, using an ear ring blocker as the handle and decorative watch handles as the hinges.
I knew I wanted to cover the walls with foam bricks. What I learned on one of my previous projects is that I should always paint the wall black before gluing the bricks, otherwise the initial color would show through the cracks between the bricks.
I glued decorative wood sticks at each angle. I hate to lay bricks in angles, it's too finicky, so I usually try to find lazy ways to cover them instead. Here it looks like structure beam. I'm not sure it makes any sense, architecturally speaking, but it looks nice.
Now, with a glue gun and a lot of patience, I glued foam bricks all around it. I kept an opening to add a window (it's a Lego piece) and some runic bead above the door to act as an ornament. In hindsight it looks a bit out of place (being a round bead in a largely square building).
I covered it all up to the first floor and kept gluing bricks to add some kind of ledge around the first floor. Large enough so miniatures can stand on.
The I picked this metallic fence from my bit box and fitted it on one side. As you can see from the background, my daughter was playing with her own fantasy beasts at the time.
The structure was a bit plain with it being "just square", and I wanted to add some interesting bits for playability, so I started building some decrepit scaffold around it. It's basically wooden skewers that I inserted in the foam (or in spaces between foam bricks) and glued.
Then covered with textured ice cream sticks in an haphazard manner.
I recently got my hands on a bag of those colored plastic pieces. I think they come from some kind of puzzle toy. I found their shapes interesting and wondered if I could use them as irregular stones for flooring.
I finally glued it to a plastic base. It's made from the top of a baby food box and perfectly fit the shape of the building.
Glue on the base as well as on any the top of most protruding bricks, then sprinkle of fine sand. In hindsight, I should have sprinkled larger sand grains first and finish with the fine one. I also glued a Playmobil tree on top.
And on to the first coat of paint before the real painting could start.
Overbrush on the wood and stone.
More drybrushes in lighter tones on the wood and stones again.
Picking some stones with highly diluted paint of various colors to add some variety.
Adding a black wash to tie everything together and make it look all dark and grimy.
This was the first time I attempted to make some kind of tree. I found that the shape of the Playmobil tree was pretty nice, but it was missing foliage. I have a box full of those Playmobil tree, so if I can make great foliage, I could create a whole forest pretty easily.
I had those foam cylinders from a packaging laying around, so I thought it could serve as a base for foliage. I cut them in irregular round shapes.
Painted them green.
And glued them on the tree (I also added grass flocking here and there as well). The tree do not look as good as I imagined it would.
Covered with more flocking. Didn't much improve the look, but I decided to leave it like this. My tree foliage technique is not yet working, but for a first try it's not too bad. I'll have to try again.
And here is the final result.
Overall I like this build. The structure is pretty solid as it's made from one block of plastic. The stone brick effect looks good enough (the wash and tinted bricks adds a lot to it). The scaffold around it, even if pretty basic breaks the monotony. Doors look like doors. The only downside is the tree that looks a bit out of place but hey, I'll turn that into a RP element: look for the abandoned guard post with the weird looking tree on tops
This was a proof of concept to test a new material I found: a roll of textured wallpaper and seeing if it would make acceptable dungeon tiles.
This all started with this roll of textured wallpaper I found. It has a nice texture that looks like crackled earth, but I imagined that if I were to cut it in small squares, it would make perfectly acceptable stone slabs for some kind of dungeon floor.
But, as is, it is a bit too flexible and thin, so I glued it on a piece of cereal box cardboard and started tracing squares of 2.5cm on it.
I cut the squares with a pair of scissors and got a nice pile of stone slabs. My initial gut feeling was right; this looks great.
I started sanding the edges because I thought that simple gluing the squares next to each other on a dungeon tile would not look right; I wanted to add a bit of detail that would make them look like actual stone slabs instead of simple squares.
This took some time, made some noise, and created a lot of dust and blistered fingers, but I did it.
I glued them on some beer mat I found in the same second-hand shop.
The final effect looks promising. The only issue is that the squares are a little too small for my taste. 2.5cm is fine in theory to put a miniature, but in practice it's barely enough and I'd rather have 3cm squares. Well, it was just a proof of concept to test the wallpaper anyway.
Grey overbrush on black coat.
And black wash on top.
This is an excavation site for a large shard of Wyrdstone/Emerald.
This all started with this Frozen toy found for 1€ in a second hand shop. At a different scale from originally intended, I thought it would make a nice Warpstone/Wyrdstone marker.
It's also hollow and translucent, so I thought I could fit a little light inside and have the flickering effect make it look like the stone was pulsating.
My initial test looked promising, the only issue was: "how would I be able to keep the translucent effect but turning it green instead of blue?"
I cut some foam to the shape of the bottom part and fitted a light inside. Not pretty, but it's also not meant to be visible.
I protected the base of the shard with some tape and applied filling paste on the base, to give it a more rugged look than the smooth plastic it was.
Once dried I applied a fair amount of wood glue...
...and sprinkled various sizes of gravel...
...and sand. I then let it dry.
And applied a coat of black mod podge to act as a base for the paint, as well as really fit the gravels/pebbles/stones in place.
I could then remove the tape.
And start painting.
I then did a drybrush of a lighter green on the stone. In order to hide the parts that were definitely not on the right scale (the entrance door and stairs), I decided to cover them with some makeshift scaffold built from balsa wood and ice cream sticks.
I now had the idea of turning it into some excavation site, where a team had already started getting this large piece of green stone from the earth and still had their scaffold and tools around.
I added a few details like this rack of tools and chest (coming from a Mantic kickstarter).
And a ladder on the other side. At this point I must say that I usually base coat and paint the whole terrain at once when crafting, but here I knew that it would be hard to paint the stone underneath the scaffold if I built everything at once, so I built it in two steps.
Covered the feet of my scaffold with more white glue again.
To add even more stone rubbles, to better merge together the various layer of the build. I'm learning to not be afraid of adding more and more layers of details, even if it means going back over something I previously painted.
And painting again in black mod podge the new addition (I painted a bit on the actual stone, oops).
Then painting the wood with the usual three brown drybrushes, from darker to lighter.
Another shot under a brighter light. As you can see, I completely abandoned the idea of having the candlelight pop through the crystal. My paint if pretty opaque, so you really need to have complete darkness in the room to barely see the light inside.
And finished with a little bit of flocking to cover the parts where I painted over the crystal or couldn't paint properly.
And the final glamor shots!
I started working on my second set of tiles of Zombicide Green Horde. I'm building the tiles in the order they are needed in the base scenarios, and not in their "alphabetical order". Note that on the retail game, each tile comes as a hard cardboard tiles, printed on both side. Mine are insulation foam mounted on MDF board, and obviously only playable on one side. So, it takes a lot more space!
I started by cutting the foam to the right size and glue it to the MDF boards. Then, I started texturing the paved roads. I tried several different patterns. Initially it was to break the monotony of the boards, but in hindsight I feel it would have been better to stick to one pattern and actually use it on all boards, to have the boards work well together visually.
Still, trying different patterns gave me the opportunity to try different techniques and see which one render the best results, and also which one require the less amount of work.
One the tiles was mostly covered on dried soil, so I used a roll of textured wallpaper I found in a second hand shop as the basis.
This is the thing I bought for ~2€. I can make dozens of tiles with that if the experience proves successful.
I then added wood planks made from foam, and lots of little rocks to mark the places where hedges should go. When playing with the official cardboard tiles, hedges are directly printed on it, so you know for sure where your line of sight if blocked. With my custom tiles, I wanted the same kind of information, but I wanted it to be unobtrusive with the actual tile. The compromise I found was to use those small rocks as a boundary.
The rocks are made from a think board of foam that I cut into small pieces with my nails; this gives them an uneven and jagged look.
Everything looks better with black. I was a bit wary at first that my brush strokes would be too visible on top of the textured wallpaper, but it dried pretty flat and the initial texture is very visible underneath.
After the initial covering in colors, I also repainted the cracks in the floor with a darker paint.
Added a wash on top to further bind the effect together.
More details added, especially painting some stones in various shades.
Adding more flocking, mostly to delimit the areas. Maybe I should have used less.
And sealing the flocking with liquid white glue. This looks a complete mess at this stage.
For this tile, I tried other recycled materials to texture the various not-road segments. On the left, it's another textured wallpaper I found, and on the right it's simple cardboard to simulate grooves of a field.
For the main road I carved large stone slabs. They are easier (and faster) to carve than regular straight stones. I know this renders pretty well on dungeon tiles and walls, so I wanted to see how it would turn out for street paving.
The top house floor is made of planks made from foam, of varying thickness, giving this uneven look.
The traditional first coat of black mod podge.
And some base colors added.
I reinforced the patches of dirt on the left with some dark paint.
I'm not sure what happened, but the wallpaper started to turn white in spots. There must have been some kind of reaction with the highly diluted wash I used.
I covered it by re-applying paint on top.
And the flocked preview
Now fixing the flocking with highly diluted white glue.
For this tile, I applied the same logic of marking the hedges with small rocks. I covered the ground of the earthy squares with a mix of water, baking soda and white glue. This gave them a rugged look but I think I should have used more baking soda, or added some sand or pebble to make it look like even more like dirt.
I made a mix of green and brown for the various tiles. Drybrushing the rocks also had the nice side effect of doing a smooth transition to the ground.
I painted some stones in various shades using highly diluted paint.
The highly diluted paint somehow reacted with my previous layers here as well, creating those ugly white stains.
Added a lot of flocking, but most of it will not stick once the glue is dry, so I'll get it back and use in other projects.
I sprayed very liquid white glue on the flocked part to seal them. Everything looks ugly at that stage, but you have to be brave and wait.
Sealing the flocking made the white stains reappear...
On this one I tried another delimiter for the hedges; coffee stirrers. I don't know why but in my mind it could have looked like planks left on the floor. It looked way better in my mind than once glued on the board. I think I'll stay with the rocks idea in the future.
I also applied some baking soda/white glue/water mix on the street itself, to see if it would make it look lire it has seen some use, but the results aren't very satisfying.
The three squares at the bottom are supposed to be separate on the board, so I tried slightly different textures on them; once again to test what would look the best. Left was filling paste, center was nothing but black mod podge and right is some Vallejo texture.
The textured floor took the drybrushing well. The difference between the baking soda and the raw foam is barely noticeable.
A wash to darken everything. I used to mix black paint, water and some flow improver in very specific measurement. Nowadays, I mix black paint and water and that's it.
Colored some stones for variety.
And added flocking, mostly in recesses of the street.
I also added different kind of flocking to each square. I had just received a batch of flocking, so it was a great way to try it out.
Sealing the flocking.
The sealing left some white marks here too...
This is the abandoned Tarnopol Clocktower, currently occupied by a band of street urchins. And this was made from a second hand Titeuf boardgame.
The original inspiration come from this drawing from "Mariemburg: Sold Down the River", a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement. It represents the Tarnopol Clocktower, and abandoned building now occupied by a clan of street urchins.
The build starts with this tower. I bought this in a second hand shop. It was part of a Titeuf board game. I threw away all the other cardboards pieces of the game, and only kept this main element. For 1€, it makes a great foundation for any craft.
You can see another similar tower in the background, from another game. I haven't started working on that one yet.
First step is top open the thing to remove all the moving parts. This will make the build lighter and prevent it from making too much noise when moved around. I also glued the door in place with wood glue.
I cut a base from a hard piece of cardboard, and glued it on it. I also started to cover the first level with wood planks, and glued some larger wooden sticks horizontally to look like beams.
More beam scaffolding on the back, to use as a base for more wood planks, to have the first level go all around the tower.
I also cut the small plastic wall next to the stairs, to give them a better 3d look.
I then started working on the support beams. They don't actually support anything, they are just glued together to make it look like they're supporting the first floor.
On the right I used a piece of foam (I intend to cover it with rubble later), and on the left some tree bark. I also recycled a Pet Shop toy part for the door steps.
I added a bit more details, by covering the front face of the planks. I picked some junk in my bits box to add a broken table, a barrel and some doors here and there. I also added planks on the second floor.
Better view of the kind of details I added.
On the back I added a sofa and chair (I had them from the Mantic Crate second Kickstarter) to make it look like this place is inhabited by vagrants.
I then added some foam on the flat faces to give the illusion of a stone structure. For the most part, I put them where they could cover the holes in the plastic. I added two window on the central "blackboard" to cover such holes, and placed them slightly at an angle to make it look like there is a staircase behind.
I also added bricks at the top, and an old desk on the first level. The main idea with the desk was to cover the ugly flat wall behind it, but it also adds to the idea that people are living here and gathering all kind of weird stuff they find nearby.
I kept adding more foam slabs here and there to cover all the flat area. I added a door as well, to break the monotony of this flat wall and give an access to the first floor.
Mostly the job here was to glue bits of stuff here and there to forget it was flat plastic.
Then I started working on the cobblestones. Those are ripped from a thin foam board using only my nails. This give them an irregular shape, and I only had to apply a layer of glue on the floor, and then push them on.
I added a gargoyle from a Marvel toy, as an easter egg.
Covered the whole top.
I added more stone slabs on the floor because there was too many holes and "Pet Shop" engraving on it. I also added bricks on the side to smoothen the transition between the building and the stairs. I even added more bricks around the door to hide the sloppy traces of glue behind.
I then covered the floor with filling paste mixed. I applied it with a brush heavily loaded with water. This allowed me to push the paste in the crevices but still keep the cobblestones visible.
I also dabbed my brush full of filling paste on the walls to give them some texture. A bit went on the couch and door as well, but I didn't care much, it would just add to the old look of it.
With the foam slabs and texture on the wall, the back wall look much better than the flat surface it used to be now.
And one more full shot.
Now it is time to add the gravel and rubbles. I added a lot of wood glue, then sprinkles on various sizes of sand and small rocks. I started with the largest ones, then added smaller and smaller ones. I threw in a few broken planks in there for good measure as well.
I did the same on the upper levels as well, mostly to cover the seams where the plastic wall and wooden floor met.
Now it's time to paint.
I had to do two coats of my initial black mod podge mixture because I mixed black ink in it instead of black paint, and it made a very liquid final mix, which didn't cover much. This picture is made after the first coat.
And after a second coat. Now we can get to the painting part.
Note that I put some masking tape on the actual clock. I intend to keep the original picture there, so I will remove the masking tape at the very end, once everything is painted.
I started with a first overbrush of dark brown on the wooden areas.
While drying, I did a dark gray overbrush on the stone areas.
Then a red one on the cobblestone. I didn't want the cobblestones to be gray, as I thought it would look too much similar to the actual building. I went with red hoping that the following drybrushes and washes would turn the color into a more natural stone color.
I then worked on brighter and brighter drybrush of the wood and stone. The various layer gave some more depth to both parts.
I applied a wash on everything, to further dark the recesses. At this point I wasn't really happy with the cobblestones as they looked too much like fire or lava to me.
Still, I went on adding more details to the build. Painting individual stones with heavily washed colors (gray and red), to further break the all-gray monotony.
I added some rough highlights on the door, painting each upper part of the panels in a brighter brown.
I finally heavily drybrushed the cobblestones with tan, to tone the red down, and it gave the initial effect I was looking for.
I added on more small details, like some candles or a forgotten purse.
I painted the couch and adding a bit more details.
I even added a forgotten teddy bear at the bottom of the tower, to keep in the theme of the tower being inhabited by orphaned street urchins.
I had a lot of fun with flocking. What I initially imagined as an urban building, actually became much more rural once I started adding green vegetation to it.
I used a mix of static grass, cooking herbs (this build smells soooo good) and grass tufts.
Flocking was used mostly to cover all the bits where seams were too visible.
To really seal the flocking in place (so it won't put tiny fibers of static grass everywhere whenever I use it), I coated everything with a mix of wood glue and water. This made everything more durable but had the side effect of really flattening all the static grass, that now look much more like mushy moss. I might buy another type of flocking (made from foam) next time.
More glamor shots for you to enjoy.
And with a mini for scale.
Yeah, this is the "grass flattening" effect I was talking about.
Front porch. Here the sealing glue is still wet, which is why you see this white paste in the flocking.
I finally let it dry on my balcony, with natural sunlight.
This is an abandoned temple, made from cake packaging trash.
It all started with this packaging. A frozen chocolate cake in its plastic box. The bottom of the plastic box had this engraved squares, and I thought they would look like stone pavement, and the sides could look like ruined walls.
I took a square piece of hard cardboard to act as a base. The cardboard is coming from a second hand Frozen game (I used other parts of this game for another conversion).
Started gluing bricks all around, and added some filling paste on the sides.
More bricks, and some sand on the sides.
Black paint, and this is where the trouble begins.
I tried setting some bricks in brighter colors, to give it a kind of roman ruin, with bricks in the red/orange tint. But this made it look like a kid chocolate cake.
I drybrushed on top, hoping to mute the colors, but the result was ugly.
I applied a wash. Slightly better, but the underlying colors are showing way too much and ruining the effect.
I painted the floor red, to have the eye focusing less on the stones, and re-applied a gray overbrush on all the stones, mostly hiding all the previous coloring job (for the better).
Some flocking later, and it really looks like a ruined temple now.
View from the side, with a mini for scale.
And after a final coat of glue and varnish to keep the flocking in place.
I made this watchtower, with playable interior, mostly from foam.
I do not have pictures before that stage, but this is a pretty good view of the underlying structure. Everything is made with foam, except the vertical planks around the windows.
During the painting process.
(kinda) artistic shot.
I made the base of the tower from a cardboard box, covered on all sides with a thin sheet of foam (where I carved a stone pattern), and I glued some more foam on the side (where I carved a wood texture this time).
Gray overbrush on the stone, and brown on the wood.
Painting some colors on individual stone to make it look like an abstract painting.
Another drybrush on top to tone down the colors.
And... I don't even remember what I did on that step, sorry. A wash maybe?
And both pieces on top of each other.
This is one of the crafts I'm the most proud of. The top level wood really looks like wood, and because I coated it in modpodge and varnished it, it is also very durable.