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.
I recycled a second-hand Hello Kitty toy into this ruined house, ready for Mordheim.
This is the toy as I originally found it. Very pink.
The interior is split on two levels. The fact that it's open on the back make me think that I could make it into a ruined house, where the back wall has collapsed (and because it also make accessing the miniatures inside easier).
I started by removing the roof. I will add my own destroyed roof to it.
The lighting system inside still worked. I will try to incorporate it into my final design.
So much pink.
I then removed the moving parts. I thought it would make painting it easier.
I added some wood plank on the first floor from ice cream sticks, and stone tiles on the ground floor. Left part are made of foam, right from tiles of an old board game.
I also cut the window rail and glued it back, to make it slightly less tall, and better fit with the miniature scale.
Green zombie monster in the Hello Kitty room.
Next stop was adding bricks on the walls.
More and more bricks, and covering the floors with black mod podge. This was a long process I had to split on several evenings as I couldn't paint/glue all sides at once because I still needed to hold the structure in my hands.
I also added some wood around the windows, and textured the inner walls with filling paste.
The view from the front. I kept most of the original facade, I only added a stone contour to it.
The same, after the initial coat.
Now the painting can start!
Whoops, actually nope, I forgot to add more stones at the bottom, to hide the plastic base.
Blocking the wood colors first.
Then the floors and walls.
And now the stones.
This is a very rough overbrush, I use makeup brushes for that (as you can see on the right), and sloppily apply gray paint on the stones. I purposefully don't go into all recesses, to keep them dark, but I still try to cover most surfaces.
Painted some stones in different colors for more variation: dark orange, dark red, and lighter gray.
Same for the interior.
Now adding a light gray drybrush on all the stones to tone down the colors.
I also started working on the roof. I glued some wooden sticks together to give the illusion of a broken roof skeleton.
I added another drybrush on the stone, and washed some stones with highly diluted paints. I must say that the final effect from the wash is much better than the one with the stones painted individually. The more I build houses like this, the more I improve my techniques.
So, as the time of writing, my favorite way is:
With everything painted, I started adding some flocking here and there to double down on the disheveled look.
Same on the inside. I like the small tufts lodged between cracks of the tiles.
And the final shots.
Ready to be dropped into any Mordheim game.
Family shot, with the little Sour Cream Hut.
I repainted a Disney toy into a house suitable for the Old World.
This is the toy, as I original found it in a second hand shop. It is not the right scale for miniatures (a bit too short), but it definitely has this weird fantasy crooked look I like.
I coated it black with the usual black mod podge mixture.
And I blocked the main colors. Grey for the stone (with some brown variation), brown for the wood, and red for the roof.
I added some pikes on the roof (made from toothpicks) to better fit the Warhammer Old World feel, as well as some earing decoration on the main door.
More drybrush and details added later.
And a final shot after all the flocking was added.
I'm sorry I don't have better pictures; I had some picture sync issue between my phone and computer and looks like I lost some data here...
This is a set of hedges I made for my Zombicide Green Horde game.
My first implementation was pretty rough. I started by cutting strips of cork to act as bases. I painted them black, dry brushed gray and applied a wash, for the usual stone texture.
I then glued scratch pads on it. I tried to cut the pads in an irregular fashion, but I think it looks pretty weird.
Functional, but not very pretty.
To make them look a bit more realistic, I sprayed glue on them with a glue spray I had. This was very messy and did not smell good. I do not recommend that.
I then sprinkled a mix of leftover flocking and various cooking herbs on them.
I waited for them to dry, then dipped them in modpodge to seal the herbs. When the modpodge cures, it stays invisible, but keep all the tiny herb pieces in place. I kept them upside down in various containers to have gravity spread the modpodge evenly. The upside down part wasn't even necessary as the thing stayed mostly in place.
No worries, this will be transparent once cured.
And the final result. This still does not look very good, but it's better than raw scratch pads. But more importantly, I won't be spreading cooking herbs everywhere when playing this them now.
This size of this batch works well with the size of the miniatures.
As you can see on those close up pictures, the original scratch pad can still be seen underneath. I wanted to add a black undercoat (or a very dark green), but couldn't find a reliable way to paint the pad.
I needed my walls to be modular and stable. Modular so I could use them to represent streets in all the Zombicide configuration, and stable so they wouldn't fall on the table whenever we would bump into it.
I wasn't sure of the final design, so I decided to craft several different designs at the same time.
I started by cutting foam at the right dimension, and glued one of those medicine sticks at the end, to act both as a pillar, and to give some stability.
Some of them I covered in wooden planks. I didn't bother cutting at the exact right dimension. I glued the thing, and cut the excess afterwards.
Other were etched with a stone pattern, or embedded with a roller, and finally the last one had some filling paste added to look like a plastered wall.
Oh, and I also tried another row with a texture spray paint bottle. This is supposed to be used to give the look of raw stone to any wall, but I tried it on my miniature walls.
Here they are, in various state of painting.
I topped the pillar with some plastic parts from an old board game and painted it black.
The painting is almost done, all the main colors are blocked, and the drybrush is set.
Now with a wash applied, it looks pretty nice. Overall I'm happy with how this project turned out.
I then added some flocking on it, and you can see how it looks on the Zombicide board. The dimensions are perfect for a houses that span only one tile. For the larger one I had to use pillars I crafted before to fill the gaps.
View from the other side. The overall look is great, but the playability not so much. They still are not that stable, and more importantly, they're all individual pieces, they don't clip or stay together.
If I were to redo another batch, I would try to find a way to have them stick together, maybe with magnets, so I could create the shapes, and have them stay in place.
I also tried to make some with (working) doors. Zombicide has a rule mechanism around doors, and it is important to materialize where doors are, and if they are opened or closed.
I kept the same design as a the normal wall, but added an ice cream handle on top and bottom, drilled a small all in it, and used toothpicks or barbecue skewers for the door hinges.
I lost a lot of pictures from the crafting of those doors, because I went through 2 different designs and crafted around 15 total. They look good (enough), but suffer the same issues as the regular walls: not stable enough on the game table.
I tried to make a few timber houses from cardboard.
It all started with this thick cardboard box I found in the trash. It's easy to find lightweight cardboard; the kind you usually receive packages in. But it also wraps quickly as soon as you apply glue or paint. Thick cardboard is much better for crafting, but harder to find.
I cut four strips in it, that would be the walls of my house.
Gluing them together with hot glue for the generic frame.
Then glued lighter cardboard on the roof. I used the current construction as a template to cut the roof to shape.
I made a bunch of windows from foam strips, golden cardboard and gardening mesh.
I also started working on a second house, from an old phone cardboard box. I wanted to have them in dimensions roughly compatible with the Zombicide board I was working on.
Same, but with a different angle. The dimensions are not quite right, but it's also because my Zombicide board itself does not have perfect dimensions.
And then, it magically had a roof, timber frame, doors and windows. Well, it seems that I actually forgot to take pictures of the whole process in between.
Let's just say the timber is foam textured with a metal brush, doors are coffee stirrers, the roof is cardboard and the walls are plastered with filling paste.
On the long house, I also added a foam chimney, glued directly on top of the shingles.
I don't have many pictures of the house by itself, so this are group shot with other projects I was working on at that time.
This is a better shot at the long house, once the flocking was added. I only had one flocking color at the time, but it already greatly enhance the model.
Another group shot, just for fun.
Those are four boards to play Zombicide Green Horde. I played this game a lot, so I thought I should make it even more enjoyable by building some kind of 3D terrain to play one.
I started by ordering 4 MDF planks from my local store. I made them 33x33cm. I chose those dimensions because it means I would be able to fit them in my IKEA kallax shelves, and that would made 3 11x11cm squares per side, which should be wide enough to add details AND contain a horde of minis.
I then cut the foam to shape. In Green Horde, there is some elevation to be taken into account the rules. Some tiles are filled with water, which make moving slower, but could also prevent zombies from getting out of. I decided that anything on the MDF level would be in water, while anything on top of the foam would be at street level.
To further differenciate between street and houses, I added another thing foam layer on the tiles were a house should site. I would be able to carve this in various stone patterns to represent the sidewalks.
Finally, those little plastic things come from a second hand board game. The were the perfect size to glue on the side of the foam to act as stones for the canal.
Here it is, after gluing the dominos and adding the corner tile.
I carved some stone pattern on the sidewalk of this tile. I started with some random rectangles on each side.
Then connected them together with more random lines turning a 90° angle here and there.
And finally connected all the lines together.
I also carved stonework for the street directly into the foam. I textured it with a rock and pressed some "stones" heavily with a spoon to indent them a bit more.
I also started working on the second tile. This one has stairs for zombies and survivors to easily get out of the water. I carved the foam at mid-height to look like a step. Minis are too large to fit on the actual step, but that's no problem as it was just meant to represent an easy way to get from water to dry land for game purposes.
And this is the complete board of 4 tiles I was aiming for, just enough to do the tutorial scenario.
I tried to carved various stone patterns on the house floor, to better differentiate them. In retrospect, this was a lot of work for a barely noticeable effect. The patterns that work the best are the simplest; large stone slabs and no intricate details.
This tile was only streets and houses. I made the sidewalk of the center top part overflow on the adjacent tiles, to better tie them together. It looks very nice on this tile but this unfortunately prevent this board from aligning correctly with the other boards as this center top part is now larger. I didn't think of that at that time.
On the original tile, the large house is split in three rooms, so I kept this layout in the foam.
On the canal board, I started applying some texture to the ground tiles. I mixed sand, small stones, wood glue, brown paint and water and applied that.
You can also see wooden planks separating the tiles. It's because on the original board, there are hedges at those junctions. Hedges in Green Horde block line of sight, but you can still go through. My plan was to craft hedges as well (this will come in another post), but to keep the board playable without the additional hedges. So I needed a way to "mark" on the board where the edges should be. I wasn't really sure how to represent that, so I used some wooden planks. Not the best choice, but it was all I could think of.
Thanks to the initial 33x33cm dimensions I took, I was able to store them in my shelf by stacking them when not working on them.
The street board. I tried to kinda replicate the initial drawings on the initial board for the long house but if I had to redo it, I wouldn't bother and would go with a simpler pattern.
I like how the street stones are looking though. I carved the foam in parallel lines, then draw perpendicular ones to form the bricks. I applied stone texture with a rock, and then pressed individual stones. Sometimes the whole stone, sometimes only part of it.
All the boards together after a first coat of paint. You can see that I added some debris in the water, to subtly mark where one tile ends and where another starts, because it will have an impact on the game.
Now comes time for drybrushing. I did a gray one on the street, followed by some brown and green ones here and there. I'm not entirely convinced by the overall effect, to be honest.
After a dark wash, it looks already much better.
And another group shot, partly painted.
I applied a strong dark wash on the four stone floors here. I spent some time trying to carve symbols on the floor. I should have stayed with simpler patterns (I know I've been saying that a lot already, but I really should have).
More WIP shots.
Now it was time to make this canal look more like water. I applied some translucent wood varnish on it an stippled my brush to make it look like small waves.
The effect was nice, and I let it dry overnight.
Once dry, well, it shrank a lot. All the "waves" became flat, and all the flat surfaces became dry.
Closer shot so you can appreciate the effect.
So I applied a second layer.
This time, I was more heavy handed. Knowing that most of it will just dry and evaporate, I added a fair amount (keeping the wavy effect).
And for sure, the final effect was much more convincing.
This abandoned shack was made from a Sour Cream plastic packaging.
I started by gluing the packaging to a piece of solid plastic, to cover the gaping hole and act as a base.
This, is about to become a stone hut in no time.
I applied black paint mixed with wood glue on the bottom part, and glued with this mixture all the bricks, layer after layer.
And all the way to the top. I tried to break the monotony of the layers by putting some bricks vertical, forcing me to stack them in a random manner.
I applied diluted filling paste on it, to fill the small gaps between the bricks and act as some kind of mortar. I think there is potential in this technique, as it make the brick stacking look more realistic, but I might have been too heavy handed on the filling paste at some point because it kinda obscured the actual stones.
I also covered everything with black wood glue again, to act as a basecoat and varnish, and drybrushed this thing gray.
For the roof I made a conical shape out of a sheet of paper, glue squared bits of cardboard and painted it all black (with some mod podge / wood glue added for strength).
Red first coat.
And after a second drybrush of lighter red and orange. I had no idea what to put for the door, so I decided to make this an abandoned shack with some barred door.
The door is made from coffee stirrers painted brown with a tan drybrush.
Added some dark colored washes to specific stones for breaking the monotony.
And flocking, to make it look like it has been abandoned for a long time.
And here it stands, finished and ready for the glamor shot.