Ice Cream Box Stairs

Published 24 April 2021


Some giant stairs that may lead to a forgotten necropolis of some kind.


It all started with this box. I was about to throw it away last summer and the way the central part as forming a slope in the middle made me realize it had an interesting shape for a large set of stairs.


I added blocks of foam on each side. My cut was not very precise so the blocks didn't have the perfect dimensions. I added wood glue at the top and bottom, but also added some pins on the top to force the foam block to adhere to the cardboard (I knew I would be covering those parts with bricks later, so I actually never removed the pins).


Some rough ramps in the inside to guide the cardboard. Without those, I was afraid the cardboard would just sag.


Gluing and pinning the bottom part as well, to give more stability to the build.


Some heavy bits of metal glued at the bottom (with hot glue this time, I don't trust wood glue for something that heavy) to give more weight to the build. This will be all cardboard and foam, so the end result will be pretty lightweight, the addition weight will give this more stability.


I then cut squares in my foam board, and then cut them diagonally in half. This gave me a lot of 45° angled rocks that I then positioned on the slope (I didn't glue them at that stage, I was just going to the overall feel). My cuts where definitely not precises, but I didn't care because I was looking for this crumbled look.

At some point I hesitated into making smaller stairs, to give this a more realistic look at scale with the minis, but this would have been unplayable, and I still want my minis to be able to fit on the stairs, so I went with this cartoonish size.


Next was drawing some stone shapes with a ballpoint pen on them.


Then enlarging the grooves with a utility knife and a mechanical pencil, and applying stone texture with an ball of aluminum foil.


Now I can glue them on.


I then applied black wood glue on one side to cover the stairs an wall, and while the glue was still wet, I added lots of bricks on the side.


Did the same thing on the other side, and applied more black glue to the first side.


Continued this until the whole structure was covered in black. This took quite some time as I had to wait until one side was dry to paint the other side.


Then drybrushed everything in gray. This is the usual step when everything starts to come together.


I tried to paint some stones in different shades of gray, but the nuances were so subtles that I can't even tell which I painted or not. I learned to be more drastic in my color choices at that step; because everything will get another drybrush and black wash afterwards, I can pick much vibrant colors.


With a wash applied. The picture made it look like much red than it was in real life.


The various shades seem to get through on the sides here, though.


And one last gray drybrush.


I glued some plastic squares I got from I don't even remember where, to act as stones.


Then covered it all with watered down glue an was ready to sprinkle dirt and flocking on it.


And the view after the flocking. It was one of the first time I added flocking to a piece that large and I was impressed by how much it made it come to life. I guess when it sees those green parts, our brain automatically registers a sense of scale and time of what it represents.


And the final shot. I should have added a mini, for scale, but basically you can fit 4 minis per level.

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