Necromancer Tower

Published 3 April 2022


At the time of posting, this is the build I'm the most proud of. I spent a lot of time on it, but I had an idea of the theme of what I wanted to do, and went all in.

I wanted to create a necromancer tower, and I wanted it to have a strong "bone" feeling, so I went scavenging all the old toys I had bought for bones and skeleton pieces.


It all started when I bought two second hand board games that came with those two large plastic tower. I had already converted the first one into the Tarnopol Clock Tower, and I wasn't sure what to do with the second one.


If you're looking for details on the original boardgame it's coming from, here is what is engraved on the back of the tower.


The interior was full of gears and stuff that I removed. It made the structure lighter, and more importantly, made less noise when manipulated.


Months later, I found another exact same board game in another second hand shop and bought it as well. Now that I had two identical halves, I thought I could just glue them back to back for a more interesting structure.


This was the base shape of the final build. There was still a lot of the initial iconography to remove. As it was originally a Scoobydoo game, a lot of it is way too cartoonish for a necromancer tower.


I started by cutting the frame of a door in one of the fronts. I used my newly acquired Dremmel tool (that you can see in the background). It makes cutting plastic way easier than what I used to do with manual tools. Still required to turn the tool and tower in awkward angles at time, but still a great time saver.


I then played around with other toy parts I had, seeing what would work well. I ended up not using the door frame I had just cut, putting this plastic fort in front of it instead.


The front fort was lacking a proper roof, so I created one with black plastic sheets.


I "made" a door out of ice cream sticks for the top floor.


And a larger door using larger sticks for the ground floor.


I covered the newly created floor with this 3D wallpaper I had already use when making my dungeon tiles. This gave it a stone texture.


I glued everything on thick cork boards, and this gave me a better initial rough shape.


And I then started the tedious process of covering every wall with foam brick. This helped cover the holes between the various parts and hiding any cartoonish details I mentioned previously.


I started with the ground floor, incorporating some bones in between the stones. I didn't cover all the walls and let some of the initial texture see through, to make it look like it had been repaired in layers.


Here your can see I added an ice cream stick because the gap between the two structures was too wide and I couldn't glue my bricks without it. I knew it would end up covered in bricks anyway, so I didn't really care of using a more "noble" material here.


I also created some windows, with skulls showing through. The gate is coming from Lego, and the skulls are mostly coming from the Skulls set edited by Games Workshop (some other skulls are leftover from other kits).


I did the same logic but with an archway coming from a Megablocks set. I glued the archway to black cardboard, then filled the bottom with wood glue and added skulls one by one.


I frankensteined some wall decoration by gluing plastic skulls to some Playmobil pieces. I glued the whole thing to black cardboard, and will use that to hide the weird Vampire frames of the original toy.


This is what it looks like at that stage, with lots of plastic bones lying around on my desk. I also added a door handle and hinges to the door at some point (all made from jewelry stuff).


I then started the second floor, adding more and more bricks and bones on the wall, as well as some tiles on the floor. I used a mix of my 3D wallpaper and foam tiles for that.


As each side of the base shape is a mirror of the other, I tried to break the effect by building some kind of collapsed wall on one side, and a stair/ladder on the other.


I also started adding bones as railing. They are coming from a Pirate of the Caribbean toy and I just had to cut them to the required shape and glue them.


I then applied spackle (some kind of filler used in construction) between all the bricks from the ground floor. I did that by applying it roughly where I needed it, spreading it as much as I could. Then I used a wet brush to push it in the gaps, and a dry tissue paper to clean the brick surface. The goal is to make sure it fills all the gaps, but not hide the brick faces, so each individual brick is still visible.


It is a very long process, and you have to do it in batches. I covered about 25% of the ground surface, then spread, then use my brush, and then remove the excess, and then had to let it dry before moving to the next 25%.


Finally, after several long evenings doing so, I had all the bricks sealed. It is long, but is definitely worth doing and the final result looks much more like one build rather than a pile of foam bricks. It also makes everything more durable, and heavier (so less likely to fall during play).

Above you can see my trying to figure out what to put on top of the tower.


Finally, I decided to put this kind of top altar, where the BBEG would be performing an evil ritual.


The floor itself is a foam board, and the pillars are made of wire spools and Kapla parts. More bones are added to unify the look.


I didn't glue the top part initially, to be able to more easily work on it. I covered the Kapla part with foam tiles, and toped the other columns with more foam bricks.


I then glued it on top, and started working on the crumbled wall I had been leaving untouched until now. I added a lot of wood glue, and sprinkled varying sizes of sand and small stones.


I then added more spackle to better tie together the bain tower structure and the top level I had just glued. The transition between the two could have been done better (not sure how though), but it's still much better than leaving the visible gap that was there before.


I also decided to add more spackle around the Playmobil decoration, to better embed them in the wall. They were looking out of place otherwise.


I added a second layer of sand and glue on the crumbled wall (as well as some around it), to emphasize the effect of it being broken.


And the painting phase could begin. Covering this whole build in black modpodge took some time, though.


Some areas actually required several coats.


And then, the very satisfying first gray overbrush was applied.


More layers, going lighter and lighter, but also starting paint on the wood.


I love this phase of any build. This is when your heap of plastic and foam starts to look like stone and wood.


Picking individual stones in a variety of earthy colors, to break the gray monotony.


I find this really helps better convey the volumes.


Also started working on the bones. First layer of cream color.


Picking up the rope joints in brown.


It's also a long process, as some bones where in hard to reach places.


I then added a brown wash on the bones, to darken and shade them.


This brought the whole piece to live (pun intended).


I actually found it was a bit too dark, so I drybrushed the bones back with the initial cream color.


And I also admired my work.


This one was more to actually test my new phone camera modes.


I added a black wash on the stone to tone all the varying colors down and make it more uniform.


The contrast between the bones and the stones is nice, and not too violent, I like it.


View from behind.


I wasn't really happy with my crumbled wall, to be honest. I thought it was looking too bland. So I decided to redo it, better.


I started by spreading some texture paste on it. It was a bit scary adding back more base materials on an almost finished project like this.


Using a wet brush I spread it even further.


I then "sprinkled" lots of skulls and bone pieces. I really sprinkled it initially, to see what would stick and how. I then used pliers to put individual heads back in the right angle.


I then sprinkled spaghettis (that I had initially cut in small pieces to simulate bones). I soaked everything in a 50/50 mix of wood glue and water.


I ended up adding fine sand on top, to sit in the gaps where no spaghetti bone were set.


Once dried, I covered it back with black mod podge.


Made an initial overbrush of brown, to make it look like the inside of the wall was made of soil.


Then an lighter drybrush to bring the details.


And one more.


Then picking individual bones in cream color.


Applying a brown wash, individually on each of them.


This makes it much more in line with the whole bone thing theme.


Then it's time to add the flocking. I also love this phase. Adding greenery tricks our brain into thinking the piece is much more alive than it is.


I added flocking wherever there was a flat area that could have seen grass grow, especially on the broken wall.


Every flat stone was fair game. I added flocking in several phases. Starting with the darker green, and then sprinkling lighter green on top of it.


I then sealed it with matte varnish, and only after added purple flowers. I picked purple because it's the color usually associated with Necromancy magic, and I like the contrast of the bones with the pretty flowers.


And now some glamour shot of the build on different angles.




Hope you liked the detailed build process. I learned a lot by doing this one. The most important lesson for me was to pick a theme and stick to it. I went all into the whole Necromancer and bone thing and built everything around it.

I used a almost all my spare skulls and bone things, but I figured that if I weren't going to use them to build a Necromancer tower, then I would never use them. So I learned that crafting material are meant to be used, not hoarded. Hopefully I will build even better stuff in the future, but there's no point in keeping build materials for later; just build with what you have right now.

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