Random Scatter: Pillars, Walls and Altars

Published 19 August 2023


This is one of those builds I didn't really know where I was going with it, but just kept building, and learn along the way.


I was watching an episode of Critical Role, and there was a nice epic battle in a cathedral, with huge pillars blocking line of sight and adding interesting tactic to the battle. That made me want to have some large pillars as well. Not only small ones for dressing, but larger one that force players to take line of sight and movement into account.


So I gathered everything I had that could remotely help in building pillars. Plastic tubes, foam tubes, corrugated cardboard, etc.


For the large ones, I cut a bevelled base in the foam tube, added a heavy metal washer for weight and glued everything on a square wooden tile (the same I use for my dungeon tile system).


I then glued old pharmaceutical tubes in a circle to simulate columns, and topped it with another bevelled foam slice.


To make the texture a bit more rough, and cover the areas where various parts meet, I covered it all with a goo made of glue, paint, sand and small rocks. In retrospect, it wasn't such a good idea because it gave a too rough texture. I was planning to have them work as underground dungeon pillars, but the texture was so rough that I had to turn them into outdoor overgrown temple pillars.


For other pillars, I directly used well textured MacDonalds toys that I topped up with some circular foam.


Another one I built with straws glued together around a empty roll of thread. I used old Scrabble tiles for the floor and once again a top carved in the foam tube. The straws have some visible lines that I will manage to hide with the goo, but once again, it will look like an overgrown outdoor pillar.


I made some simpler, ornamental pillars as well, for simpler dressing.


But once again, the too rough texture kinda ruined the effect. It didn't look like an old stone pillar forgotten into an old crypt anymore. It more looked like a half-buried pillars that had stayed outside against the elements for years.


This broken column was part of a plastic toy. I covered it with my goo to roughen the texture. I didn't go too much overboard here, so the end result was fine.


I also tried to do some with corrugated cardboard glued around smaller foam tubes. I ended up not finishing those, and kept them in my bits drawer for later, though.


What I did finish though were those pillars made out of foam tubes, with poker chips at the top and bottom. It might have been a good idea if I knew how to cut straight (which I don't), so all pillars are slightly slanted. Also, the very light nature of the foam added to the very heavy nature of the top/bottom poker chips make those pillars have a weird center of gravity. The heavy metal washer I added at the bottom prevent them from falling, but they still feel clunky.


I carved the foam to make it look like it's made of several stacked stones and also added some cracks. The goo texture was the worst on them. They really look like they beet sitting at the bottom of the ocean for decades.


Here you can see them after the first grey coat.


I added some oil washes (one of my first try with them), and they turned way too green. The green aspect plus the too rough texturing is what decided me to turn them into outdoor pillars.


Once covered with flocking, they look a bit better, but that was not exactly what I was aiming for initially.

Garden gates


I took some Christmas decorations, and glued some Kinder (I think?) toyr on top, to make them look like gargoyles. I would have rather have too similar, but I didn't.


I made the texture more irregular with simple spackle added.


And added some sand to turn the initial snow into dirt.

Not seen on the pictures, I finally added some flocking to the bushes, to make them more real, and the end result is great. It's actually one of my favorite builds of this session.

Skull Altar


Another build where I wasn't sure where I was going was this skull altar thing. I took an Halloween decoration, glued it on top of an​ Action Man prop, added some fake metal swords around it and kept adding stuff.


I added a rim of skulls, more horns and texture.


I don't have a good picture of the end result apart from that one, but it's not looking very good in my opinion. The initial skull sculpt was too cartoonish, and I didn't really manage to make it look dark and oppressive as it should be.



I also made a gated wall section out of a Megablocks piece.


A coffin from what ​I think was a Playmobil chest.


This is a picture during the first stages of painting. It isn't finished yet, but it already looks more like a coffin than a Playmobil piece.


More scatter from Megablocks bits and other toy soldier items.


I painted those into more earthy tone. They are really nice looking, and quick, cheap and easy to make: my favorite kind of terrain.

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