It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we take on two quick terrain projects, which you can bang out in an evening.
The first project is a stalagmite, those naturally forming spikes of rock that you find at the bottom of caves.
For mine, I used paper clay, but any type of clay should work. I drilled a hole through it and threaded a bit of chain through the hole to create some visual interest. I dripped super glue down the chain, which keeps it stiff. To paint the stalagmite, paint with a dark gray then dry brush with a lighter gray on the raised edges. The chain is painted black and then painted with a metallic color. Done!
The road sign is a bit of chopstick and popsicle stick, shaped and stuck together with wood glue. I used paper clay for the base, and you need something that is heavy enough to keep the sign upright. I then painted it brown and edge-highlighted it with a tan brown. I didn’t paint a name onto the sign, because I wanted to be able to add names to photos with Photoshop, as I’ve done above.
Both of these projects are simple and quick enough that you could turn out several in an evening, and they’re great projects for beginners. Besides being cheap, you can get a lot of reuse out of each bit of scenery. My little stalagmite has appeared in every prison and dungeon I’ve run since making it, and fills an inch square nicely.
Is there anything you’d like to see me paint or build? Let me know in the comments below.
It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’ll show you some easy mushroom miniatures to make with clay, to decorate the subterranean caverns of your RPG table.
Badgers love mushrooms, everyone loves mushrooms! On pizza or in the dungeon, mushrooms add a touch of class that’s hard to beat. These mushroom miniatures give your players something interesting to fight around, a refreshing change from the ubiquitous grey walls and stone tombs found below.
I made these mushrooms with air drying clay. I added gills underneath with a sharp tool, by drawing lines outwards from the stem.
When they were dry, I painted the stems with white mixed with a touch of green, which gives a sickly tint to them. The mushroom caps were painted purple, and I used two shades. Lastly, I varnished them with a matt varnish, and they were done.
I molded the mushrooms by hand, and there’s nothing inside them to give them more structure, but you could use toothpicks or wire as a core — a good idea for longer stems. If you’re making bigger mushrooms to take the weight of a miniature, then use a tightly pressed core of aluminum foil as the core. It’ll be lighter and will dry quicker than a hunk of solid clay.
I didn’t base them, so they’ll fit anywhere, but you could make up mushroom forests on a large base, or myconid figures or shrieking shroom markers on smaller bases. You can find rules for myconids in the Player’s Companion.
It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week we’ll build a miniature ship to go with your Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign or Undersea Sourcebook inspired adventures.
This little boat is very easy to make, looks great on the table, and is highly customizable. I’m planning to make a small armada for my undersea pirate campaign, which won’t take much time or break the bank with this technique.
Building the Ship
I used foam board, which I marked out to be an inch wide and 5 inches long. I then cut it and shaped the bow and stern.
For the gunwales, I used cardboard strips, which I glued to the sides of the foam board. The prow and rudder is made from balsa wood, and the tiller is a match stick. The deck was left plain, except for four struts, which are used to mark the squares off for models to stand on. The mast is a bamboo skewer, with thick yarn glued around the bottom of it.
I then undercoated the miniature ship in white, and painted the hull and prow a dark red. The rest was either painted dark brown to resemble wood, or light brown to resemble rope.
When the paint was dry, I rolled up a thin strip of linen and tied it to the mast. I then glued it in place and painted the yarn. To finish up, I painted the whole thing, including the sail, with matt varnish.
Full Stats Coming Soon
The wind runner, which this is a model of, will appear with full stats in our forthecoming Undersea Sourcebook: Feats & Equipment, which includes two new ships, two submersibles, and an airship.
It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kitbashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’ll show you a simple scratch building project for a flying sword.
This was a simple scratch build, and there are plenty of ways to get similar results. I wanted a flying sword animated object for one of my NPCs, but the model can just as easily be used to mark a guardian of faith or spiritual weapon spell.
I took the scimitar off an old Warhammer orc, then drilled into the base of the blade to insert a pin, made from a paper clip. I then used modeling epoxy to craft the handle, then attached this to a small base. Done!
I undercoated with white, then painted black over the sword and pin. I then painted the base green and dry brushed the sword with metallic paint. I used brown with a leather brown color for highlights on the handle. I then flocked the base and varnished the whole thing with matt varnish. For the second varnish coat, I used gloss on the metallic parts and matt varnish everywhere else. And that was the painting done.
This was a quick project and the idea can be used for so much more, such as spell effects, other animated objects, floating orbs, and markers, such as a triggered blade trap.
It’s Mini Monday, where I share customizing, scratch building, kit bashing, and miniature painting projects for your roleplaying table. This week I’ll show you how to build a miniature Japanese torii gate for Steampunk Musha, Legend of the Five Rings, or similar East Asian inspired settings.
Here she is, folks. This miniature Japanese torii can easily accommodate most Large sized D&D or Pathfinder figures in the center.
Steampunk Musha – Shangti Factory Hub
This project is the first part of my Steampunk Musha terrain project that will consist of several factory pieces set in the mega city of Shangti. Since it’s steampunk, I figure this set will work well for both my Warhammer 40k games and for fantasy gaming, so this is a “two birds with one stone” type of deal.
The torii gate we’re making today is highly customizable, but is perfect for a Japanese themed game. You could use a similar technique to make gallows or other structures featuring a prominent wooden frame.
You’ll need balsa wood for this, but popsicle sticks will work well too. A sharp hobby knife, wood glue, and sandpaper will do all the heavy lifting, then you can paint and varnish the gate as you see fit when it’s done. I used hardboard for the base.
Make a paper template for the top piece of the gate (the kasagi and shimaki). Cut 3 of these. Cut 1 long crossbar (nuki), and 6 poles (to make the hashira). We’ll add more bits later, so keep any extra wood aside.
Place 1 top section on top of 2 pillars. There’s no need to glue it yet, but you can if you like.
Glue the crossbar onto the pillars, with a small space between it and the top piece.
Score lines on 2 more pillars under the crossbar, like so:
Then cut along the scored lines.
Glue the longer sections of pillar below the crossbar. Glue the short sections of the pillar over the top section. This forms the very center of your Japanese torii gate.
Don’t worry too much if the glue is causing all the pieces to float around. When you’re done you can move everything nicely into place, and sanding will clean it all up when we’re done.
Bulking Up the Top
Score lines to match the location of the pillars onto the second top piece.
Glue the pieces of the second top piece onto the first top piece. In the end, this gives the model more strength and bulk.
Finishing Up your Miniature Japanese Torii
Now glue on the last of the pillars and top piece. If your glue is still wet at this stage you can move things around, then put a heavy book on the gate and let it dry.
Next, add a small down piece between the top and the crossbar. Then cut 2 identical pieces to form the very top section of the tori. These will look like slightly curved french fries.
When it’s dry, use your hobby knife to make everything flush along the edges, then sand the model. An emery board (used for fingernails) works very well for this.
I base coated my model white, then painted the whole thing red. I washed it with a purple wash to pick up the natural wood texture of the balsa wood, and to age the model a bit.
For the base, I used hardwood covered in two grades of sand, the finest for the path. I painted and dry brushed this before adding flock. I varnished everything when I was done, because I like harder wearing gaming pieces.
Pro Tip: Suppliers of Shinto religious goods will often have miniature Japanese torii for sale. Personally, I prefer to make my own.
If your a miniatures nut like me then the Pathfinder Playtest is just another excuse to take on more miniature projects. We’ll be making model tents. If you’re a player in the playtest, come back when you’ve finished Part 2 of the Playtest, otherwise consider this a Spoiler Alert.
Specifically, we’re making gnoll tents. These tents are easy to make, dirt cheap, yet generic enough that you’ll get plenty of use out of them.
Assuming you’re making three model tents, you’ll need the following:
2 x 2 inch squares of plastic card (3)
Thin sticks, about 2-2.5 inches long (9-12)
A paper egg box
String or thick thread, for “rope”
Flocking flock. Yeah, flock!
Baking flour, about 2 teaspoons
The usual tools, glues, paints, and equipment for the construction of miniaturized scenery.
Paint (lots of brown and tan)
A bowl of Kellogs Corn Flocks, yum! (Just kidding)
All Your Base Are Belong To Us
Cut the plastic card to size and round the edges. Scale wise, these are 10-foot square bases. Sand the sticks then glue 3–4 poles to each card, to make a teepee shape.
Glue sand and flock to the bases now, since we want to see inside each tent — we’ll put the tent material on later.
Pelts and Skins
This was an experiment that worked out really well. Cut an egg box into rectangles, then shape each rectangle to make pelts, like in the image below.
I got about 12 pelts out of one box.
Tip:Use a miniature to judge the size of these. They need to wrap around the poles of your tents, so don’t make them too small.
Flour Water For the Win
Last week I showed you how to make Captain America’s shield using a fan cover and paper mache. Paper mache isn’t particularly easy to work with at this scale, but works for this project, and we’ll see why in a bit.
Mix 1 part flour (2 teaspoons) with 3 parts water (6 teaspoons) and mix until it’s smooth. Dip the pelts in the paste and soak them well. Pull a layer off the pelt to make thinner skins. This does two things: it gives the pelt a better texture and makes it easier to wrap the pelt around the tent poles.
Stick a pelt down inside each tent, to make the floor. I worked this down with the edge of a spoon, which helped to flatten the pelt into the ground.
Wrap the corners of each pelt over the poles to make a shelter. Don’t worry about being too neat. For the tent’s entrance, fold a pelt in half before you stick it on.
I painted the paste over the base of the model too, which holds the grit down better.
Glue rope around the poles and add other bits of detail, such as weapons and shields, as you see fit.
I base-coated my model tents with matt black, then painted them with poster paint and Citadel paints.
To get rid of any shine, use something like the Anti Shine Matt Varnish, from The Army Painter.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I’d love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.
A great looking map and some simple model terrain can go a long way towards making your games stand out. Here are three super easy projects.
A Sign (Post) of Things to Come
I made this little sign post to put alongside roads on my game map. It gives the players a visual reminder of where something is, like the big city, in relation to the combat action. I intentionally left it blank.
To make it, all you need are some small pieces of wood, cut to shape, and some modelling clay for the base. I actually used a kind of papier-mâché, which worked fine. I highly suggest painting the wood and giving it a wash to bring out the grain.
Stalagmite (of Doom)
Stalagmites and standing stones are all over every fantasy world, so having one I can plop down on the map really helps highlight those features.
This is mostly modelling clay, molded into shape and then filed to add some detail. I added chains so that it could be part of a broken bridge or a feature of a jail, surrounded by miserable prisoners.
Well, well, well. What have we here?
Again, water wells are everywhere. You know there’s something down there and you know your players want to find out.
The well was also made with modelling clay, built on top of plastic card, which I painted black. I added chains to look like they connected to the depths below. Some dry brushing really made this model pop!
Incidentally, Chris Shaeffer created an amazing map centered around a well as his entry to round 2 of RPG Super Star Season 9, go check it out.
Reaper Miniature’s Bones are a great new line of cheap role-playing minis. I bought three boxes for 950 Yen (about 95 ZAR, 9.55 USD or 6.09 GBP) from Yellow Submarine in Shinjuku, which gave me a dwarf hero (Fulumbar Ironhand), an ogre chieftain and six kobolds in three different poses. Here they are in their boxes:
I could trace the origin of this blog back to many sources, but one of the most prominent must be when I started writing modules for the convention circuit back in Gauteng South Africa, specifically for UPCON and ICON. ICON was actually the first convention I ever attended, going there for comic books (Spider-Man mostly). I came out of that convention with a box of Warhammer 40k, which eventually lead to role-playing. So I kind of think ICON was where most things began for me in a way. But enough rambling, this year again I’m submitting a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure, Death in the Deep.
So, wouldn’t it be neat if players and GM’s could get additional information about the module online? Wouldn’t it be great if other interested readers could get a taste of the adventure? Well, that’s what this page is all about. I’m posting it now, but it’s sure to change as more information and downloads become available here.
#NEWS FLASH! – 30 March 2012# Just submitted the module and all the character sheets. I’m pretty proud of the outcome. I reckon this is my best work so far.
#NEWS FLASH! – 13-14 April 2012 Play Test# Our Japan group, who were a witch, wizard, fighter and stow away rouge (she only joined the fight when the Loreley split in two, managed to wound the sea serpent so badly that it ended up with a Dex of 8 and made it’s escape. The adventurers then made it to land where they sheltered for the night, uncomfortably close to a boggard camp. They then made their way on foot and by horse to Dead Mans Landing, passing the town of Gold Bridge, ruled by Duke One-Eye. They found Lantern Tower to be trapped, a store house for the 8-9-3.
It pays to be ready. All the following items are not required, but may prove useful to GM’s running the module.