Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tabletop Crafting: A Tower

I picked up a new hobby over the summer; tabletop crafting. Using foam, cardboard, glue, craft paint and other cheap materials I started making props and terrain for a con game I'm running in November.

In order to develop some skills, practice some techniques I watched on YouTube, and to take a break from that game prep, I decided to work on a tower. With Halloween just a few months away I thought it'd be a good idea. Thoughts of A Barbarian also launched a Fall Creativity Contest so I decided to speed it up so I could enter it.

So here's what I did...

I painted a Pringles tube black. I cut out a bunch of bricks out of XPS Foam, tossed them in a coffee can with rocks and shook the whole thing up to texture and bevel the bricks and then hot glued them on the tube. I cut pieces out of a thick black foam core board and textured them with a piece of crinkled aluminum foil.

Here I cut the outline for a doorway.

Using cheap foam core board I drew a brick pattern, scored it with an Xacto knife and beveled it with a ballpoint pen.
I inserted the archway.

I wrapped a textured piece of foam core board to a toilet paper core to make a second smaller tower.

I cut out sharp edges out of the bricks and textured them with my aluminum turd and inserted a window to the tower made out of foam core

I cut out pieces out of matches to make an underlying wooden beam support structure to the steps.

I cut out, sanded and textured a bridge out of XPS foam to connect both towers.

I glued on the bridge and second tower, added a pavement to the bridge and the start of the roofs.

Using toothpicks and scrap pieces of the black foam core board I made railings.

I added more beam with match sticks and glued them with super glue from the dollar store.

I hid the bridge seams with some spackle.

I made decoration for the roof with a bbq skewer and some wooden beads and then black bombed the whole thing with a mixture of matte Mod Podge and black acrylic paint to make sure I didn't miss a spot. The mod podge protected and hardened the foam.

I peeled off and trimmed scales from a pine cone and hotglued them on to the styrofoam roof structure one by one as shingles.

I cut out a circle out of a piece of cardboard and made a cone. I then cut out a bunch of shingles out of cardboard and hotglued them on one by one.

I painted the shingles with a pewter gray, barn red and terracotta and capped everything off with two beads and painted it with a metallic bronze.

The rest is just a bunch of painting. Base coat, heavy dry brush with a lighter color, black or brown wash and then an even lighter dry brush highlight. The roof is a metallic gold, railing with a steel, steps are my attempt at sandstone. I filled the large gaps in the stone work with moss and speckled a light mossy green around it. The lil egg shape things on the bridge could be magic lanterns from Eberron or simply a decoration.

Some of you might have noticed that there's no entrance to this tower. I started building this as upper level towers in Sharn (Eberron). I might build the lower level at some point. You may also have noticed that there are many architectural styles. The reason why is because this was an exercise for me to try a couple things and also because I envisioned Sharn being built over centuries with different architects, materials and workers from different cultures. The steps are huge and out of scale but in order to be used in table top gaming, your terrain has to accommodate miniatures. So that's why they were huge.

I've spent several hours on this but it was fun. The hardest thing for me was to not be too symmetrical. The most tedious part was the pine cone scales for the roof but it's also what I think makes unique. The wooden beams and shingled roofs were also quite tedious.

The material to build something like that was less than $2. The tools? Maybe around $40.

Cheers! I hope it makes you want to try something like that!

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