“Getting Plastered Out of my Skull!” (Season of Scenery Challenge 2021)

So after “Monster May(hem)” and “Forgotten Heroes”, we come to the challenge with the awful name (coz I didn’t come up with this one! 😁). “Dave Stones, Season of Scenery”. Seriously though scenery is something I really don’t make enough of, so this is a good chance to finally get some pieces done to go with all the figures I have. However instead of that I decided to make something I don’t really need at all first… a 28mm fantasy “Altar!”. Now I haven’t played a 28mm fantasy game for….Well I can’t remember the last time I played any 28mm fantasy, 15mm yes, even some 10mm, so you’d think I’d do something in one of those scales? Well welcome to my blog, because if you’d been around a while you’d know that’s not how it works around here, I get an idea into my head and it has to come out whether it’s useful or not! (Usually not).

The inspiration for this came from a picture in an old “White Dwarf” magazine that was given to me (I didn’t buy it honest!!) by a friend at work, in it there was an article (well advert) for the “Temple of Skulls” a plastic piece of scenery in the form of a ruined temple, well to be honest it was more of a rocky mound with a couple of pillars a big rune on the ground and some big skulls scattered about, it’s quite a nice piece to be honest but it’s £20.00, and I wasn’t going to pay that! (Especially as I said I have no real use for it). But I did have access to most of the component parts (well sort of) to make something along the same lines myself, though rather than a “Temple” I thought I’d make an “Alter of Skulls!” (Que’ dramatic music! D💀M’ D💀M, D💀M!).

If you cast your mind back a few months you may remember I got my hands on some “Blue stuff” a reusable mould making material, and I’d cast myself up a large’ish skull in plaster using this (details are on the post linked to at the bottom of this one), well after the success of that, I saved the mould along with another I made of the same “Skull Eraser”, though this time I made it a bit shallower and teased the sides in a little to make it narrower and elongated, and set to work casting four of these flatter skulls and five more of the full ones out of “Plaster of Paris”. Two of these I didn’t fill completely as I had a plan in mind for them. These came out quite well, but were far too smooth for what I had in mind, so the next job was to “weather” them a bit (well a lot!). I found that I was able to carve and chip away at these really well, as though they were set they were still soft enough to take texture well, one technique I found worked well was rolling them on a rough paving stone and tapping them with the back end of a small paintbrush. Anyway once suitably rocky and weathered enough they were put to one side while I cast up a base for my altar to stand on this was from an old “Woodlands Scenic’s, Rocky Outcrop” mould I’d picked up when a local model shop was closing down, and I’d last used back when I was building my “Islands” to use with our “Dystopian Wars” fleets a few years back.

The actual “Altar” was next, to make this I took the two “full” skulls I’d cast that I’d only filled to the bottom of the upper teeth, these then had the back of the skull cut away so it was flat, then measuring across the top I judged when it would be about 32mm across the top and then cut away the top of the skulls to make a flat top just above the eye sockets, where your helpless victim would lie. I then tried to glue them together with some PVA wood glue, but this didn’t hold them securely enough so I ended up drilling a hole into the back of each side and taking an old “knackered” paint brush cut a length about 15mm long and used this to “pin” them together (I never waste anything!). I then carved away the sides to make them flat, sanded the top and used a little “Tetrion” filler on the sides and join to rough it up. I them scrapped a circle and some lines on the top as a bit of a “Demonic rune”.

I tried “dry” fitting all the pieces together until I was happy with the general look of the overall piece, then marked around the outline onto some 3mm MDF and cut a suitable base, then glued the “outcrop” down with some more PVA glue. The altar and flatter skulls were glued in place next with copious amounts of PVA glue. I thought it might be interesting to have one of the larger skulls split down the front as if the face had fallen away at some point, so I sliced it down behind the eyes and then split this in two as well. I thought I would probably need something to make the “full” skulls a bit more secure so I cut up the rest of the old paintbrush handle and after drilling more holes into the bottoms of the skulls glued in short lengths of the “handle” sticking out as “pegs”, and once dry drilled corresponding holes into the “rock” and glued them in place.

Then it was just a case of filling around everything with more “filler”, I found the best way to get the “lumpy” effect I wanted to match the skulls was to take an old “scenic” brush, dampen the bristles then use this to tap the filler into place around the various separate bits. I also ran filler out to the edge of the base, and superglued so of my old faithful cat litter stones here and there. Finally I dabbed on some more PVA and sprinkled some “cork railway gravel” over the odd place to add some more texture. Watered down PVA was brushed over these once dry to make sure they were securely in place. And it was all left to fully dry out.

And that dear reader is where I am up to as I write, I did if I’m honest start this last weekend, so before the first of the month, but as I read it, the scenery only needs to be completed in the two challenge months, and that’s what I hope to do this week as I’ve just the painting to do (as an interesting aside, I don’t actually own any knife wielding cultists, or lying down victims…something I think I’ll have to address at some point 😈).

Till next time, stay safe and enjoy the scenery, cheers Roger.

“Out of the Blue (Stuff)”

This entry was posted in 28mm fantasy, 28mm Pulp, fantasy, Scenery, Summer Scenery Challenge and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to “Getting Plastered Out of my Skull!” (Season of Scenery Challenge 2021)

  1. Dave Stone says:

    Excellent start Roger, you are correct on the rules it just has to be finished in the two months, so no problem on when you started.
    I think your skull alter is way better than GW’s Temple of skulls, as I own that piece, and it seriously lacks texture, something at some point I need to address on my copy. The textures and detail you’ve added is brilliant and look forward to seeing how you paint it.

    • Thanks Dave, as i finished “Forgotten Heroes” early (well for me anyway) this year, I thought I’d crack on and start on this as I thought I would only be able to cast up one pair of skulls a day, but the casting plaster I bought (can’t remember the make) from Amazon sets pretty quick, just a couple of hours (I think the hot weathers helped to tbh).

      I’ve heard a couple of people say about the lack of texture on the GW model, was quite surprised by that!

      Cheers Roger.

    • Azazel says:

      Yeah, it’s sadly incredibly smooth with obvious connection points where the skulls come together, unlike the spiffy box art. I had to use quite a bit of filler and textured paint on mine, and it still took a couple of years to get the motivation to get it finished….

  2. Alex says:

    Excellent work so far mate 👍

  3. Matt says:

    That’s looking superb already, Roger! Much, much better than the GW piece, which to be blunt wouldn’t be hard. The skulls look great and the rocky outcropping is a creepy setting for a forbiddent temple. As usual I’m looking forward to seeing what it’ll look like painted up.

    You can never have enough knife-wielding cultists, and if you should need some Reaper does a good cheap set of two plastic ones (I own them, you can see them here: https://pmpainting.blogspot.com/2020/03/aglanda-herald-of-razmir-and-cultists.html)

    • thanks Matt, part of me wishes it was a little taller where the altar is and perhaps a bit more symmetrical, say a circle with the skulls evenly spaced around the edge, but it is what it is now I guess.

      Strangely I had a bit of a search for a Cultist and victim before, and that mini can up but for some reason if you buy him in metal he has a lying down victim in the set, but the victim appears to be missing if you get it in “bones”, bit odd that. He is in contention though 😉.

      Cheers Roger.

      • Matt says:

        Yeah, I was tempted to get the metal version just to get the victim, but the Bones figures were only $5 for two so I decided to save the money.

        I think a symmetrical look would look too man-made; having it the shape it is makes it look more natural.

      • Yep did notice the “bones” version was a lot cheaper (I know they are normally, but this did seem more than usual). Perhaps they had production problems with the lying figure and the bones material?

  4. Looking good already! 🙂

  5. Pete S/ SP says:

    That looks great so far. I always love doing terrain.



  6. This is awesome Roger. Keep getting the things out of your head the way you do because we love it. I’ve never used moulds before but after reading this I’m tempted to have a go. Sounds like a lot of fun.

    • Guru PIG says:

      Back in my day (heard that before?), when figures were hard to come by in Oz we would kill for a Prince August mold. I remember churning out hundred of dwarfs and Goblins because I had a mold and nothing else was available. Now we are all so spoilt!

    • You should “Blue Stuff” is relatively cheap (got mine on Amazon, from Japan, called something else, but just search for “Blue Stuff”. It would be great for you as you could cast up in greenstuff anything you needed multiples of for your conversions.

      Cheers Roger.

  7. Azazel says:

    Looks great so far,. Roger. But damned if that original Temple of Skulls up top isn’t one sexy rendering of that model… 😉

    • Thanks Azazel, it is rather well painted isn’t it, I didn’t paint that I’m afraid, can’t actually remember where I saved that picture from. It’s not one of yours is it? (seriously is it?).

      Cheers Roger.

  8. Guru PIG says:

    Again great work Roger.

  9. Very nice Roger, I do love a WIP post with accompanying narrative. Looking forward to seeing this one painted up. 🤗

  10. borderguy190 says:

    Cool model! Every table needs a cultist ruin altar evil place.

  11. angrypiper says:

    Looks good already, Roger. What did you use to cut the MDF base? I think I lack the proper tools for precision MDF cutting. It’s not like I can use my jigsaw for something so small…
    I’m not sure what I’m going to do for Dave’s challenge this year, as I have a lot of board game miniatures to get through; but IRO’s got me thinking about a return to the Old West gaming I keep putting off…

    • I just cut the base using my electric jigsaw, it is just over a foot long in length you know. I sand away the rough edges and taper then down a little using my circular sander too, seems to work well, though to be honest I cut much smaller bases the same way. The one for S’eye,mon was done exactly the same.

      I’m surprised IRO isn’t taking part in this to be honest, especially as he doing scenery anyway, but he only seem to take part in “Fem’bruary”. Oh well I hope you do take part, it’s nice to have the usual “gang” along for the ride 😁.

      Cheers Roger.

  12. Roger, love the WIP post and looking forward to how you finish. Though, I, as you know, love to cast too, so this is nice to see. If only you cast in metal 😃. Though the logistics on that are a bit more indeed. Nice idea on the old brushes, I’d have used dowels, but that seems like a good reuse.

    • Thanks Mark, I have looked into casting resin a while back but the smell wasn’t to popular with my better half, likewise metal casting involves a lot of messing that my wife probably wouldn’t appreciate (not all women are as understanding as yours! though in my little house I can’t get as far away to do stuff as you can either 😁 ).

      Plaster is a nice simple odour free option for me to be honest, oh and I’m all about recycling (it’s not that I’m too cheap to even buy dowels!, though at the moment it not that simple to buy anything without having to wait for delivery! 😀).

      Cheers Roger.

      • I would feel safer casting 600 degree Fahrenheit metal than resin! But safeguards are still needed, and not doing it in the house is #1 (so my wife does not murder me – she’s pretty good but spilled molten metal would go over like – well – a lead balloon). Anyways, my casting garage no longer exists! Hope the whole lockdown mess ends for you soon (and in my role as the Board of Health chairman I have not seen any medical evidence or studies that show they actually work but it’s a tough call). In the end, I hope we all get back to living!

      • Ha ha! I can imagine!

        We are now effectively out of lockdown (freedom day was last week, as the called it!) though I think “guinea pig” day would have been nearer the mark to be honest! as the rest of Europe is watching us now 👀 to see how many of us die…… 😷😦🤧🤒🤮💀👻.

        Cheers Roger.

  13. Pingback: “Sacrifice’s, But Derek Said He Played Darts On Thursday’s!” | Rantings from under the Wargames table

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