Friday, October 23, 2020

Project Log: The Tombs of Tithing, Part 3

This week, the overall piece finally started to take shape...


Before I worked on the collapsed wall of the tomb, I needed to nail down the final form and size of the exterior. So, I drew out where the steps and walkways would be, and trimmed the big chunk of foam down to size.


I marked and cut 45-degree angles where the stairs would be.



The steps would lead up to a platform and a second set of steps with a small landing...



...and more steps up to the rooftop cemetery.



I cut out a template for the roof. This piece will have to be painted separately and attached afterward so I can get at all of the interior detail.



To make the stairs, I used ABS plastic L-strips (also by Plastruct). The ABS plastic is a little more durable and square than the styrene L-strips. I cut the strips into small segments (the length depends on how wide I want the steps– about 40mm long in this case). These segments were glued onto a piece of styrene card.



The card was then trimmed down to size, creating a "plate" of stairs that can be attached to the foam. As long as the foam is cut at a 40-degree angle, the steps will be level. These L-strips are about the same height as the steps on the Bonetithe Nexus, so they will match the scaling. I still need to score lines into them to indicate the stonework, and distress the edges.



The overall height of the hill is a little too tall for my tastes, creating an abrupt drop off in the back. (I had envisioned more of a gradual slope, or a shorter hill, like a barrow mound.) To help diffuse the appearance of a full-on cliff at the back, I reduced the top layer of foam down to one inch, and I decided to set some of the smaller mausoleums into the surface.



The roof added even more height because I needed to use a piece of one-inch foam so graves could be "buried" in it above the ceiling of the interior tomb.



At this point, I went nuts and built a whole wall of mausoleums. In this piece I used one each of the three different mausoleums– One for the "front door" and then the rest of it in the center of the back. One was cut in half to use on each side. And the two halves of the "steeple" mausoleum are on either side of the center. Their roofs line up pretty close to the dormers on the middle structure, so I figured I'd build them into a single roof that butts up against the hill.



There's too much nice architecture to bury under all that foam, so I cut out the portions of the side wall that would be hidden. I can salvage the hourglass icons and those little alcoves to use somewhere else.



I also cut away some of the roof and the outer side of the steeple mausoleums, keeping the vertical detail bits intact.



I used plastic card and quarter-round styrene rod to cover the gaps and add some structural details that hide the rough edges where the cuts were made.



For the rooftops, I used plastic card to connect and extend them back to the hillside.



I added some metal trim to match the central mausoleum. This was made from strips of styrene, punched with rivets from my trusty rotary sewing punch.



I used more card to extend the outer wall back into the hill and covered the join with the vertical bit. More quarter-round and half-round rods were added to create the surface detail and conceal imperfections in the edges of the cut-up parts. The little shield and shelf was taken from the portion of the roof that I had cut away.



Here they are, in position prior to modeling the surface of the hillside. One of my intentions was to use this piece as a backdrop for model photography, and these mausoleums add a lot more detail on the back, providing me with more photography angles.



Here's a look at the whole thing and how I plan to lay out the graves and other details. I'm not entirely satisfied with the "square block" shape of the tomb construction in the front, but I'm far from finished with this, so I'm sure I'll figure something out. As the pieces fall into place, maybe the shape will make more sense. (Maybe the walls on either side of the entrance just need more decorative embellishments.)



'Til next time!


  1. Using L-shaped plastruct is freaking genius.

    1. Thanks! I should do a proper tutorial on that and show how to score it with stone markings and such...

  2. Looks incredible!

    If you're worried about the boxy shape, would a large statue over the main doorway help at all? Draw focus and break up the outline?

    1. Thank you! I've got a plan to put something over the door, and there will be fencing on top. It's mostly the corners that I'm concerned with. I've added the dormer on one side, and it helps. I think other decoration on the walls will help too, and I can always "crumble" more of the wall shape and add vines and ivy.


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