Friday, November 6, 2020

Project Log: The Tombs of Tithing, Part 5

Building a rooftop cemetery... 



This whole project has been a very organic process. I had a general idea of how the tomb would look, but it has required a lot of problem solving along the way (I still need a solution for the front wall around the door, which looks very blank at the moment). The overall shape of the piece was beginning to feel too "blocky," but I was counting on the roof to help remedy this.


One bit of inspiration that hit me was to use the round wall from the Sigmarite Mausoleum on the back of a plastic Halloween skull to create a little overlook on the top.



I trimmed the skull so it could fit on the front of the roof, and made a cutout for the wall. Any gaps could be filled with putty, and there was a significant mold shift line on the top of the skull that needed to be smoothed over.



I used some pieces of the mausoleum fence, and a bit of the broken fence from the Flesh-eater Courts endless spell. (I still need to paint my Cadaverous Barricade!) Here, you can see the general layout and the line marking where the left side of the roof will be crumbled away.



I attached the skull and wall with Liquid Nails construction adhesive and hot glue, then I spread a thin layer of the Liquid Nails over the surface of the foam so I could super glue parts to it later.



With the front fence pieces glued in place, I filled in the gaps and covered the mold seams with Aves Apoxie Sculpt. I also filled under the hollow bottom of the skull and sculpted more stones to extend the curved wall to meet the end posts.



Wrecking up the fence was the most fun. On the back corner, I used a piece of the Cadaverous Barricade fence and square ABS plastic rod to extend the bottom of the post.



Next, I laid out the graves themselves.



This sarcophagus, cut from one of the mausoleum bases, was trimmed down, and I cut a slot to recess it into the surface.



I used my hooked sculpting tool to pick away the outer corner of the ground and give the top a more organic, rounded look.



I built up the stones around the edge, and the crumbling shape really helped break up the "squareness" of the tomb.



I also trimmed away the crumbling foam in a few spots to make it look like there were more stones below the fence, as though its foundation extended deeper into the ground.



Along the break where the top and bottom come together, I cut out some spaces and added some random stones. These act like "teeth" to lock the top in place and prevent there from being an obvious seam running in a straight line through the stonework.



I've completely tapped out my reserve of 3/16-inch L-strips, so I went into the 3/16-inch square rod. With these, I put together pairs that could glue together in a staggered formation and build up the steps that way. I wouldn't recommend this for long flights of stairs, but for a short rise of five steps, it does the trick. Especially when there's no support foam underneath.



I attached the steps, added the flagstones on the surface, and continued the wall stones around the corner.



One detail I've been looking forward to is the exposed graves in the cut-away side. These were carved out of the foam and then coated with sand. In one of them, I made a broken stone coffin. I'll add their occupants later.



The roof needed a ceiling, and to make sure it perfectly keyed into the opening of the tomb, I cut thin layers of foam and trimmed them to the shape of the interior. I fit them in place (they are snug enough to hold themselves up), and added some construction adhesive. I also put on a few dots of hot glue for a quick bond, and set the roof in place. I pressed the ceiling foam against the roof, and it adhered exactly where it needed to be.



Then, it was a matter of texturing the surface with stonework, and trimming the broken edge into the shape of crumbling stones.



I also added the remnants of the interior crypt wall.



Everything was shaping up nicely. I added more stones and broken fencing on the front corner. Then it was just a matter of gluing the side fence in place, and adding the tombstones and sand.



Here's a look at the whole graveyard. I'll tackle the exposed graves and wall crypts in the next installment.



'Til next time!


  1. Nearly goes without saying at this point, but this is incredible work as ever.

  2. You sure this piece isn't for Mordheim?

    1. It could be! I don't really play Mordheim though, so it's just going into my general "realm of death" scenery stockpile.


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