Thursday, January 13, 2011


Here we go, fellow Spelunkers! Time for a "Mammoth Cave" adventure!

I've been busy this week on phase one of a multi-part scenario for my friend, Jaye. I got inspired to tackle this project after seeing an incredible series of photographs from National Geographic of a newly discovered gigantic cave in Vietnam. It's now considered to be the largest in the world! (Check out the images HERE!)

My imagination took off, and I began to sketch up some various components that I plan to make over the course of the next few weeks.

Below are some other images I gathered off the web for inspiration and details. I also bought a cool book at a half-priced store featuring the "Great Caves" of the world.

The first component I wanted to make was the cave entrance and a cavern lake. The lake can be removed and placed on a different part of the gaming table. I began with a rough sketch on board, then cut out both pieces with a jigsaw.

Jaye let me borrow his hot wire foam cutting tools, and I began to cut out the various shapes. I then glued them together with "SUPER 77" spray to form the basic configuration.

Next, I continued to carve the "mountain" with the hot wire tool, to shape more convincing rock contours, and to help hide the seams of where the foam was stacked.

There were some obvious gaps in the construction, so I filled cracks with a hot glue gun. Then I began to cover the whole sculpture with spackling paste. I used a putty knife, like spreading icing, then went back over the surface with a cheap rough-bristle brush. This broke up the surface into more irregular textures. I will sand off the little "nuggets" when it dries...but not too much. I don't want to lose the rock-like textures. Because of the size of this cave terrain piece, it took me two nights work to cover it all with the spackle.

Here's where I left it tonight...drying. I also made a little "boulder island" that can be placed on the lake, or used as a prop on the cave floor. I'll continue working on it over the long weekend (Martin Luther King Holiday on Monday). To give it a bit more interest, I'll add some rock "debris", where various sized boulders have fallen here and there. Stay tuned!


The GunGrave said...

Awesome, thats gonna make a great terrain piece!

BaronVonJ said...

My preh-shussssss........

Warren said...

Thanks, guys...glad you like it so far. This is a fun one to build, for sure! It feels a bit like doing a 3D impressionist painting...I'm keeping it loose and not thinking all the details out.

anevilgiraffe said...

looks great, very inspiring stuff

Fitz-Badger said...

Cool! Off to a great start. I'll look forward to seeing how it turns out.

Christopher said...

Awesome! Clan of the Cave Bear! Great ideas although I do however love the stalagmite with the water holding it up on your sketch page. I think the whole 'making water look real' process is really neat.