Tuesday, January 18, 2011


"Enter The Caverns, If Ye Dare!"

I finished painting the MAMMOTH CAVE ENTRANCE tonight, and decided to stay up past my bedtime to post it. So "phase one" is now complete.

Last time, I had left you with the main structure covered in spackling paste. I won't show you the next two steps: I covered everything with a coating of wood glue, then painted the cave parts with a gray acrylic/gesso mixture. But I'll walk you through the finishing touches. I wanted to add a few more details, so I made a "bag 0' boulders" to have on hand. I also needed some smaller "rocks", so I put some chunks of the pink insulation foam into a blender, and "Viola!"

After strategically gluing the bigger boulders throughout the cave, I then mixed some sand into the wood glue. I painted that in random places where rocks had "fallen" here and there on the cave floor.

Here's the transition from "no rocks" to "rocks" to "rocks painted gray".

And here's the whole scene with the final paint scheme! I wanted the water to be a bit foreboding...it's not the pristine clear lake that some caves offer. This one goes really deep...with potential "scary thingies" livin' in there!!
One thing I did to differentiate the "outside" of the mountain from the inside of the cave, was to paint things a bit "cooler" in tones. The stone is more slate gray, with glazes of brown.

Finally, here are the three separate terrain pieces that can be configured together or apart, depending on the needs of the game.
More to come...got some Stalactites and Stalagmites to make!


John Lambshead said...

I am overcome with awe, sir. A fabulous piece of work. I wonder if I can persuade the mem'sahib to lend me her blender.

Warren said...

Ha! I'll bet she would, if you bought her a fancier one to replace it. Thanks for the nice comments, John!

Max said...

Wow. Really, really amazing work there, especially on the water effects. And I love that the rocks on the inside are a different shade than those on the outside.

Warren said...

Thanks, Max. There were some happy accidents that happened when painting the water. I had already coated everything with varnish, thinking I was done. Then I made some "fixes" and varnished it again. But I still didn't quite like it. So I gave the whole lake a very watered-down wash of "aqua blue", applied liberally. The paint began to pool into these interesting shapes, and dried that way. I applied one last coat of varnish, and it made the colors nice and rich. Now I've got a technique that I can reuse in the future!

Christopher said...

That is flippin' awesome Warren! I too am in awe of how it came together. The fact that you placed all those small chunks of foam or 'crumbling rock' on the caves floor makes it look 100% authentic. Wow!

Fitz-Badger said...

Excellent work as always! No wonder you're an artist; you do seem to have an eye for colors and details.
I would never have thought of painting the interior and exterior with different color schemes.
I do think these pieces could work as exterior rock formations as well though. Good for caves, deserts and even extraterrestrial exploration.

BaronVonJ said...

In high falsetto, "Awesome!"

BaronVonJ said...

Now, I have to find a game worthy of it to run RECRUITS.

Warren said...

Chris...Fizt...thanks for the compliments. I'm pleasantly surprised that it's looking so real, myself. A few little extra details goes a long way. It makes me want to get home after work and keeping makin' stuff...really fun.

And BaronVonJ...I'm jazzed that you are wanting to showcase this set at RECRUITS!! Been about three years since I've been. That'll be a fun one to plan for. I'm also smiling that I made you squeal "AWESOME" like a Vienna Choir Boy.

Christopher Letzelter said...

Warren - ChrisL here, via "Greyhawk Grognard". First off, absolutely inspiring work! I've been toying with the idea of creating modular dungeon sections out of wood for my D+D game, but didn't want to go through the lengthy casting process. But now you've turned on the light bulb.
Secondly, I work in pink and blue foam myself, making props for a theatre group. I usually use 3M Foamfast to join the foam together, but I just experimented last night with Gorilla Glue and that also seems to work. Do you have any other glue that you've found to be effective?
Thanks for sharing all your hard work, and it's appreciated!

Warren said...

Christopher...almost didn't find your comments, since it was on an older post. As for glue, my tutorials pretty much show all the things I've played with. Super 77 Spray Mount is what I've worked with mostly. Spray each surface of the two areas to be connected...wait a few seconds until tacky...then press them together. For larger stage pieces, I'm not so sure that would work...too much weight on them. I use the hot glue gun to reinforce some areas on a construction. Hope that helps! Glad you came by!

Unknown said...

Hello absolutly brilliant i got an idea now how to have running water out of my water jug in mt tudor coach house
very well done i didn't really need to spend all that money on magic water i could have use my glue gun
brilliant inspiration thank you