Sunday, December 9, 2018

LOTR Ruins; Construction Complete

Link to the first post in this project is  HERE

link to the second part of this project is  HERE

So There I Was

About to bemoan my circumstances of having a lack of hobbytime lately when the hobby Gods smiled down upon me and said "Lo, let there be a weekend where the wife takes thy kids to San Jose and doesn't come back until Monday night to take pictures with Santa.   So shall it BBBEEEEEE!"  

And so it was, leaving me with only my father to look after for a weekend which basically meant there was an increase in free time, because it's not like he needs constant supervision, and especially in the evenings after he went to bed; There I was, just a man and his hobbydesk...

I took advantage to complete the construction phase on the LOTR ruins.

My Life is Ruined

Completing the ruins was a simple process of just gluing bricks in place all according to the previously mentioned weak plans.  In trutth, this was mostly done in fits and starts with this last weekend the time to seal the deal...

I borrowed some of Daughter #1's Legos in order to build a form
to ensure the walls were straight.  

I also wanted to start making the ruins look...ruined; meaning having broken blocks and little rubble piles in the right places.  I'm trying for a balance of having enough broken stones to make it look cool but not so many that it will hamper game play.  

There's two ways to make rubble: 1 way that I employed often was to take a pair of pliers and mangle the ends of the blocks before you glue them , especially where part of a wall has fallen down.  The second way to get a bunch of rubble / small broken bricks is much more therapeutic..

While you care casting all those blocks you get a lot that are messed up and not usable for building; miss-casts.
Save all these to one side.  When you need rubble, put them in a thick Ziploc bag (or double bag it)
and smash it with a mallet or hammer.  This creates lots of little pieces suitable for rubble.
And seems like good payback for the little buggers wasting you time in the first place.

After the structures were complete I wanted to add some ground texture to the MDF wood base that all the buildings were sitting on.  Usually I use concrete patch on the bases of my miniatures because I like the texture and it's heavy; which gives the minis some heft.  But this ruin is large and is going to be heavy enough without adding concrete to it so I needed another substance.  Besides, even though there were recently pictures of me on the internet with power tools to prove my manly strength, I got weak skinny arms.  

I was also armed with a gift card to Micheal's, so while I was looking for Vallejo Pumice there was none to be found, so what I walked away with was:

Which seems to be close enough, but it didn't have much texture to it as it was pretty smooth.  My solution was to added texture the same way I add texture to acrylic caulk when I make stuff with that:

I scooped the paste into a cup and added coffee grounds and talos to taste and stirred it all up.
It made the white paste into a mocha color.

I then took a plastic knife and smeared it all around the bases of the structures.  Like so..

While laying down the ground texture I would place in little rocks and boulders and such...

While I was doing that I also coated areas with watered down glue and added rubble and small rocks where I thought appropriate.

TA-DAAA; Construction Complete.

Letting everything dry overnight, the next opportunity I placed a bunch of 28mm Warriors of Minas Tirith (Lord of the Rings Miniatures) in the ruin so you have a sense of scale in the pictures...

Overview of the whole model.

Warriors by the broken wall.

You get an idea of he height of the tower

I foresee a lot of archers hanging out in the top of the tower.

This statute is probably some famous ancestor or some such thing..

Broken arched windows...

To (hopefully) aid in the painting, the statue and the top half of the tower are not glued down yet.

The roof of the tower is supported by balsa wood and cereal box.

Now all I need is a weekend where it's not raining or freezing outside so I can prime it black,
and then I can get to painting the damn thing.  

I hope I don't ruin it with painting it (see what I did there).  But seriously, this is a frightening and exciting stage of hobbying.  The project is really starting to come together but there's still so much to do...

Thanks for reading,  I hope everyone's Christmas month isn't madness.


  1. The product / result is superb, even unpainted it looks the thing. I was thinking about the painting, because the subject is white and presumably porous, I wondered whether gentle ink or thinned paint stains would work best? A dark brown dribbled directly into the joints from the tip of a brush and something like a thinned Naples Yellow for sandstone, with a super hin 'mucky wash' put on last of all. But then if doing grey stone, black spray primer and dry brushing dark then light grey would probably be better. Either way I understand your reservations in spoiling things at this stage.

    1. Thank you Norm! The model is not porous but pretty solid. I am going the grey / white ish stone route; so it will be as you say with black primer with gray in lighting shades and some washes. Should be a simple process but will take sometime. πŸ˜€

  2. Looks fantastic already! If its plaster of Paris/casting plaster and isn't bone dry which it probably isn't it'll be resistant to accepting water based paint,you could try painting it with car spray, the other thing that will work is painting it with button polish,diluted with a little methalayted spirits which seals it up enabling you to use water based paint on top,job to do in the shed/garage as its a bit smelly!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Isin! But oh I do think the stuff is pretty bone dry. I let the bricks dry out before I glue them in place. I’ll prime it black. I do think I will have to be careful with washes as they’re water based it might soften the glue.

  3. Your ruined church is looking fab. I understand your reluctance to paint it. I had a similar feeling when tackling a ready-made church from Old Glory. A stain applied over the white stone may do the trick. Perhaps give it a try on a smaller piece first?

    1. Thank you Jon! It’s like there’s a picture in my mind that I know I can’t live up to with my average skills. πŸ˜€

  4. That's a great job you've done there Stew. The ruined building looks very convincing and will surely look even better when painted. I would opt for a base colour and a light dry brush over highlighted areas. A final wash will give depth to the whole thing. I like using Liquitex inks as washes but I would agree with Jonathan that it's always best to try it out on some inconspicuous part of the model first. Looking forward to the end result.

    1. Thank you Mike. I appreciate the comment. I’m planning to prime it black and the dry brush the hell out of it. πŸ˜€
      I’ve painted other ruins made of the same stuff so it’s more like remembering on how to do it.

  5. Absolutely lovely. Your hard work and patience have paid off handsomely

    1. Thanks very much Anton. I appreciate it. πŸ˜€

  6. Rather than try it on your lovely building, why not stick together a few spare blocks and make a little wall, and then paint that first? The "cost" would be pretty small, and it could reveal some interesting techniques.

    And pretty envious of you having a weekend mostly to yourself, the best I have managed lately is an afternoon to do errands alone.

    1. Thanks Las! I’m afraid your life has gone horribly wrong if your envious of me. πŸ˜€
      I’ve painted this stuff before do it’s more like remembering how I did it. But having it on the base is a new thing.

  7. Goodness Stew, that really is a bloody good looking ruined building. Suggestions to make a small wall piece to try out your paint scheme sound like grand advice to me.

    BTW - how are the archers supposed to get up in that lovely tower? I didn't see any stairs or ladders?

    1. Through the secret trapdoor of course! πŸ˜€
      (Runs off to build s ladder)

  8. Looks great Stew, good luck with the painting. Hope you all have a merry Xmas.

  9. Thanks Tony, and you too. ❤️

  10. Time well spent there Stew.
    Merry xmas