Thursday, 20 February 2020

The Lair of the Spider Queen

Originally appear on  in 2016

Materials, Equipment and Paints Used:
Hirst Arts Prison Tower Mold #60
Herculite II Casting Powder
PVA Glue
Flagstone Textured Plasticard
Ballpoint Pen
Warrior of Numenor Shield
Black Tester Pot Paint
Almost Black Tester Pot Paint
Flintstone Tester Pot Paint
Steel Legion Drab
Karak Stone
Elysian Green
Green Flock
Static Grass
Halloween Cobweb Material

In the heart of this region lives the queen of the Giant Spiders, an evil and cunning child of Shelob, spawn of Ungoliant.  Her sense extend as far as her web, and the strands of her wen cover acres beyond counting. To steal quietly through her realm would be costly at best, and impossible at worst, so this bloated creature must be slain and her blood scattered.


In the Fall of the Necromancer supplement, Games Workshop showed the reader how to construct the Lair of the Spider Queen that was once a mausoleum. I liked this terrain project but have always thought of it as a little bit basic. So this then is an enhanced version of that project.

Casting the Blocks

For this project we will be making use of Hirst Arts mold #60, to begin with cast this multiple times, you won't need all the bricks that it can cast. Use the picture below to identify the bricks you will need:

Building the Walls

The basic walls are relatively easy to assemble once the bricks have been cast.  Use the pictures below to assemble the walls, gluing the bricks together using PVA.  You will need two side walls:

You will now need to glue all four walls together, it is advisable whilst building the walls to use a set square to make sure everything is at a 90 degree angle.


The walls are covered in ten buttresses, three on each side wall and two on each of the front and back walls. These are made from foamcore pieces. Cut ten 2" by 1/2" and ten 1 1/2" by 1/2". On each of these twenty pieces angle the top slightly. 

Glue them together so that one shorter piece is stuck to a longer one and glue them around the outside of the walls.

Cut twenty pieces of card 1/4" by a little bigger than 1/2" and glue each of these into the angled sections of the buttresses.

The Roof and Base

Cut a piece of foamcore that is the width and length of the structure and glue this onto the top of the walls. Line the top of the roof with bricks made up of pieces G and D.  They should line up with the bottom of the foamcore so that they overhang the top.  Also make sure that a D brick is in the centre of the front wall.

Cut a piece of foamcore an inch wider and longer than the over all structure and glue flagstone textured plasticard on to this. Glue the mausoleum onto the centre of this.

The Door

The door is made from balsawood and cut to size to fit the doorway. Using a ballpoint pen, score a door plank pattern into the door.  Cut two strips of card and glue these to the top and bottom areas of the door, also glue a small square of card to the right hand side.

The door is glued in place by the use of a cardboard hinge.

On the centre of the ridge above the door, glue a Warrior of Numenor shield.

Painting and Detailing

Undercoat the entire model in black. I used tester pots of paints from Wilkinson's. First I drybushed in Almost Black, then a light brushing of Flintstone.  This will be a very dark grey building which is what I wanted as the Numenorean's used dark grey stone as seen in Helm's Deep in the movies.
 I then used watered down Elysian Green and Steel Legion Drab in patches to weather the building.

The door was painted by drybrushing Steel Legion Drab and then Karak Stone.

Around the edging of the floor I used PVA to glue the same flock as I have used on my gaming boards.  In patches around the floor and on the wall I used PVA to glue some GW static grass.

Using Halloween cob-webbing material I covered the building to act as the cobwebs of the spiders.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Snow Terrain

Originally appeared on back in 2016

Materials, Equipment and Paints Used:
Snow Flock
40mm Diameter MDF Discs
Tree Armatures
Pine Tree Models
Ready Made Polyfiller
Thick Cardboard
Coffee Stirring Sticks
PVA Glue
Black Paint
Grey Paints
White Paint
Rhinox Hide
Karak Stone
Gloss Varnish

While they were halted, the wind died down, and the snow slackened until it almost ceased. They tramped on again. But they had not gone more than a furlong when the storm returned with fresh fury. The wind whistled and the snow became a blinding blizzard. Soon even Boromir found it hard to keep going. The hobbits, bent nearly double, toiled along behind the taller folk, but it was plain that they could not go much further, if the snow continued. Frodo's feet felt like lead. Pippin was dragging behind. Even Gimli, as stout as any dwarf could be, was grumbling as he trudged.


One way to add a bit of interest to your gaming boards is to have them covered in snow, a simple way to do this is just to scatter snow flock over your boards then brush it off at the end of your games. This article aims to take things a step further and shows how to create some snow covered terrain that can be used.


If you live near snow you should go out and take a look at how the snow falls over the scenery, or if it is winter and snowed do the same. It hasn't snowed where I live for a few years, so even though it is winter here, I have had to resort to an image search on the internet.

Gaming Boards

The basic snow boards are made in the same way as in Simple Cavern Gaming Boards, except a final heavy dry brush of white as the final stage.  Once the paint has dried, the boards where covered in PVA glued and then snow flock scattered over all the boards.


This article will cover two types of trees, deciduous trees; those that loose their leaves in the winter months, and evergreens; those that keep their leaves.  The trees are based on 40mm MDF Discs.

The evergreen trees are made from model railway pine tree models. These normally come with a twisted metal trunk that will need to be sorted. This was done by covering it in greenstuff and modelling a trunk and having a bark like texture scored onto it.

Once the greenstuff has set it was undercoated in black and then drybrushed in Rhinox Hide and then Karak Stone.

The deciduous trees are made from model railway tree armatures without the foliage glued onto them.  They may need painted and can be done the same way as mentioned above.

The trees are glued on the MDF discs by using a mix of superglue and PVA.  This will give a strong fixing and allow the trees to be quickly held in place.  The superglue is placed on the MDF disc and the PVA to the base of the tree trunks.

Once the glues have set the bases where then covered in polyfiller, this is where the snow has banked up around the base of the trees.

The evergreen trees I used where precovered in white paint to represent snow, if yours do not you can drybrush the tree in white paint. 

The deciduous trees need a little more work. Begin by mixing polyfiller, PVA glue, and snow flock into a thick paste. Using an old brush, apply this mix to the tops of the branches, particularly where the branches join the tree trunk.

Walls and Hedges

The walls and hedges are made in the same was as described in Defend at will with Fences, Walls and Hedges.

The bases where then drybrushed in white paint and then covered in snow flock held in place with PVA glue.  The tops of the walls and hedges where then covered in the snow pasted described in the tree sections above.


You could just use the rivers as described Rivers and Streams, but I thought I would show a different method for you to use when making rivers.

Begin by taking a thick piece of cardboard that is 12" long and 5" wide. Draw a line vertically down the centre of piece. Next at either end of the rectangle, measure some points either side of the centre line, the first 1 1/2" away and then 2 1/2". These will help line up the river sections when they are placed together.  Using the guide marks draw the lines of the river banks.

Next glue coffee stirring sticks in the middle of where the river banks are. These will help prevent warping. Once these have dried in place.  Cover the bank areas in polyfiller.

Once the polyfiller has set, they where painted white.  The river section itself was painted black. Then using an old piece of material a dark grey paint was dabbed into place giving a very patchy finished. Next every lightening greys where painted on in the same manner until a final covering of white was applied. Once the paint has dried, a gloss varnish was applied.  Once the varnish has dried the banks where covered in snow flock.

And that is all there is too making snowy gaming boards.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Scenic Detailing

This originally appeared on back in 2016

Materials, Equipment and Paints Used:
Various Clump Foliage
Various Lichen
Various Trees
Modelling Sand
Static Grass
Dead Leaf Scatter
Stones and Small Rocks
Green Stuff
Abaddon Black
Administratum Grey
Steel Legion Drab
Karak Stone

The woods on either side became denser; the trees were now younger and thicker; and as the lane went lower, running down into a fold of the hills, there were many deep brakes of hazel on the rising slopes at either hand. At last the Elves turned aside from the path. A green ride lay almost unseen through the thickets on the right; and this they followed as it wound away back up the wooded slopes on to the top of a shoulder of the hills that stood out into the lower land of the river-valley. Suddenly they came out of the shadow of the trees, and before them lay a wide space of grass, grey under the night. On three sides the woods pressed upon it; but eastward the ground fell steeply and the tops of the dark trees, growing at the bottom of the slope, were below their feet. Beyond, the low lands lay dim and flat under the stars. Nearer at hand a few lights twinkled in the village of Woodhall.


You have build your terrain and set your gaming board up and are ready to play but it still does not look quite as good as you want to, it is looking a bit flat and something is missing but you can not quite put your finger on what. In this case you probably want to add scenic detailing. These are small things you can add to the table top that will not affect the layout or game that much but will add a lot of visual flare.


Rocks can be scattered across your table and are easy to make. Simply go outside and search for small stones and rocks. Wash them in hot water and detergent to remove mud and germs. Once dry undercoat them in Abaddon Black.  Basecoat some in Dawnstone and then drybrush with Administratum Grey and basecoat some in Steel Legion Drab then drybrush with Karak Stone.


Sometimes even if a scenario doesn't for trees adding some can bring life to your board. Individually based trees don't have to count as difficult terrain and will not affect the game too much.

You need to pick which kind of tree you need to use. There are kit based ones that you glue the foliage to the branches yourself, or premade ones which are ready to go out of the box. Kit based trees are normally cheaper than ready made ones but not normally as hard wearing.

You may need to paint the trunks and branches of your trees if you use a kit tree as they normally come in a flat dark brown. Base coat in Rhinox Hide and then avoid using light browns such as Mourngfang. Drybrush using Steel Legion Drab or Dawnstone. Use a watered down amount of Elysian Green and apply in patches around the trunks. This represents and mould and moss that has grown on the trunk.

Glue the tree to a disc of thick cardboard that radius should not be greater than the foliage of the tree itself.  Cover the base in PVA and then add modelling sand. Once dry undercoat in Abaddon Black then basecoat in Rhinox Hide before drybrushing in Steel Legion Drab.

If you look at where an individual tree grows in a grassy area you will notice that the area around the trunk where the roots are underneath is bereft of grass, leaving a earthy patch.  A lot of wargamers and terrain makers miss this aspect out when basing trees and add static grass right up to the trunk of the tree.

Cover the base in PVA again but leave a patch around the trunk of the tree. Sprinkle over grass flock and static grass so it blends in with your gaming board. Also glue some dead leaf scatter around the base of the tree.

Bush and Shrubs

For me this is the thing to really make the board look more interesting. With out this it always looks flat and clean.  This is quick to set up but a bit of a pain to clear away.

I have a tub that is filled with small bits of clump foliage and lichen. This is seen scattered all over the board. It is as simple as that!


Logs can be represented by using twigs found in your garden. Use a watered down amount of Elysian Green and apply in patches around the twig. This represents and mould and moss that has grown on the log.