Tuesday, 11 February 2020


Originally appear on www.talesofmiddleearth.co.uk in 2013

Materials, Equipment and Paints Used:
Hirst Art Molds #70 #65 #61 #60 #40 *
Patterned Plastic Card
PVA Glue
Modelling Sand
Small Stones
Green Flock
Clump Foliage
Grass Fields Foliage
Dead Leaf Scatter
Abaddon Black
Steel Legion Drab
Karak Stone
Ushabti Bone
Rhinox Hide
Baneblade Brown

* You don't have to have these particular molds, these are just the ones I own and have used in this article.

Here and there upon heights and ridges they caught glimpses of ancient walls of stone, and the ruins of towers: they had an ominous look.  Frodo, who was not walking, had time to gaze ahead and to think. He recalled Bilbo's account of his journey and the threatening towers on the hills north of the Road, in the country near the Troll's wood where his first serious adventure had happened.


Ruined buildings and structures litter the landscape of Middle Earth and so you should have a lot of them in your terrain collection. Luckily Hirst Arts produce molds that allow you to mass produce building blocks for you to create all kinds of buildings, ruins and structures. Think of it as Lego for wargaming.


Before you get going it is a good idea to begin mass casting of the blocks. I store mine in old plastic containers such as cleaned out margarine tubs.  Follow the instructions of your Plaster-of-Paris you have. and pour this into the mold so that it fills up to the top of the block holes.

Once poured lightly bang the table around the mold to get rid of any air bubbles that may be in the mixture.

Allow the mixture to dry and set before removing the blocks and then repeat the procedure until you have a large collection built up. This will mean when you want to make a ruined structure you will have blocks already cast up. Sometimes it is an idea to cast some blocks when you have some down time so you always have a supply.

Building a Wall

Before you glue the blocks together it is a good idea to put the blocks together on a flat surface to see how they all fit together.

Once you are happy with the overall look of the wall you can glue the pieces together.


One thing you may notice at this stage is how neat it looks and not at all ruinous.
There are a number of things to do here, one is not to make the wall a perfect rectangle but leave blocks out at the ends to create a step effect.

Even then the blocks will look too new so its time to go to town on them with some pliers. Cut off any corners and angles to really make them look worn and weathered.

You can also glue bits of gravel and small stones in places such as the ends of the walls to give extra detail.

You can also make your ruins multi level by either using flagstone blocks (remembering to weather and age the ends) or by using balsawood for a wooden floor. With balsawood you can use a ball point pen to score on planks and damage and age the ends to represent the planks rotting away.


The ruins are based using textured plastic card. You can get this from model railway shops. It is quite thin so is easy to cut into shape using scissors.

As with most of the ruins you want to avoid perfectly straight lines. With the ruin glued to the base using PVA you can apply patches of small stones, gravel and modelling sand.

Painting and Detailing

The ruin is first undercoated in black.  The stone work is then heavily drybrushed in Steel Legion Drab, the drybrushed in Karak Stone and a final very light drybrushing of Ushabti Bone.

If you have any wood work this is painted by basecoating in Rhinox Hide followed by a drybrushing of Steel Legion Drab and a final light drybrushing of Baneblade Brown.

Next coat the edges of the base in PVA glue and then cover in green flock that will match your gaming boards. You can glue long field grass in places and on the ground and walls glue some dead leaf scatter.

You can create endless ruins now and can always add to your mold collection to add more and more variety to your ruined structures. Of course the molds can also be used to build non ruined structures.

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