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Shakandara

Wizard's Tower WIP (now with pictures!)

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Prior to my move (in February) I'd stalled out on my last terrain project, a modular space ship built from Hirst Arts blocks that I'm making for a friend. Since then, I've got no mojo for that project, and rather than waste the relatively good weather we've been having, I've been using the time to cast fantasy blocks, particularly from some of the newer molds that i've picked up. The move (from an apartment to a house) means that I've finally got some real space to store terrain projects after they've been built. In addition to building myself a modular fantasy set of cavern and dungeon pieces (a la Dwarven Forge), I've also had a number of building projects that I've wanted to work on. Foremost among those is a wizard's tower for the archmage in my D&D campaign. She is one of only two players who have played the entire 6+ year campaign with the same character.

 

Early on in their career, I used a pre-gen called "An Evening's Entertainment" to introduce a small inn on a trade route. It was close to Halloween, and the adventure was a bit of a suspense/thriller in which a hive of death scarab beetles find their way into the inn through the mushroom caves attached to the back. They slaughter everyone, and leave behind a gory, gruesome scene that the players discover only a short time later. It was one of the most suspense-filled, tension-driven adventures in the campaign, and it left a mark on the players. So much so, that after they'd eradicated the bugs and cleaned up the mess, they installed a family of refugees as the new inn owners, and made it a regular stop in their travels. The wizard was heavily involved in this process, and has talked about using this location for her tower.

 

So, this wizard tower is actually a two-part project. The first will be building the tower; the second will be building the nearby Sign of the Mushroom inn. This will give the rest of the characters a place to stay when visiting her. It also provide me an opportunity to build some underground secret passages that connect the two together, as a secondary means of entrance and egress from the tower.

 

To start, I'm using the 4" and 8" Round Tower molds (#52 and #64 respectively, from Hirst), as well as the Ruined Tower mold (#65). The 8" Round Tower will provide the bulk of the structural blocks for the first few floors of the tower. Between the 4" and the Ruined Tower molds, I get the flooring I want to not have to make a custom floor for the tower. The 4" Round will provide some internal structure on the first floor, and will form the core of the top level of the tower, also granting access to the roof. I will use the decorative pieces (arches and columns) off of the Ruined Tower to provide additional internal structure on the lower levels while still maintining a more open feeling, and open up the top level to create a balcony feeling.

 

The tower will also include a basement. I've decided to go with fieldstone blocks from the Fieldstone Wall and Accessory molds (#70 and #71 respectively) for the walls, and the Flagstone Floor Tile mold (#260) for the floors and ceilings (I'll explain this later). I've opted for a 5"x5" area for the basement with a 1/2" border around it; walls sitting on that border will effectively make this a 6"x6" area. This will create the slightest bit of overhang relative to the tower above it (6"x6" on the hypotenuse = roughly 8.5") but nothing that can't be hidden relatively easily. The basement (and most levels of the tower, for that matter) will be 3" tall. As the floor blocks are only a 1/4" thick, and my walls that stand on them are 2 1/2" tall, I plan to use a 6"x6" grid of Flagstone Floor Tile blocks face down on top of the basement. These will be attached to the first floor of the tower, which will also act as a keyed mechanism for setting the first floor of the tower in place correctly.

 

In addition, the basement will also feature a working secret door, in which a section of the wall will swing out to reveal a passagewar. This passageway will be 2" wide, with a 1/2" border for the walls. It will be the same height, and use inverted Flagstone Floor Tiles for a removeable ceiling for game play.

 

I've cast enough parts from all the mold in question to at least start the project (and perhaps even finish it; we'll see if additional casting is required). I dry-fit peices for the basement yesterday and started glueing up wall sections today. Once they are dry, I'll get some pics added to the thread.

 

~v

Edited by Shakandara
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I'm using masonite for the basing for this project, as I do with most of my larger HA projects. It's cheap, easy to cut, and stands up well to the weight of dental/hydrostone blocks. For this use, I've got several pieces cut into 11"x15" sections (which also happen to fill a shelf space in my IKEA display cases - imagine that!)

 

wiztower01.jpg

 

Here is the floor section for the basement of the tower. They have been flipped face down for glueing (this ensures that the face of all the pieces are at the same level, making a nice smooth surface). I don't always glue face down; depending on the project, sometimes I want an uneven floor. It could probably work here, but this is the foundation are a very large structure (it should stand between 13"-16" when complete), so I want a nice level start.

 

wiztower02.jpg

 

I wasn't happy with the pics I took of the wall sections, so I'll reshoot those tomorrow. I nearly "fixed" something on one of the walls that was already correct, so I'm loathe to mess with it any further tonight for fear that I'll actually screw something up. :;):

 

~v

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Made less progress on this that I'd have liked to today; the honey-do list reared its ugly head, and pre-empted any casting or construction work. However, here are at least the pics of the rest of the work I got done yesterday. First up, all the wall sections for the basement of the tower. They are glued-up, and waiting to be assmebled on top of the floor, once it is finished.

 

wiztower03.jpg

 

 

Here are the assembled wall pieces dry-fitted together. In the lower right, you'll notice a spot where it seems something is missing; a column of diagonal blocks needs to be glued in place here. This spot, along with the other diagonal joint visible 2" above that on the same wall, is what will make the working secret door/wall possible. I will drill a hole down through it and insert a dowel down through this section into the floor blocks below it. The section of the wall will be covered by a lintel, and the dowel will also extend up in to it. Once the lintel is in place, the dowel will be completely hidden, and will allow the section of the wall to articulate. When closed, it will be nearly indetectable from either side, appearing little different from the rest of the walls of the basement and corridor.

 

wiztower04.jpg

 

 

An angled view of the basement, facing towards the secret door. Paint will also help hide the joint lines, making the secret door harder to see.

 

wiztower05.jpg

 

 

Side views of the basement, with built-in alcoves on the walls. These will ultimately have *something* placed in them, though I haven't completely decided what yet. There a a lot of options in bits, both metal stuff that I have from Reaper, as well as stuff that I can cast from the new series of inn interior molds (#57, #58, and #59). I will also probably use the shelves from either mold #57 or #58 to add to the storage feeling of this space, possibly even adding one in front of the secret door to further conceal it. There will be a number of other parts and mold used when it comes to finishing this space, but that will come later. ;)

 

wiztower06.jpg

wiztower07.jpg

 

 

~v

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For filling the niches, I like Mirliton's torches and wall candles. Alternately, one of Itar's lanterns would work well too.

 

Added bonus, make one of the light sources in the alcove (if you go with that) moveable, so you have a trigger for your secret door.

 

Nice work, I'm eager to see more!

-Dave

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The molds that I have produce both lanterns and torches/sconces of various types and sizes, so I've got a fair number of options already, but I really like the laterns from Itar's KS. I might get some of those in the future regardless. ::):

 

I'm not sold on putting the light sources in the alcoves though; I'm inclined to use them for storage of some kind. But, it would be easy enough to add a rotating wall sconce near the secret door. I'll have to think about how I might want to implement that.

 

~v

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