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Dan S

Dan's Build Journal #2 - Ruined Keep (COMPLETE)

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Dan's Build Journal #2

Ruined Keep Edition

 

Finished Project Photos:

Spoiler

IMG_2475.thumb.JPG.7feaa04b6bb083ff9ae8a4e13fa8f858.JPGIMG_2477.thumb.JPG.baaac41c80e1dbeb1ae3fa38e30a1304.JPGIMG_2484.thumb.JPG.d81d3f3d8c42288815a35d66950c5cc3.JPGIMG_2507.thumb.JPG.b11c823a3c7d0c01f5b61fc53a990ee2.JPGIMG_2508.thumb.JPG.512f5011943029cb118823a58c6b436c.JPGIMG_2534.thumb.JPG.bd1c93c3e5dd28d8eb5b2c1dd02b31cb.JPGIMG_2563.thumb.JPG.5d35b7b52d0ef1897793e50af249db93.JPGIMG_2564.thumb.JPG.2c372f501f5ecc50a0fea263f1df5b22.JPGIMG_2566.thumb.JPG.71fd7eaf40a19eee83420e5fbd9d6eee.JPG

 

 

 

 My Other Build Journals:

 

For those who followed my Halfling/Hobbit home build journal (Link here), you will know that I recently set myself the goal of building a series of display pieces throughout the year, to serve as scenic backdrops when photographing my miniatures.  Maintaining a build journal is my way of holding myself to account (I have a bad habit of starting and not finishing things). I took a short break following my last build to catch up on some unpainted miniatures, but I am now ready to get cracking on my next large project, an ancient ruin.

 

Future planned projects include:

 

  • Sewers
  • Dungeon
  • Adventurers Camp
  • Industrial Complex
  • Spaceship
  • Graveyard
  • Urban
  • Trenches

 

With the Ancient Ruined Keep project looking to be the most complicated of bunch I have chosen to start that now, as I will be returning to work in a week or so and will no longer have a lot of free time, however after this project I have no set order planned, so if anyone has a preference as to what I should start next then I am happy to accommodate.

 

Stage 1 - Casting the stonework.

 

For this project I am going to be using 'Hirst Arts' blocks.  For those unfamiliar with Bruce Hirst he produces silicone molds that can be used to cast a wide range of highly detailed modular terrain blocks which can be glued together in endless configurations and designs.  The molds I will be using in this project are #704 and #708 (ignore the 3rd mould in the picture, I mixed up too much stone and so filled another none related mould to set aside for a future project as to not waste it).  In my last build journal I used Plaster of Paris to cast the small rockface, this time because of the size and potential weight of the build I opted for Dental Stone which is similar to Plaster but sets harder and is much more durable.

 

I suspect given the size of the project, it is going to take me at least a day or two to finish casting enough blocks, so here are a few screen shots of the blocks to give you an idea of what I will be working with (its basically glorified stone lego for diorama builders :lol:).

 

 

MOULDS.png

Castings.png

Edited by Dan S
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After a small set back, I am finally back on track with the ruins project, and with good timing too as I've just halted my Sewer Project whilst I wait on a delivery.

 

Initial prep work.

Truth be told these blocks confused me more than a little. Most of them look almost identical and are easily mixed up, which is not immediately apparent and can lead to complications later on in the build when pieces stop matching up.  There are approximately 300 individual blocks in this build and so to save myself a headache later I spent an hour sorting out and organising all the pieces.  With the pieces organised I also downloaded and printed off a floor plan which I will use when laying the foundations.  Next I had to pre-glue a large number of the blocks to form the various building elements, such as; arches, wall section, pillars, stairs etc.  At this stage I also took some time to break some of the floor tiles and carve in some cracks.

 

20200630_113850.thumb.jpg.73f9e55d4cd52698ac249792a30ef35b.jpg

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20200630_200129.thumb.jpg.8351e98ea2130f8cc9361e961a748f78.jpg

 

Laying the Foundation.

I started off by gluing the floorplan to a piece of foamboard and then started gluing the blocks directly onto the plan.  This didnt work as well as I had hoped, I do not know what went wrong but not all my pieces perfectly matched and lined up with the plan, and before long I had started to veer way off the guidelines, I decided to just wing it and hope for the best.  By now I had pretty much abandoned my grand ambitions of a massive ruin and was just following one of the Hirst Arts build templates, but despite having a guide progress was extremely slow, it has taken me all night to get the ground floor done.   

 

I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm pretty pleased with how it is shaping up so far.  I've just tested a flickering tealight in the middle of the ruin, and it looks really cool lit up in the dark, so I think I am going to attempt to build an LED campfire.  Anyway, that's all I have in me for tonight, I'll try and get the second floor finished tomorrow.

 

20200630_230202.thumb.jpg.3121e504d9de9eaf6e317a83be8a9331.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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Finishing the upper level.

 

Fortunately I didn't have a great deal more to do on the upper floor.  I added some inverted arches and ruined pillars to the walls of the 2nd floor of the tower, and then I trimmed down the tiles of the 2nd floor walkway (The paving stone section with the 2 support pillars) into a semi circle so that it would fit flush with the tower.  Finally I added some greeble (little candle boxes to some of the walls, small rocks to the bare surface tops of the ruins etc)  With that done I tested all the pieces fit together properly (But didnt glue them yet, as it would make painting the interior harder).

 

20200701_101733.thumb.jpg.693ef2fc8278bbef226f670aca33c3b6.jpg

 

Gap filling.

The only downside I've found to using these molds/blocks is that they can leave some pretty unsightly seam lines and gaps where the individual blocks fit together.  To fix this I rubbed dry Plaster of Paris into all the gaps and seams, then using a soft haired makeup brush I dust off any excess that has filled in the detail work.  To make the seal permanent I use a spritzing bottle to mist the whole model in water which will soak into the plaster and set solid, it will also help reinforce and strengthen the model against knocks and bumps.  I'm now going to give the plaster a day to fully dry before I undercoat and start painting the model.

 

spackle.thumb.jpg.e4178889e294d6dfb55d69e414d9e99b.jpg

 

Apologies for the blurred after pic, I didn't realise until now.

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1 hour ago, Glitterwolf said:

I love your terrain projects!

 

 

Thank you, I enjoy sharing them.

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8 hours ago, Dan S said:

Gap filling.

The only downside I've found to using these molds/blocks is that they can leave some pretty unsightly seam lines and gaps where the individual blocks fit together.  To fix this I rubbed dry Plaster of Paris into all the gaps and seams, then using a soft haired makeup brush I dust off any excess that has filled in the detail work.  To make the seal permanent I use a spritzing bottle to mist the whole model in water which will soak into the plaster and set solid, it will also help reinforce and strengthen the model against knocks and bumps.  I'm now going to give the plaster a day to fully dry before I undercoat and start painting the model.

Good solution to the hurst gap issue.  I always used joint compound.  Applied with a putty knife then used a damp sponge and wiped the excess off the surface.  It makes all of the joints the same depth and is very quick and easy.  

 

For plaster, are you using actual Plaster of Paris or some other stronger gypsum?

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47 minutes ago, snitchythedog said:

Good solution to the hurst gap issue.  I always used joint compound.  Applied with a putty knife then used a damp sponge and wiped the excess off the surface.  It makes all of the joints the same depth and is very quick and easy.  

 

For plaster, are you using actual Plaster of Paris or some other stronger gypsum?

 

For the blocks themselves I used Dental Stone, for the gap filler it was just Plaster of Paris as I was just trying to improvise with the materials I had to hand at that moment.  It seems to have done the job well enough but boy was it messy, I'll maybe give your method a go next time.

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6 hours ago, Dan S said:

 

For the blocks themselves I used Dental Stone, for the gap filler it was just Plaster of Paris as I was just trying to improvise with the materials I had to hand at that moment.  It seems to have done the job well enough but boy was it messy, I'll maybe give your method a go next time.

If you do, make sure the blocks have been set for a day or so so the glue is set.  Also do not use too much water as it can cause the glue in the wall to become tacky again and the piece will come apart.  Good luck

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Initial Paintwork - Under Painting

 

The typical approach for these sort of stone buildings is to paint the whole thing black and then go over with several drybrushes starting with a dark grey, and gradually lightening the colour, before finishing off with a dark wash.  Whilst there is nothing wrong with this approach (it can look fantastic) I wanted to attempt a more natural look.  Stone is not typically just grey, if you look closely at old stonework you will commonly see hues of browns, yellows, oranges, blues and greens, and in older masonry the stone rarely all comes from the same source, so it is not uncommon to see stark variation from brick to brick.

 

0bde44f0e876fc7c4d7dec6fdfe8787d.jpg.7be7c37e0bff75b78d63f41c7da4db85.jpg

 

To try and achieve this look, I am going to use a technique called under-painting, whereby I lay down a paintjob that I eventually intend to paint over (in my case with washes and drybrushing).  The idea is to get some of the under-painting to show through, giving some subtle natural colour variation in the final stonework.  I started off by priming the whole keep white, as I really want a light base for this technique and left it to dry for a day.  Once the undercoat was dry, I used a piece of sea sponge (You can get this stuff from most local art stores) to stipple on some grey artists acrylic paint, trying to leave random patches of white showing through (this will help to give some gradients and natural transitions in the colours of the stonework later on). 

 

20200703_113535.thumb.jpg.6b85ff4557ec03b32dc60a3e7e771a21.jpg

 

Next up I started to paint some of the individual bricks,  the trick here is to be as random and sporadic as possible because if you start painting bricks in a noticeable pattern the end result wont look natural.  I used a variety of natural tones, including several shades of grey, brown and yellow (Its not to noticeable in the photo but there are 6 brick colours, 3 greys, 2 browns and a yellow).

 

20200703_143305.thumb.jpg.da90b79371873e9aedd68bf79de44bb9.jpg

 

With a selection of individual bricks painted I went back to the sea sponge, this time wiping almost all the paint off (almost like a drybrush) and used it to both stipple on and then blend in some brown tones, almost tinting the whole model to a more browny colour.  To finish off I did the same thing with some greens, but a little more selectively to give the impression of a mossy build up.  With that done, the model is now pretty much under-painted.

 

The walls don't look particularly great just yet, but they should (I hope... :unsure:) start to look a lot more natural and realistic once I start over painting the model.  However I need to let everything fully dry before I move on to that.

 

20200703_165918.thumb.jpg.4d72da3cbd9f44f80b6da973cbcb8a28.jpg20200703_154420.thumb.jpg.88034f66bab864afd56ca4cdcc582b92.jpg

 

Edited by Dan S
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Looks great!  I don't recognize those molds so they must be newer (like within the last 15 years.....).

Mine molds are here somewhere....but I haven't used them in ages...

 

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19 minutes ago, Jasper_the_2nd said:

Looks great!  I don't recognize those molds so they must be newer (like within the last 15 years.....).

Mine molds are here somewhere....but I haven't used them in ages...

 

 

They are the '4" Ruined Fieldstone' and '8" Ruined Fieldstone' molds (they also do a 3" and 6" which I dont own, but I believe they can all be used together), I do not know how old they are, I only acquired them recently (however being #704 & 708 you are probably right about them being newer). 

 

tower.thumb.png.73320606cd430efcad357c7bcb57c52d.png

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