Saturday, December 20, 2008

Moria Goblins Rocky cave

I decided to have a go at making some terrain for the Mines of Moria scenarios.

I have long had a pile of white polystyrene packaging material piling up under my games table, which I always thought would be useful to make into "something".

Well I hit on the idea of using it for rocky structures for the mines of Moria. It would be useful for scenarios with the fellowship making their way through the mines, but also to reflect earlier battles there between the dwarfs and the dark forces. It will also be useful for any Mordor scenarios, which will use similar dark rocky terrain.

I used a polystyrene hot wire cutter, to cut up the pieces in shapes. I decided to keep them flat topped so models can be stood on top, and also to allow ramps, rocky bridges and scaffolds and other terrain to join a series of these together. Since LOTR SBG makes use of differing height levels of terrain, this makes this kind of terrain ideal for these scenarios.

The polystyrene was PVA glued to a 3mm thick MDF wood base. The whole thing was them painted with a 50/50 mix of PVA glue and black acrylic poster paint. The PVA seals the structure and stops the black paint being water soluble once dry. It would stop the white of the polystyrene showing through the subsequent bark layers.

I then collected a load of bark chunks from the gardens bark-chip mulched borders, and broke these into various shapes and thickness, and glued them with PVA glue to the sides of the structure. Once dry, I sealed the top flat edge to the bark edges with a decorative filler using a mastic-gun. Again once dry, I then mixed up some sand-textured paint (equal parts black paint, PVA glue and coarse beach sand), and brushed this to the top of the model and base edge.

The bark was then painted with the 50/50 mix of black paint and PVA glue. Again to seal the wood and undercoat it.

Once dry, the structure was dry brushed with dark gray, then subsequently lighter shades, until finished as desired.

And there we have it. I finished this one to completion first as a test to see how it would turn out. I have a load more to finish off now. The others are all bigger, with some have differing levels, ramps and cave mouths incorporated into their structures. Should look great once all done and connected together.

I do like the nice rocky effect the bark has produced. Far better than trying to sculpt the polystyrene and then just sand tincturing it.


  1. It looks more like a house, being a perfect square. I'm not sure rocks create such formations. You could maybe add some other little bits and pieces so it's more uneven.

  2. Yes you are quite right, this was a kinds test piece for a technique in using the bark to create a rock-like surface. I have made several other pieces to go with this one and they all go together quite well in he end.

  3. Beautiful work Scott. I have found that common wood filler works wonders on making square edges "natural." Simply squeeze out into random gooey shapes, let flow and fill into cracks and crevices, let dry, paint and seal. I'm sure you've covered that at some point, but might take the "square" look off the above surface. Just a thought. Fantastic blog, very inspiring. Keep up the great work.


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