Making Models


I have always wanted to create models of architectural items. Usually, this desire is around castles and medieval scenes. I’ve carved small castles out of plaster and even soap back in high school. Typically, my plans are on the grand scale and so I really don’t get started working on them.

This time, I not only started, but I actually finished a model. It is not a grand castle, but it is a 2’x4′ model (in two parts) that feature a small body of water, a couple of steep hills, and a set of standing stones. The purpose of the model is to support a D&D encounter for the group I am DM’ing on Wednesday nights. The group is playing inside the world I created for the novels (the rules of the campaign).

Hill with small pool of water

Prep and Construction

I build the model from foam insulation. I picked up two 2’x2′ sheets that are 1″ thick from the hardware store and a big 4’x8′ sheet that was 1.5″ thick. Using a hot knife, I cut out the raised area for the standing stones and the hill beside it. Only burned myself once, so that was good.

The second sheet, I used cardboard and more of the 1.5″ foam to create the pool and the larger hill. Hot glue put it all together. After I cut the foam, I used Mod Podge to glue down some batting so I could achieve a dirt-like surface.

Covering the foam in batting

The ground for this model is flat to make it easier for minis to stand level and not fall over. Therefore, the batting needed to be fairly thin and firm. A generous coating of brown latex paint (color: Sassafras Tea) gave me the undercoat color.

The ground paint

After that dried, I added on grass, gravel, foliage, rocks I created from plaster, the trees, and the standing stones, also created from plaster.

The smaller rocks were from a mold I had for dozens of years. The standing stones were just big pours of plaster I separated with some cardboard to make separating everything easier. The coloring was courtesy of Copic Markers and the airgun I have for the marks. (I got video of a lot of what I did, I just need to process into a big timelapse).

Larger model

I have some white push-pins, or map-pins, on order that should arrive tomorrow. Which means I will have these ready for Wednesday, just-in-time for the encounter to occur.