Sunday, 22 December 2013

SuperHero Crawler?

OK so this was something I had been toying around with about a year ago. But I decided to start some work back on it. 
Now the one thing i am unsure of here is...would anyone else ever want to play it?
Well what is it? You ask!

its definately not this, however i do wanna play it! hehe

So in my household, Superheroes, comic books, movies, you can’t get away from them. My eldest daughter is unashamedly a massive comic book fan. As is my wife, who has a ridiculous collection of wolverine comics.
This being said playing things like heroquest and such goes down well. Because it’s clear as day that myself and my family all like that sort of thing. but one day my daughter asked if there was a superhero game like heroquest, where you could be your favourite superheroes, trawling through the evil villains lair, taking out the henchmen and thugs, solving puzzles and dodging laser beams and other contraption laid out.....and i searched and searched....and there is nothing i could find. 
i have a huge box of over 1000 heroclix inside. but that's a tactical skirmish game. its fun (at least it used to be) but has no rpg element to it or sense of attachment to your heroes. You build a points team and go beat someone up...that’s it. Further searching led me to many pen and paper styled superhero games. But alas.....there is no crawler. Nothing anywhere that bridges the gap of rpg, dice rolling, adventuring and fighting tactically.
So what do you do? go about making your own right? Now this is only a very minor project of mine. But it seems to be gathering momentum of late.
so the plan do i make something that’s fun and works in a crawler style that also has to encapsulate super powers over some barbarian dude going out and buying a bigger axe for his next mission?
so the plan was. Get all the best ideas i like from various crawlers and try to tie them in and adapt to fit into a super powered game.

so a game that has the best of this
and maybe some of this
as well as all the other ideas i can/have come up with

well it’s still very early. But as i said i seem to be gathering some sort of speed with it. First i had to tackle the challenges.

  • Powers - how to encapsulate nearly every power in a simple way that doesnt overpower characters.
  • Stats - a simple stats base that does limit as well as provide balance.
  • Balance that works on a level that is still a challenge but not a case of superman flying in, using his x-ray vision and smashing his way through every wall to get to the end.
  • Money? Heroes and money don’t really have much of a connection unless you are writing for dc comics whereas you just make everyone millionaires anyway!
  • Loot - what use does a hero have in finding a rare gem? He would just hand it in to the local museum anyway right? My approach will garner more one shot items or events that can buff a hero temporarily or give them options within events that will either giver rewards or negatives.
  • How would it play on a board? well I’ve already gone with modular board pieces and intend on these being double sided too to encapsulate indoor and outdoor places
  • Quests - right away i thought however this plays. It needs to play out like reading a comic book. each quest being like an issue of your fave comic book. Enabling either singular random missions like foiling a bank heist to much longer campaigns involved around spoiling an evil villains dastardly plan for world domination. Of which i intend to give multiple choices for quests to give extra re playability.
  • Character generation - a simple way to generate a base character that you can follow and evolve through his hero career. starting with his origins for character creation and immersion. to simply being able to accurately (within reason) create your favourite heroes.
  • Searching? - well i approached this in a different way. Firstly it’s investigating (batman searching for a clue) so it could involve traps. Secret doors (maybe), loot. And clues. (hmmm this looks like slime i wonder what this could be) next clue found reveals where slime comes from and so on...just a little more to immerse the player. and possibly enhance upon campaign based missions.
  • an immersive way for the villain to be both a competitor as well as a GM. after all its the villains job to not let the heroes spoil their plans. in some classic cases villains do path the way for heroes (batman is suspended from a cable over a vat of acid by the joker...instead of just shooting him...he gives him a chance every single time by setting a slow timer that slowly lowers him down. Eventually he's nabbed something out of his bat belt and figured a way to escape. al ‘a being shown where to go by the jokers escape! hehe.

So that’s some of the challenges. of which I’ve counteracted with various different approaches.

  • Powers. Various types of powers that are generalised to represent a power type. all of which are limited to a maximum amount. and also can be counter balanced with a 'flaw' system that enables deeper immersion into the character. e.g.- hulks rage is a flaw. as is his appearance and so on. And all counter balance against the fact that he is the strongest one there is. Many of the character loaded and best comic book characters are riddled with problems and flaws. Of which seem to be panning out in a good way on both a rpg level and dice rolling game board level.
  • Stats and balance. Through the powers and the stats you will still have some characters that are a high level. but this is only attainable through a lot of adventures. stats upgrades, new powers and flaws can all be bought at incremental levels meaning each upgrade means the next upgrade will cost more (think how Spiderman has evolved from being a little kid who can climb a wall. to someone who ended up in a iron man suit!) and so on. Hopefully this will pan out...of which a lot of stats testing and gameplay is needed to figure out the best way to refine.
  • How will it play? - I’ve gone with a simple 2 action system. Very much like heroquest. This is still being refined due to the tie-ins with powers and such. But quite simply it will be 1 action move. 1 action attack. 2 actions activate power (unless power is always active) 1 action to open a door. 1 action to investigate(however this may move up to 2 actions based on how testing goes)
  • Loot and searching. loot and searching will provide either one turn buffs up to something that lasts an entire quest. Money is replaced with hero points (wip) that represents the heroes. Public standing and can be spent for further buffs or saved for character enhancement. These hero points can diminish or grow based on various events in mission or between mission through defeating foes or solving puzzles. But then can also go down based on expenditure. Being defeated or turning away from saving a civilian.
  • the board - yup ive decided modular is the way to go. just havent decided how a mission will be generated yet. tables like AHQ or a cards system like WHQ. or simply provide more ways to pre-generate a mission. Either way I’d like to be able to make something that is easy and fun to both play with and create.
  • Character generation - I’ve been toying with a lot of things here with this. Having a base stat and hero point level to then build and create your own unique hero. Hopefully this can also be used to create your favourite heroes. the origins builds up where you choose what type of hero you have be it mutant, human, alien or robot. And upon building stats and powers can represent various skills, gadgets and super powers your hero may have.
  • Villain player - the whole point of this is i want the villain player to be going "mwuhahahaha you will never defeat me!" at the end of every turn. Allowing him to throw traps and devious plans your way constantly to keep it all a challenge. i also want to be able to give the villain a way to WIN. So a simple bank heist could lead to other various plots. 1. Hero stops the villain and saves all the stolen bags of money. Only to find out it was a decoy to lure the heroes whilst the bigger plan unfolds elsewhere. 2. The villains escape with 'some' of the money. Thus setting up a further alteration later on in the campaign. 3. All the villains escape with the money thus giving the villain a boost/buff/head start on next mission. These are all things I’m toying with to make this as immersive as possible rather than someone that just lays out the board. i want them to have an objective no matter how simple or elaborate it may be.
on top of this i have a whole load of more ideas kicking around.
  • Travel system for campaigns to immerse more between missions.
  • well-designed city for any future ideas to be built upon.
  • Hero base - something for campaigns where more hero points can be spent to give permanent buffs. Store vehicles and so on...still a WIP here.
  • Sidekicks.
  • police help (henchmen)
  • further scenarios
  • events
  • arch enemies

So that’s some of the challenges. of which I’ve counteracted with various different approaches.
on top of this i have a whole load of more ideas kicking around.
i suppose it’s a treasure trove to investigate once you start looking into the immersion of all comic books and try to encapsulate them into the perfect board game hehe. However possible i do not know. But I’m going to try and make something that is worthwhile and fun. and hopefully easy to play too hehe.

So is this a sales pitch??? Hell no. i just thought i would share my ideas. And see if anyone is at all interested in this sort of approach to a dungeon crawler. i haven’t seen any mention of anything of this type anywhere. Now either I’ve come up with something nobody else has thought about. Or nobody gives a shit and thinks it’s a crappy idea. Either way. I’d love to know your thoughts and see if anyone is actually interested at all.

i just want to try my hand at making a fun game. and wherever it goes after that...i dunno. kick starter maybe? Hey it can’t be anywhere near as bad as the heroquest 25th anniversary debacle now can it? hehehe.

anyway let me know what you guys. think. good idea or villainous idea? anything at this point would be much welcome :)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Elf

so ive been sculpting as and when i can. but time isnt as permitting at the moment. for anyone that works and has a family. you'll know exactly what im talking about. crazy isnt the word this year!
but ive been doing bits and bobs on this guy over the last few weeks.
my 3rd sculpt to date now. and i feel im making steady progress. personally i feel i got a little lucky with the dwarf as my first sculpt. and the other 2 after that have just taken me a much longer time to do.
regardless i now have the dwarf the wizard and the elf freshly sculpted. as well as my barbarian conversion. im now on the homestraight. to getting my brand new personalized heroes.
anyways here he is!

anyways id just like to point out that my sculpts will soon be available to purchase. due to a very kind store owner wanting to house my sculpts. this will be sometime in the new year. but i will make sure you all get a heads up when this happens.

hope you like!
peace :)

Monday, 2 December 2013

paper folding double doors for AHQ

whilst the main flaw in AHQ was double doors. i made an open and closed paper fold ups a few months back and have been sitting on my pc rotting away, so you guys can have them for free!! yay...tis the season and all that jazz!

heres a diagram if you happen to be a complete spaz and not know how to fold paper! :)

just click on this image and save as, then print. all should be at the correct size to cover 30mm squares i believe
enjoy dungeon crawlies! :)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Rat Ogres

something a little different now. whilst a lot of my stuff is mainly heroquest. i do tend to play a lot of advanced heroquest too. and another part of my own special heroquest is to basically have everything for both games..including fleshing out the bestiary for advanced heroquest. whilst most of the figures from heroquest can crossover to advanced heroquest. there as still some that i will be adding over time. so here is my first advanced heroquest only additions.
these are from one of the warhammer boxed sets i believe. cant remember which. however i do know i managed to pick up every single skanved from that box for 20 quid. of which the rates GW charges these days, these figures would cost 20 quid on their own.
these are so much better than the singular rat ogres they sell. brutish. warped, completely out of proportion. i love em!
this one is my favourite. got a hulking menace about him.
this one has more of a mutant chronicles sort of look about him. the grafted on weaponry and such. frankenrat!!

and finally to have an action shot :)

Monday, 11 November 2013

Nostalgia trip

now this post isnt about greenstuff lumped together or paint slapped onto a figure or even me slating those damn awful descent mini's (oops there i go again)
This is something a little more closer to my heart. bygone days and a trip down memory lane. on some of my memories as a rowdy kid and how i started playing heroquest way way back! 1989 right? holy shit! only seems like yesterday that I saw this advert.
i  think at the time i was like 10 or 11. but this game has pretty much been played to death by me, friends, family and now share with my own children. but i remember seeing that advert so well. i was like "oh wow awesome!!" begging my mom in a a whiny little brat way "please please please... i need it i need it!" haha.
anyway i was a good boy and i got it eventually. opening the box was like..whooooohoooo so much goodness inside. this got played and played over and over. over the next few years it evolved a little as i grew more into the hobby.
firstly we had a den that this got played in. My best friend lived like 50 yards away. had a huge garden. so we built our own shed down the bottom of his garden.wooden panels, old doors, tin roof, fitted with carpets and a small sofa and some milk crates for chairs and table. it was comfortable enough to live in. and that we did in all of our spare time we would huddle around the board. light a few candles and play what felt like everyday. we had added new heroes. some got painted rather awfully with enamel paints. and as the other expansions unfolded. they too got played over and over and over. this probably went on for about 3 or 4 years.
i remember running an extension cable from his house down to our den just so we could play street fighter 2 for what felt like the entire summer holiday. but still we always found time for a bit of heroquest. and i guess everyone that has played heroquest has similar fond memories like this. but overtime. we get older. we accidentally burnt our den down when we were teenagers during an experiment with a full aerosol can and a open fire lol. and shortly after my best friend moved away. heroquest never got played the same again. and was pretty much lost somewhere in my house for years as i spent most of my time being a teenager, getting drunk on cheap cider and seeing what sorts of mischief we could get upto, then hitting my early adulthood was spent doing pretty much the same. partying, getting drunk blah blah. when i met my wife we settled down a little and after a rainy day i remember finding heroquest. to which i said...'wanna play this? its not been touched for years'... this was like a jumanji moment. like finding an old chest. the hero sheets still having the same writing on from me and my buddies from years before the same shitty fimir covered in enamel paints. we would play the game together quite often. and then my eldest daughter came along. who even now loves playing games with me. heroquest hasn't hit the table for a while due to me undertaking my whole custom project. but has been a backbone of my life, leading into my family life. and i just hope my newest baby will love being entertained by goblins and scythe weilding farmer skeletons as much as my friends long gone. my family and me :)

thanks for reading

Sunday, 10 November 2013


So now the barbarian has a little stubborn friend! after trying my hand at sculpting a full figure for the first time. ive also finally painted him up.
whilst there is many thing i would probably of done different. im still happy how he came out for my first attempt. and in turn i feel immensely proud that i have finally achieved a milestone that ive wanted to hit for so so long. and thats make my own character from scratch.
so no there are 2. 2 more to go :)

now whilst i have him finished. he was also sent off for casting. and sent over to 25 first come first serve forum members over at the ye olde inn.
so i cant wait to see everyone else paint theirs up. and i do also believe he will be on sale fairly soon also. but more will come on that when i know more myself.

hope you enjoy :)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

a bit more from the sculpting lab. - a wizard

so ive been delving more dirtily into sculpting. trying my hand here and there at more and more. all of a sudden im developing a somewhat gruesome looking table with lots of heads on spikes turning up each time i get some left over putty. still learning what i can too!

and in the meantime i have sculpted what i can now claim to be my second scalp :)
the heroquest wizard always annoyed me. so he was definately on my list to find a replacement. and because i couldnt find one. the decision was made some months ago that when i could sculpt well enough. that i was going to sculpt him.
for me the wizard just never looked heroic enough. i understand they were probably going for that naive apprentice look. but to be he ended up looking more like this guy
not very heroic, but he might be able to help you dress better whilst dungeon crawling.
so yup i made an attempt at sculpting a new wizard. and here is what i came out with.
ok now i know this is my second ever sculpt. and i know i still have a lot to learn to get to where i want to be.
anatomy is still a little off. and im struggling with eyes also (this seems to be a little bit of holy grail info that nobody wants to share) but im making advancements. i was able to apply what i had learnt from my first sculpt to create much tidier finished article here. ok he did turn out looking a little like Ric Flair. but at least now he looks a little more on the heroic side whilst still keeping that apprentice sort of look.

anyways hope you enjoy him as much as i enjoyed sculpting him :)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

In The Spotlight - wargames bakery

every now and then i find the odd thing whilst scouring through blogs and various websites. here is something i found and right away just thought "genius idea!!"
now some people really go to town when basing their figs. me however im very much a fan of generic bases. maybe im just lazy, but i have a problem seeing items on bases and grasping the fact that 'that boulder is following him around'
so the long and short of it i like generic, but ill hold me hands up and be honest im also lazy on this front. quite simply i cant be arsed!
however someone has come up with a way to help those like myself to be able to create bases with ease!
web link

BASING PADS?? what the hell are they?
well basically it appears to be a 6 inch round base detailed as such based on various designs needed...stick some green stuff on your base press it into the basing pad antidy the edge. and you have neatly detailed bases.

Whist i appear to of missed out on their kickstarter. hopefully these will be available to purchase soon enough.

they have many many more too. i just chose a few that i liked. check them out. and when they are available...go buy 1..or 2 or 3 :)


In The Spotlight - avatars of war - Corrupters of the apocalypse

ok avatars of war...spotlights on what i think would be an excellent substitute if you want to really add some variation to your heroquest chaos warriors
web link

the sprue seems pretty nifty too, offering up plenty of variations. mainly looking like these are geared towards nurgle warriors but im sure a little imagination could flip things right over to create many different types.
price wise they seem like a really good option getting 24 minis in the pack, however we all know youll never need that many for heroquest. but at least youll have some cool new chaos warriors....and what you dont use. you can send me :)


Tuesday, 8 October 2013

my first try at sculpting a full miniature!

so i've kinda been training myself up of recent. little bits and bobs here and there. all the heroquest furniture, researching, watching and reading every tutorial i possibly could. because quite simply i want to learn to sculpt my own figures. for about a year now i have been trialling techniques and such. back and forth.
and in the last week i decided to finally bite the bullet and got for my first full sculpt.
now as i'm doing my best to create my own ultimate heroquest edition. it made sense i did the heroes too.

so please take a look at my first ever try. of course i'm happy with it or else i would'nt of posted it (but then i do like to post my failings too so other can learn like i have)
theres still a little tidying up to do. and the axe hand is only pinned and not fixed yet.

but ive tried lots of teqniques and i would say for my first 'animate' 'organic' whatever you want to call it pretty chuffed! :)

of course its my take on the heroquest dwarf. and i cant wait to paint it! yay!

In the spotlight! - Mierce miniatures

now from time to time I drift away onto other projects, get lost in the world of working too hard and balancing family life. and in those times I don't get chance to post much let alone be creating too much either. So in those times of limbo i've decided to do the odd post to show anything super cool i've found. so for my first spotlight post. ive decided to focus on Mierce miniatures. im a big fan of independent sculpt houses. the like of hasslefree miniatures as well as a cult fave of mine in heresy miniatures. I also love to support those too because quite frankly they create some great mini's. if you've never heard of Mierce miniatures, then they are a UK based company who specialise in fantasy ranges of figures.

check them out HERE

now what caught my eyes was this recent kickstarter of theirs

Gamla Bror, Vókkinak, Vaak!

of which one of the most amazing looking dragons i have ever seen really stole my attention.
unfortunately i'd missed the kickstarter date!! boooo!!

but check out a few of these.

some great stuff right? and great stuff comes at a price. now as much as i love these. and that dragon for me is a must have. they arent the cheapest. some of the standard human sized figures come in at arouns £9 to £11 which is about the same price range as games workshops single figures.
so if your happy paying that. then go support and stock up on some dungeon denizens! :)
but you cant deny these are of great quality.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Heroquest Fireplace

So after my previous step by step, this has been sitting around for a few days mainly due to a certain city called Los Santos. Anyway I had a few spare hours and thought that I would finally get this finished up.

ill note this is the first time ive ever attempted freehand. what you think?

well its taken a few weeks to complete. but its done now. and i must say I'm very happy with how this one turned out. I'm not comfortable with freehand. but for my first attempt I don't think it turned out bad at all.
I had a lot of tasks to tackle to create this model that I had never attempted before. so for coming out the other side of those tasks with a model I'm happy with only adds even more so to how happy I am with this one.
only got 2 left to go now to complete the full set but i think the toughest is now completed.
hope you enjoy because I'm off to get in lost Los Santos....I may be gone a few weeks. :)

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Heroquest Fireplace step by step

OK summer is on the way out, so its time to start dusting off those winter coats ready because Winter is coming! and even those in the dungeons need to keep warm. so to tie in to all of this I've been asked by numerous people to do a tutorial. this however i wont claim this to be a tutorial, but more a step by step guide on how i went about creating my replica fireplace for heroquest.

so heres the original
and this i basically am about to attempt to create a direct more 3d copy of this.

i hope to highlight specific tips and tricks ive picked up along the way. but generally this entire step by step is a voyage of discovery. ive planned nothing. ive not measured a single thing. i am simply going to be using the base from heroquest for the fireplace and building ontop of it. youll see my mistakes and successes singled out. because i feel im always learning. and wish to show this in my approach. trying out new and old methods alike. and not hiding any single of my balls ups i make whenever i create something. one thing for sure though. i always cut my thumbs whenever i use a not clumsy. just dangerous! so because thats a guarantee to happen. i wont be adding any war wounds into this step by step

so here's what i started with and what i intend to use.
  1. heroquest plastic base for fireplace
  2. greenstuff
  3. milliput (fine white)
  4. plasticard (i currently only have 1.5mm thickness plasticard but would recommend 1mm thick for most jobs of this kind)
  5. scalpel (or most commonly known as Thumb bane!)
  6. superglue.
  7. sculpting tools (i use silicone and metal ones)
  8. paints
To add to this I wont be including any painting tutorial within this step by step, as painting is an art of its own I will merely just show the steps in which I created the fireplace. resulting in a finished article. so no painting will be covered here

So here we go!

step 1 - preparing the base.

of course first. if you plan on following this step by step to the tee. then you need one of these!
now mine had been painted rather shoddily previously. but ignore that for now..because that's merely our foundation. painted or not. this is what I'm going to be building on top of.
so firstly using my trusty scalpel. I carve out the little wedges within the ridge of the base (where the card used to insert) I've done this to ensure that the plasticard I'm using slots in there nicely and gives me a little freedom before I glue anything down.

Step 2 - basic shape
next ill be using plasticard to form the basic shape to the walls.
so using my scalpel and steel ruler. i finally measure roughly my inserts and cut them from the plasticard.
inserting these into my base we start to get a rough idea of how its going to look.
at this point the angles fitting together are a little tight. so i remove them and angling my scalpel i carve away the angled edges slightly to enable them to slot together nicely.
where the angled inserts meet together you should be able to just see where i've carved the corners away. this isn't perfect. but this doesn't matter for now as we will be covering this up later on.
also whilst ive got my inserts flat on the board. i roughly measure my final cuts to give this its last base shape.
this isn't perfect. but that doesn't matter much for now. as we can shape and carve until we are happy. for me. i was happy with this! (im easily pleased)
so going back to the base.
i slide those inserts back in!
its starting to take a better shape now. roughly mimicking the original. those inserts fit together a little better and we have the height and shape all done ready.
so next up. glue those babies together.
here i've glued those inserts together and i've also glued them to the base. this is the point of no return if you dont want to damage your beautiful original heroquest parts...for me...i dont care. the way i see it is that i'm making them BETTER!  and using what i have at my disposal to do that.

Step 3 - the fireplace

Ok this part for me i struggled with. i should really of measured things first. i didnt. so as a result this whole step is a little bodged together, very much lick my fireplace was. but ill try and give enough info. so that if you do decide to follow this step by step. you will at least see the trouble i hit. and how i got around it.
First up to create the hearth i cut 2 pieces of plasticard.
these were at a measure of 10mm X 38mm.
i also cut a piece that was 35mm x 7 mm.

these 3 pieces are to form the top part of the hearth. but before i can do anything i need to carve away the corners so that this fits into the wedged angles of the basic shape.
this is where measuring before hand would of come in handy. but..i forgot so i have to go down the bodge route. after carving away at one ne of the 10mm x 38mm pieces until it fit. i then used this as a template to make the cut on the second piece. once this was done i glued the top part into place then carefully also glued in the front of the top heath and the bottom too it.

this picture should clear up any confusion. im sure that my above description can be followed to the point of reaching what ive achieved so far.

this is why careful planning always comes up trumps. something i didnt do this time around. and something ill probably forget to do many times in future. :)
but hopefully the 2 above pictures help give enough illustration to the look we are going for,

with that out of the way its time to get the supports in place. looking at the original we will be using a smiliar method to create the vertical supports as we did with the top.
each consisting of 3 parts. the only problem here is that the base now starts to get in the way. so some careful carving should suffice here.
looking at the picture below you can see ive pretty much had to hack away at a lot of those supports in order to get them to fit into place in a half decent uniformed fashion.
dont worry about any gaps for now. you can see by the above that my supports dont even touch the bottom of the base. i could of carved those logs out of the way. but i felt hacking my supports (softer plastic) was the best option here. and i could always fill any gaps later on.

proceeding with the same method for the right hand support. this time having to carve away much more to make it fit.
at the moment it looks a little rickety. and mishap-en. fear not. we have the general basis all in place. and tidying certain flaws up will come along later. you could always do it at this point by applying a file to soften any miss shaped angles out.

Step 4 - filling those gaps

from this point on you may or may not have gaps to fill. for me. i havent fitted everything together greatly. so i need to fill some gaps up. for this ive diceded to use some greenstuff due to the small gaps etc. and the tidyness required. to not completely ruin what ive done so far. pushing greenstuff into those gaps seems like the best option for me.
 so mix up some greenstuff. get whatever sculpting tool you prefer and push that greenstuff into those gaps and smooth it over.
so you can see from above that ive now filled in all those shitty gaps id left from not measuring up. as well some of the more productive filling has been applied to the bases of those supports in order to complete them. so we have the basic shape all laid out. we have our wall. we have our fireplace. but for me it still kinda needs something more at this point. it still looks like a cardboard cutout. so ive decided im going to fill all of the backing of the wall. thicken it out to give a more solid appearance.

to do this i decided to use milliput fine white.
how i did this? i decided to first cut a rough backing out of plasticard that would cover the entire area of the fireplace. i then mixed up a huge ball of milliput.
firstly using a sculpting tool i pushed and filled the angles of the wall to ensure that when i filled the back i would know that the milliput had gotten everywhere. then with the remainder of the milliput o spread this over the backing and simply pressed my fireplace into it.
not milliput is mucky stuff. gets everywhere. its kind of like regular plaster. but with an oily basis to it. so you can imagine the mess it can make. other seem to have great success with it. but this isnt really a great amterial for me. it works for what im doing here. but doubt id use it for much anything else. plus it takes 24 hours to fully dry. and im impatient :)

anyways from the below picture you can see that from pressing down into my base, and then allowing it to dry a little before carving the basis shape of the brick work away from all the splurged out milliput.
what i had left over i decided to fill the base to add a little bit of bottom weight so that this wasnt top heavy.

when fully dry. i cut my backing carefully away and tidied up a little. leaving what you see below
note that milliput gets EVERYWHERE. see it all over the base?
its messy stuff. so be careful. carving it and sanding it leaves crap everywhere. so do this somewhere that you can easily clean up.

Step 5 - Brick work

first up. i did intend on using milliput to create the brick work. but because of the mess and awkwardness when i was filling out the blockwork. i decided from this point on i wanted to take a much cleaner and precise approach to things. i'd already screwed up a few things and now i have the basis there. now is the time to start doing things right and applying a few things i know work.

OK with one exception....
I've seen various people make use of old rocks and slate to press into putty to create a naturally rocky texture. now I've never tried this before. so now seems like a perfect opportunity to put it to the test....what do I have to lose? if it looks crap I just scrape it all off and try again right? or take the sensible approach and sample it first on something else??? screw that! money or nothing for me! its going right on the fireplace walls. if I get it wrong. then that's my better make sure I get it right first time!
I've always been a do or die sort of person. if I fail..ill fail bad. but sure as hell won't fail again!
but I don't plan to fail. so I go and find some nicely textured rocks from the garden.

applying greenstuff to the model.
to do this ill use a mixture of my thumb and a silicone tipped sculpting tool. the plan here is the spread a 1mm thick layer all over the model where I plan on having my brick work. this will also tidy up a lot of the mess left behind from cutting and that damned milliput.

so i decided i would do this in sections. because I've never done this whole 'brick' texturing thing and im not massively confident in my sculpting skills. in doing it this way i can ensure i at least get some of it right.
as you can see below i first applied green stuff to each side. smoothing it over with my thumb until it splurged over the sides. then using a sculpting tool  to lightly press it flat until i had a fairly smooth surface. then with my scalpel and a little Vaseline i carefully carved the excess greenstuff from the edges.
i then got my little bricks (i chose slate for this as i wanted a smooth rippled realistic effect over a rocky look)
once i was happy enough withthe texture created and using the back of my scalpel i pressed the brick work into the greenstuff and allowed it to dry for about 20 minutes. then using my scalpel again i carved at those edges once more just to tidy up any additional splurging from pressing the slate in and shaping the brick work.

So after washing my bricks i then proceeded in applying the exact same method selectively to areas adding in the rest of the brick work.

so theres the brick work completed. its not perfect, but its not turned out too bad either. time to put it to dry.

Step 6 - Detail on Hearth
So next up im drawing to the parts i have been dreading the most. i may fail quite badly here. but ill make sure that I include where i fail. so that others can learn from my mistakes.
the one thing im dreading here is those faces on the supports. for anyone that read my recent post on the Witchlord will see how i pretty much sculpted the entire model. but totally ducked out of doing the head....why? because i simply don't think i have that level of skill yet. but there will be no ducking here.
ill have to sculpt them.
also, all the time ive been worrying about those faces i totally missed out on the fact that there is some pretty intricate details on the top part of the fireplace. at this point im thinking "oh shit" heres where i completly bottle it and go with an alternative...but im adamant on this...its a replica..a copy. so ill do my best to mimic the exact here we go..........

as i do with everything...ill leave the hardest parts until last :)

im going to apologise now that due to the nature of the details and me trialling a lot of things out. i forgot to take pictures of each step. so i will do my best to explain.

firstly ill start with the shield emblem and those small arches at the base of the supports.
the shield was simple. smooth down some greenstuff using a silicone sculpting tool. when its half way cured i then carve the edges into the overall shield shape. this gives a semi-hard edged look.

the arches you see above were created in 2 parts firstly i sculpted the out arch part. shaping this as much as possible to the arch. i didn't concentrate of sculpting any hard edges. all i concentrated on here was getting the arch as accurate as possible on both sides to look symmetrical. once i had done this i allowed to cure for about an hour then i carefully carved the front facing edge. this gave a sharper more stone like quality to my otherwise round edged arches.
as im a relative beginner i feel in terms of sculpting. id like to think im picking up as many tricks as possible as well as using my own found techniques. of which a sharp scalpel on semi-cured components can come in very handy. as it did here!

now at this point i skipped a few steps again. so i apologise. and will do my best to explain each step of how i reached this point below.
as you can see its jumped on quite a bit here...mainly because a lot of trial and error took place.
im not a great sculptor so i need to work with what ive got.

so here goes from bottom to top

  • studs on arches - one thing that's bugged me for a long long time was 'how the hell to they sculpt those tiny little studs and not sure i have the answer. but i have recently discovered a way of doing so that makes it a much easier task within this little tutorial that shows how easy it actually is. Now i haven't perfected it yet. and getting studs and such aligned proves to be a little tougher than you would think, but a little practice goes a long way. my tool i created from this has 2 different sized stamps that i drilled in each end measuring 1mm and 0.6mm so i have a little bit of choice in stud size.
  • Scales - another task ive never tried out before. but a little bit of searching led me to various tutorials. some seemed extremely long winded for the end results. finally i settled on this TUTORIAL. Simple and effective right? my scale came out looking a little more organic than i had hoped. but my own fault for not practising first attempt went right on the fireplace and took all of about 1 minute to complete.  so for a first attempt im happy enough.
  • Heads - ok this one i left till last on the supports for obvious reasons....i cant sculpt faces...yet! so i had to try. firstly you will notice that the 2 heads are clearly made of different materials. reason for this is i sculpted the head on the left first. this took 2 stages to do..first i shaped the face. making indents for the eyes and shaping the facial structure. as well as shaping the mouth. i then allowed this to dry before adding the nose and eyes. it wasn't bad..a little hit and miss. but i had to replicate i wasn't comfortable making that face in the first place so the chances of sculpting another exactly identical were near on i popped the face off the fireplace carefully and made a greenstuff mould around it. and then used some pro-create putty to fill it in. after allowing to dry i popped it out of the mould and had a almost identical replica ready for the other side. i will note here that i had a few attempts and results vary. if i could of made the mould differently of course i would of used something like insta-mould. but i didn't have any. regardless. it didn't turn out too bad. just not perfect.
next up i had to figure out a way to add that winding detail on the top part of the fireplace. sort of like a floral design..i really am pretty crap at this stuff. so i had no idea how to approach. i tried sculpting and shaping..and it quite frankly looked awful. so i scoured the net once again looking for the best approach for me. as a side note some sculptors are amazing.such fine details and such i just don't have the ability to attain.
but ill keep plugging and learning new things until i reach a certain level of competency.

anyways the method i settled with was something along the lines of this little tutorial i found on the scibor website HERE 
basically i figured that would be the answer. however i could only half apply this method to what i was attempting. due to the precision of the floral detail.
but this is the stamp i came up with.

i made many errors with this and in future would probably use a different tool to shape it...but regardless its half way there.
it didnt come out great. and my inconsistancies in sculpting the original stamp shone through awfully.. the image above is the best i could get it. although i am totally open to any suggestions of how any of you reading this would of approached this sort of design (im always happy to soak up new tips,tricks and info)

Step 7 - decoration

ok so it looks like ive got the fireplace completed, minus the few little details sitting ontop. a firepoker i believe on the right. and that picture sitting on the wall.

so first ill look through my bits and see what ive got thats needed.

  1. treasure chest - check
  2. dagger - check
  3. candle - nope gonna have to sculpt this one
  4. poker - will sculpt
  5. picture frame - will sculpt this.
  6. ive decided also for extra effect i will try my hand at sculpting the flames in the fire too
so again i kinda jumped the gun. but will include all my sources i gathered for the tips

  • candle - whenever ive got left over green stuff i always try to do something with it. if i can put in the freezer then ill always re-use it. however i never leave it more than a few days as freezing it only slows down the curing process. if i dont do that i tend to do 2 things. roll into sausages or thin and flat. both have their uses later on. here ill get one of those sausages and trim a candle stick. and sculpt the flame and base.
  • picture frame - another use for the thin flat greenstuff i leave around. i cut a square for the base to the picture frame and sculpt the frame onto it.
  • poker - here i simply got a little bit of paper clip and sculpted some little detail onto.
  • flames - basically  just followed this tutorial
so heres how it came out. not brilliant as i made a few mistakes

firstly i cocked up the glueing of the picture frame...its a little scewed. but i can live with it.
and the flames im unsure about. lets hope that the painting really helps that to pop out.

well that seems to be everything. as i say not really a tutorial but more a step by step diary of your average jobbing hobbyist trying to actually do something good hehe.

hope you enjoyed my little journey.
next up is painting it

peace out