You can see a fulll list of the available tutorials to the right. Enjoy! And if you have any questions feel free to ask.


How to mass produce Plaster Terrain for Tournaments

For the Bay Area Open Tournaments this year I tasked myself with making a whole bunch of terrain for the Warmachine tournaments. I needed to make about 60 pieces in total: some for the tables, some for end of round giveaways, and some for prizes. So needless to say I needed to make a bunch of them quickly without costing too much either. 

So here is a quick tutorial on how I went about it.

I started out with a custom piece of terrain that I wanted to make a bunch of. :)

First up was to give it a few coats of primer to seal in the gravel and any loose pieces.

(Click on images to enlarge)


I don't have pictures for the next few parts, but I can at least describe them.

First off I glued it down to some hard board and built a dam around it so that I could build the skin up for the mold.

The mold was built up with a few layers of silicon mold rubber. The first layer was brushed on so it would get into all the cracks. The next two layers were built up with fiber mixed into the mold material to strengthen it. This allows me to keep the mold small and cheap. So after a few layers of build up this is what it looks like:

After everything was dry I wrapped it with another dam of plastic card and glued a piece of foam core on top. This is so I can lay it on its side and fill up half the dam with plaster. 

Once one side was dry, I broke off the foam core top and filled up the rest with plaster.

After that was all dry I broke off the dams, popped it off the base I had glued it too, and split the boot apart. Since it was poured in two parts, a little chisel tap to the seam and it popped right apart. 

I then used a razor and sliced up both sides of the mold so I can get the terrain piece out. As you can see some of the pieces came off with it. :)

To make more, I put the boot back together and popped the mold back into it.

 I mixed up some more plaster, poured it in and once it was dry de-molded it. This is what I ended up with.

And with a little clean-up and a little paint this is how it looked. :)

Hopefully this gives you an idea for how it would be possible to make a lot of terrain quickly for tournaments. If you have any questions feel free to ask.


Making Potion Bottles for Super Dungeon Explore

Here is a quick tutorial on how to make potion bottles for Super  Dungeon Explore.

I started with some small glass bottles. You can get them online and are fairly cheap.

Bottle 1, Bottle 2, Bottle 3

 I am using 1-to-1 low odder casting resin to fill them. This stuff has a pretty long working time and will take most of the day to dry. The easy cast is quite easy to work with as you do not have to worry about funny ratios or spending a lot of money for the other kinds of casting resin and a separate hardener.

After mixing up a batch, I poured some off into another container and added some of the coloring to it. As you can see in the picture I used some clear Tamiya colors and some regular acrylic paint colors. It only takes a few drops to color it. Start slow as you can always add more to make it darker if you do not like it.

To pour it, I just use cupcake papers. They are cheap, disposable, and generally water proof so you have time to work with your resin and colors. Pour a little of the resin you mixed into one and mix your color in. This way you can make one larger batch of resin, then color it in separate batches. I used a toothpick to help guide the resin into the small bottles. To do this you pour it onto the the toothpick and let it drip off the end into the bottle. This way you don't get resin all over the bottle and have some control over the speed of the flow. You do not want to fill them all the way up as you need some space for the cork.

Once you have all your colors mixed up let them sit for most of the day to dry with the corks out. This gives the resin time to harden and off-gas. To get the swirling colors in some of the bottles if you desire, pour the resin in (colored or clear), then dip a toothpick in the desired color and swirl it around the inside of the full bottle once. This will leave a path of the color behind that will stay suspended and give you the "clear marble with swirly colors inside" effect.

Once the resin is all cured (you can poke the top with a toothpick to check) go ahead and put 2-3 VERY small dabs of white glue around the top and push the cork top in. Some of the corks may need to be trimed down depending on how full the bottle is of resin. The glue will take a few days to dry completely and go transparent. You DO NOT want to use super glue as it will fog the inside of the bottle (unless that is what you want!)

This is a pretty simple project to add a lot of fun to your Super Dungeon Explore game. You could also use this for potions in Descent.

And if you are so inclined you can use these for hearts. Just a little glossy red spray paint and you are good to go!



How to build foam storage trays for miniatures

This is a tutorial on how to make your own storage trays for army transport storage cases.
Depending on the thickness you can make a tray for $3-$5 and you will be able to fit more miniatures in them because you can jigsaw the miniatures in to the most efficient usage of space, instead of staying in the predefined square grid that the army transport trays have.

What you will need:
-Enough sheets of cardboard to make the bottoms for the trays you will want to make.
-Foam in the desired depth of your trays.
-Tacky Glue
-A long non-serrated knife for cutting the foam
-Scissors or utility knife

Most fabric supply stores carry large sheets of foam in varying thicknesses 1.5” to 5”
You will need as much as you intend to make trays for. A typical tray size that fits in an army transport is 13” long by 7.5” wide.

Step 1:
If you have army transport trays already you can trace the bottom of on onto a piece of cardboard. Otherwise trace out a rectangle 13”x7.5” and cut it out.

I would recommend clipping the corners to allow for the trays to be moved in and out of the transports easier.

Step 2:
Next, cut out rectangles out of the foam in the same size. Also I would recommend trimming the edges of the foam.

Step 3:
Next you will lay or stand the miniatures on the foam and trace out the outline of figure. If they are standing up you will want to cut all the way through. If they are lying down you will want to leave some foam underneath for protection. If you are cutting through I would recommend once you have the backing glued (see the next step) you label the cardboard in the spaces with the miniature name or number that goes there. If they are units I would number the bottoms of the bases with white paint so you will know where they all gone. It gets confusing once you have 40 or so miniatures out of the trays and you are trying to figure out what goes where…(trust me, I tried!). I even write on the foam with a sharpie now for the ones that I don’t cut all the way through

Step 4:
Now, flip your cut foam over and lay down a decent coat of tacky glue. Once you have the glue on, flip it over and lay it on the cardboard you have cut out. I would recommend putting a large heavy book on top of the foam until the glue dries (it will take 3-4 at the shortest).

Once your trays are dry go ahead and fill your trays up and get to playing!


How to build a lava field gaming board

This tutorial will explain the steps to create a lava gaming board. These same steps can be used to create many other types of terrain too. Sorry if it is a little long. I figured more detail was better then less.

What you will need:
1. Dow foam insulation. This can be found at most construction supply depots. It comes in blue or pink sheets. It comes in 2’x8’ sheets, so you will need 2 of them.
(If you are having trouble finding it give this web site a look and call them and they can point you in the right direction. Either for ordering it or a local dealer.
2. 3X 2’x4’x ½” pre-cut plywood sheets. These can be purchase at any Home Depot type store.
3. Heated wire foam cutter and Hot Knife.
4. tubes of subfloor glue.
5. 2+ tubes of ACRYLIC latex caulking.
6. 1 caulking gun.
7. 1 plastic tarp to work on.
8. 1 long bladed utility knife or kitchen knife.
9. 1 bag of play yard sand. These can be purchase at any Home Depot type store.
10. 1 sheet of ¼” masonite board.
11. 1 quart of black latex wall paint
12. 1 bottle of cheap white acrylic craft paint
13. 1 bottle each of yellow and dark red/orange cheap acrylic craft paint.
14. 1 sharpie.
15. Something to cut masonite boards with. I used a Jigsaw.
16. Sandpaper to smooth the edge of the masonite templates.
17. 1 large paintbrush and 1 medium sized one for painting the lava rivers.
18. 1 small can of Drywall patching compound.

Step 1:

Take your 2 sheets of foam and lay them out. Cut them each equally in half so you have 4 2’x4’ sections. Make sure to measure you precut plywood sheets to make sure they are actually the right size to match the foam you are going to cut. If they are a little off make sure to adjust your cut on the foam to match.

Once you have your cut line drawn on the foam use a long straight edge and cut the foam with the utility knife. Do not use the heated cutters as it will distort the edge.

This will leave you with one 2’x4’ section leftover to make hills and other terrain out of.

Step 2:

Lay out your boards edge to edge and draw the pattern you will want for the lava channels and any other features you will want to cut into the foam board. Take a good look at it once you have drawn out what you want. Keep in mind that you are doing to want to be able to play on this board. So make sure you do not make it to busy.

Grab your hot foam cutter(s) and start working on cutting out the pattern you have made. If you do not have a straight hot knife you will need to use the utility knife to get to the sections you can not get with the hot wire easily.

As I was cutting stuff out I numbered the “little islands” so I would know where they go after.

Once everything is cut out you are left with smooth edges, which you don’t want. Take the hot knife (or the wire cutter) and score the edges to make it look more like a broken lava field.

Step 3:

Now that your board is all cut out and the edges are “textured” get out the subfloor glue and get it loaded up in the caulking gun.

Flip your boards over and apply the subfloor glue to the back. Make sure that all the areas near and edge have glue so the foam will not be able to pull up from the wood boards. Once it is well coated flip it over onto one of the wood boards and press it down.

Finish gluing the other 2 boards and stack all 3 of them one on top the one another with the wood backings facing up. Now that they are stacked put a bunch of heavy stuff on top and let it sit over night so that the glue will have plenty of time to dry.

Step 4:

Now that it is the next day and the glue is dry it is time to texture them. You will need your large paintbrush, the black latex paint, the sand and a tarp to work on.
First lay the tarp on the floor so you will have somewhere to collect the sand as it falls off the boards. Lay the boards on the tarp and brush on a thick coat of paint onto the top flat surface of one board. Once that is done, poor the sand onto the paint you have just put down. If it is particularly warm you may want to do a small section at a time.
At this time I also painted all the little “islands” and put sand on them too.

Once the first board is done, repeat the steps on the other two boards. They will need to sit for a few hours to let the paint dry all the way.

When you come back in a few hours tip the boards over onto the tarp to get all the loose sand off. Use the tarp to poor the sand back into the bag or a container for use later.

Now you need to paint the vertical edges of the lava field and put sand on them. Be careful not to get too much paint down on the lava channels. You can cover up the little bits of sand that will stick down there when you do the lava itself. Once all this is done and had had a chance to dry go ahead and shake off the sand again and put the extra back in the container.

Step 5:

Now it is time to apply a coat of latex paint over all the sand to seal it in. Grab your large brush and give all the sand a good coat of latex paint. Make sure to pay attention to getting paint in all the little cracks you make along the lava channels. Also paint the outside edges of the boards at this time.

This will last step will take a while to dry so lets move on to making the movable terrain (if you had not started it already).

Step 6:

First we will start with the masonite board. You will be using this to make templates for your forests (Burnt out husks of trees) and any other rock outcroppings and lava cinder cones.

Draw out the shapes of the templates on the masonite board and cut them out with the jigsaw. Once they are cut out take your sandpaper and smooth out the edges.

For this board I cut out of the blue foam rock outcroppings and some cinder cones. Once these are cut out any that need templates will get glued onto them with the subfloor glue. Take the Drywall patch and use it to fill all the gaps along the bottoms of the foam and masonite.

Also cut out some hills and some small flat “sheets” of rock, that will be used for bridges over the lava rivers, from the left over sheet of blue foam.

Once the glue and plaster patch is dry go ahead and paint with the latex paint the areas of anything that you will want to have “sand” on them and cover them with sand.

Once that first coat of paint and sand is dry clear off the excess sand and paint everything black. This will seal in the sand and also give you a black base coat to work up from for the rocks.

Step 7:

Now we will go back to the boards that have dried and work on getting some “color” onto them. You will want the large brush, black and white paint and some newspaper or other surface to mix the paint on. First, mix up a medium grey and drybrush* the boards and your mobile terrain pieces this grey.

*Drybrushing is a painting technique of wiping most of the paint off a brush, so as you paint the brush will only leave paint on the raised surfaces, as there is a minimal amount of paint on the brush being used.

Next, lighten the grey paint with a little more white and paint the edges and some patches on the boards and moveable pieces with this. Then take an even lighter shade and get just the edges of the lava rivers and the movable terrain pieces.

Now all the boards and pieces should be finished with as much grey and white as you like.

Step 8:

Now we are going to me making the lava. You will need the Acrylic caulking and a medium small paintbrush for this.

What you are going to do is lay a large bead of caulking down the middle of the lava rivers and any other place where you will want lava. Once that is done, take the paint brush and spread out the bead of caulking. Sometimes you will need to dip the brush in some water as the caulking can get quite thick and sticky and will need to be thinned out aome. Give it a rough texture so it will look like a rough lava flow. Do the same for any mobile terrain pieces you also may have made that have lava on them.

If you want to make some “lava bubbles” go ahead and put a dollop of caulking down and smooth it into a bubble.

This will take up to a full day to dry depending on how thick the caulking is.

Step 9:

Now that all the caulking is try it is time to paint up the lava.

First you will start with yellow paint and a medium brush. Paint all the lava yellow. Once this is all done go ahead and heavily drybrush* the lava the red/orange color.

Once the orange is dry, mix some of the black paint with some orange paint and drybrush* it onto the tops of the lava. This will give you the look of lava that has cooled somewhat on top. If you want it to look even cooler you can use more black as an additional coat of paint.

Now that all the lava is painted you will want to recreate the glow that hot lava radiates onto the adjacent rock.
Take your medium paint brush and the orange/red paint and drybrush* it onto the walls adjacent to the lava. Also drybrush orange strips onto the bottom of the “bridges” for the lava that would be glowing up at them.

Step 10:

Go Play! You are done!

Here is the section on making trees. I also have included it in the OP. Enjoy!

Step 1:

This part of the tutorial that will cover how I created the burnt out trees.

What you will need:
1. Plaster Cloth
2. Bases to mount the trees on (I used the flat 60mm GW bases)
3. Armature wire (Or some other easily bendable thicker wire)
4. Wood Glue
5. Sand for the bases
6. Red, Orange, Black and Gray Paint (Or white to mix with black)
7. Knife to cut the Plaster cloth
8. Bowl to fill with water
9. Wire cutters/pliers
10. Paint burshes

Step 1:

Cut 8x 8” sections of wire for each tree you want to make.
Each 2 wires will make one branch, so if you want more or less branches add or subtract 2 wires.

Bunch up your set of wires for a tree and grip them with the pliers twisting the wire to create the trunk. After you have a long enough trunk, go ahead and twist out the branches. After you have twisted them out, bend them around enough to look like a gnarled tree. Trim the “roots” so that they fit on the base you are using.

Repeat this as many times as you would like trees.

Step 2:

Warning: This will make a huge mess. Either, do it when you parents/spouse are not home, or give them fair warning that you are going to clean it up.

Cut an 1” to 1.5” strip off the Plaster Cloth

Fill a bowl with water and get one of your trees. Submerge the plaster cloth for a second then remove it. Do not squeeze it out. I would recommend doing this somewhere where it will not matter if you drip plaster all over the place. I used the kitchen sink (don’t tell my wife!). Start wrapping it around your armature until you have covered it all. You may need to cut multiple strips to cover the whole tree. You can also press it down and smooth it out in areas as needed. Do not move to slowly either as the plaster strip can harden on you while you are working with it. Repeat this until all the trees are wrapped

Once they are all wrapped up set them aside to dry for a few hours.

Step 3:

Once your trees are dry it is time to mount them. I drilled a few holes in the base so that it would be easier for the glue to adhere to them.

Next, spread some wood glue on the bottom of the tree and plop it down on the base over the holes

This will take a while to dry, but will be very strong once it is dry. After it is dry spread glue on the rest of the base and dip it in sand to texture it. Do this to all the trees and set them aside to dry.

Step 4:

Once this is all dry, get out your paints. First off I painted them red then let it dry, then painted parts of them orange. This is to achieve a glowing charcoal log look once you are done.

Once all this is dry, dry brush them black and also paint the bases.

Once this is all dry, dry brush them varying shades of gray to give them the cooling ash look. When finished should have a tree that looks like it has been set on fire and all that is left is a burn out husk that is glowing from within.

I then coated them with 2-3 layers of clear coat as paint will chip off plaster fairly easily when they rub together in a storage box.



Painting a Tyranid Flying Hive Tyrant Golden Demon winner

Here is a tutorial on how I painted my Forge World Flying Hive Tyrant.

First off I had to clean the resin model with warm soapy water to get all the residue off of it that was left from when it was cast. Next up was the required cleaning and touching up of the miniature. Typically you will find a lot of flashing and a few small holes that are left over from the casting process that will need to be cleaned up and patched.

Next came the assembly of the figure. I had originally decided to do something a little more dynamic to the model. So I used my blow dryer to heat up the wings and tail so that I could bend and reposition them to something I liked a little better. Also the Venom cannon had to go... so I made two new scything talons that were appropriately sized for this model. The normal "large" scything talons that GW makes are too small for something this big. Some of the other additions to this include; poison sacks (on the arms), adrenal glands (for extra BS and I. Mounted on the back) and implant attack (the things coming out of its mouth). I also put some holes in the wings to make it look like he was not fresh out of the spawning vat. Of coarse every thing also gets pinned in place. This will insure that the model will be strong enough to play with later. Below you can see the pictures of it at this stage after it had been primed.

The "silver" model on the base was glued there to provide extra stability until I was finished paining and ready to mount the figure to the display base. Though the model will stand on its' own, I swear! What I should have done in retrospect was make the spore chimney that he is leaping off of out of lead to counter weight the model.

The head was mounted on a wood block and painted separately so that it would be out of the way.

And here is the side view

These are the rippers that will be accompanying him on the base. I cut the regular ripper head off and attached the head of the Epic 40k Trigon.

Next I started to work on the red of the "skin". The first color I used was GW scab red. This was thinned down using a Floating Medium by Plaid (it is a clear blending medium used to thin down paints, MUCH better than water. You can also use Future Floor Wax or any other desired suspension medium). As you can see in the picture below, it has gone on thin a blotchy. This is effect that am looking for to give the skin the underlying shade changes that will give me a good background for the later layers of color.

Skin Step 1

Here is a another picture of the first step, which illustrated the blotchy effect. Also when the thinned down paint (about the consistency of milk) is first applied it will look much brighter and more opaque, but it will darken as it drys. I would recommend doing a small area first until you get the hang of it.


Skin, Step 2

Next, I take scab red (Note: I always use a little of the floating medium mixed into the paint when painting. This will make sure that they don't give you the chalky look as you build up layers of paint. See the Carapace tutorial for a little more info.) and start painting on the "streaks" onto the skin. Also paint the edges of the skin and other protrusions that you will eventually want lighter than the darker base skin color.

Skin, Step 3

Next GW Red Gore is applied over the same streaks that had been made by Scab Red. I will also highlight the higher areas a little more at this point too.


Skin, Step 4

A 50/50 mix of Red Gore and GW Ruby Red (I don 't think they make this color any more. Blood red will work fine too. It just had to much yellow in it for my taste.) is applied over the streaks and other highlighted areas. Remember to make the streaks for the different colors smaller each time so that a little of the previous color will show through.

At this point I still have one more layer of highlighting to add the the skin. But I am going to wait on those until I have the armor and the all the little green bits done. This is to save me the hassle of having to touch up later where the green parts and armor get close to or merge with the skin.

Now it is time to paint all the little vents/sacks and other items that I will want to be green. First off I painted everything GW Snot Green. They were then washed with GW Ork Flesh wash (a dark green wash), they dry brushed Snot Green again once the wash had dried. Next I dry brushed a 50/50 mix of Snot Green and yellow over this concentrating it more to the middle of the vents. Lastly I added dry brushed a little yellow to finish it off. I used the same colors for the adrenal gland (little things on his back) and the tongue, but used pretty much the same techniques that I used to do the skin.



This will pretty much just be a reprint of my armor tutorial but now with pictures on each step.

Colors used:

A- Scorched Brown (Games Workshop)
B- Bestial Brown (GW)
C- Golden Brown (Delta Ceramcoat- the large paints you can get a Michael's Craft Stores)
D- Flesh (Coat d' arms paints)
E- Oyster White (Delta Ceramcoat)
F- White (Vallejo Paints)

-There is no reason I chose one manufacture of another, it is just what I had. I did use color "D" though because the GW Bleached Bone has too much yellow in it for me.

-Also for all of these steps I use Floating Medium by Plaid (it is a clear blending medium used to thin down paints, MUCH better than water). See the little caption at the top of the painting steps picture. Color 1 and 2 are the two colors that I am mixing. Color 3 is the blending medium that I am mixing in to the two paints that I mixed to keep them smooth. This way I can put multiple layers of paint on a miniature without getting that chalky paint build up look.

This is a quick reference for the different steps for the armor

Armor, Step 1

First I painted two thin coats of Bestial Brown (GW) to get a nice ever base color. Next, where the plates of the armor join put down small streaks of Scorched Brown that have been thinned down.

Armor, Step 2

Mix colors Bestial Brown and Golden Brown (50/50 -Same technique as seen in the mixing caption). Lay the paint down in triangular patterns as seen in Example 2 of the quick reference image above. the triangles may overlap. For the long straight parts on the wings and the scythes I just made streaks.

Armor, Step 3

Lay down a thinned Golden Brown in the same triangular pattern. Don't take this color up as far as you did in step 2. Also make the "triangles" thinner than in step 2 also so that a little of the previous color show too.

Armor, Step 4

Mix Golden Brown and Flesh (50/50 mix) and add the thinning medium (again the thinning medium is present in all steps. I usually thin it down to a soupy mix). This is then applied in the same way as the other colors but just with less coverage so that all the previous steps still show a little.

Armor, Steps 5,6,7,8

The picture below after step 8 when I had put the head on.
Armor Step 5: Now apply a thinned down Flesh in smaller triangles than Step 4.
Armor Step 6: Mix colors Flesh and Oyster White (50/50) and apply in smaller "Triangles" (or streaks where appropriate) that don't go up as far.

Step 7- Apply a thinned Oyster White in very small streaks than maybe only go 1/3 of the way up.
Step 8- Apply a very thin White just to the very edge of the armor.

Wings and Joints

The wings and joints were painted with about 4 different shades of gray working my way up from a dark Charcoal Gray to a lighter Ghost Gray on the very edges and lighter highlights.

Skin, Final Steps

The first thing I did here was a little bit of touch up a the places where the green and the gray for the joints had gotten onto the skin. Next I did the final highlighting with a mix of Golden Yellow and Red Gore (about 70/30 mix, or to taste)


The Base

Now it was time to finish the base. The spore chimney that it is leaping off of was made out of scultpy. The other items on the base were made out of green stuff. The white stuff on the base is magic sculpt. Magic sculpt is an epoxy 2 part putty that is water soluble. What that lets me do is wet my finger and smooth out the large surface on the base quite easily, it is also quite cheap and drys ROCK hard.

This next step involved:
1: painting the tyranidy terrain on the base and the bio pool that will later have clear casting resin pored into it.
2. Gluing the Rippers onto the base.
3. Gluing on the sand with white glue and painting it. Which usually involves a few washes to get some shades of color into the sand, and the a few layers of dry brushing for highlighting.
4. Next I added the long grass and the pinkish flowers to the base.
5. Now at this point I put of few coats of Testor's Spray Dull Coat on the model to protect it.
6. Lastly I pored the resin onto the base to form the pool. I let the resin cure a little in the cup first so that it would not be too runny when I pored it onto the base since there would be no "walls" to keep it contained. To get the green swirlies in the resin I dipped a tooth pick in some paint and then swirled it in the resin while it was in the cup. You don't want to mix it in to much otherwise you would just end up with green water.


I was quite happy with the way that this model turned out. As always there are things on it that I would have liked to improve. But I was finishing it the night before Games Day. Maybe next year I will learn that starting a project 2 weeks before is just a bad idea. In total I probably spent about 40 hours working on it. But the best part about this figure is being able to terrorize my opponents with it on the battlefield.

I hope that this was informative and if you have any questions or comments feel free to ask.