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By ONE2DREAD - Dec. 31, 1969Title: Belthras’ Tower
Belthras was careful. Always and extremely careful with “the secret”. He first thought of it in his final year of apprenticeship to the high mage of Calnior and from the start he kept things quiet. He began gathering the necessary materials and supplies while he was a court advisor to a small kingdom in the Southern Isles. Many of the items he needed were hard to find this far south and others…others simply had to be fashioned from scratch as nothing like them had even been made.
As he aged and grew wiser he also became more withdrawn which seem to create an air of mystery about him that drew many to seek his hidden knowledge. Tiring of the constant interruptions in his grand plan he found he could simply dispense some short pithy nonsensical phrase and his visitors would quickly leave to contemplate the deeper meanings of it. His favorite was “When the moon shines on the ocean it’s never in the sky.” His second favorite was “Never give a cat a bath.”
Life has it’s set back and Belthras life was no different. He married an enchantress who ran off with a younger fire mage a couple of years later, but not before she had spent all his gold. His entire plan was nearly sidelined by that unfortunate turn of events but…no…he would not be stopped by this…he would do whatever it took to bring his plan to pass.
Turning to the darker arts he raised powerful forces of magic and consulted with extra-dimensional beings. This all came with a price but certainly one he felt was worth it, for in the summer of his 70th year he completed his grand design and brought his vision to pass…
Built on an island in the midst of a dormant volcano high in the mountains of the uninhabited northlands, hewn from living stone by dark arts…he finally…completed…his retirement home.
It was grand! Lavish even! Green marble in all the right spots, a lovely view over the lake when the morning sun rose and all of it his. He had all the time in the world now to read those bawdy tales found in books he’d furtively purchased in his youth. His telescope positioned in just the right spot high on a balcony of his tower afforded him an excellent view of the water nymphs which bathed on the far side of the lake. Deep beneath the tower, in a natural cave which had later been converted to a burial cairn was the perfect spot to set up his dwarven still and brew his favorite five kinds of mead. Oh yes, heady times were ahead.
27L x 16W x 18H
The Necro Tower was a multi-family project....with many more to come!!
The Island Base:
The bottom most layer of the island is a layer of 1” sign foam carved. After cutting the shape of the perimeter of the island the exposed edges were carved with a Dremel to resemble rough weathered stone. In the middle of the island a “box” was made also using sign foam. The box formed the bones of the main hill and Durham’s Water Putty was mixed and poured to form an organic shape around it including a sloping path that leads down to the base. Once the Durham’s had begun to dry shaping was done with popsicle sticks. Once completely dried the entire base was painted black and the hill shape a dark green. The hill was then covered with white glue and a layer of green flocking was applied. Grey ballast was applied at the same time to the sandy slope.
A second layer of mixed flocking was applied in specific spots to generate a more natural, varied look to the ground foliage. An entire package of Heki Wildgrass was then slip up and spread across the hillside leaving gaps for erosion spots to be filled later on with grey ballast. Once the glue used to apply the Heki Wildgrass was dry the area between the clumps were filled with white glue and a grey ballast.
Once all the main areas were covered small areas of interest were created with other ground cover materials. Three trees were added and Woodland Scenics Realistic water was used to fill a bit of the depressions around the cave entrance. Bits of wood and a few stones were added as well as fallen leaves and ground clutter near the trees.
The final step on the base preparation was to touch up small areas missed to this point in production.
The Tower was inspired by Mike at Terranscapes and his 4” Improved Round Tower. We really liked the openness of the top floor. Our ideas and concepts changed drastically over the entire build as the deadline grew closer and the day to day life events...aka work...kept interrupting. We had just ordered a few (count 6) new molds and really wanted to incorporate them into the project. The Tower paints are a Michael’s brand - Craft Smart acrylic. The entire Tower was based in Black, brushed with Pebble Gray, and highlighted with White. Golden Brown, Brown, and Ivory were used on the arch pieces. Dark Blue as needed. Bronze for the pipes and balcony face then washed in a watery Dark Green and Robin Blue mix - patina effect. Dark Red and Metallic Gold for the door. Various neon colors for the script on the top pillars. An India Ink wash was used on the sills for weathering effects.
Tower Base: Started out just like the original Hirst directions for the 4” Circular build but as it progressed the Gothic molds and Octagon Tower mold kept crying to be used too. Playtesting we found that the Octagon mold really meshed well with the 4” Circular. The first floor entry mainly used the Octagon mold for the frame and the Gothic Arena for the door and arch. The Gothic Panel window on the back wall had to be sanded slightly along with the trim pieces to fit into the wall section. It was decided that movement up and down the Tower would be by magical means so stairs were forgone by an elevator of sorts.
Tower Second Floor: We really wanted a Balcony on the Tower. Now the balcony mold, I don’t believe, was designed for the circular towers so the Dremel and a grinding wheel really came in handy. I built the balcony first then laid it on top of a wall section. I used a pencil to mark the curves and went to cutting and grinding. Because the cuts made the balcony shallower I couldn't use the stock pieces for the bottom and the base Gothic door arch would bump into those pieces...hence the Ruined Tower pieces and the Fieldstone Tower “teeth” - which I broke in half for each side of the balcony. The “teeth” jutted out beyond the balcony on the ends and with the help of a putty mix of Durham’s I molded the last tooth up over the edge. One issue with the balcony meeting the 4” Circular wall was the triangular gap on the top edges. I found that the balcony bottom pieces turned upside down fit into the space perfectly. We thought it would be great to also open up the back of the Tower so the idea came about for a perch for the Necro’s familiar - a dragonling or other summoned creature. The green marble effect was inspired from Abaroth’s World - tips & tricks/painting & patterns (thanks for the great tutorials). This was my first try at marble and I know I’ll use it more on other projects.
Tower Top: In our desire to make the top open we originally wanted to have just one center column holding up the very top. Because the center was left open that idea left (maybe later on another project) and four pillars returned. The Necro can stand here and cast to his hearts content. We made the top removable for two reasons - one for minis and two for painting. To get the top to stick we drilled small holes into the tops of the pillars and glued toothpicks. Into the underside of the top we etched slots that the toothpicks notch into to hold it in place. The very top of the Tower is where the energies are pulled into the focus and used for conjuration or just ordering pizza.
42 - Gothic Arena Accessories
43 - Gothic Panel Accessories
45 - Gothic Dungeon Builder
52 - 4” Circular Tower
60 - Prison Tower
61 - Turret Mold
63 - Octagon Tower
65 - Ruined Tower Mold
70 - Fieldstone Wall
73 - 6” Fieldstone Tower
74 - Fieldstone Bridge
84 - Rock Cavern Pillar
85 - Cavern Accessories
201 - Floor Tile Various Sizes
203 - Cracked Floor Tiles
205 - Gothic Floor Tiles
321 - Pipe Mold ⅜”
Other Materials Used:
Dremel - cutting and grinding blades
Aleene’s Tacky Glue
CItadel Liquid Green Stuff
Durham’s Water Putty
Merlin’s Magic Dental Plaster
Woodland Scenics Water Effects
Woodland Scenics Premium Trees
Woodland Scenics Flocking
Woodland Scenics Ballast
Scenic Express Buffalo Grass
Flotsam from Lowe’s parking lot
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