Menoth Martyr Shrine
by Pat "Pat" Ohta

This piece is influenced by the Byzantine architectural masterpiece Hagia Sofia, and the City of Theed on Naboo (Star Wars). The mosque-like round domes really appealed to me and I decided to use it on my Menoth shrine.

Materials Needed
Dome light
Foamcore
Plastic door
Paper towel roll
Hot glue
Whiteglue
High density foam
PVC caps
Spackle
Plastic strips
Squadron White Putty
Acetone
Crazy glue
Beads

Step 1: The Structure
Everything on this piece is based around the main dome. I wanted to make sure the dome was prominent but not too big. To make the dome I used a touch light I found at the Dollar Store (1A).

I measured the circumference of the light to figure out how long of a piece needed to cut for the wall. The measurement came to 15-1/2" x 6-1/4". I cut this out and figured out the placement of the doors and columns (1B & 1C).

I cut out the doors and a space for the columns. Next, I scored the foamcore with vertical lines to help it curve around the circumference of the dome (1D).

Now I used the dome light as a template and cut out another piece of foamcore. This will be the base of the building. Set this aside temporarily (1E).

The wall ends were glued together and attached to the dome light (1F & 1G).

To make the columns, I used a paper towel roll. This was cut to 1-3/8" x 4" and attached to the inside of the dome. Then I attached the base using hot glue (1H, 1I & 1J).

To make the entrance, I cut a door panel measuring 2" x 2-1/2". Cut two walls, and a roof to fit. I scored the roof with vertical lines so it would curve to the shape I wanted (1K & 1L).

To make sure the roof would fit neatly, I added a channel for the door panel to recess into (1M).

I glued the door in place and the main dome is complete (1N).

I wanted the shrine to sit on top of a hill with the domes at staggered elevations. To do this I needed to make the base. Using a hot wire cutter, I carved out my foam base. Then I plotted where I wanted the components to be (1O).

To make the other domes, I used PVC caps found at a hardware store. I assembled each tower the same way as the main dome. When each tower was complete I glued it all together (1P).

The short tower has a 2" cap with a wall measuring 2-1/2" x 7-1/4. The medium tower also uses a 2" cap with a wall measuring 6-1/2" x 7-1/4". The tall tower is made using a 1-1/4" cap with a wall measuring 5" x 9". The medium tower is joined to the main building by a wall. Simply measure the distance and cut the required pieces to join the towers together.

Using a spreader I covered the entire piece with spackling compound. Be sure to spread it on thin otherwise it will take too long to dry. Don't worry if it doesn't go on evenly.

When dry, sand it down and apply another layer. I applied five layers to the shrine.

Each successive layer will look nicer than the last (1Q & 1R).

I wanted windows on the towers, especially the taller minaret. I also wanted the windows to look like the ones I've seen on some mosques that have lattice work covering the front. To achieve this I started by making a master with plastic card (1S).

When it was done I made a mold of the master and began to cast it (1T, 1U, 1V, 1W & 1X).

While the windows were being cast I began to add texture to the columns. This would also help strengthen them. I mixed Squadron White Putty with a bit of acetone. This was stippled onto the column and let dry (1Y, 1Z & 1AA).

I found a spare door in my terrain pile and glued it onto the front of the building (1BB & 1CC).

When the windows were done, I heated them up with a heat gun. This softens the resin and allows it to bend. I shaped each window to fit the contour of the tower. Next, I glued each window in place (1DD, 1EE & 1FF).

I added some decorative details to the main dome by cutting strips of plastic card and gluing them on (1KK).

To make the spike on the tip I used a piece from a necklace and pinned it to the roof (1GG, 1HH, 1II & 1JJ).

The windows didn't look right since they were sticking out of the walls so I removed all of them, patching up any damage this caused. I marked out where each window was going to go and cut out a hole (1LL & 1MM).

Cutting each window hole created more damage and this all had to be repaired before I moved on. Once this was done I glued each window in place (1NN & 1OO).

Next, I cut and glued more rocks around the shrine (1PP, 1QQ & 1RR).

The shrine walls looked too plain for my taste, so I decided to add some subtle but decorative trim to the walls. To do this I added a bead of plaster using my fingers and let it sit for several minutes.

When it started to firm up, I used a wet bead and rolled it on to get an impression.

I wasn't too concerned about the bead work being neat. The effect I was going for was old and hand carved (1SS & 1TT).

After this was dry, I sanded it down around the edges and very lightly on top. This will help to blend it into the building and give it a worn appearance.

To further break up the plain look of the walls and to show it's age, I decided to chip the walls and show the bricks underneath.

First, I drew random shapes where I wanted the bricks. Then, using a scribing tool, I carved out random shapes. Next, I used a chisel and removed some of the spackle. Be careful not to dig too deep otherwise you will hit the foamcore. Then I began to carve out the bricks using a scribing tool. Using a stiff brush I dusted off the bricks (1UU, 1VV, 1WW, 1XX, 1YY, 1ZZ, 1AAA & 1BBB).

Next, I made a ramp leading up to the entrance (1CCC).

To add the final touch to the piece I asked local artist Solomon Enos to make some Menoth statues to decorate the building. He sculpted these with Apoxie Sculpt (1DDD).

Step 2: Painting
I don't want to get into how I painted this piece, there are plenty of other tutorials for that! Just take your time and enjoy the finished piece (2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G & 2H).

 

Pat