Sticks & Stones
by Theresa "MiniPaintMaven" Mansfield

I was looking to make an interesting terrain piece to add variety and to help fill up my gaming table. In the back of my mind I kept thinking about a piece I saw in a White Dwarf magazine a long time ago. I don't remember which issue it was in nor do I have any way to obtain a copy so I will have to just go by a dim memory and make a few changes that I would have liked to have seen.

Materials Needed:
Masonite or similar material
Plastic skull
Styrofoam
Tissue paper
Cornstarch
Dirt
Small rocks
Whiteglue
Static grass
Adhesive caulk
Aves Apoxie Sculpt
GW plastic tree
Greenstuff

Step 1: The Base—$0.00
I needed a piece of wood for the base. Back to Mom and Roger's to raid the workshop. Roger didn't have any masonite but he gave me a piece of particle board that was the size I needed. I cut out an interesting shape and rounded the edges (1A). I am on my way. Total time: 1/2 hours.

Step 2: The Skull—$17.50
Before I started making this piece I scoured all of the shops I could think of to try to find a skull that would work so during one of the chats I have with Jim "Nobody" Cornell I told him about my dilemma and he found a place near where he lives that sells them at a reasonable price at www.fxsupply.com. They had them for $17.50 but their minimum order is $25 so I bought two of them. Once they arrived I washed one of them in warm soapy water to make sure there was no mold release left on it (2A). Then I removed the screws and springs that held on the lower jaw and ground down a part of the lower jaw at an angle so the skull would look like it was listing to one side (2B). Next I took some of the left over Aves Apoxie Sculpt that I had left over from the "Dem Bones" tutorial I did a couple of tutorials back and filled in the holes left by the screws I removed and to fill in the gaps around the cheekbones. I didn't use any special tools, just my fingers and a little water to smooth out the fingerprints (2C). Total time: 2 hours.

Step 3: The Rocks—$0.00
I attached the skull to the base with some caulking adhesive. I then cut some rocks out of a piece of packing styrofoam that came with an electronic item I had purchased (3A). I also attached the styrofoam to the base with the adhesive (3B). Total time: 1 hour.

Step 4: The Braces—$0.00
I wanted to give the stone skull the appearance being propped up so that it wouldn't tip over so I cut up some twigs from the garden, trimmed up the ends with an Xacto knife and glued each into place (4A). Total time: 1/2 hours.

Step 5: The Tree—$6.00
The tree is one of Games Workshops plastic trees. I chose one that was leaning to one side giving it the look that it's branches was trying to avoid the stone skull. I used a needle file to get all of the seams off the branches (whew!) there were some weird gaps that needed some greenstuff. When all was said and done, the tree was not tall enough so I made it taller by drilling a hole in the bottom and adding a length of coat hanger wire to act as an armature. Then I added some Apoxie Sculpt to the trunk and sculpted it to look like the bark on the rest of the tree (5A).

For the roots I located a large dead milk thistle weed in a field near my place and dug it up by the root being careful to preserve the entire root system particularly the fine ones. I washed off the dirt and left the root to dry over night. Once dry, I cut off a portion and jammed it between the styrofoam and the skull to simulate the tree's roots (5B). The leaves will be added during Step 9. Total time: 3 hours.

Step 6: The Earth—$0.00
I shredded some tissue, added some water and whiteglue and mixed it all together. Then I applied it to the piece and added some small garden stones (6A & 6B). Total time: 1 hour.

Step 7: The Dirty Work—$0.00
A thin coat of whiteglue was applied to the base and styrofoam and left to dry. Another thin coat of whiteglue was then applied and dirt was added everywhere I wanted earth to be. I then sculpted a few skulls out of greenstuff and added a few plastic skulls as well (7A).
Total time: 1-1/2 hours.

Step 8: The Paint and Grass—$1.00
I gave their entire piece a coat of beige (8A) and a coat of Almond (8B). At this point I just began to scrub colors on. I used dark and medium browns, stone and medium and light grays. The leaves were painted with dark, medium and light green. Then I applied some static grass with a thin coat of whiteglue.
Total time: 2-1/2 hours.

In Closing
The entire piece cost $24.50 because most of the items were left over from past projects and most of the rest was free stuff from the yard, etc. If I were buying everything new it would have cost twice as much. The project also took 13 hours to complete (not including drying the root, paper mache or epoxy sculpt over night).

Now get up and get to work!
Maven