The Broken Coast


By TheBugKing


Section 4


Necrotite Spines and Finishing Touches


Sub Sections:

Creating a Vacuum Form Table


Creating Necrotite Spines


Finishing Touches


General Safety Notice:

When using power tools wear goggles.  When using knives cut away from yourself.  If you run the risk of cutting yourself while doing a process, wear gloves. 

Most importantly, use common sense.  If you are uncomfortable doing something, don’t do it.  Figure out a way to do the process in a way that is safe and that you are comfortable with.


Creating a Vacuum Form Table


Materials Needed:

  • 2’ x 4’ x ¼” Luan
  • 2’ x 4’ x 1/8” Perforated Masonite Board
  • 1” x 2” wood strips
  • 1” Sheetrock Screws
  • Wood Glue


Tools Needed

  • Philips Bits
  • Power Drill
  • Drill bit with countersink
  • Either a Table Saw or Skill Saw
  • Chop Saw
  • 1” spade or chisel drill bit (The drill bit should be sized to fit your shop vac hose)
  • Clamps
  • Shop Vac


Begin by cutting the luan and perforated masonite down to two 2’ by 2’ pieces.


Cut two 1” x 2” wood strips to 1’ 10” long with the chop saw and two 1” x 2” wood strips to 2’ long.


Drill a hole in one of the 1”x 2” strips in the center.


Clamp the wood strips to the piece of luan and perforated masonite, then drill pilot holes around the perimeter of the top and bottom.  Remove the wood strips and liberally apply wood glue to all seams.  The wood glue acts as a seal here, so be very generous.  If you are making a mess, that is the right amount of glue.  Screw all of the pieces together.


To make the table work, plug your shop vacuum into the hole in the side of the table.  To keep the suction efficient, it is a good idea to mask off the area of the table that you aren’t using.



Creating Necrotite Spines


Heating lexan releases noxious fumes.  Make sure to use adequate ventilation.

Wear gloves when working with hot materials.

Use eye protection when using power tools.


Materials Needed:

  • 2” x 2” x 10” Balsa Wood Block
  • Scrap masonite
  • 3/32” lexan (I found mine in a poster frame)
  • 2 part Milliput
  • Wood Glue
  • Cyanoacrilate Glue (Super Glue)
  • Tin Foil
  • Green Enamel Paint (I used Testors Model Master Cadmium Green)
  • Black Enamel Paint
  • Gun Metal Enamel Paint
  • Dark Anodic Grey Enamel Paint
  • Steel Enamel Paint
  • Liquid masking Material
  • Fine brass wire
  • Egg Shells that have been washed, dried, and stripped of the membrane
  • Green, Blue, Black, and Brown Ink
  • Fine and Medium Ballast


Tools Needed:

  • Toaster Oven.  I purchased one at Walgreens for about $9.  Do not use the toaster oven you use for this project for anything that involves food.  Using the toaster oven will ruin it for any food application.  Do NOT use your mother’s / Significant Other’s toaster oven.
  • Vacuum Form Table
  • Shop Vacuum
  • Exacto Knife
  • Rough Sand Paper
  • Fine Sand Paper
  • Scroll Saw
  • Air Brush
  • Make Up Sponges
  • Flexible Shaft with the following bits:
    • Round end carbide bit
    • Cut off wheel
    • Sanding wheel
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Small disposable plastic bowl


Begin by tracing out a rough horn shape on the 2” x 2” x 10” balsa wood block.  One side needs to be curved, and one side needs to be shaped in a taper.


Cut out the shape with the Scroll Saw.  Cut the taper or tear drop shape first, and leave the piece in the block.  Next cut out the curved section.  You want to keep the piece square while you are cutting it.


Begin shaping the spine with the Exacto Blade.


Continue shaping the spine with the rough sand paper.


Finish shaping the spine with fine sand paper.


Cut the spine in half with the scroll saw.


Glue both halves of the spine down to some scrap masonite.


Once the glue is dry cut the masonite around the balsa.  Leave a small amount of material around the edge.


Use the flexible shaft with the sand paper head to take the last bit of masonite down flush to the balsa.


Cut out two pieces of lexan approximately 3” x 10”


Back the pieces of lexan with pieces of tin foil that are at least 1” larger then the piece of lexan.  Crumple the excess foil up on the edges of the lexan.  The idea here is that if you heat the lexan it will curl up on itself unless it is backed by the foil.


Turn the toaster oven on (mine only has one setting, “toast”) and let it sit for five minutes.  Then put the piece of lexan in the toaster oven for five minutes.  The lexan will visibly bubble up and then settle.  Once it has settled, it is pliable enough to shape.


Place one half of the spine on the vacuum form table.  You will notice that I have masked off all but the section being used for this project.


Make sure that the shop vac is on, then take the piece of lexan out of the toaster.  Place the piece of lexan down over the spine form and assist the shape with your hands.  Be sure to wear gloves; the lexan is very very hot. 


Allow the piece to cool for about two minutes, then remove the foil from the lexan.  Again the lexan is VERY hot--wear gloves.  Carefully remove the lexan from the balsa form.  The lexan will stick to the balsa and it is very easy to crack the lexan, so go slowly.  Something that I wanted to try, but thought of too late, was to cover the balsa form with tin foil before shaping the lexan.  I would suggest you try that as it may make removing the lexan much easier, however, I did not test this method.  I finally got a process that worked after failing about 100 times.  (I had a blue recycling bin 2’ x 4’ x 2’ deep completely full of 3” x 10” crumpled pieces of lexan)


Use the cut off wheel and carefully follow the seam where the masonite meets the balsa form--it should be visible.  It may help to trace the line with a permanent marker before cutting.  Once the piece is cut out, sand the cut surface flat with the fine grit sand paper.


Repeat the previous steps for the other side of the spine.  Once you have both sides sanded flat, test their fit.  You may have to sand one side a bit extra to make them match up.  Line up the pieces from the top; do not worry about the bottom end at the moment. 


While holding the two halves together, draw a line with the permanent marker around the base.  Be sure to make the line level.  Once you have drawn the line, use the cut off wheel to cut the rough bottom end off.


Sand the inside of each piece to remove any traces of balsa wood, and then paint the interior lightly with green enamel paint.  Periodically hold the piece up to a light.  If there are any areas that seem very dark, sand them down so that you can see light through the piece still.  Scuff the outside of the pieces with sand paper as well.  Once the pieces are dry, glue them together with cyanoacrilate glue.  I used fine brass wire to assist in holding the halves together.


Cover the spine with approximately 1/8” of milliput.  Be liberal with the use of water to assist in smoothing the milliput out.  Be careful that you don’t crack the pieces apart.  Go slowly but be sure to work inside the drying time of the milliput.


File the spine smooth then mark out where you are going to carve the holes down to the lexan.


Use the round end carbide bit to carefully carve out the holes marked in the previous step.  There will be a noticeable difference in the feel of the cut once you reach the lexan.  Use caution and go slowly.  I didn’t have any mistakes at this point.  It is easier then it looks.


Once the holes are carved out use the round bit to randomly pock the surface of the spine making deep holes at the bottom, and working up to shallow holes at the top.  As an optional step use a flat carbide cutter to scribe in serrations in the spines.


Clean the spine off thoroughly and apply liquid masking to the exposed lexan holes.  Allow the masking to dry completely.


Airbrush the entire spine black.  Then airbrush the entire spine gun metal.  Once the spine is dry, apply a liberal amount of dark anodic grey to a makeup sponge.  Rub a decent amount of the paint out of the sponge and then rub the sponge over the spine.  Work from the top down fading slightly towards the base.  Once the dark anodic grey is dry, repeat the sponging process with the steel paint.  Once the paint is dry, use an exacto knife to gently lift the masking material off of the lexan holes.  Glue the spine on to one of the LED units. 


Crush the eggshells up into pieces approximately 1/8” in size.  Mix them in the disposable plastic bowl with equal amounts of the green, brown, blue and black ink. 


Shake the eggshells so that they are evenly coated with the ink.  You will notice that the eggshells begin to stack up like small pieces of shale.  Allow the eggshells to dry on a piece of paper towel.


Run a bead of milliput around the base of the spine.  Sculpt in a similar pattern to the base but make most of the veins vertical.  Once dry, add some ballast in a random pattern.


Add some of the eggshell bits to the piece.


Airbrush the base with a dark brown followed by some dark grey.  Then dry brush progressively lighter shades of grey over the area. 


Repeat the preceding steps 3 more times.



Finishing Touches


Materials Needed:

  • Acrylic Paint
  • Fine Green Flock
  • Medium Green Flock
  • Static Grass
  • Horse Hair grass
  • White Glue
  • Wood Glue
  • Cyanoacrilate Glue (Super Glue)
  • Wax Paper


Tools Needed:

  • Airbrush
  • Paintbrushes
  • Exacto Knife


Begin by taking a piece of wax paper and putting down several small clumps of horse hair grass.  Add a dot of white glue to the center of each piece of grass.  Stretch the ends of the clumps so that the glue works its way through the entire clump.


Once the grass clumps are dry, cut them in half with an exacto knife.


Glue several clumps of grass with cyanoacrilate glue randomly over then entire piece.


Cover the entire piece with watered down wood glue and sprinkle a random mix of fine green and medium green flock over the glue.  Be sure to avoid the rubble around the spines.  Allow the flock to sit for a bit and then gently tap the surface with your fingers.  This will bring out the rock from underneath the flock.  Sprinkle static grass randomly over the piece.  Airbrush the flock with a dark brown to darken up greens. 



A piece of this scope can seem very daunting when you are first setting out.  If you take each step and work to complete it, it will help motivate you to keep going.  The end result is clearly worth the effort, as you will have a piece that will completely wow your gaming friends.


Credits and Thank You Notes:

  • Thanks to the Terrainthralls for having this contest.
  • Thanks to Scarab for all of the inspiring works.  Credit is due to him for the inspiration to use a wire brush to shape the rocks. 
  • Thanks to Iron Bear on the PP forums for help and inspiration with LED use and electrical work.  Look him up if you need help with something.  He is especially enthusiastic about smoke.
  • To the community at large and to Privateer Press for creating an environment that is inspirational and supporting, Thank You!
  • A huge thank you to my wife who, even though she was going through some life threatening health issues, insisted that I finish this thing.  She also is responsible for proofing my writing.  She is the reason things are clear and easy to read.  Thank you and I love you!




Have Fun and Good Luck!


Ambrose “TheBugKing” Coddington