Easy Does It
Tutorial Date 3/12/06
Making a nice ruin with the minimal amount of effort
I was flipping through a copy of Privateer Press’ No Quarter Magazine #2 and saw a fantastic terrain piece of a ruin on page 16. The more I looked at it the more I wondered how I could scratch build one for myself. I started collecting this piece and that and had decided that I would tear into the project the following weekend. Well, as fate had it my wife bought a puppy (as well as the puppy’s mother) the morning of the big project and asked me to pick up some dog food on the way home from work. Having not been to the local pet supply store before I had to wander around until I found the dog food isle. Fortunately, I stumbled across some aquarium supplies and what do you know—I found the ruin I was going to start building that very night and for less than $15 to boot! "To heck with that! No sense reinventing the wheel," I said to everyone within earshot and greedily stuffed it into my shopping cart. When I got home I grabbed the magazine and quickly thumbed to page 16 to compare my newly purchased treasure with the photo. A perfect match! Well, Scarab has been asking me to do a tutorial for beginners so here is what I came up with…
Dirt and Grass, Painting, Reusing Existing Pieces, Trees
What you need to complete this project:
Top Fin Aquarium Ruin piece
Thick sheet styrene
Empty figure blisters
Flock or static grass
Step 1: Remove the label, tubes and plastic plants from the Top Fin Aquarium piece. It comes pre-painted and can go straight onto your gaming table. If you want to repaint it (as I intend to do) you will need to wash it with warm soapy water (You don’t know where it has been) and leave to dry.
Step 2: Use greenstuff to fill holes where plastic tube and plants were inserted. You may need to also fill some of the air bubble holes that were in the mould and subsequently are now in the aquarium piece. It is up to you really.
Step 3: Cut a base for the entire terrain piece out of 1/8" styrene or similar material and bevel the edge. Mine was about 10" wide.
Step 4: Put a heavy bead of silicone adhesive on the bottom of the ruin (don’t leave any gaps—over apply if you have to) and affix to the base. Allow to cure.
Step 5: Mix the plaster according to the instructions on the label and pour into opening of the ruin. Continue to fill until the plaster level rises to the bottom of the ruin’s entryway. This will be the ruin’s floor. Pour excess into empty figure blisters for use later. If you didn’t get a good seal with the silicone adhesive your plaster will leak out. Allow to set.
Step 6: Mix some Celuclay and apply to base.
Step 7: Remove set plaster from the blisters. Cut and place inside the ruin to look like upper floor has collapsed. Also cut some small bricks and glue the litter around the exterior with white glue.
Step 8: Cover base with white glue and sprinkle with dirt and rocks. Allow to dry.
Step 9: Prime black.
Step 10: Now for the fun part. Paint the structure with a good coat of Vallejo Model Color 166 Dark Grey and paint the base with a heavy coat of Americana Burnt Umber.
Step 11:On the structure I next used Vallejo Model Color 160 Neutral Grey and on the base I then used Vallejo Model Color 143 Flat Earth.
Step 12: On the structure I next used Vallejo Model Color 104 Stone Grey and on the base I then dry brushed Vallejo Model Color 114 Green Brown in places.
Step 13: I continued to build up the base by dry brushing Vallejo Model Color 119 Green Ochre in places followed by a light dry brush of Vallejo Model Color 115 Khaki
Step 14: Apply a diluted black ink wash to the ruins. And allow to dry.
Step 15: Apply a diluted Sepia ink wash to the ruins. And allow to dry.
Step 16: Seal the entire piece with a thin coat of Krylon Crystal Clear and a thin coat of Testor’s Dullcoat. Allow to dry between each coat.
Step 17: Use white glue to apply static grass and trees. Allow to dry.
Step 18: Sit back and admire your work. You can now dazzle your friends (and foes) with this simple piece.
I am willing to field any questions you may have about this and any other pieces I have done on this site. You may contact me directly at