Tutorial Date 5/7/06
The inspiration for this piece came when I got issue #3 of No Quarter in my hands. The picture of the Trollkin village from page 53 got my creative juices flowing.
To quote the article, "Trollkin homes are domed, circular, and tower-like with walls of earth or stone. ...typically are two to three stories high. ...The roofs of Trollkin homes are usually thatched from straw... ...with window slits placed at frequent intervals to allow sunlight while maximizing the defensibility of the structure..."
I imagined an entire village of these imposing structures with krielstones scattered around and an impressive kuar in the middle.
Trollkin tribes are supposed to be scattered all across Western Immoren. Naturally, with geographic distance comes differences in culture and architecture. Typicial trollkin pieces seem to be made from foam-core made to resemble hulking slabs of granite carefully cut and laid. My trollkin buildings needed to be different yet still be recognizable.
I'd been coveting some HirstArts molds for some time and this project fell neatly into tax season. With 4 kids and a 5th soon on the way, we were expecting a healthy tax return and I managed to nab a few of these molds before my wife even discovered the money was gone!
If you aren't familiar with HirstArts, you should be. Bruce and Joanne Hirst create silicone rubber molds for all your terrain needs. They are very high quality and after a few practice casts you can create some very professional looking buildings. I went with the fieldstone 6" round, wall, and bridge molds. I'll be using the 6" round mold exclusively for my trollkin building. It was the perfect size and even had pieces to build window slits!
After a few practice casts with plaster of paris I had the technique down well enough to get started.
Pieces were stacked and glued leaving enough space for a medium-based model fitting in the doorway. A roll of paper towels was used to keep the tower walls straight. Two stories would be sufficient. As the layers increased I used a level and sandpaper to keep things clean fitting and flat.
While the bricks were drying I google'd for a while on thatched roofs. I eventually stumbed into this gem http://ryan.skow.org/
Ryan is a talented terrain artist. He has a handful of great terrain tutorials and gives permission for his work to be reproduced given the proper kudos. The site has not been updated in about 3 years which is too bad. I would really like to see more from him. Ryan, in honor of your work I bestow upon you the title of Honorary TerrainThrall!
A trip to my local Wal-Mart provided all the supplies I needed to create the thatched roof. Check out the $0.50 plastic bowl. It was exactly 6" in diameter and Elmo's grinning face got drilled out for the roof's center.
A black towel was cut into 1" strips. I had to snip the towel about every inch to allow me to wrap it around a round roof.
As I got further to the peak of the roof you can see why I had to do this. Strips were applied with white glue and I was careful to make sure the fibers of the towel all faced the same direction and allowed for some over-hang on the edge.
Once all the strips were in place and the glue was dry I applied 50/50 watered-down white glue with a nice fat, soft-bristled brush. Take care to apply from the top to the bottom and apply over every inch. I must have used too much water in my mixture because it took a full 2 days for it to fully dry. When it was done I was very pleased with the results. The fibers of the towel were all lying down and were stiff enough to be dry brushed!
The entire roof got painted with a healthy dose of Apple Barrel Colors brown oxide. Once that was dry I dry-brushed Territorial Beige. A quick trip outside to spray on some matte sealing spray and the roof is finished. I'm very pleased with how the roof turned out and I will be using this method again. Thank you Mr. Skow!
Before going any further I needed a door. A piece of balsa wood and a sharp modeling knife is all that is needed. I measured and cut pieces for the door frame and glued them in place. While the glue dried I cut another piece of balsa for the door and lightly engraved it to look like it was made from slats. Small strips of thin plastic sheets were cut and glued for the metal bands and lock. Rivets were made from a hole puncher. I'm not sure what to call the door knob. It is one of those thingies that you push through sheets of paper and spread open to keep them together. You know... thing-a-ma-jiggers! Geez, work with me people!
By now my fieldstone building was complete.
I wanted my trollkin building to be different by being covered up with adobe and looking like pieces of it have broken away over the years. For this I used some spackle and a scraper. Any flat tool will work. just slap on the spackle and spread. Nothing fancy here, just throw the stuff on randomly and flatten it out. This also serves to cover up any unsightly gaps in my plaster brick that I didn't scrape flat from the mold.
Once the spackle dries just use sand paper to clean up any ugly spackle spots and make it smooth.
I sprayed it with a dose of black primer and dry-brushed on a thick and messy coat of dark grey where the fieldstones were exposed. Once that was dry I dry-brushed again with a lighter grey gentler than the first coat and catching the highlights only.
The door was painted dark brown and dry brushed with 2 lighter shades of brown. The metal bands and door-knob were painted boltgun metal and then washed with a watered-down mix of brown and black ink.
The adobe colors proved to be a bit trickier. I had to experiment a bit before I found something that contrasted well with the the grey stones and satisfied me color-wise. First I mixed Bronzed Flesh with just a dab of Scab Red and applied it to all the adobe areas.
Then I washed the entire adobe area with a red/brown at a 1/4 paint/water ratio. When that was dry I dry-brushed the areas again with a pure bronzed flesh, then even lighter with some white mixed in.
The roof was glued on and the entire piece got two coats of matte sealing spray.
I'm bound to get a lot of criticism about how "cheesy" this piece was. But it was incredably fast and easy to do. Just look at how happy these trolls are to have it near!
And I think it looks great - just a little different from the typical foam-core buildings but keeping true to the classic trollkin buildings. I'm going to make a few more and add in some kriel stones and have a trollblood themed table.
Until next time!