Scottish bones #1: Creating the base

Hey folks!

On the last german Games Day in 2013 I painted a skeleton warrior only one or two weeks before the competition. I really like these kind of undead creatures and again my routing was "keep it simple". The result was very good (rate it by yourself HERE under and my attention for skeletons was awoken. Up to now I always think about a unit of these guys or other opportunities to built exciting skeleton stuff. Weeks ago I had the idea to paint a skeleton that looks more friendly. It should have a usual more common expression because the most of the skeleton warriors look like warriors in fighting positions (especially the GW bones). I had no concrete idea, and so I started to scratch build a skeleton in a quiet standing position with a scottish kilt, a spear and a hourglass ....

That´s the story about the warrior. But today I want to show you another important part of the whole composition: The building of the base. The hourglass and the appearance of a nightwatch projected a medieval town with an old clock tower in my mind. Good idea, but a huge building as the tower is to big for this small miniature. It would kill any spotlight on the mini. So I made a sketch of the whole building on paper and reduced it to the important details. The small stripe should be my backround for the bonish guy.

And here the story began!
The long foam piece was used for the backround, the smaller one as the floor plate. On the paper you can see my sketch. It should be my blueprint for the coming building. The white plastic card is for the door.
At first I cutted the shape of the door and used it as a template. Drawed the outline with a pen on foam an cuted it out.

I like to use foam in modell-building. It can be damaged more such as sculptings with Miliput or Green Stuff, but it is easier to cut, to handle and to glue. Usual I buy it HERE, but you could find it in DIY stores too. There is only one important thing that you never should forget before you paint your foam sculpt: Don´t use spraycans for priming or other colors with solvent substance! It would terminate the foam and all work was useless. 
In the next steps you can find my way of working with foam. I used always the same technique for the whole piece. Everything what you need is a very sharp hobby knife and tools like a pen or a sculpting tool or the backside of a brush ..... you can be creative on that part.

Cut the outlines with the knife in the foam. I would like to create a stone bow around the wooden door. Here I did it only how I thought it could be correct. But it´s easier when you paint the lines before with a pen on the foam.

Then I took a sculpting tool and go through the cutted lines to made them wider. Don´t hesitate to make lines which one are not complete straight. Imagine on the stones in medieval castles.
After all other steps, try to create an natural surface on the stones. For example you can cut off some small corners, or push one stone more into the whole wall then the others.
My building should consist in three floors. The ground floor with the door is build in stone. Stone by stone like a wall. The second floor is inspired by timbered houses and the third and highest floor is the clockhouse with a traditional brig roof. Lets go to the second floor ...

I use exclusively PVA glue on foam. Super glue would be melt it.
After drying of the glue it´s easy to cut the Balsawood.
And now the third floor. Again I used plasticcard and real wood.

The next steps should speak for themselves. I used the same techniques as before. Knifes for sculpts in foam, and plastic card to scratch the tiles and the wooden door.

For the clock I used some old parts from a watch. For example you can buy parts HERE, or ask your familiy to share their watches with you. But I think that could be trouble ;)

At the work on the base, I noticed that the faom got more unstable. With all the glue, plastic card and wood the weight on the small thin foam next to the door got more higher and higher. So I decided to cut the foam at this point to built in a wooden stick for more stability.
To cover the different foam structures on the sides and the back I spread comon putty for renovations on it.

After drying it got sanded and to make it more robust I brushed PVA thinned with water on it.

Got it! The base is almost finished. Maybe some small works on the clock, a little bit more structure on the floor plate and it´s done. 
I hope you like my way of doing. There are a lot of other ways to do it - and that makes our lovely hobby so interesting. I prefer to work with easy materials and less work. Sometimes it needs more time to find the best way, but then it´s always a good knowledge for the next project. All in all I did this base on one evening, and I´m feeling very well with it :) 

In the next capitle I wanna explain the painting. But if you want to see pictures and progress soon, watch out our facebook page HERE and like it!

But now, enjoy the day, go out in the sun and use your brushs at night! ;)

all the best



  1. Yo, that s looking awesome.
    For more stability you clould have used palstic card for the backside.