Brilthor Keep – An elven stronghold in the Blue mountains – Part 3
Gastblog door Jeroen Mies / Guest blog by Jeroen Mies
Reading my second blogpost on Brilthor Keep, I noticed I had already forgotten to mention things I did during the build. So I have decided to keep writing the blogposts as fast as possible and publish them sooner, so every interesting detail would not be forgotten over time.
So here is part 3 of the construction of Brilthor Keep.
Since the construction of the upper level was coming along just fine, I decided it was time to start working on the base element and build up the entire scenery from the bottom up. During the build it was pretty easy to disconnect the upper level from the stand, but in this stage the central element was already pretty detailed so disconnecting the bolt was already pretty hard. I decided this would be the very last time that the upper level would be disconnected. On the right it can be seen upside down, ready for base coating the bottom part. But more on that in Part 4 of this blog series.
After buying the smallest amount of polystyreen plates at the local store (which turned out to be just 6 euro’s for a huge pack of insulation foam) I started to work on idea’s for the bottom area. Initially I thought a small pond or river around the central stand would be a good idea, but having seen so many very nice river and seabeds made of resin, I wanted more of a mountain terrain with a lot of water in it.
The whole process of making my own scenery is not just about the building process itself, for me it is also about world building. So I wanted to be sure there was a road leading up to the keep, and also ways to defend the keep from enemies who wanted to conquer the keep. So I came up with the idea of a number of dangerous creatures that would live in or near the water that would prevent enemies from scaling the keep with ladders or climbing material. (Remember Watcher of the Water from Lord of the Rings ?)
So I ordered a set of 3 Screamers of Tzeentch at a local Warhammer store and these blue coloured creatures were going to be ’tamed’ creatures that would prevent anyone from crossing the water and reaching the main structure of the keep.
With these ideas in mind I drew the basic setup of the bottom area and started cutting the first polystyreen sheet into shape.
To form the polystyreen I used both knives and a heat gun, to melt the material on the roads, banks and on parts of the rock. This provided nice texture and form to the total scene.
Since lighting the entire scene is also an important part of the project I decided to create the cave where the Tzeentch live in, in such a way that blue light would come out of it and illuminate a part of the lower level. In the original plan the wiring was already intended to enter from the right side, so I put wiring in place and glued it in place with hot glue.
After test fitting the light and adding blue foil on top of the LED, it was time to test the light in the dark, and I am quite happy with the result.
Meanwhile the Screamers of Tzeentch arrived and after assembling them, I could also see how these would work when placed in the water. Since the original creatures are more flying accross a battlefield I decided I would glue the base elements to the floor, before pooring the plaster and later the resin on the floor. Thus making sure that the creatures would be as close to the water level as possible. I may even decide to have one or two of them position in such a way that they jump out of the water. But these are details for much later.
When I was looking at the scenery, I already had pictured a bridge that would placed to cross the water and I remembered a set of greek columns that I had bought many years ago. I thought I would break these columns into smaller pieces and embed them in the scene to provide for more interesting details and history to it.
Breaking them would also fit the size of the elves much better. I removed enough material in the road to lower the overall structures and glued them in place.
Next up was making a number of batches of plaster to cover the entire project and start to create the rock shapes, the road and the slope that would lead to the water area.
Besides the bridge I also intend to create a docking area for boats for bringing food and cargo to Brilthor Keep. So a gentle slope seems like a nice addition and should also provide for a place to add plants that will grow there.
For the riverbed itself I made a mix of plaster sheet, with more water than usual, and I added a dark gray pigment to colour the material into a gray base colour. After putting duct tape on all sides to prevent the mixture from flowing off the base, I poured the mixture and placed the bases for the Tzeentch in the right location.
Obviously it took about 12 hours to totally harden, but in the end it gave a nice strong base for the river.
The LED light has been nicely embedded inside the base layer, thus ensuring that the main blue light source will later be encapsulated into the resin I am going to pour and thus hopefully lighting the water from underneath.
There is still polystyreen visible, which will be covered with plaster later.
Here are the links to other parts of the series on building Brilthor Keep…