My life doesn’t allow much time to indulge my gaming hobby and the pandemic has put a real crimp in my actual game time, so I find distraction with small projects and by surfing all the great wargaming websites and blogs to see what others are up to. By small projects, I mean something that I can throw together in 10-15 minute increments over a few days and end up with something that I can put on the tabletop if and when I get back to regular gaming. This Mound of Warning is one example.
Several years ago, I bought a bag of plastic Tibetan skull beads cheap on Amazon which I sometimes used to track kills in my miniature wargames. I have a lot of them and was wondering what else I could do with them. I’m about to start-up a homebrew fantasy RGP game on-line via videoconferencing, and had already acquired gear, crafted a UDT, and painted up some 32mm figures to run the game with visually. What I lacked was settings for encounters, particularly dark, ominous dungeony scatter terrain. Hence the inspiration for this Mound of Warning.
Super easy and took me maybe 30 minutes over four days to put together. First step was to gather the materials needs — the skulls, a bit of styrofoam courtesy of Amazon packaging, a few hobby dowels purchased previously from a craft store, and a thin plywood base from same said store.
Day one, cut the styrofoam block in half, glue it to the base, trim it to desired shape, and put a weight on it to let the glue set overnight. On day two, I whittled a point on the dowels with a pocketknife, threaded the skulls on the dowels through the bead holes, put some PVA glue on the ends and pushed them down into the styrofoam. On day three, I covered the styrofoam mound in scuptamold and let it dry overnight. Day four was the painting — acrylic dark umber, followed by a heavy highlight of brown, and the addition of a few tufts to add some contrast. It’s not a masterpiece, but I’m happy with the outcome and I will find many uses for it as scatter terrain whether it’s for dungeon crawls or miniature wargaming.
The main point of this little essay is that these types of small scratch-building projects, requiring only a few minutes as time permits spread over a few days, that can keep you feeling productive and engaged with the hobby. You can always use more scatter-terrain for the table-top, so think about what kind of small projects you could knock out. For me, my next small project is probably going to be creating a few 6mm forests using MDF bases and little green pom-poms. Oh…and the leftover scuptamold was applied to a tongue depressor and will be used to create a strip of boccage for my WWII gaming table.