Cave Entrance

In a dungeon crawl I was working on, the first encounter would take place outside the entrance. I wanted something to grab the players’ attention with, since it would be their first introduction to the game. Digging through some old styrofoam packaging for a TV, I found a piece with an arch perfectly sized for 28mm scale.

I drew the rough shape of the cave in blue marker on the block of foam. I wanted something that looked like an ancient goblin deity, with the entrance formed by the monster’s mouth. My inspiration was Lo Pan’s stairs from the greatest film ever made.


Maybe with just a little less neon…

My diagram looked something like this:


The final product was not intended to look slick and symmetrical. Instead, I was hoping that it would look rough-hewn and relatively unartistic, as though some drunken, clumsy orc had carved the thing right out of the rock a thousand years ago. Fortunately, my innate lack of artistry was a huge help.

Carving was done with a big serrated pocket knife (no clean, exact lines) and “carving” is probably the wrong word anyway. I was basically hacking chunks off until the thing took shape. Once that stage was complete, I dry-brushed the result with acrylics. I used some gray, some rust, and splotches of black and white to give the rock some texture. The pattern of the styrofoam came through the 1-1 paint/water mixture, adding millions of tiny lines that (I felt) helped the rock effect. Judge for yourself:



In all, I was pretty pleased with the thing and my little orc-shaman-scale-demonstrator seems to like it. Eventually, I’ll build a small hillock to fit onto the back of it (probably just a little cardboard box with some turf on it) but I want to finish my screen before I get back to mini terrain.

What other materials should I try for mini objects?

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