'Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,' the borderer said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. 'Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.'

-Robert E. Howard
Beyond The Black River

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Unknown Isle: Skull peak.


With my next session only a few days away I needed to put together the central piece for what will either be the climax of the evening, or very close to it. I have known what I wanted from the beginning of this part of the campaign.

The players are essentially shipwrecked on a mysterious island. There are hints of magic, there is a giant stockade, a small tribe of natives, an ancient city, apes and of course dinosaurs. On the peak of this island rests a skull cavern.

I had initially sought to carve this from foam and got a decent way into the rough cut of that carving, then I was in Michaels, and being as Halloween is the next major holiday I got a foam skull for about $5cad. It's scale was close to what I was building and would allow me to just short cut around the caving of the skull I was working on.

I didn't have time to film the construction, but I thought I could take a few photos and build a blog post around it. I hope you all enjoy it and find it useful.

And ON TO THE BUILD!

You will need......

Tools
Razor knife or hot wire cutter.
Hot glue gun.
paint brushes.

Materials
A foam skull.
XPS or similar.
Tinfoil.
Papertowel.
PVA glue.




The Skull in question. Foam, ~$5cad at Michaels.
Take the XPS, trace the skull foot print and cut it out.
Bevel the edges and make a cut inwards for the cave.
The skull sitting on it's rocky base.
Using some scrap foam, cut out to boulder shapes.
The front of the skull cave.
Using tinfoil build up around the skull.  Glue it with hot glue.
Test fit the skull and make sure you are happy.
I could have used more tinfoil, but it worked out.
Using some paper towel, water and PVA I applied some body to the piece.
Generally, wet the paper towel, place where you want and brush watered down PVA over it.
After it had dried I added some more shape with tinfoil to make it more rocky.
The other side of the skull.
Add more towel and glue over the new foil armature. 
The more of this you add the stronger it will be, but the longer it will take to dry.
Once the towel and glue is dry, give it a nice black base coat. 
Mod Podge and black paint.
Next base the whole thing in whatever color of stone you want.
I used a dark brown here.
Using a highlight color sponge paint the entire structure to bring out the texture.
You can use 2 highlight colors here for more depth.  Sponge the first darker highlight
on about 60% coverage and the next brighter highlight at about 10-20% coverage.
Add fake greenery liberally, yet sparsely over the skull.  I also glued in a couple of
plastic crystal gems I got at the dollar store.
And the skull peak in place on a rocky plateau ready for some adventurers to come and seek it's mysteries.


This was a fairly quick craft. I managed to build it over a course of a week spending a few minutes here and there on it.  It adds quite a lot of character to the scenario and a dramatic center piece for your game. 

I hope you enjoyed the idea and found it useful.  Feel free to browse the blog for other ideas, or leave a comment below with your thoughts on this project.

And of course come check out the You Tube channel over at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvCRyMzJoQBnjb-Qq5Rng_Q

Keith

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