Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ancient Well

This will be my first Malifaux/Frostgrave crossover terrain piece.
This piece will be used for the Scenario: The Well of Dreams and Sorrows

 Supplies Suggested:

Small lid -- the lids from mini cups are perfect. Diamond sells a bagof 50 cups with lids are the greatest for various projects.  If you can’t find a bag of mini cups, the local take-out or salad bar has them.  Order a salad with dressing on the side and you will have what you need after a healthy lunch! (Make sure you wash the cup and lid well if repurposing)

Wax paper  -- Protects your work surface and allows your glue to dry evenly.  I like the results much better than newspaper, but reusing the flyers they endless stuff in your mailbox are an ok substitute.

Small stones – I bought a bag of gravel from the local hardware store.  The gravel is various sizes, but for this project I pick out stones that are big enough to fit 3-4 onto a penny.  This creates a scale where it seems feasible the stones were hand carried to site and manually assembled.  This well is going to look ancient, but can also be used in settings where it looks like the denizens did the best they could with the material at hand.

Wood Glue – Flexible and strong.  A little more expensive than White glue, but a bit cheaper than Hot glue and I prefer than either when it comes to gravel.

Paint --  I am picturing this being used for Frostgrave mostly, so I imagine grey stone.  Inexpensive, Craft acrylic paints in Black, White and Grey. 

Spackle – This is the mortar.  Get a tub of spackling paste from your hardware store, you will use a lot of it in your coming terrain projects (great for hills, cliffs, cabins, water features and basing, too!)


1.   Find a lid that is slightly smaller than you want your finished product.  Cut a piece of wax paper that will be slightly larger than your finished product.  Place the lid centered on the wax paper, with the inside facing up.  The lid is not only going to serve as the guide for your well’s circumference, but it also  holds your “water”.

2.       Squeeze your glue (I recommend wood glue over the other options) onto the wax paper around the outer edge of the lid.  This glue will not only connect the stones, but it will also bond the stones to the lids.


3.       Start placing your stones around the base, flush against the outside of the lid and to one another.  Do not worry about spacing them, there will be enough gaps and space due to irregular shape and roundness of the gravel.  I create an irregular base, randomly alternating between large  and medium –sized gravel pieces.  You can create a more uniformed look by just using medium -, or even two small, –sized gravel pieces deep, but I like the irregular profile and it allows the second and third level of stones to settle in interesting ways.


4.       Once you get the initial base surrounded with gravel so it looks how you want it, let the glue set. 

5.     Now comes the fun part….. Well, fun in a fiddly  I-hate-gravity way.  The second level is you finding the stones that naturally settle into the gaps created by the base layer of stones.  It doesn’t have to be perfect because you are adding the “mortar” later to fill gaps and smooth the outer and inner profile.  The second and third level are your chance to create your well’s personality.  Will the stones be of uniform size, shape, and spacing, or are some going jut out, tilt, or even be missing in places?  It all depends on the story you want the well to tell.  I went for the middle ground.  Most of my stones are the same size, but some stick out more than others and some are rounded and others have sharp points.  I want the look that the builders had to use available material which might not have been ideal, but it was still useful and had a lasting result.  I also wanted to give the impression that the stonework was starting to shift from over the centuries so I allowed my pieces to sometimes move how gravity wanted them to settle.  I suggest letting each level settle and for the glue to set before going to the next level.  This is the project that will take a few days, but each day is only 30 minutes or so of gluing.

This is what my well looks like after the final level.  I went with 3 levels.  For 28-32 mm scale, I think anything higher seems impractical from the fluff of citizens getting water and also from a terrain perspective of giving cover, but not blocking LOS.


Next entry will discuss the addition of mortar and paint.

Let me know if I skipped anything, you have any questions, or was unclear about a step.
Have fun building your miniature world!


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