Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Welcome to my secret lair on Skullcrusher Mountain

So three years back, I was experimenting with making high, rocky hills with limited paths across them.  I only completed a couple, but I've found them useful for representing significant, impassable hill terrain.

Around the same time, I came into possession of a number of Mega-Bloks pirate playsets, cheap £5 things containing maybe a rowboat and a small island, each of which came in its own clamshell case with the front shaped like a pirate skull.

I had to find a way to use one of those skulls, they were just too good to pass up.

Starting with one skull, I sawed the top off flat.  Fixing it to some scrap MDF, I then built up a hill shape around it using scrap polystyrene.  The hill was made partially hollow, with a cave behind the skull face and a raised floor to allow figures to take up firing positions at the eysockets.  To allow troops to climb onto the top of the piece, I added a winding path around the back of the hill, similar to that on the earlier rocky hills.

The hill was glued, pinned with cocktail sticks, and shoved in a cupboard to dry.

Three years later...

Yes, I said three years later.  I got distracted by Real Life (tm) and forgot about this until about a month ago when I ventured into the outside cupboard and found it again.  This week I decided to finally finish it off.

To start with, there was a major gap between the left top of the skull and the polystyrene "cap" above it, due to my rough cutting job being uneven.  I built this up with greenstuff to the skull had a flat, relatively even rim.  I then coated all the polystyrene in filler to give it a rocky texture.  Then I gave the filler a coat of diluted PVA to reinforce it, before giving the whole lot a coating of black textured masonry paint.  I use this as a basecoat on all my polystyrene hills, as it toughens them and adds a little texture.  After that it was just a matter of drybrushing various shades of grey, adding sand for the paths and flocking for grass and moss.

I'm really pleased with how this has come out.  Obviously it's more suited for fantasy, pirate or pulp games, acting as a scenario objective point rather than generic terrain, so it's only ever going to see limited use.  But I'm sure somewhere on Paradiso here's a "Skull Cave" tourist attraction just waiting to be fought over.  After making so much basic and "practical" terrain, it was nice to work on a totally whimsical piece like this.  Every wargamer shold treat themselves to a "Skull Cave" once in a while.


  1. Fantastic. I imagine I'll need one for Frostgrave!

  2. Nice work! It has a great Pulp feel to it.

  3. Very cool!
    Everyone should have a windmill and a skullcave or something like it.

    1. But.... but... I don't have a windmill..... :-( *cry*