Medieval Fantasy Scenery Pt2

Unfortunately I haven’t had much progress in solo endeavors the past days due to a combination of events and the overall grim situation.
I focused on scenery instead (can’t work on my minis since I’m still waiting for some primers and varnishes).

What I used

  • Repurposed foam
  • Thin wire
  • White glue
  • Acrylic putty
  • Acrylic paint
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Thin kidcraft wood


So the project was a gatehouse. To that end. I repurposed packaging foam, not the best choice since it was flexible and wouldn’t let paint stick on it. More on that later.

So I cut out a piece of foam to form the gate opening and cut out a few pieces of thin wire, and thrusted them in the foam to form a portcullis. I also used two different pieces of black foam from a different package to set up two towers on either side of the gate.

Next, I shaped-cut a separate foam piece to form battlements above the gate and speckled and glued the two towers in place. I also speckled the entire gatehouse to ensure paint would stick.

The towers wouldn’t stick in place, so I cut out a few wire pieces and stuck them at an angle so as to hold the different foam pieces in place while the glue sets. I also cut out battlements at the towers.
To finalize the portcullis, I went above and beyond and soldered the wires, making a sturdy structure.
Furthermore, I noticed that the speckle would chip and fall the more I handled the piece.

First coat
I began a first coat of paint, and realized that the black foam would suck the paint, so I went ahead afterwards and speckled the towers as well. Now my troubles with painting begin. Wherever speckle hasn’t reached (some creases), paint won’t set. The transparent foam material is completely resistant.
On a good note, the paint seemed to strengthen the putty and it wouldn’t chip, increasing the overall toughness of the piece.

Second coat
Nevertheless I persisted. So I passed two gray coats mixed with some glue and water in an attempt to get it to stick.
I then speckled places where there were gaps evident, and after the putty was dry, I painted them over again. During that process, while handling the piece, some pieces of speckle would chip due to the soft foam underneath, revealing the transparent foam. Again, I speckled and painted with a medium gray.

I went ahead and black washed the entire thing. For the black wash I used black paint, lots of water and a drop of detergent to aid with the flow. Had to do a few washes especially for the deep cracks, where there were foam holes. Finally, after this was dry, I drybrushed with a mixture of yellow ochre and gray.

I wanted to add a wooden gate to the portcullis, and went ahead with an open gate, because I wanted the portcullis to be visible. I used kid crafts wooden pieces (like tiny sticks and tiny icecream sticks) which I cut out to shape, glued and painted them a raw umber color. I then went ahead and did something which I should have done in the first place. I mixed the acrylic putty with black paint to get gray putty. I also added a drop of white glue to the mix and used this gray putty to stick the gate directly to the gatehouse without bothering to re-paint over it afterwards.


Lessons learned

  1. The foam was largely unsuitable. Re-purposing material must be done carefully. I ended up wasting a lot of putty and paint to do the piece, and I’m concerned about its integrity.
  2. Soldering the wires was a great way to have a sturdy piece. Much better than any glue. Will have it in mind for the future for any wire metalworks.
  3. Mixing acrylic putty with paint is an excellent way to have a speckle undercoat without the need to add a paint layer. It also has the added bonus of being the same color, and with glue it can be used to attach materials on top. If I had used this technique in the beginning I would have saved me a lot of white paint used to make the gray undercoat.