4xD: But hey Mr Grim, I wanna’ game my dungeon in 15mm….

5 Oct


So, outside of the Grim’s Dungeons of Doom tutorials, I think I needed to have yet another sub-set of brain fart articles to cover other aspects from time to time, so here is 4xD (which stands for Dungeon developments, discourse and dialogue) in which i’ll be babbling on about my gameworld Plexus (which I wouldn’t mind developing into something cool) as well as future dungeons of doom related PDFs I’m making, and other similar themed stuff I’m planning that doesn’t fit into the main articles.

Today I want to address 15mm dungeons and just how we can adapt these techniques to suit that scale rather than the usual 28mm.

To be honest, I mainly game in 15mm and not 28mm, unless it’s WFB I don’t really have any minis in that size beyond that, so when I began this, I seriously considered going 15mm as well. I do have quite a few 15mm fantasy adventurers, but were lacking on monsters, so it was kind of a reversed 28mm situation (Where as I have plenty of monsters, yet hardly any adventurers) What swung the decision in the end was the sheer scope and availability of fantasy minis in the scale, otherwise I’d have gone smaller just for space saving.

Anyway, but just how many of these techniques I’ve been detailing? So enough of my rambling, and lets shift scale.


DUNGEON FLOORS- There is absolutely no reason why the exact same technique can’t be used. Other textured  paper is available with smaller mosaic squares that would be more akin to 15mm flagstones but I don’t see why the same dungeon flooring could not be used. Another idea would be to acquire some nice cheap or free floorplans in PDF form and shrink them down 50%-65%


WALL SECTIONS- The same goes with the wall sections, only with slight modification. I would recommend that the only thing that i’d do different is when detailing the texture with card block designs, is that they would scale more if the brick design was shrunk by half. Ok, this would take a little longer, but not that much. Some might also prefer to use a smaller dimension of wood pieces, although I think that this would not be essential. If you don’t want the wood method for your dungeon, consider getting some dungeon building paperkit PDFs and shrinking them by the same percent as the flooring, or for free on the web. There are a good selection that would fit on this site, check the Resources section for lists of free 3D dungeons and similar.


DOORS– The chunky doors are easily done by simply shrinking the door size down only and keeping the rest of the building as is, also don’t forget that 15mm can be found for sale by several mini companies, so that’s an option too without much outlay. Opening doors like in the article are still do-able but a little fiddly, as with anything if you shrink the size. Maybe if there’s a call for it, i’ll do a tutorial for it, however you’ll nee to let me know if thats what you want!


FURNITURE- It’s very difficult to get the same level of detail that you get at 28mm, but not impossible either. If you aren’t ready to micro the techniques I’ve been going on about, you can always buy the dressings in from mini companies if you look around, although this can be hit and miss. Making stuff yourself helps eradicate the frustration factor with buying, only to replace it with more frustration building it! But, hold on, there need be no angst if you think carefully. Beds are easily sorted by shrinking the sizes (use 1 lolly stick wide for single beds, 2 for double beds etc) tables, again shorten the lengths and widths (use thick card as an alternative if it makes it easier) Shelves are something more intricate, swap lolly sticks for thick card, use smaller beads and adornment, sure it’s tricky, but not hard to do. For the books on the shelves, use thinner card too for scale. Books can also be made from the books & scrolls PDF, by printing the kit out at about 50-65% (your choice) and using thin card instead of EVA foam. opening books from the kit may be trickier….


CAVERN WALLS, CORNERS, DOORWAYS AND FEATURESCavern walls using expanding foam are easily done as is, or simply change the dimensions to create smaller walls of your desired height/width. It’s exactly the same with the corners and doorways, use as is or create them smaller to suit. Cavern features need no changes, just create them smaller if you need to, otherwise make as normal.

Dungeon Encounters 3

MINIATURES- Just a quick mention about 15mm minis. There are plenty of great companies who produce suitable minis for 15mm dungeon crawling. The only downfall is that you’ll really need to shop around to get the diversity needed for a proper old skool feel. Classic dungeon monsters are hard to find in 15mm, but more and more manufacturers are bringing out these classic creatures. Checkout other scales such as 10mm, 20mm and 28mm for minis that will suit. Pendraken do some cool dungeon monsters that fit well with 15mm. Don’t forget other great manufacturers to get your usual fantasy races and mosters, 15mm.co.uk, Irregular, splintered light, magister militum to name but a few. Adventurers can be plucked from all manner of historical lines at great prices much cheaper than their fantasy couterparts. Shopping around is key.

So, capping off this article, where ever possible from now on I’ll attempt to throw in some 15mm building tips too, for those of you who want to go 15mm (rather than the 28mm I’ve been detailing here). If you would like the odd 15mm dungeon article let me know in the comments about your opinions on the subject and if you’d like to see a few 15mm articles and I might oblige!

Grim’s Dungeons of Doom: Adventures in expanded foam, part 3; Cavern features

4 Oct



Back again with the next part of Grim’s Dungeons of Doom, and more adventures in expanding foam, and how you can craft some decent scenics with this little used material.

OK, for part three, we are going to deal with cavern features, mainly hazard pools and stalagmites. I’ve opted here to create pieces that illustrate both at once, but there’s no reason you couldn’t do them independently if you wanted.

As ever, you’ll need your trusty expanding foam gap filler, some textured wallpaper, a few wooden sticks (skewers or toothpicks will do, use whatever you have) a sturdy base (MDF/Thick card/hardboard etc) and some sand for texture. Although you don’t need to go full throttle on the paint effects for the pools, you’ll need your usual acrylic paints, some inks, and some glass paint to achieve the finish on these.

A note on glass paints. Acrylic glass paint is a really useful paint type to have in your crafting arsenal. Think of it as a type of thick viscous ink or glaze. It dries glossy and clear, so you can achieve some decent effects with them. They mix down with water, ink, water based paints, so they are great to experiment with. I find them very hard to get hold of where I am (No decent craft shops anymore here) but they can be found on the web. My set currently I found at a cheap shop while on holiday, and since they were only £1, it was a great deal. Glass paints usually go for £2-£3 each so look out for them!

Right, first of all, get your textured wallpaper. The one I’m using is called Arundel I think, and it’s really great for simulating cobbles, bubbles and similar. I’ve used it before in the Walls tutorial, but its uses go way beyond just cladding stuff, here’s a look at the texture:


This is what we’ll be using for the bubbling pools on the models. Next you’ll need to cut out a piece to stick on your base. make this any size you wish but leave some space around the edge to texturise your base and form the lip of the pool.


When its stuck down, get out the foam filler and carefully lay down the filler around the pool,making sure you only go around the outside, leaving the textured paper alone.


Next, spread the foam around and start to manipulate it with a wooden stick and spread it around to form interest and detail as we did before in part 1 and part 2. As you start to work it, you’ll notice that your stick will start to get bunged up with the drying foam, you’ll need this if you want to add stalagmites, so get them gunked up as you work the foam, gently adding more as you need it. As the foam dries, you’ll be able to shape it with your fingers, so shape the foam covered sticks into a rough point at one end, these will form the tips of the stalagmites. Make as many as you like of all sizes.


As the foam dries, you can also cut sticks to size and position them into the piece. These sticks are then covered by adding more foam and covering them by the manipulation method. make sure you keep them upright as the foam dries otherwise they will set at odd angles.


Separate foam stalagmites can be inserted into the piece easily by leaving a small peg on the foam covered wood and making a small hole in the foam. Glue them in using strong glue of your choosing.


Add some texture by flocking with course sand or simliar, this will break up any smooth areas and create a more natural impression to the piece.


After this, undercoat it black and start your cavern paint scheme on the foam areas only. Leave the pool, just paint the rest of the piece to match your other cavern terrain.


Once you have done the basics on the foam areas, give the pool a good solid coat of bright yellow. For good coverage, you may want to do this 2 or 3 times to build up a good solid block colour as the base of the lava.


Once it’s dried, start drybrushing over it with bright orange up to bright red as the base of the lava. Lightly drybrush the area around the edge too, this will give an eventual glow effect. Once they have dried, give the area a light drybrush of black as well, before moving onto the next step.

The effect here was achieved by firstly giving the lava pool a thick yellow wash to get the area wet enough for the glass paints to flow realistically through the channels of the texture detail. Use the combination of the thick viscous glass paints and acrylics to build up the appearance of runny lava flow, go yellow, then red, yellow, red until the layers look to your desired effect. Also take a toothpick and try and drag them into each other while drying to add even more detail. Keep adding layers until your satisfied. You may need to build up 5 or 6+ before you get the effect here. When totally dry, retouch the burnt black exposed areas, then seal in with a nice clear gloss.





The green ooze effect is exactly the same technique, only using a combination of greens and yellows in ink, acrylic paint and green glass paint.




There are lots of other results you can get from this technique, blood pools, sludge brown and so on, use your imagination!

It’s a great end look, that isn’t too hard to get, albeit a bit time consuming! It’s easier than one would think to get the effects, so give it a go!

So, I hope that this section of Dungeons of Doom has shown that Foam gap filler is indeed a great material to have in your craft supplies, and I’ll be featuring it in conjunction with other makes in the future. I know that there’s a few out there that have commented on how foam filler looks like what it is and that it could be a poor choice, but I disagree. Try experimenting with it to see what other uses it could fit, and you’ll be surprised if you think out of the box!

I’ll be back next time for more Dungeons of Doom…

Grim’s Dungeons of Doom: Adventures in expanded foam, part 2: Cavern Doorways and Corners

2 Oct


Before I begin with this weeks Grim’s Dungeons of Doom article, I would say that it would have been sooner,rather than now, all down to SD formatting blues, and that I had to try and both find some lost pic files, and recreate a good few to make these next two parts! Many Bothan spies died to get you this article….!

Ok, last time we were talking about straight modular cavern walls, nothing fancy there,just the basics to transform expanding foam filler into a more valid terrain making material. This time we’ll be going a little more advanced (Still easy) and dealing with doorways and corner connector pieces for the cavern walls.


Here we’ll tackle doorsways first I think, we are going to create a decently detailed empty arch to simulate a natural looking cavern opening.

Here’s where we’re aiming for;


Right then, lets get started. Get some cardstock, scissors, thick card for the base, expanding foam.

Start by deciding on how big you want the cave doorway to be. You can make small ones, medium right up to huge cavern entrances this way, it’s totally up to you. I’ve gone for a large doorway here.


Next you’ll need to cut it out. Also cut out a rough base using nice thick card. I’ve been using pages from baby/toddler books that my kids have grown out of. These thick card pages are similar in size to the thickness of cakeboard, Its a great material to seek out, try going to your local charity/thrift stores and looking in the book section, ours usually have tons going for less than 25p, so keep an eye out for them!


Next cut a small line in equally on each side. Make sure you allow a little extra height when you cut out your doorway, as the cuts are made to provide a tab so you can stick the doorway down on the base before using the foam. Glue the doorway down centrally on the base, allowing a bit of room on each side also.




Once the door is affixed, the foaming begins. Get your foam and carefully spray one side first.


once the first side is done, carefully turn it round and cover the second.


When the whole lot is covered, get stuck in there and move the stuff around as it starts to dry (as mentioned in the previous article) Use a disposable stick to manipulate the foam into interesting shapes, pop the bubbles as the foam expands and it’ll create pockets and texture in the foam. You can even stick things into it as it dries, this doorway got a skull bead at the top of each side. Get creative and get as crazy as you like, bones, heads, whatever you like. Make sure as it cures, to make it stand up right, keep your eye on it as if it dries bent or at an angle, you won’t be able to rectify it easily once its solid.


Leave it to dry and cure fully (which doesn’t take long) and now trim the foam flat at each side to allow the cavern wall sections to be connected modular. Once you happy with the fit, you can flock them for texture with some sand of whatever you like before black undercoating and following up with your chosen cavern paint scheme and weather them up to match.


After that, you have your very own cavern doorways. Nice and easy, make them any size. i have done these random sizes, you can however measure them to fit a particular size (as I’ve done my other smaller door sized entrances) Also, you could affix a chunky wooden door within the construction or even the mechanism for the opening door can be hidden inside a foam doorway structure if your careful, however it will be tricky to get the opening and closing right, but not impossible.



Maybe this should have been done first, but no matter. To make the cavern wall sections work in a nice organic way and look, corner connector pieces were needed to obtain the shapes and curves such a cavern set up would need. The easiest way to tackle this for me, was to make a piece that would fit the other modular dungeon wall sections too, then I could create more deviations in a basic dungeon/cavern set up on the table.

These sections are easiest by taking either the corner of a box the same height (as in the cavern wall tutorial) or by making one the right size. Here I am using the box corner idea, but by cutting away some of a similar sized box to form one. Make sure the size of the corner matches up to the size of the walls or the pieces will look odd.


As you can see here, I have a box of pretty much the same size of one of my other corner sections. I need my section to be a little bigger to create the curve, so I’ll cut down the middle leaving the back uncut. That will form the bend on the corner. Cut off the front too as in the pic.


Fold it inwards and affix. Once glued, cut off the ends. Now you have a corner.


Now, fill this corner with expanding foam. As before start manipulating the foam to interesting shapes. Try and keep a curve within the interior and not let the foam expand just to fill the gap totally, keep popping the foam bubbles to create interest.




Once you achieve a curved cavity and it’s set, trim the sides with a sharp blade to fit against the other pieces. Also trim the top and bottom in wibbly organic shapes for more of a natural look.


Here, you’ll see another take on a different piece. The structure on the left of the corner is made from one of the sticks I used to shape and stretch the foam about. Covered in the plastic foam they make great stalgmite type add ons to add more variation.


Now, get your sharp blade and cut off the corner. Make it quite straight so that this new flat edge will form yet another area to allow wall sections to be placed. This way you’ll end up with a total of 5 separate positions that will give you maximum variation for set up.


Clad on the top and side using textured wallpaper (as in the cavern wall article) and get ready to undercoat.



The above picture shows another type of entrance which is a cross with a normal wall section. This is done by the principle of the wall section card trenches stuck together on each side, with a small entrance cut in ( as the doorways) and foam filled on both sides.


Black bomb the piece(s) and paint to match the rest of your dungeon/cave.


The addition of these corners give more of a natural appearance when creating table set ups compared to the square right angled brick walls. As you can see by the cave set up picture, they look fine either way (due to the textured paper) that is providing your paint scheme matches.


So, there you have it for this episode. Next up is part three to the Adventures in expanded foam series, Cavern features (like the one in the above picture)

Oh, and this…


See you next time….

The Future, Dear reader, the future….!

30 Sep


So, as I sit here and ponder, just where the fuck have my tutorial pictures gone for my next Grim’s Dungeons of Doom article, lost in my 10,000 file folders it seems, it got me drifting off, thinking about what to do for future posts.

Sure, I’ll be doing more dungeons posts, as well as more crowdfunding spotlights, and more news of future releases from me, but just what do you, my readers want to see featured here?

So, rather than post up a poll, I wanted to engage you lot, to see what you think? More dedicated industry interviews (I had planned it, but do you want them?) Terrain tutorials? Reviews? 15 or 28mm?

I’ve finally managed to get hold of Frostgrave, so would you want to see something relating to that, be it 15mm terrain for the game, or a focus on the 28mm? More craft/making stuff, whatever it be?

So many things, so many decisions.

So I throw it over to you. Let me know in the comments section, or contact me directly if you have suggestions, ideas or what ever you’d like.

You know, this site isn’t just here to keep promoting my variety of tat, it is to entertain and enlighten (well, maybe thats going too far!) and of course, I do it for you all, my lovely readers!!

Let me know!


Grinning Skull Recommends: Cheap Toys that are Great for Table-Top Gaming – Part One!

29 Sep



As you know, I’m all for money saving when it comes to gaming, and I also love toy hacks, so I wanted to share this post from over on http://cloudcraftsite.wordpress.com, check out some of his other awesome posts by visiting his blog.

Anyway, this top 5 has some cool stuff that can be easily converted for your games and models, plus links to places you can get them!!

If you like cheap toy hacks, also check out The giant scorpion toy hack and The bag “o” Skeletons review from the archive!!

Originally posted on cloudcraftsite:

The following are just some Cheap Toys I’ve found while browsing the net that I think would have excellent potential for Table Top Gaming, whether it’s just giving them a quick paint job, or Kit-Bashing them to the point where the original model is unrecognizable (or you get the “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?” reaction from your friends).

Item Number One: True Legends Mythical Warriors

This bucket of fantasy figures was reviewed by Fungeon Master Dave O’Gara (will post link in a moment) and I can see a few figures that have potential as either Ogres for Dungeons and Dragons / Pathfinder, or as Kit-bashed Demon Princes of Nurgle or Khorne for Warhammer/Warhammer 40k. The Sorceress looking figures would probably make for good kit-bash material for a Demon Prince of Tzneetch or Slaanesh. The terrain that comes with this set is also fairly decent, and I would not hesitate to…

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