Grim’s Dungeons of Doom: Realm of the dead; Cemetery Gateway

11 Jun



Hello everyone, it’s me Grim. In my absence, I at least have been amassing a fair bit of material here to continue on with both this series and the blog. I hope you’ll forgive my leave, but shit happens.

So, it’s been a while since posting the last dungeons of doom article. With that in mind, I present to you a series of new load of themed tutorials that deal with the realm of the dead. Over time we’ll be concentrating on a different theme at a time, focusing first with the graveyard/cemetery starting with this creepy skull encrusted cemetery gateway…

Ok, the materials we are going to use here are firstly very thick card taken from old kids card books  (like this;)


Seriously guys, these books are a REALLY great modeling material, it’s low cost (Get from places like flea markets, carboot sales, second hand shops, thrift/charity shops, cheap and discount shops, even from friends/relatives who’s kids have outgrown them etc.) they come in a variety of thickness and cut easily with scissors, plus they are pretty cheap (I’ve got them for as little as 10p over here!)


Anyway, This gateway piece is measured at the same length as my longest wall sections, but you can make them to your own specifications to suit you, this was just my preference for my own terrain set. Make it as big or small as you like.


Next I cut out some shapes to define the doorway, there are 4 of these of which 2 will be for each side, the first for the overall size and shape for the centre, and the other two will be used as the outer raised detail around the doorway.


There is nothing special here concerning measuring and all that, once you have the first shapes, just copy them by transfer drawing around. Of course you can always take your time and get everything as perfect as you like, but it really isn’t necessary. As I said you’ll need one of each per side.


Now we have to cut out the doorway proper, for this just draw out onto the larger door shape, cut it out, then use the cut out as a template for the other side.


As you can see now, its time  to start constructing the side walls. To do this, use the base as a guide and line up the doorway at the centre. I used a strip of card the same length as the base (Incidentally,the card is exactly the same height as my original wall sections as detailed here), then I placed the doorway over it, and again used it as a template to get the right sizes of each piece at either side. I’m sure it would have been just as easy to measure, but I much prefer to do as much as I can by eye. Once you have the sections to length, make a copy of them for the next bit.


OK, next we need to create the side section walls. To bulk them out and make them truly 3D, we’re going to cut some square wooden pieces to the height of the walls and stick them at either end, therefore once joined to the two larger bits at each side, will form a hollow wall section. The wood square dowel is around 10mm/1cm, so adding the extra 2mm from the thickness of the card, takes us to around 12mm thick walls, which for me is good enough to match most of my other wall sections in my dungeon set. I have to say that I acquired the dowel from discarded fireworks from last year, and ended up with lots of good pieces, but if you cant get all these things, you could easily use other stuff, foamboard, even corrugated card could be used. my advice is always use what you have access to and learn to adapt to different materials and you’ll always be fine!


Now you can start the construction of the main shape, so take the wall sections and attach the doorway.



Attach to the base and leave quite a bit of room at one side (which will be the front of the piece) this is done for adding plenty of detail later.


To add to the overall shape of the model get a cardborad tube and cut a length to the height of the wall sections then cut this in half. This tubing is from some aluminium foil but toilet tube would probably do.


Glue these bits to either end to form rounded pillars.


Now, add the door detail rim from before, glueing on both sides. (I use cheap impact or contact adhesive for a quick and solid fix, but by all means use a gluegun or superglue or other preferred glue type)


Since we have the basic shape done, lets get to detailing. Take some of the halloween cheapo skeleton garland skellies that are very popular for people like us, and start to cut them into pieces (similar to the bone piles article)



Get one of the skulls and slice it in half (as above)


Then start sticking on the skeletal pieces artistically to your piece. You might see that the above and below pics looks a little rough and grainy well this was due to a mistake I made by accidentally spraying with carpet spray adhesive which made it sticky so I used some silica powder to de-stickify the area. It wasn’t a big deal since I’d be adding tons more stuff to it but it nearly fucked everything up!



Next I started adding small square wooden beads and plastic skull beads in an alternating pattern for some easy detail. You can do as little or as much as you like but, I think it adds to the effect if you go all in for skulls (I do love them skulls!)


Keep cutting up the skeletons and adding them for effect. Add as much as you like!




Cap the open tops of the pillars up with thick cardstock and do the same with the tops of the wall sections too. Also cap off the curved top of the gateway for the next bit.



Using my fave method use textured wallpaper (as mentioned before many times) to cover the blank areas of the piece. I used a simulated rock texture but you could use something else if you want different effects.


Once its clad with the wallpaper get cutting those skellies up and keep adding detail. I also had a few GW gravestones that were apt considering. Use whatever you think is fitting to the overall image of the piece.



More skull beads, gravestones and skull shields were added.


For added spiky bits I cut off some plastic spear ends from my bits box and added them to my rows of skulls on top.


As the front add parts in the same way to the back for detail, not that as much is needed since the business end is the front. It just adds a tad more flavour.



In the centre I used the same textured wallpaper as I did on the baseboard for the dungeon as these are ideal for miniature tiles.


Next I went around with milliput to add some detail to the base and blend in a few areas nothing too complex, I just wanted added detail. You could scrap this part or go even more nuts on detail



Spray it black once your happy with the level of detail.



Painting was a simple dark grey to light grey and white with highlighting in the same palette. I did a bit of brown weathering in some areas and picked out detail in black, white and silver. Nothing too fancy nice and simple.


Finally I added a bit of modelling moss to give that overgrown feel.



Now the model is done, ready to serve as an ornate gateway to the realm of the dead, or as an entrance to a dungeon boss room, I reckon it’s not too bad!





So, I hope I may have inspired, informed or entertained, so join me next time for the next part of the Grim’s Dungeons of Doom series, with yet another themed piece from the realm of the dead, The advanced form of this one, The Cemetery Gates!


See you next time!

4 Responses to “Grim’s Dungeons of Doom: Realm of the dead; Cemetery Gateway”

  1. Sleepy Hollow Restored June 11, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    Great piece! Glad to have you back in the groove!

    Liked by 1 person

    • grimace73 June 12, 2016 at 11:38 am #

      Thanks! Glad to be getting back into it!!



  1. Grim’s Dungeons of Doom: Realm of the dead; Opening Cemetery Gates. | The Grinning Skull - June 18, 2016

    […] for Grim’s Dungeons of Doom, that being of the advanced (but still quite easy) version of the cemetery gateway, actual opening gates. I have tried to use alternatives methods and materials to give you some […]


  2. Grim’s Dungeons of Doom: Realm of the Dead; Necropolis Obelisk | The Grinning Skull - August 9, 2016

    […] necropolis themed pieces. Add a large skull from some cheapo skeleton garlands like before in the Open gateway piece. Use the pelvis from them to mount the skull […]


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