Saturday, 16 August 2014

LXX. The Troglodyte Shrine

The remains of a huge fish from a subterranean lake make the centrepiece of this Troglodyte altar.  The fact they are now building their sacred structures above ground means Troglodytes are beginning to feel more and more at home in the upper world. Not a good sign...

Front. The fishbone is adorned by preserved human heads.

Back. Hallucinogenic mushrooms grow at the foot of the shrine.
 This piece of terrain is made for use in a campaign scenario featuring Troglodytes.

The main feature of the shrine, the giant fishbone, actually comes from a Rackham Goblin mini: the No-Dan-Kar Fishbone Bearer. I got the goblin quite cheap from a local. It was in a good state, the only thing that was done to it was a thin black undercoat.
The Fishbone Bearer.
 First I removed the fishbone from the goblin, naturally. You can see in the picture there are some human heads hanging from the bone- that's quite alright. However, on the reverse side there were two large mugs belonging to deceased Confrontation Dwarfs, and this would not do. So I thought I'd remove them with my dremel. After lots of grinding I finally managed to remove one. Tired and frustrated with how slowly that was going, I decided that I would try a different approach with the second head. I saved myself a lot of trouble by just cutting off the ribs it hanged from, and then replacing some of the missing ribs with ones I made of pins and green stuff.

I put the bone on a nice 50mm base. It's my standard cork + sand + fallen leaves and grass tufts. 

Awaiting some custom detailing.

The Staves

The fishbone is surrounded by the kind of long staves Shamans carry. This helps make a connection between the terrain piece and the Troglodyte models.  

A staff begins as a brass rod cut to desired length. I also need some thin wire and metal rings.

The wire I usually use for this used to be some sort of a net; I think it came from a wine bottle. Useful material can be found everywhere.

I just wrapped the wire around the brass rod, passing through the metal ring several times. Here I used another type of wire, the one I pulled out of the cable of a pair of broken earphones. This is all fixed in place with a drop or two of liquid superglue. Finally, I wash a layer of watered-down PVA glue over everyhing.

The Mushrooms

Fly amanita mushrooms seemed like a good idea for some spot colour. They also provide detail to the back of the base, as the piece looked less interesting from the back as it was. This is how I make my mushrooms:

When I have leftover green stuff after sculpting, I often make it into mushroom caps for later use. All I need to do when I want some toadstools is drill into the caps and insert a stem (brass rod or paperclip will do).

Green stuff toadstools. And pin heads make good smaller shrooms.

To make their shapes more organic, the metal bits need to be covered with some PVA. When that dries I also give them a coat of liquid green stuff.

Mushrooms fixed to the base and undercoated grey.

Painted. I looked at photos of Amanita muscaria for reference. This poisonous mushroom was used by Siberian shamans to induce trance state. Looks like the Troglodytes like it, too.
 *   *   *

The third Shaman is coming along nicely. I put the bits together: a Hobbit goblin, a staff (still unfinished in this picture) and a Plaguebearer's arm holding trophy heads. He just needs a bit of green stuff where his new arm meets the body, and some sand on the base. Then it's painting time.


  1. Great stuff Ana. Lots of subtle flourishes that become evident as one looks at the pics. Like the barber-pole markings on the staves.

    1. Thanks Finch! :)

      I got the idea for the markings on the staves when I saw this painting by Michael Hutter (it's a nude, so NSFW I guess):

  2. This is pretty awesome! Thank you so much for sharing it. It's always great to see how the people whose work I admire go about doing it.

    1. It also occurred to me: You find the coolest bits!

    2. Thank you, Varangian!

      As someone who loves converting I'm always on the lookout for interesting bits and miniatures. I'm especially happy if I can get them for a decent price and avoid paying for the shipping by trading with locals- like in this case where I found this oop fish goblin in my club's forum's market area.

      I also keep my eye out for the new things. The way the miniature market has grown nowadays it is nearly impossible to keep track of all the new releases, but I try to at least check on the companies that have previously produced useful stuff. Every once in a while something of interest pops out. Seems GW is about to release a handful of new plastic Undead kits soon - maybe I find something for the Countess there.

  3. It's always great to see the process behind such great mini's