Hirst Arts Bridge Inspired by Video Game


Last week while I was working on the sewer tiles in the den my wife was playing a PC game called Divinity – Original Sin.  Occasionally I would look up and see what was going on when things start getting a little excited.  At one point I looked up and saw this bridge and said “Whoa – I need to build that!”  So…

The inspiration:


I started by using some of the balcony support blocks from the 3″ Tower mold #79 and floor tiles from the Egyptian Floor Tile mold #290:


I wanted to give the bridge a little more length so I extended the middle a couple of inches.  This build was a challenge because I actually had to assemble the entire piece upside down:


I added pillars from the Gothic Arena Mold #42 and let it dry overnight before flipping back over:


I built a stair case based on Ruined Field stone Tower tutorial on the Hirst Arts website:



This bridge will align itself with the castle project, the Narthrax tower and give the dungeon set some vertical interest.


I added a few details to the ledges just to break up the flatness:



I can’t comment on the game play and although it appears that most of the PC game is outdoors it is still full of inspiration for terrain builders and every time I look up I see something else I “need to build”!

Here are a few screenshots I found on Google:





Night Owl


Too Much of Everything is Just Enough

While this week has seen some additional casting the process is slowing without a doubt.  Like a marathon runner I hit a good pace and kept it for a while but now it is starting to burn.


In my last post I described the pieces as 4 X 2 Wall or 2 x 2 Corner and I’ll show here what I meant by that and how the modular pieces work together.

To build a dungeon room that is 8 X 8 tiles I would use the following 9 pieces (from left to right):

Floor 4 X 4              = 1

Doorway 2 X 4       = 1

Walls 2 X 4             = 3

Corners 2 X 2         = 4


Arrange them as such:


and condense:


Now I want to add an L shaped corridor coming off the room so I’ll use the following 9 pieces (from left to right):

Corner 2 X 2                                 = 1

Pillar (1/2″ sq block/3 high)      = 1

Walls 2 X 2                                   = 2

Floor 2 X 2                                    = 1

Walls 2 X 4                                   = 4


Arrange them as such:


and condense:


These can be modified accordingly to build smaller or larger areas,  I have found that it is easier to keep most of the pieces in units of 4 or less as I can still make 12 X 12 rooms without the storage issues.  I’ve been messing around with some color schemes but still haven’t settled on anything that I’m too happy with.  I’m really liking the idea of an open top dungeon resembling jungle ruins with vines & vegetation but that may postponed for another day.  I think I just want to go paint a mini and not think about it for a while!


Thanks for dropping by,

Night Owl



Dungeon Crawl Progress

I haven’t posted in a while and thought maybe an update might be in order.  The last few weeks has found me casting more modular dungeon pieces and because there isn’t much to show that wasn’t shown in the last post I thought I would do a mock set up and get an overview of the project.  My goal is to cast enough to set up a dungeon crawl for an all day or two evening run.  Here’s what we’ve got so far:


The amounts of each module are below.  I have not used them all to arrange this layout.  I would like to have at least two of each for any configuration that I can come up with.

Wall – 1×2          6
Wall – 2×2         20
Wall – 3×2         8
Wall – 4×2         36
Wall – 5×2
Wall – 6×2

Corner – 2×2     35

Floor – 1×1         6
Floor – 1×2        14
Floor – 2×2       22
Floor – 3×2       4
Floor – 4×2       19
Floor – 5×2       1
Floor – 6×2

Floor – 1×3        2
Floor – 3×3        1

Floor – 4×4       2

Floor – 6×6       1

Room – 3×3      1
Room – 4×4
Room – 5×5      4
Room – 6×6      1
Room – 7×7
Room – 8×8
Room – 9×9
Room – 10×10

Cavern Pieces –  77



I’m using a 4 X 4 DIY battle mat as a base since I don’t have the cavern floor tiles mold.








In all honesty, looking at it as a set I’m rather disappointed in the color.  Everything has a alcohol/ink wash base and I was hoping this would be enough but no such luck.  The colors looked good at first but as they completely dried over time they really kinda went bland and ran together more than I thought they would.  The walls are brown and the floors are black but it’s hard to see that from a distance so I think I’ll go back over them with some strong dry brushing to help make them pop.

Although I dread the time it would take I really like the random colorization of the field stones.  A good example of this can be found on hosercanadian’s blog here: https://hosercanadian.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/going-down-to-the/.  His random card generating dungeon system is what inspired this project after all so take a look!

So where it stands now is that I still need to keep at the casting grind for a while.  The weather here has started to warm up so maybe I can put it into overdrive for a bit and get it knocked out.  Also, keeping me busy is the acquisition of the new D&D 5th ed release.  While I haven’t actually played the pen & paper version of D&D since the early 80’s I keep hearing good things about it and finally caved in.  This tabletop set up could help me to relearn the system after all these years.

Thanks for looking,

Night Owl

Crankin’ Out Dungeon Pieces


Assembly line type work has never been my forte.  This is mostly due to the fact that my attention span is equivalent to that of a fruit fly.  So when it comes to doing repetitive work such as assembling a collection of dungeon pieces it can be agonizing.  Luckily some good music or a marathon run of old school Shaw Brothers Kung Fu movies helps ease the insanity.  My current project involves bolstering the collection of modular dungeon pieces using Hirst Arts molds for a larger more cohesive set up.  I’ve got plenty of random colored pieces, many of them experimental color schemes,  and enough to make a fair-sized layout but the idea of a large consistent layout has always appealed to me.  So here we go.

I started out with floor tiles.  You cannot ever have enough of these and they are constantly in production.  On a good weather day I can produce about 150 of these.  This is still not enough it seems.


For the sake of modularity I’ve chosen to work in units of twos, fours and eights for my floor sizes with a few oddities thrown in for special occasions.  I’ve opted to go three layers high, or 1 1/2 inches.  This is just the right height to add decor and still remain playable without obscuring vision while sitting at the gaming table.  I’ve also chosen to set the walls atop the floor tile which leaves me a 1/2 inch to place decor such as columns, barrels, crates and other goodies to add flavor.


I’ve found I can do just about any basic layout with these tiles and a few 1 1/2 inch stacks for inside corners.



When mass casting like this I always end up with lots of extra pieces that I don’t need as many of.  I found I had an abundance of doors and a little angled wood piece from the cavern accessories mold.


I thought these could make good bookshelves so I took some brown craft paint and lightly dry brushed the wood finish before dipping them in a black wash.



Then I assembled them as such:


Putting them back to back also makes a nice divider for blocking line of sight in larger dungeon rooms.


I also wanted to figure out a way to make a transition piece to merge the field stone and cavern areas.  I used two 8 X 2  inch tiles for this corridor.  The stone arch above the door is not glued together at the top.



Everything at this point has a base stain of grey and brown although the contrast doesn’t show up in these pics as much as in reality.

How many more tiles do we need?  Ha!  Many many more.  Go big we say!  Which reminds me I think it’s time to pour some more castings – gotta run.

Thanks for looking,

Night Owl



Additional Tower and Blood Fountain


This week I was able to get another tower built for the Narthrax Bones mini.  While I did want it to stand out a bit from the rest I did not to overshadow the dragon or take away from it in any way so I kept it consistent at 4″ X 4″ like the others.


I built it a few layers higher and added a wood platform using the wood floor tiles from the cavern accessories mold to the top of the second floor for Narthrax to perch on.


I glued a magnet to the underside of this level but will wait until I paint the dragon to attach magnets to its feet.



While I was building this I got a little side tracked on another project (imagine that!).  I’m always fiddling with stuff while I’m waiting for glue and paint to dry and messed around with some blocks until I came up with a fountain.


I couldn’t help but to see this as a blood fountain.  Why?  I don’t know, I don’t need a blood fountain.  Something in my primal need to set up an old school hack n’ slash dungeon I suppose.


I drilled a hole into the bottom of the skull and added a piece of clear acrylic rod to form the start of the blood flow.


I used a layer of prime red acrylic paint, red ink, followed with gloss gel to simulate the blood pool.




This will be added to the ever growing collection of modular dungeon pieces.

Thanks for dropping by,

Night Owl


Spelunking anyone?

My wonderful wife and kids got me the Cavern molds #81 & #82 from Hirst Arts for Christmas. I’ve been eying them for a while now and am excited to mess around with them.  Like most of Bruce’s stuff there is often more than meets the eye once you start getting comfortable with the pieces.  At this point I’m just working with vanilla straight out of the mold stuff.


I started out with a few casting sessions and got everything primed up.  I use the cheap flat black Wal-Mart brand for this stage.


Next I’m using a base coat of brown and then successively highlighting with Creamcoat bamboo and spiced tan.  Lastly I gently highlight the highlights with green, blue, purple, etc. to get that deep mineral look.  This is all finished with a layer of Modpodge matte finish.


The pools get a treatment of midnight blue, a neon green wash and a gloss varnish.






Really excited to work with these and am surprised at how fast it fills up an area.  The pics of the set up consists of 10 casts of both molds.  At this rate it shouldn’t take long at all to get a pretty good sized layout.  Bruce’s molds can be found at www.hirstarts.com.

Also managed to get in a game of Agricola the other night.  This is a new one for us so we’re learning on the family level or “demo tutorial” as we like to say.  Fun game that I’d recommend if you get the chance to play.



Thanks for taking a gander.

Night Owl

Earth Tribe Cocktail Sword Crystals


I had a little time this evening to work on some terrain bases for the Orc Tribe.  I started out with some plastic poker chips, some Hirst Arts crystals from the #85 Cavern Accessory mold, and a few lava rocks from the flower bed.


Next, I sprinkled some coffee grounds on the exposed chip and sprayed the whole thing black.



Then I went back and dry brushed the rock and painted the crystals the same green and blue highlights that I used on the orcs.  I thought this looked a little drab so I took some fluorescent green cocktail swords and cut them up into smaller crystals.



Maybe it’s the CF daylight spectrum bulb I’m using at my workstation but wow did they ever pop!  I had a few pieces left over and decided to see how they would look on the earth element and I think it works.  In this case less is more as I just want to add some cohesion.


Cool, this is really bringing the elemental magic feeling to this race.  I was feeling they were a little flat so this is just what they needed.  I’ll see if I can get the rest of them done this weekend.

Thanks for taking a look,

Night Owl