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Lizardmen Temple


Lizardman TempleAll aspiring Lizardman generals should think about building their own temple. Lizardman temples are the domains of the Mage Priests and the brooding houses for the mighty Kroxigor. Skinks sun themselves on the temple shelves and use this vantage point to rain arrows and javelins down upon their foe. And they are easy to make too, so there's no excuse! This temple was inspired by Nigel Stillman's in the Lizardman army book.

Materials

The temple is basically a polystyrene pyramid covered with plaster of Paris and then decorated with trees and foliage. You will need:

  1. a sheet of 1" thick polystyrene. DIY stores sell this in approximately 3' by 6' sheets for a few pounds.

  2. Plaster of Paris from a chemist shop or modelling store.

  3. Plasticene (children's brightly coloured, oily non-setting modelling clay).

  4. Air-drying modelling clay (for example DAS or Efaplas)

  5. Some wood or corrugated cardboard for the base.

  6. Thick card.

  7. Thick wire (old wire coat hangers will do).

  8. PVA glue (white wood glue).

  9. Cocktail sticks.

  10. Paints, sand and flock.

Method

  1. Decide on the overall dimensions of your temple. The one in the photograph is 12 inches square at the base and 8.5 inches high in 5 steps. The base should be a couple of inches wider than the temple all the way around.

  2. Cut the base out of plywood (which is best because it doesn't warp but is harder to work with) or corrugated cardboard. If you use corrugated cardboard choose the thickest that you can find and use two layers. Glue the layers together with PVA glue with the corrugations in each layer at right angles - this helps to reduce warping. I use brown sticky paper tape to cover the wavey edges of the corrugated cardboard because it is easier than trying to fill them.

  3. With a craft knife cut two squares for each layer of your temple out of the polystyrene sheet. Each layer of the temple is two thicknesses of polystyrene. Starting with the bottom layers apply PVA glue and then stick cocktail sticks through to hold the layers together. Stick the cocktail sticks so that they are covered by the next layer. If they stick out cut them off just below the surface with clippers. Finally, glue the entire temple to the base. Use more cocktail sticks to secure it to the base while the glue sets.

  4. The stairway up the front of the temple is just a ramp of polystyrene that has had steps roughly cut into it with a craft knife. The temple layers were cut out to take the stepped ramp and the gaps beneath the ramp filled with triangles of polystyrene. This needn't be an exact fit since the whole thing is later covered with plaster of Paris anyway. Fix the stairway with PVA glue and cocktail sticks. Snip off the cocktail sticks below the surface.

  5. While the glue is setting you can begin to make the Lizardman glyph tiles to decorate the temple. First, make three or four tiles out of air-drying clay and leave these to dry thoroughly. Make them about 8mm thick so they won't break in the next stage. These are your original tiles.

  6. Temple detailWhen the original tiles are completely dry you can use them to make lots of copies out of plaster of Paris. Knead some plasticene until it is soft (or warm it up) and flatten it into an 8mm thick slab. Cut a piece out slightly bigger than one of your original tiles and press it onto the original to make an impression. Bend the plasticene around the edges to make a little tray to pour the plaster of paris into. The impressions will tend to warp when you pull the original tile off but don't worry, it all adds to the authenticity! Mix up plaster of paris in a ratio of 1 part powder to 1 part water by volume. Pour it into the plasticene moulds. When dry enough (just a few minutes) remove the casting from the plasticene mould. If you are careful you will be able to re-use the plasticene moulds several times. When they become too damaged pound them all together and start again. This sounds like a lot of work but is actually quite good fun and you can make enough tiles in an hour or so. If a tile breaks don't throw it away - broken tiles look really authentic when glued approximately back together or with a crack showing. The temple in the photograph has 50 tiles.

  7. Returning to the temple, cut some irregular tiles of cardboard and glue to the surface of the steps to make a paving stone effect.

  8. Now cover the temple with layers of plaster of paris to give it a tough, stone-effect finish. Mix up 1 part plaster of paris powder to 2 parts water by volume. This mixture sets quickly (10 minutes or so) so don't make up too much at once. Paint it quickly all over the polystyrene and card temple building. The first layer will seem to run off a lot but don't worry. When one layer has set repeat, building up three or four layers. As the mixture begins to set it goes pasty and is then thick enough for you to create overhangs and irregularities in the finish.

  9. When the plaster coating is dry you can use PVA glue to stick on the plaster tiles. If your tiles have come out a bit curved or bent there will be gaps between them and the temple. Fill these with thick plaster mixture or modelling clay.

  10. When the temple is dry you are ready to begin painting it. I used a black spray undercoat to get really dark details in the tiles and crevices. Then I built up the finish with dry-ish coats of brown, then light brown, bleached bone and a final highlight of white here and there.

  11. All that remains is to add plants, trees and flock. See the relevant TerraGenesis pages for ideas on how to do this.


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