The Dwarf Mine

"The Making Off"

by Gregory Privat


The Dwaf Mine have been created especially for Continuum 2006, Leicester, England. The game was using rules adapted by Simon Miller from the Command and Colors rules. Here you ll find pictures and comments on the creation of the main terrain piece of the game, a re-creation of the Dwarf Mine, Sartar, Glorantha.


The basic structure of the cliff. If the base is made of horizontal strates like many scenery pieces, the cliff itself is made of vertical bands. I was first thinking about using a big plate instead of the plates. A first experience proved that even if sculpting a simple plate, the cliff would be too much "regular" so I changed my mind and took that option.

A side view of the basic structure. I ve used a little plate of cheap wood to give some rigidity, and extruded polystyrene for the ground and cliff.

Another view of the basic structure. Extruded polystyrene, while a bit expensive compared to normal polystyrene (especially when u can find free normal polystyrene plates) have some great advantages : it do not make little bubbles, and can be easilly sculpted. Also it s a lot more resistant.
After a little jump in time. The walls are made in foamcore. For the lower part, i ve used plaster and the stones have been sculpted in plaster before putting them in place. To be sure that the plaster would be resistant, I ve not only used plaster and water but also a bit of PVA glue. While waiting for the plaster to dry, a research on the net let me learn of filling paste. I bought a few and tested it. It appeared that I could used it once the foamcore structure would be in place. So i forgot the plaster walls.
For the crenels I did cast (plaster + pva + water) in a low cylinder. Then i did cut them in the center to have 2 stasis rune shaped crenels. I did it several time. Here you can also see that all the stasis rune shaped canon holes were made before doing the stone texture.
A view of the entrance with 25 mm spartans from Wargames Foundry to show scale.
I then started to add details as i was finding them like the copper tubes that were waiting in a box for a few years. I also added the entrance fortification were the jolanti should take place.
Detail of some of the tubes which have just been glued in place with PVA glue.
Detail of the canon holes. The copper plates that are used as doors are normally used in boat modelism. They ve been glued with cyanoacrylic glue. You can see that the inside of the mine have been painted black. This have been done before gluing the foamcore plates together.
Detail of the entrance fortification with miniatures to give an idea of the size. The dwarves are from Westwind, the lunar is from Ral Partha. The dwarves are more heavy than those of many other ranges and are qualified as 32 mm by some peoples. I personnally think that they just are good to simulate iron dwarves. They ve been made for war and it s just normal that they re bigger than other mostali.
A general front view of the Mine. Many crenels are still missing (they ve been casted during the project duration as a parallel task. When the mine was drying, i was casting them and so on.
The main door. I ve put a little black wash to show the details. It s made with foamcore plates glued together. The crown have only 3 "crenels" to remind a mastery rune. The mouth and eyes are stasis runes. The repetition of the stasis rune in as many details as possible (canon holes, runes, door, crenels, etc.) was there to give a strong identity to the mine. All the rivets are in fact dots of pva glue.
A combination of Man and Stasis rune to make a Mostali rune. It have just been drawn and then cut from a plate of foamcore. Dots of PVA glue simulate rivets without having to make them.
A general view of the entrance with the door and the 2 mostali runes. It s still missing the crenels.
General view from the left.
Once all the crenels have been put in place, I added blocks of extruded polystyrene to the cliff to give it more relief, then i textured the cliff in 2 steps, the first was to just texture the polystyrene with a knife. Then i did put everything on the ground in my garden and started to add more texture. For this, i used a mix of filling paste, plaster, pva glue, water, sand and little blocks of polystyrene.
Then i undercoated everything with a strong black acrylic paint normally used to paint walls. and started the real painting job. All the bronze parts have been painted in green. I did get the idea after visiting the Invalides with friends.
The actual color of the mine is somewhere between the previous picture (with flash) and this one (long exposure).
Another view of the Mine. The grid "hide" a big computer fan that is working.
Detail of the upper "courtyard".
Details... the dome on the left is an half of a ball. I used the other half a long time ago for the roof of the Sun Dome Temple stronghold of my Sun Domers army.
Detail of the entrance.
Detail of the entrance.
Detail of the entrance.
Next step was to add the canons. They ve all been casted in resin.
A front view of the close to finished Mine.
and another one.
The jolanti have been made from the same stone as the cliff behind the mine : extruded polystyrene.
They re basically blocks of polystyrene glued together with PVA glue and reinforced in the articulations by pieces of metal wire. This one is still waiting for his hands.
On the standing one you can see the shaft of his weapon, made with sticks of shuppa chups. The faces have been sculpted with a scalpel and have the same beard as the one on the door, with a stasis rune mooth, to link them a bit more to the mine.
Next step was to bring some energy and light to the mine. I used an old computer alimentation (200 W)...
and a few neons normally used for computer tuning. You can t see it on the pictures, but they were more pink than red. I resolved this problem by puting them inside little red plastic bags.
The Mine with light on.
As you can see, i worked a bit on the jolanti, structuring the polystyrene with a scalpel and then painting them in the same colors as the mine.
Another view of the Mine.
here you can see the shape of the axes blades... Stasis again.
The fan is moving...
detail on canon
the standing jolanti
and his brother.