Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Terrain Tuesday 8 - Monolith quick build

Hi All,

I got back from Monolithcon last night and thought I'd fill you in on how I built the Monoliths this year. As you may remember I built some for the guys last year. This year we had two new people, so I built them again with one new thing.

Let's take a look.

I started with some pieces of styrofoam that I had saved from some packaging.  I cut them 4" tall.

They are about 2.25" wide and .75" thick

Next I used .25" foam core for the base. It's not the best basing material, but I have a bunch of old foam core on hand. I also want this to be light and fairly cheap, so I'm keeping it to what I have on hand. I cut it 4" long.

I cut it about 2.5" wide.

I then cut another layer 3" long,

and 1.5" wide.

I beveled the edges and rounded the corners of all the foam core with a 9mm snap blade cutter.

I then cut tooth picks to a length I wanted with the wire cutter on a pair of pliers. A touch overkill, but it worked. I lost one piece when it bounced somewhere after cutting, so be careful.

Next I punctured holes completely through the top piece and into the top of the bottom piece. You can do it with the tooth pick, but it's easier to do with a metal object. Just be careful not to stab yourself in the hand trying to push through the paper.

Looks like I forgot to show, but put the tooth picks through the top layer with the points up and the cut part sticking through. Those cut ends will stick into the holes in the top of the bottom layer. Then the styrofoam will be stuck down onto the tooth pick points until it is flush with the top layer of foam core. All of this will be stuck together with PVA glue. I used Aileen's Tacky glue.

After I gave that a chance to dry I covered the base in spackle as well as a couple of dents and chips in the styrofoam. The spackle was lightly sanded after drying and then I did my normal ground work. In my case that means spots of natural sand texture gel and spots of PVA with a mix of sand and different sizes of railroad ballast.

The next step, I again forgot to photograph, was a layer of Hotwire Foam Factory Foam Coat on the styrofoam. Last year I used only mod podge to seal and harden the foam before painting. I bought the Foam Coat for use on my Mighty Fortress and I wanted to try it out on this. I did a 3-1, powder to water, ratio and it was a little hard to brush on at that thickness. I also learned, and was later confirmed by Bulldog Lopez, that Foam Coat only sticks to itself and Styrofoam. Nothing else. So don't use spackle to fill your styrofoam.

Anyway the Foam Coat does what it says on the tin. Makes it hard and sandable. I then painted everything black and then drybrushed on Charcoal, Rain Grey and Drizzle Grey. The last picture looks a little weird because I edited it so you could see the surface of the Monoliths better.

An easy project that I did while waiting for other things to dry. Any tips you want to share or questions you have, please leave a comment.


Also a welcome to Miguel Guillermo. I think he may go by the handle Skully. If you have a blog please let me know.


  1. As the very proud recipient of one of these rare artifacts, I sincerely thanks you Sir!

    1. Thanks Maj G. It's not as nice as the plaques you made, but I think they are fun keepsakes none the less. I need to make you your "Manliest Ambull Hunter" award next.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Hugh, I think I've made enough for a mini henge already. Of course they are separated by a few hundred to a thousand or so miles. Might be a future project.

    2. It's on my 'to do' list . . . an HO Stonehenge, as it would have looked . . . just the inner circle, I don't have a football field handy!


  3. I always like terrain posts. Well done. 😀

    1. Thanks Stew. Perhaps not a super wide application but some useful basic techniques were used.

  4. That proportions are you using for the monoliths? Is it the 1:4:9 from 2001?

    1. Curis! Of course I didn't even think of that. Although I think I could make a case that it's almost 1:4:9, 0.75:2.25:4



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