Dressing up Zanzer Tem’s Dungeon

This is part two of my posts documenting my progress of building a 3d version of the classic Zanzer Tem’s dungeon. In this post, I want to talk about the moulds i’m using and how I’m aiming on giving the dungeon its own characteristics once i’m finished casting.

Base – I’m using a fairly typical 5mm thick foam board for the base. My first project, Forge of the Dawn titan, was done directly onto cardboard, and warped badly as the glue dried. The main problem I have with foam board is storing the massive sheets of it and stopping them getting bent.

Floor – I’m using 2 floor tile moulds from Hirst Arts (http://www.hirstarts.com/molds/moldsfloor.html) #203 Cracked Floor Tiles, and its complimentary mould #206 Worn Floor Tiles. These 2 give a very consistent and uncluttered look to the dungeon floor when compared to something like the Fieldstone flooring tiles, and are very easy to cast. If I successfully cast both moulds in a session, I get 18 floor tiles, 10 of them smooth, and 8 with cracks.

Wall Bricks – I have two of the #95 Egyptian Basic Block mould. Again, it gives a nice consistent and uncluttered wall, with some detail, though i’ve never had the degree of success painting it that they show on the Hirst Arts website. Generally, I try and cast the 2x 3″ and 1x 2″ bricks in each mould each session, and then fill in as many 1/2″ squares and 1″ bricks as I can with any left over plaster. In addition, I made my own mould from silicon for the 2″ brick, and this is always the first mould I fill in a casting session.

Doors – At the moment, the majority of the doors in the dungeon are going to be ones from the Cavern Floor Accessories (#282). Its a cracking mould to own, as you get a door, treasure chest, pile of coins, rough floor tiles, planks, pillars… On the flipside, its a hard mould to cast well, and you need to get the plaster mix exactly right to ensure it fills in all the detail, but is strong enough to pop out once dried. The archway for the door is a major culprit here…

I bought all my moulds from http://www.hirst-arts.co.uk, who are an authorised reseller here in the UK. The theory is they buy 30 or so moulds in at a time from america, saving you shipping… However, their prices aren’t particularly good, their ordering system sucks, customer service is poor, and they overcharge you on plaster if you buy it from them.

I get my plaster from http://www.maragon.co.uk. Again, the website sucks, and their communication is poor, but they are cheap and often have good deals on. Personally, I recommend the Herculite plasters, but whenever you order, add a different type in as a sample.

While these 5 moulds will produce most of the bricks and tiles i’ll need to finish the dungeon, there are a few others that i’d love to get.

At the top and bottom of the map are roughly hewn narrow passageways, that in my redesign, i’ve only left in at the top. Ideally, I could get one of the many cavern wall moulds and use this to produce the passageways walls, but given the number of bad castings i’m getting with this new batch of Dental stone i’m using, I reckon I should have enough incomplete bricks to form the basis of the wall and then bulk it out with plaster fragments.

The highlight of the dungeon is the salt mine in room 32. Again, a cavern wall mould could do this, but I’m thinking of getting the Cavern Accessory mould (#85). In it are 3 crystal shards. That i reckon when built together on mass, should form an impressive walls of salt shards. The mould would also provide me with iron doors, and various other dungeon dressings.

Beyond that, I’d love a number of the other moulds for the odd piece – the Dragon’s Teeth mould for the trapdoor, any number of moulds for a different door for the cells, the Gothic Graveyard for the coffin… Unfortunately, money is a big factor stopping me.

In addition to the general casting, I want the rooms to take on a character of their own. The begging jail cell for example, I will build the walls up much higher to heighten the claustrophobic nature of being imprison, and build a set of bars between it and room 2. The main thing i’m going to add though, are wooden bunks jutting out of the walls and held up by chains. Made from the planks in the accessory mould I already have, they look rough and ready and are cleverly balanced by the bricks above them.

In a later room, the players come across a pile of armour and equipment. A Mordheim weapons sprue from Games Workshop will come n handy here, while in another room, its meant to be a library, and again, GW do an Arcane books sprue. Sure, these little additions will add cost onto the project, but I think it’ll help turn it from a collection of rooms into something more special and will ensure that people who play in the dungeon remember the experience.

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