Thursday 13 October 2011

Stone effects

I was going over my photos of previous work and realised that I have done alot of buildings that involve recreating a stone effect. I thought I would describe how I do it and show some of the buildings I have made.

English Civil war Watermill in 28mm scale
 The key word in the whole process is patience! (I suppose that is true with nearly all terrain making projects). I first of all make a framework of foam board. I use this for all my buildings. It is light and strong and easy to cut with a sharp scalpel. It is important to know that you will be making a stone effect at this stage because the frame needs lots of extra bracing because otherwise it will warp badly if you don't.
A well braced foam board frame for a 54mm Rourkes Drift building.

I leave this to dry overnight as the joints do come under alot of pressure so it is important to make sure you have good strong joins. I then get Daz Pronto air dried clay and roll it out to maybe a 1mm thick sheet- just like pastry!
I use a wooden rolling pin and grease proof paper.
I then have to coat the building in PVA glue as the clay will not stick by itself. Once coated I add the clay to the frame and work reasonably quickly to cut it to shape, get the air out and check it is well glues down. It takes hours to dry but it starts to stiffen after half an hour which makes it harder to work.

covered in Daz Pronto clay.

The clay will take about 12 to 24 hours to dry completely so it can be carved. If the bracing wasn't good enough then the walls will slowly warp and possibly some of the joints come apart. There will then be no choice but to start again!

draw out the stone pattern
I then draw out the pattern on the clay if it is complicated or sometimes just draw straight lines on the wall parrallel to the floor. Once the drawing is complete the last thing to do is to carve out the pattern. I follow the pencil marks with a scalpel. Once the pattern has been cut out I rub it over with a fine wire brush to smooth the edges and then chip away at some of the stones and generally work at it until I am happy with the finish. It isn't a bad idea to wear a dust mask as it can create some very fine dust.

carving finished
The sample I have shown here is fairly straight forward but you can add more detail and interest before you add the clay to the wall by adding card and balsa wood to create depth-
an example of extra detail
I find it is worth spending the extra time adding extra detail as it adds so much more interest than just a flat wall.
Anyway, once you have completed the carving all you have to do is paint it. I usually go for one of two colours- grey or sandstone.
Sandstone finish

grey finish

Saying that, I did have to re create South African stone walling for Rorkes Drift and that involved a far more intricate scheme-
South African Walling
This looks very similar to sandstone on the photo but it involved painting each stone in one of 4 or 5 colours. I then washed it all brown and finally dry brushed. It took ages!
The sandstone finish is a yellow ochre base, washed brown followed by two highlights of cream and sand. The grey finish is a base coat of meduim grey, washed brown and then highlighted a lighter grey and finally a light brushing of white. I can also add weathering with water streaks amd dirt to give it a bit of age or I may want to highlight something on the building. That is it.
What follows is some examples of the stone effects and where I have used it:

40mm Spanish chapel. Stone with added pillars and pantile roof

20mm Arnhem inspired bridge- see weathering on stone

28mm European church

28mm Lord of the rings inspired hall- I was pleased with the animal carving

same hall from the side- the figure you can see is on a horse so the building was big!

Spanish walled town- the arches on the walls add real interest.

28mm church found in York, UK

York city gateway

gateway from straight on.

small crusader diorama

stone bridge in 54mm
I hope you find this one useful. More next week.


  1. I have found it helpful to prime the foam board first as this greatly reduces the tendency for it to warp. I used car spray primer for the job. Nice work BTW.

  2. Hi Ashley
    I will try that. Do you prime the whole sheet both sides before you start working with it- I assume you do both sides?