The degree in interior design did pay off. The undead completed their new musty home without major incidents (only two groups of adventurers had to be driven off). All that remains now is the covering of the sides, bottom and top with protective styrene sheet.
In this part we will add skeletons for the alcoves, urns, candles and sacrificial offerings. The reasoning behind my design choices will be discussed and a list of materials used provided followed by detailed step-by-step instructions.
Some thoughts on Crypt Dressings
Being a place where the dead rest a crypt is not only a sombre place, but also a place of commemoration. The civilisation that built this place may have long perished, but the signs of paying tribute to the dead entombed here will outlast their creators for hundreds if not thousand of years.
The long time since anyone, may it be priests, kin or tomb raiders, entered this place needs to be reflected in the appearance of all objects contained in the crypt. Vessels or offerings made of metal need to show signs of rust or verdigris, surfaces need to be dusty and any organic materials should show signs of decay.
Candles were used in combination with the light shafts to enable kin and priests to pay their tribute. They burned down and were replaced with fresh ones, leading to a built up of wax. In small, narrow bowls libations were presented, still showing remnants of wine long reduced to a brown desiccated layer. The candles, too, may have been lit to remember of the one’s gone, to keep vigil or lead the way to the afterlife.
Grave goods like swords and daggers were given to the revered ancestors, their bones carefully placed on richly coloured fabrics. Well-off families commissioned statues of their ancestors, portraying them as ageless heroes. Hundreds of years later the swords are rusty, the fabric eaten by moths and decaying through the permeation of water. Statues are tumbled over, broken or covered in dust and verdigris.
Burial rites may have changed in the course of time, it is thus not surprising that burial of bodies in the alcoves and urn burials are both represented. Urns are placed in an alcove to set them apart from other vessels, which contained incense and embalming materials.
Just as in Part II this dictates again some design choices:
- Anything made of metal needs to be heavily rusted or covered in verdigris.
- Skeletons should be placed together with grave goods to “tell a story” and should be heavily weathered.
- Candles, urns and offerings should be placed in a logical way. One alcove might have been used for libations, the other to display a statue etc.
Naturally guidelines are not something that should suppress creativity, but they can provide a cross-check when deciding where to place elements. On that note – let’s place some stuff!
What you need
For the candles:
- Some cylindrical shape as a basis for the candle. I used some plastic sprue cuttings. Equally possibly is balsa wood, green stuff or any other scrap materials as long as they have the right size and are cylindrical.
- Golden Acrylic Gel matt or liquid green stuff to sculpt the wax.
- One strand of copper wire cut in small pieces to depict the wicks.
- Acrylic paints. Candles come in all kinds of different colours nowadays, but in a Fantasy setting it might be good to use natural tones. I went for off-whites, especially Yellowed Bone by Reaper.
- Fast setting glue to attach the candle to the module.
- Brown and grey pigment to depict dust.
For the urns, bronze vessels and libation bowls:
- Depending on how much money you would like to spend you can get ceramic vessels in 28mm or 15mm scale from Baudea. The jars, amphorae and vases come in handy to depict urns, but might need a lid made of green stuff. Alternatively (I used both) you can also get some cheap spherical beads, add a lid and paint those up as vases or urns.
- Green stuff for lids and libation bowls.
- Golden Acrylic Medium matt to cover the beads and improve adherence.
- Brown and beige acrylic paint (can be cheap stuff) and GW Agrax Earthshade. Bronze and silver paint. Vallejo Smoke. For verdigris effects a jade like tone. If you want to add free hand adornments to the urns you can go for a lighter shade of the base colour or introduce some other colour, in my case dark red.
- Brown pigments to depict grime and dust, red pigment to depict the remains of a libation offering.
For the skeletons and their grave goods:
- Any number of Wargames Factory Skeletons. I went for four full skeletons and one skull.
- Some of their weapons to depict grave goods. I went for a sword and a dagger.
- Green stuff to sculpt fabric cloth the skeletons rest on.
- Acrylic paint. RMS Yellowed Bone, reds, metallics and greens.
- Different pigments (browns and reds) to depict grime, dust and rust.
- Brushes of various sizes to apply paint and wood glue. Old bristle brush for dry brushing.
- Sculpting tools.
- X-acto knife.
How you make it
- Cut as many pieces of sprue as you need candles. Using some Wood Glue glue them on a piece of cardboard or plastic card. Let dry.
- Cover the cylindrical sprue piece with either liquid green stuff or Golden Acrylics Gel matt. Both products have a nice thick consistency and allow to sculpt an uneven surface. The idea is to make the candles look like they burned down a bit.
- It is now also time to insert the copper wire in the top while the gel is still wet.
- After the first coat is dry, you might need to apply another one to pronounce the effect and secure the copper wire further.
- Using RMS Yellowed Bone and subtle highlights with some more white mixed in paint the candles. Use some RMS Pure Black for the wick.
- Glue the candles in place on the module.
- The candles look the part, but over time wax would have trickled down the rock walls or they would even be a wax built up. To depict this use again the matt gel and apply around and in between the candles. The matt gel does not dry translucent, but has a certain cloudiness to it. Perfect to depict wax.
- If necessary add some more RMS Yellowed Bone to pronounce the texture.
- Finally dust the candles with grey and brown pigment and fixate with some AK Pigment Fixer.
Urns, statue, bronze vessels and libation bowls:
- Clean and basecoat the Baudea vases. Sculpt a lid and add to the vases. I used two Baudea vases.
- Glue the beads on a piece of cardboard or plastic card. Dilute the matt gel slightly so that it is runny and cover the entire bead with it. Let dry. Sculpt a lid and add it.
- Form a ball of green stuff and using a sculpting too with a ball point make an indentation in the middle of the ball. Form until you achieve a bowl shape. Let set.
- Basecoat the beads, bowls and Baudea vases with brown acrylic paint.
- Paint the beads with bronze paint, adding some silver paint for the highlights. Darken some areas with Vallejo Smoke.
- When all this is dry make a wash using a mixture of green, blue and white. We want a nice Jade tone. I suggest a mix of 10 to 1 water/ paint.
- Apply over the entire vessel and let dry. Repeat if you would like the verdigris effect to be stronger.
- Highlight the Baudea vases and add some ornaments if you like. I went for a very simple geometric pattern.
- Paint the lids just like the bronze vessels adding the verdigris effect in the end.
- Add some red pigment to the bowls to depict the remains of libelation offerings.
- Sprinkle with different pigments to add grime and dust and fixate the pigments with AK Pigment Fixer.
- Repeat the steps above for the bronze statue. I used and old 15mm miniature I did not particularly like. The face is very rough, but suits a statue perfectly.
Skeletons and their grave goods:
- Assemble the Wargames Factory Skeletons as if they would lie down. This might in some cases necessitate to literally break their bones.
- Basecoat the skeletons with a bone colour. I used Army Painter Spray Primer Skeleton Bone, followed by Agrax Earthshade and highlights with RMS Yellowed Bone and RMS Pure White. The sheath of the dagger I painted dark red with iron fittings, the sword with Vallejo Gunmetal Grey highlighted with Vallejo Silver.
- Using red pigments add some rust to the sword and dagger and fixate with AK Pigment Fixer.
- Using some green stuff sculpt the cloth. The X-acto knife is quite good to give the edges a ripped look.
- As you can see I put the green stuff on a piece of glad wrap and placed in one of the alcoves. The idea is to prevent it from sticking to the surface, but to allow positioning off the still malleable green stuff. Let set.
- Take the cloth pieces out and paint them. I used different shades off brown, red, green and yellow. I didn’t want to ovedo it with the highlights, as the cloth is old and in the process of decay.
- Glue the skeletons on the cloth pieces, sprinkle everything with pigments and fixate them.
- Now all that is left is to glue the skeletons in the alcoves. Some of the alcoves I left empty or put only some cloth in.
It took some time, but the crypt is finally finished. As mentioned above styrene covers for the sides, bottom and top are still missing, but the interior is fully operational.
I hope you enjoyed reading this series of tutorials and I would be very pleased if they inspire you to try your hand at a crypt yourself. If so, please let me know in the comments, so that I can check out your work.