WIP: Cave entrance XPS modular set piece

First, I decided to widen the set piece by one to balance out the cave entrance itself. Since I’m going for 2″ high walls in this piece, I glued the 1″ thick segments together. I might have to look into a better glue for the task. TiteBond II is amazing on a lot of things, but doesn’t seem to really take to the foam. When I find a better thing, I’ll be sure to share.

Meanwhile, it was time for fun with razors. Lots of shallow, angled cuts on all the surfaces. As an afterthought, since I’m using this for a set piece, the pieces would be far more flush with each other if I hadn’t treated each one as a kind of stand-alone block tile of some kind. S’okay…I’ve plenty of spares if it’s worth re-doing. For now, I’m content. As one might tell from the absence of dried brown stains, I kept my fingers intact, so I’m thrilled, even. As a method, I find it fun, but I’d be hard-pressed to suggest it lest someone ends up with flayed fingers.

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Modular cave entrance XPS tile kit

One of my goals for this project is to make products that others might find useful. A cave entrance that only covers a 2×3 tile array might be a bit small for someone’s needs. What if I expanded it to nearly a hundred pieces, instead of just what I need for my small set piece? Right off the bat, let’s go from six to a dozen 2.5″ x 2.5″ x 1/4″ thick field tiles to start with.

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Terrain: Tiles 2-12 all gouged out

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Mostly just a note to self here. This is tiles 2-12. First layer of texture (lots of pressing, so it obliterates outline detail later). Pattern transferred from source image using needle. Voids excavated using small round gouge.

Next step: Defining the edges of the broken slabs with the backside of a small, pointed scoop. Then stippling. Then surface textures. Then touching up outlines. Fiddle faddle till happy. Then trim down to 2.5″, texture edges, check that it’s square and tweak until right. Bake.

Slowly but surely

I finally have the mosaic pattern incised into the polymer clay (to emulate flagstone flooring). Next step, cut out a dozen 1.25″ squares and start texturing the edges. I think. I’m still making this up as I go along, with a big shout-out to DM Scotty and Wyloch for all the awesome ideas.

77 to go

This part of the process definitely goes more slowly. I press polymer clay into the cardboard edges so that on baking the bases become quite rigid. Then I wrap each in more clay to be certain I have┬ámost of the gaps filled. Following that, I use a 1″ square template I cut from an old cassette tape case pressed to the top of each tile as the straightedge for cutting. A new razor blade made short work of the excess. Once all these are done, they go into the oven. After that, it’ll be time to apply the textures.

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