Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Making Magic Portals

Introduction

It may have become obvious to anyone who reads this blog that I've been interested in Frostgrave for some time now.  One of the things that I like about this game are the many & varied scenarios that are contained within the main rulebook.  Most of these scenarios require some special terrain and I've seen a number of other model-makers & gamers write about how they make such pieces.

One scenario ("The Keep") describes a ruined building where the internal magical transport system is still working - at least, after a fashion!  By standing on one of the magic portals, a wizard could be transported instantaneously to a different portal and could gain much-needed experience from the travel.  Alternatively, it might not work at all, or it might deposit the sorcerer in the middle of an enemy warband!

This scenario seemed too good to miss, since it provides a great opportunity for mayhem.  I decided as soon as I had read it that I needed to construct some of these transport portals.  I've not come across anyone else's versions, so I had to start from scratch.

The Magic Portals

2.5" ring glued to a 2.5" disk of thick cardboard
In "The Keep", portals are described as 2" circles (i.e. about 5cm).  I started to make my versions by cutting out 2.5" rounds of mounting board (thick cardboard).  Every second such disk had the central 2" removed thus leaving it as just a thin ring, which was then glued to a complete disk.


"Stone slab" markings added
Once the glue was dry, I used a triangular needle file to mark out different stone slabs on the upper surface.  I added a few cracks and slabs with broken corners, just to break up the monotony.


Undercoat, wash, drybrush
Painting was very simple: I sprayed my portals with grey undercoat, coloured them with a dark wash and then drybrushed the edges lightly with pale grey.  Nothing to it, really.


Add snow & grass, then varnish
Further detail was achieved by the addition of a little static grass growing out from the cracks & gaps between the stones and some snow (baking soda/sodium bicarbonate).  The disks were then sprayed with anti-shine varnish.


Add the magic circles
Now comes the funky bit.  To make it into a magic portal, I gathered some suitable patterns.  I found the version I liked by searching Google images for "psychedelic swirl" and downloading some of the results.  I printed my favourite onto paper and cut out a circle from that.

As an optional extra, I also cut out some circles of the same size from clean plastic packaging (fruit punnets, if I remember correctly).  These transparent disks would help to protect the printed paper design as well as making it more reflective & therefore more "mystical".  If I could have found some "cloudy" or translucent plastic then I might have used that rather than the see-through stuff that I had available..


4 finished magic portals
The paper pattern and the plastic covering disk were glued in place - I used just a bead of glue around the edge, rather than putting any on the image itself.  I did need to weight down the centres while the glue dried, to keep everything flat.


And there we are: 4 magic portals, for very little effort and virtually no cost!

With a change of colour/texture for the outer rim and a change in pattern for the paper insert, it would be just as easy to make sci-fi transporter pads, missile silo doors or any of a number of other items.  Of course, this would be much easier if the mounting board was available laser cut to shape!

17 comments:

  1. Terrific stuff Hugh. They look awesome!! And I'm looking forward to seeing them feature in one of your excellent "Frostgrave" BatReps some time soon :-)

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    1. Thanks. We did play a game using these, so expect a battle report soon :-) .

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  2. They. Are. Strangely. Hypnotic. Hugh. I. Really. Like. What. You. Have. Done. Here. Master. What. Is. Your. Command? ........ Lol great work dude.

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    1. My command? Ah, OK, let's see. You can start by giving me all your beer and all your bacon :-) .

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    2. horribly ive gone dry for January, struggling with the lack of beer, to comfort myself i might have a bacon sandwich though....lol

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  3. Awesome those are simple to make and look great. Though I can't help but seem to hum the magic roundabout song for some reason.

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    1. Well, the Magic Roundabout was fairly trippy, so it doesn't seem completely inappropriate. Hmm, I wonder if each wizard ought to have his/her own theme tune?

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  4. Simple but very effective and they look great.

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    1. Thanks, Bryan. The hardest part was cutting out the rings, but even that wasn't difficult.

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  5. These are well woth the effort you've put itno them, simple but very, very effective.
    Looking forward to an alternate Frostgrave aar now too as I can't recollect reading a one that wasn't "scatter the loot tolens and get away with what you can."

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    1. Simple, cheap, effective - that's what I like. AAR will be forthcoming shortly.

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  6. Very creative Colgar and more importantly ... simple and nice!

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    1. Thanks, F.E.M. Also, very customisable; you can choose any insert appeals to you :-) .

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