Wizard's Summer Tower

I started with cutting my insulation foam into circles, the bottom ones have an "arm" extending off the shape that'll turn into a bridge/ramp.

Then, I had at it with a couple of hot wire cutters to give the tower a bit of a flare at the top & bottom, and the ramp its shape

I wanted to add a couple binary towers using the tube from some wrapping paper. To get it to mimic the main tower's shape I cut slits into the end, spread it over the bottom of a plastic cup and taped the outside & then the inside into place

A couple bridges & some hot glue later we have a neat little layout

The area on the top of the main tower is where the unit of dudes can be perched. When not in use, there will be a removable roof that can be put back on.

Then, I sanded all the foam down to smooth everything out, and did a coat of gesso on the whole thing. I'm trying a new stone technique for me: rolling a ball of DAS air-dry clay & pressing them on as cobble stones. 

 I've used Sculpey oven bake clay a lot and this is definitely a different kind of consistency & texture to it. I don't think I like using it just on it's own, but for this in particular it didn't work very well. They wouldn't stick to the foam as well as I had hoped. So, I had to coat a small area with spray adhesive first, then press on the clay.

Getting the whole thing covered in stones took waaaaay too long.

I'll probably not do that again on such a large area. I've since found textured scrapbook paper that looks like cobblestones or was given the idea by a cake decorator to use a fondant roller. So, there are alternatives out there. 

The next tedious task was painting all the stones. In my mind it would have been an easy drybrushing/sponging that would only hit the stones & not the recessed mortar areas. Of course that didn't work. The shape the stones have from me pressing them is more hill-like. So the edges are rather thin & the middles are rather thick. To get coverage on the whole stone, I really had to get in there on the edges which painted my mortar too. I didn't want to, but I bit the bullet & hand painted each & every stone.

For the removable roof, I had cut square holes into the foam floor to fit some square dowels I had. The whole floor was then covered in more clay & had stones etched into them. For the roof itself, I cut out a circle that would be the bottom of the roof & made corresponding holes for the dowels. To make sure everything lines up right when separate, I put the dowels in the holes first & assembled the roof while they were in there.

I attached it to the series of cones that will be the roof. On the building it looks like this:

And off it looks like that

To shingle the roofs, I took the circles that come out of a hole punch & glued them on to the main cardboard shape in rows. One thing I learned here was: not all hole punches are created equal. The 3 hole punch at my work was larger than the hand held I have at home. The different sizes do come in handy because the smaller circles lay nicer on the steeper part of the roof. I just wish I had known that ahead of time so I wouldn't have already done 2 of them with only large circles.

Here's all the roofs in place. The dowel/hole setup is pretty nice. It stays in place - you could do cartwheels with it. 

Taking it off is pretty easy & putting it back took a little bit of fiddling so I tapered the ends of the dowels which helped a lot.

Here's all the roofs shingled & primed.

While perusing the bead isle at the craft store, I found some neat bead spacers that I'm going to turn into torches. I grabbed a bead that would sit down into the cone a bit to be the base of the flames.

Using the same fire technique I did in the Teepee Town, I mixed up some magical colors with my clear caulk...

And then loaded them onto the beads in a flame-y fashion. I tried to make the different colors kind of twist around each other, but it didn't come out as great as I had hoped.

Glue the flame into the spacer & we've got our selves a torch.

Also, I tried using Silflor Ivy based on raving reviews by another modeler & didn't much care for it:

The picture sucks, but it seems so messy to me and a lot of the little leaves fall off so it just looks like a wad of hair you pulled from a drain clog. I may just need more practice working on it, but I didn't have the time or patience for it anymore.

Instead, I found an example of ivy using Parsley flakes that seemed to look alright so I did a test piece like that. I took some spanish moss I had & tacked it in place with a low temp glue gun. Then, I brushed it with PVA, sprinkled on the parsley, shook off the excess and got this:

I liked that a lot better & it was quicker than the pre-made stuff, so I started putting it on the towers.

After all the ivy was on, I started basing the rest of the board. I haven't got any pictures of the process but I can tell you what I did.
You can see in the early roof shots that I had covered the whole base with a thin layer of Woodland Scenics blended turf:

After all the ivy was on, I started doing the rest of the ground cover by spraying an area with a spray adhesive, then sprinkling on random patches of Woodland Scenics course turf - some in light green some in dark green - in about half of the area that was sprayed:

Then sprinkling varying colors of static grass in the remaining areas:
Image from http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/images/NewWSWeb/FL635_c_1.jpg.
And finally went over all of that with another thin layer of the same Blended turf to cover any spots that may have been missed. Most shook off when I was getting the excess off, but some stayed even over the other layers and gave it a nice rolling meadow-y feel.

Random bunches of large clump foliage in 2 different colors were spot glued on to be bushes (some glued to dried grape stems to be trees):
Image from http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/images/NewWSWeb/options/CF-LG_c_1.jpg.Image from http://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/images/NewWSWeb/options/CF-DG_c_1.jpg.

Finally, I put around random grass tufts from Silflor. Some just normal grass, some with little blossoms on it:
Image from http://www.sceneryexpress.com/images/Lt-Sum-Tuft-A.gif.Image from http://www.sceneryexpress.com/images/Leaf_Tufts_72523.jpg.

And that was my ground.
I also painted up some random bits, glued them on & called it done.

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