Scratch Build Terrain Details: Torches, Part one: Base work

This will be my ongoing series of articles where I describe how I build details for my terrain. Some techniques I have invented myself, some I have stumbled upon browsing the boundless internet. Because these projects are quite small it´s easy to use these also on bases or dioramas, not only on terrain.

 Word of warning!!

These things will consume your painting/building/gaming time a lot so DO NOT in any circumstances start these projects if you can´t spare the time. If you still wan´t these kind of things on your terrain or bases but you don’t have the time there are lot of sites where you can acquire this type of stuff. But that requires some money. And I don´t have much… So first up are torches!

Big Torches

Although these torches are big and are meant to be at the front stairs of my Inn, you can use the same techniques to build smaller torches also.

You will need:

  • 1 mm plastic sheet
  • Thin plastic tube
  • Thin plastic rod
  • Sharp knife
  • Hobby drill
  • Power drill
  • Green stuff or similar product
  • Some sculpting tools
  • Superglue
  • Small rocks
  • A short wooden board

First you need to build a frame for the torch. Draw a cross to the plastic sheet which will be the foundation of the frame. After this cut it off carefully.

Don´t use scissors because the thin plastic will warp and mess up your frame.  A sharp knife will do. Also don´t try to cut straight through with one slice, as you will break your blade. Use several cuts.

I continued my project from here but it came painfully clear that the center of the cross was too thin and broke when I tried to bend it. I returned to the drawing board and drew a small square to the center of the cross to give it some mass.

Then use hobby drill to drill through the center of the cross and leave it there.

Take the wooden blank and use a power drill to make a 1cm deep hole.

Then cut a thin strip from the plastic sheet and press it inside of the hole. Use TINY amount of superglue to glue the ends of the strip together. Use a knife to pop the plastic ring out. You will know that you didn’t use TINY amount of glue when the ring doesn’t come off. Then just make another hole.

Now go back to the hobby drill. Warm up the center of the cross slightly and bend the cross carefully.Push the plastic ring around the bent cross. Remember not to melt the plastic because then unhealthy fumes will be released.

At the time I didn’t have any professional tools at hand so I heated up an old knife on a stove and press it against the plastic. Although it works I don’t recommend it and if you decide to do this be extra careful.

Then take the frame off from the drill and glue short plastic tube on it to give it a stand. Also glue some small rocks inside the frame to resemble burning charcoal. Then take a small piece of green stuff and form a blunt pyramid.

Glue it on top of the charcoal and let it dry completely. Why use glue? The greenstuff sticks to the charcoal faster and therefor you can work with it quicker!

When the glue dries, cut small squares from the plastic sheet and glue those on to the pole to form a box.

OK, I did this stage after the sculpting of the flames but this is a good place add these details also.


Cut small bolts from the plastic rod and glue those on to the box. This gives the pole some character.

Next up: Part two, sculpting the flames and painting

Comments and critics are always welcome!



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