Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tutorial: Making a Tower of Skulls Part 2: the cannon

Old School here with another piece of the Tower of Skulls tutorial. I want to keep these bite-sized so I can pump them out without having you guys sweat out an hour-long reading session. In this entry, I plan to cover the baneblade prep and getting the tower started.
The first thing you want to do is assemble the Baneblade. If you just got yours out of the box, it will be asy, just get it in about the shape of the one in the top photo. If you have one that is already put together as I had, you will need to either pry off the unnecessary parts or bust out the dremel and carefully cut it down to the stripped down version you see in the photo.

Once you have the baneblade stripped down, go ahead and knock out the small-time Chaos decorating. I used some rib sections from the fantasy Corpse Cart kit (vampire counts) to do the guards on the track and some evil looking vox caster faces and Chaos Land Raider parts to dress up the front as seen in the photo above. With that done, you will want to start planning the tower. I decided this tower would follow the look of the one in the Apocalyse Reload book and have a two story, six-sided tower, so you will want to measure what your base will be to hold the tower in a symmetrical position. Once you have the size for the base of it, you can cut a peice of sticky tile (the kind you can buy for a dollar a square at Lowes or Home Depot) to fit the exact parameters of the tower.
This is important: Only glue the front three sections into place - AND MAKE SURE the front facing wall is a window! This is where the cannon will come out! Leave off the back sections so you will have room to work with the PVC pipe you will be using to make the cannon. It will need to be fixed into place once it is done and it will be very hard if you put the back sections on the tower before you get the cannon in its final position.

Now that you know where your tower will be, place a large section of plastic card into place to cover the gap between the track section in the middle of the tank. Glue it down or use a mix of glue and green stuff to get a good hold for it. Don't cover up the very back where the blood pool will be.. Also, don't worry about getting the skulls and stuff glued down like in the phot, just get the skull road peice (from the first part of this tut) cut and get a rough idea about how you want the end product to look.

For the cannon (sorry I didn't take more pics while I was working on it), take your PVC pipe. Make sure it will fit in the window after you cut out the middle window pane. Once you have made sure it fits - get to work. Don't attach it to the tower yet because you are going to have to work on it. I started by covering the whole thing in a layer of Grey Stuff (a thin layer). You are going to want to super glue this layer down and keep it as thin as possible. You will also want to work it on with your hands to get as many finger prints in it as possible. The reason for this layer and for the fingerprints is to get a layer on the pipe that the greenstuff will stick to while you are working it into the shape you want (without the dry grey stuff layer, your greenstuff will come off the pipe while you are sculpting).
With the dry grey stuff layer in place, you can lay on thin sections of green stuff. Once you have the green stuff in place, you can use the sculpting tool to shape it to look more flesh like. I just wiped each surface of green stuff down with Liquitex Flow-aid and took the sculpting tool and dragged it to make a twisted flesh look across the surface. then, I would add things like skulls (just the face off the skull and just use that part) to the cannon's surface while the green stuff is still wet. Don't feel bad if this takes you a couple days because it can be halpful to let a section dry and then work on the rest once you can actually touch the dry surface.

Once it is done, you can fix the cannon in place. I just used grey stuff and super glue to get it to bond to the tile inside the tower.
Stay tuned for the next post where we get in depth with tower construction!


  1. Really appreciating this write-up. I'm sorry to ask, but did you say how you made the spikes on the cannon? I don't recall seeing it...

  2. Ah yes, the spikes. Those bad boys actually came from a toy; an old Todd McFarlane Spawn: Raven Spawn figure. You may be able to find on online, but I am afraid that is a part that will be harder to replicate without getting the actual spikes off the figure. If anybody has a solution, please speak up, but if not, you may be able to take green stuff, put it in a sheet of wax paper, then shape it through the paper by kneeding it by had. The paper may give you the rigid and slightly random shape ... but that is just a guess, I have never tried it.