Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dwarven Forge: Filling in the Bow-tie Connector Sockets Tutorial

Even if you've only considered throwing your lot in with Dwarven Forge, you may have encountered the older sets that have little bow-tie connectors to knit the dungeon together. Dwarven Forge is beautiful stuff on the whole, but the ties are just plain unsightly and unwieldy. I never even considered actually using the ties as I build-on-the-fly rather than set up the dungeon ahead of time and don't have time to fiddle with little ties, and those empty little empty sockets are a blemish that I notice in-game.

And filling in those tie sockets is one of those projects you mean to do but don't get around to… Except I'm pleased to say I did get around to it back in January and here are the results. The pic shows a partial set but I got a whole basic set done. You can also click through for full-size pics if you like.

Dwarven Forge filled in bow-tie sockets Dwarven Forge filled in bow-tie sockets

Sorry, no fancy step-by-step photos here but I do have the steps, paint formulas and a wip shot for you in case you're considering trying this. Be advised there are no easy shortcuts here and you're in for a few hours of work. Definitely have an audiobook at hand.

Step one, I filled in the sockets 2/3 full with pre-mixed concrete patch. Anything archival will do, and you could honestly just skip this step and go right to the DAS clay if you prefer.

The stuff I'm talking about:

Pre-mixed Concrete Patch

Step two, I filled in the remaining space with a mix of DAS airbake clay and white glue. I used the spatula end of a basic sculpting tool and my finger for this. When this was dry I carved the lines between the stone slabs back in with a box cutter and did some detailing with a sculpting needle. You can see I used terracotta DAS but white would probably leave your fingers less colorful.

Here's what DAS looks like in the package

DAS Airbake Clay

And here's the sculpting done and the painting yet to come:

Dwarven Forge filled in bow-tie sockets

The last step is painting over the patched bits. I use cheap craft paint, brands Delta Ceramcoat, FolkArt and Americana. Just a quick aside, my local Michael's no longer stocks Ceramcoat and I'm getting a little nervous as certain of my colors run low. Let me know if you have a source for these in California. Maybe Jo-Ann fabric and craft? Anyway, here's the process I used:

  1. Base coat: 50/50 mix of Ceramcoat Charcoal and Americana Charcoal. The Americana is very brown and the Ceramcoat very blue-grey. Mixing the two is a good match for the Dwarven Forge floor base color.
  2. Then do several progressively lighter passes, adding the following to base coat mix. I do the lighter passes a little splotchy but not quite a dry-brush technique.
  3. Add FolkArt Raw Sienna and Ceramcoat Hippo Gray. The dark brown-gray + Raw Sienna = greenish and the Hippo Gray can pull it back toward Neutral as needed.
  4. Then add Americana Light Avacodo. This color is the closest match I've found in a single paint to the green tone in the Dwarven Forge.
  5. Add Ceramcoat Mudstone or a light neutral of your choice. Ceramcoat Territorial Beige may be of use somewhere around here too. I tend to have a number of paints on my pallette and feel as I go.
  6. Wash of base color. That's a thin wash made with opaque paint and lots of water. This is important as it brings the colors together.