Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Dread Shrine - Circular Creativity

Don't go in there you fool!

I love the circular nature of creativity. For example, I wrote a game called The Silver Bayonet that was recently released. It's a game Napoleonic gothic horror. In the book there is a cool black and white drawing of a crypt. In the latest issue of Miniature Wargames (Issue 464), there is an article by Tony Harwood in which he scratch-builds a crypt based on the drawing. It's a beautiful little scenery piece, well beyond my own abilities. Which isn't surprising since Tony is the author of Wargames Terrain and Buildings: The Napoleonic Wars. Still, I found that piece so inspirational, I wanted to try and do something similar, and to test out Mr. Harwood's advice for using egg boxes to get a stone like texture. So, I built my own little 'Dread Shrine', and I'm rather pleased with the results. Now, I'm thinking of possible scenarios I can write to use it! And around it goes!

I built this little shrine in just a couple of sessions, probably 3/4 hours total. The basic structure is foam board with bits of egg box glued onto it. The base is a wooden MDF circle I had laying around. I made a little mound of greenstuff in the middle of the base, and pushed in a bunch of GW skulls. Another GW skull adorns the front. Painting is mostly a bunch of grey dry-brushing and a green wash. I painted on some extra 'arcane symbols' to give it an even more sinister appearance. There is also a pentagram painted on the inside back wall, but it's hard to see unless you get really close. Finally, I decided to liberally apply lichen and flocking, because I wanted it to look like it had been mostly abandoned, deep in the woods.

It was a fun little build and reminded me, that no matter how nice and beautiful pre-built terrain is, I'll never love it in quite the same way as something I make myself from scratch.

Nothing around back!

Secure the perimeter!


  1. I quite agree. I enjoyed his article (does he have articles in every wargaming magazine) and fancy a simplified build myself. Little crypts are generically useful for basically every setting and grave robbing is basically a core activity for RPGS anyway (it is just that in fantasy the dead usually fight back).

  2. Scratch built is the best! Even if it is objectively the worst the learning, fun, and stories more than makes up for it.

  3. Thank you for the kind words.

    I think your crypt looks awesome and you have a much better skull decoration than mine - I always thought my model had a skull that was too small. I might even replace it for one like yours.

    Best of luck with future builds.


  4. I think those perimeter guarding troops should be facing inwards rather than outwards.

    You do have minis for Strange & Norrell ?

  5. Nicely done 👍 think yours is better than the WI version