Thursday, October 10, 2013

Southeast Asian Temple, Part 1 - The materials

So, the only thing keeping my 28mm Pulp project from seeing the table is...well, a table! More specifically, I need terrain for various European archeologists and Indiana Jones wannabees to explore. Sure, I could put them on a regular gaming table of woods, hills, ordinary buildings and such. But considering how much time I spent painting the figs, I may as well wait until I have a suitable canvas to roll them out onto!

I have American, German, British, and French archeological teams all set to explore the hidden temples of Southeast Asia. So, what will the first terrain pieces I'll build for this project? Well, temples, of course! So, the picture below is one I took in 2003 when I visited Myanmar and the temples at Bagan. This is the look I'm trying to recreate. These Buddhist/Hindu temples should look exotic on the tabletop. I can put them on the plains of Bagan or in the jungles, like Cambodia's famous Angkor Wat, and they shouldn't look out of place.

Since Pagan has about 3,000 temples in an area the size of the county I live in, I will need a number of them to make the tabletop look right. So, that means one thing: scratch-building. I stopped by Hobby Lobby, a discount craft store here in the U.S., on the way home from work. I cruised the aisles looking for ideas on how to make a few smaller temples to start off with.

I found the boxes below for a little over $1 each. They are made of very stiff cardboard that I think should hold up to paint and the wear and tear of the tabletop well. The thing that attracted me to them was the design embossed on the surface. It could represent bas relief carvings on the temples and make decorating most of their surface as simple as a good dry brush to bring out the design. I intend to add a decorative molding or something along the top, too. The roofs will be separate to make gaming with them on the table easier. I'll construct those out of styrene or bass wood -- I haven't decided which, yet.

I intend to add columns at each of the four corners, and a bell-shaped stupa tower to the roof. I perused Hobby Lobby's selection of craft wood pieces. I decided to go with a thick dowel for the column's length, and top it with a couple pieces to represent the decorate bell-shaped capitals. I snagged packages of wooden spindles, finials and "furniture buttons." These should all fit together well enough (I hope) to give the feel of Bagan's temples. I'm not modeling after any one building, but rather just going for the general look.

I was disappointed I couldn't any decorative bass or balsa wood trim pieces at Hobby Lobby, Jo Ann Fabrics, or the local Hobbyland. I know I've seen them carried in those stores before. I wanted to line the top edge of the temple with one to represent the fancy stone carving on the temples. I haven't given up, though. I have another idea or two how to recreate it without too much time, effort, expense. Speaking of expense, so far I have spent $14.31 in materials for what will be two small rectangular temples and one round stupa.

Stay tuned for more updates on this project!

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