St. Cranium’s Reformation pt2: Church

It has been a few years since I put together my St. Cranium’s graveyard terrain set.  Last year I decided to expand it out to cover a 6×4′ table, starting with a lot more gravestones. This church was the next step.

I bought the inexpensive Miniature Scenery “Church” kit a number of years ago, with St. Craniums in mind.  It was extremely simple to assemble.

Originally the church was going to be used in a sci-fi setting so the clean MDF sides were a positive, but with the church to be planted in a fantasy setting after all, I decided to try a textured spray paint to give the walls a little visual “grain”.

The first coat gave a pebbledash effect.  Bear in mind that the texture spray isn’t really supposed to opaquely cover the model like regular spray paint, its just to add texture.

The spray filled small gaps rather nicely, while the layering up of the pebbledashing effect made the church look more 1970s by the moment.

Next was a couple of coats of black spray.

After that I used grey spray followed by a little white spray in a sort of zenithal fashion.  The roof was next, but I didn’t really fancy tiling it.  I had been keeping an eye out for alternative ways to decorate the rather basic roof though…

I visited Reykjavik for a few days last year and I noticed the roof on this building.

“That looks like something with a definite grounding in reality that I could loosely copy on the roof of my miniature church!” I cried happily to my wife.  She nodded patiently, while caring little.  But at least she nodded patiently.

Sadly, I show significantly less interest in The Great Pottery Throw Down when she mentions minutiae from that (but my excuse is that the balding expert guy in that show is intolerable, to be fair).

After a brief consultation with whiskeypriest on the most convenient way to go about it, I scraped some parallel lines into the roof pieces.  I also decided that the building needed a base at this point, so added one.

Rather than get worked up about stained glass in the windows, I glued some translucent wrapping paper to the interior of the windows to give a vague impression of coloured glass.  This is wargaming terrain after all, not a multi-million €€€ architectural proposal miniature.  Translucent wrapping paper is just dandy.

A few flickering LED candles inside the model make the windows look quite nice, but I failed to video the effect adequately, so you will have to take my word for it.

I attacked the walls and roof pieces with various inks, sprays and brush paints, aiming for the usual Scooby-Doo backdrop style.

Once I was finished, I realised that the church needed some sort of decorative piece on the steeple.  Curis came up trumps and provided me with a suitable piece, but I have yet to attach it.

There you go, a glimpse into how I sometimes go about painting miniature churches.

As you were.


26 Responses

  1. I really like your jaggedy edges you base these onto. It gives them a defined footprint and some stablility AND looks like it exists in universe – unlike the oval bases of classic studio terrain.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Curis, I have been using sheets of cork like that for quite a while now, close to a decade at least.

      Cork sheet like that features on a lot of model bases these days (including yesterdays Slayer Sword winner). I simultaneously think that hobbyists don’t use the material enough, and that they don’t use it quite right on most bases. The naturalistic finish that it gives makes it easy to use, but a lot of people use it in ways that actually make it look manufactured, emphasising the uniform thickness of the product.

      Regardless, I find cork to be a good way to hide terrain bases in plain sight. I’m glad that you like the look of it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That texture spray and unusual roofing did wonders for this kit. A really nice addition to the terrain set.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The texture spray improved the finish, but didn’t make it look more “realistic” really. But for a crazy, spooky, otherwordly graveyard from another dimension, it’s more than good enough.

      The roof did work out adequately. It ties in with the rooves on the various crypts in the rest of St Craniums too, which helps to keep things feeling coherent.

      PB2 is up to his bony neck in AoS undead now, so we are planning a Malign Portents themed Skirmish campaign weekend in the run up to the Autumns Path to Glory/Firestorm plans, so its nice to have St Craniums large enough to cover a 6×4 table now.

      You should join us…


  3. Excellent work all around. The roof is especially well done with that beautiful verdigris. Love it. I also like how you enhanced the rather bland MDF sides with texture spray. Worked quite well, even though it does not really look like a medieval church.

    The simple stained glass effect seems to work well, however a low light picture would show the effect better and I would be very interested to see it, only if you have the time to take one, naturally.

    Your painting style emphasises your desire to achieve a more cartoonish appearance and, as mentioned in my former comment on your skull throne, works very well as an interesting backdrop without overshadowing your vibrant protagonists.

    Accordingly you achieve a cohesive style, but the eye can sweep over the gaming table and is drawn to the specks of vibrant colour, while still perceiving the surrounding graveyard to evoke a certain feeling or atmosphere. Very nice art direction if I may say so.

    I can spot a lot of elements that could inform my own graveyard project and especially your art direction will make me handle the miniatures differently. Maybe OSL is the way to go to make them pop… but I have to see if I can pull it off.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m very happy to see that my approach to this project features some elements that you might modify for your own work dagger&brush.

      Getting ideas from the work around is one of the best parts of blogging really.


  4. “She nodded patiently, while caring little.”

    This made my day. The church is lovely too, but this quote trumps everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome. I never thought of using textured spray

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know when I thought to try it. Probably when I saw it on a hardware shop shelf years ago.

      After testing it on a few bits of scrap I wasn’t sure if it would work out, but it did. Definitely another tool for the toolbox.

      Thanks for the feedback imperialrebelork!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Going to give that textured spray a go, excellent job sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks TMW!

      The finish would be good for making simple, inexpensive box shaped buildings look a bit more like concrete or maybe stucco.

      Covering a number of geometric shapes with it and adding a few doors would make a good passible Tattooine set pretty rapidly.


  7. Spectacular project. I have used textured paint similarly on 3D printed terrain pieces and buildings. It works wonders on obscuring those printing lines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • An extremely good call Mark.

      I used to work finishing 3D prints by hand in the late 90s, so I find it difficult to ignore them on the increasing number of hobby products that they appear on.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nicely done dude, and I totally agree about the strange expert man-child-golem on the pottery thing… wtf is there about pottery that makes him cry every episode?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Frankly I think that it’s because the clown is a pretentious fucking charlatan, desperate to mystify and obfuscate to make himself look arty-farty.

      There is no mystery. Work hard at something and you will improve. If you like the topic you will find it easier. Art is no different to anything else.

      Aaaanyway, that’s a rant for another time and place 😀
      I’m glad that you like the church Alex!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The textured spray paint is a great idea. This church turned out really nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Its a rapid solution for a project that should be completed similarly rapidly.

      The church certainly looks a bit more concrete than stone, but the Mortal Realms is full of magical or technoarcane concrete analogues I reckon.

      Thanks for the feedback Sean!


  10. I think the textured paint called out to all of us through time and space. I have that can in my tool box, but never dared to open it, so as not to risk setting free the djinn that might occupy it.

    You turned those very simple MDF shapes into a unique church. Also good to have when the post-apocalyptic Icelandic survival horror wargaming craze sets in, which really should be anytime now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heh.

      Modern zombie gaming was a consideration when I bought that church, but I moved that focus to sci-fi: I get enough of the modern world by living in it.

      Icelandic survival horror must be a thing already, surely?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of all the places to be during/after the zombie apocalypse, Iceland seems like it’d be safest. I mean, how would they get there?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Assuming that patient zero wasn’t located there it would be a good place to be. If the pseudo-science of World War Z (the book) holds up, then the sub zero conditions for much of the year would work in favour of the survivors too. Oh, and pre-empting possible future pedantry, White Walkers are fantasy, not pseudo-science 😉

          Hawaii might be nicer though.


  11. Very nice indeed 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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