View Full Version : Dark Sun: Cacti

05-06-2011, 01:11 PM
I wanted to make some cacti for my Dark Sun campaign and decided to finally try the mold making kit that I got from my wife as my Christmas present. I figured it would be a fairly easy and straight forward project for my first attempt.

I opted to use regular modeling clay, something that quite a few people I know, and a few internet sites claim aren't that good, or can't be used at all with latex molds. I figured that since it came with the kit, it was supposed to be used as filler for the cracks in the mold box, and the instructions pointed out that the modeling clay would not interact or prevent the latex for curing, that it would be okay to use.

The modeling clay is much easier to use than the green stuff, but it never hardens. I decided to use some old square miniature bases and 1 inch washers as bases. For most of them I just rolled out some balls of clay and made little dimples in them like you would see on a golf ball and glued them to their base. The larger one next to the blue cacti was a little more involved but wasn't terribly hard. As a precaution, I covered it with a single coat of PVA. Then you glue the whole thing to the base of the mold box, let it dry and then pour in the latex. You let the whole thing cure over night, then viola, you have a mold. Not too bad a little project.

The next day I mixed up some resin and cast the pieces. Be sure to keep the molds warm in the oven, otherwise the pieces don't set up right.

The results were varied. The smaller pieces came out fine, and so did several of the larger cacti. I had some trouble with a set not pictured here. It seems I made them to large at the top and with too many pointy bits. The pointy bits trapped air and didn't turn out, then I had to cut the molds in half to get the pieces out.

Here is a picture of my first batch, the second batch is in the mold box in the back, and the pink thing with modeling clay jammed in the cracks. I threw in another project, which is the goods for my market stall over on the left. I figured it would be an easy project, just an animal fur and a few baskets on a rug.


05-06-2011, 09:09 PM
We've now seen Dark Sun buildings, pillars, stones, and now cacti. Toss in the tentacled & jawed creatured you made, and I gotta say: Your players are spoiled! These game sessions have to include some phenomenally immersive sets.

My players all deal with dungeon tile rooms, a few hirst arts walls, and a lot of dry erase marker. Though the online game gets some half decent scenery. There are a few rooms that I spent the time to make nice looking images, but then photoshop is ever so much easier than molding green stuff and clay.

05-09-2011, 01:04 PM
LOL. It all depends, some session we just use a battle-mat and marker. The biggest problem is that we play at the FLGS. So if the group does something I didn't anticipate we bust out the battle-mat or the dungeon tiles (which I like, but think they are a little on the small side. I would love to see some larger 24x24 inch, modular wilderness and city-scapes). I'm not hauling all of my stuff back and forth every other week. We could certainly take better advantage of all of the miniature terrain if we played at my house, but I don't have the room for that.

With the Dark Sun stuff, we are playing a lot more outdoor encounters rather than dungeon crawling. So I was trying to make the terrain versatile and light weight. Which is one reason I haven't been putting the rocks on bases like a lot of other people do.

The funny thing is, that I've played RPG's for 31 years now. I didn't use miniatures or terrain, more than a handful of times for the first 28 years. I just started with the miniatures and terrain about 2-3 years ago just to see if I could. Since then, I've become addicted, I just love the challenge of making things. If my group disintegrated and I never played another RPG, I'd still be making miniatures and terrain.

05-09-2011, 01:59 PM
That sounds really familiar to me. One of the guys in our group is like that. He builds some fantastic terrains pieces for a variety of different settings, you could rummage through his collection and find pretty much all you'd need for anything from fantasy to spaceship combats. Its really cool too see all the stuff stacked in his work area and how it changes from month to month as he jumps into a new project.

That said, he's almost never the DM, I've only seen him run a few sessions. Granted a fair amount of that stuff can be used in the variety of miniature games he plays, but even then he rarely bothers to pull them out.

05-16-2011, 12:13 PM
I think the cacti look great to me! I'll have to save the picture for when I start working on terrain for the large desert area on my fantasy campaign world. Great inspiration, thanks for sharing!

04-22-2012, 05:16 AM
I would have just used floral foam and toothpicks, painted and sealed them up with something heavy in their base. However, they probably wouldn't look as good as what you created.

04-27-2012, 11:19 PM
oh sure, now you explain the easy way to do it. lol

04-29-2012, 12:14 PM
I love this! Just yesterday I was pondering sculpting up some scenery/plants/fungi for the Carcosa campaign I have been working on.
This thread just inspired me to break out the sculpting/mold/casting supplies.
Now off to check out your other threads!