TTRPG Terrain Cathedral Build Tutorial Pt 2

Welcome back! In this post, we’ll continue building our cathedral-inspired tabletop terrain for an epic Final Boss diorama. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. Without further ado, let’s dive into the next steps of creating a place for amazing duels and triumphant pilgrimages.

Materials:

Step 1: Wall Construction

Add Texture

Ball up a piece of tin foil and roll it over the surfaces of your walls and balconies that will be exposed once everything is assembled. This adds some variation to the surface and will add a stony look when the piece is dry brushed. To add a brickwork effect, you can use a texture roller, or if you have a lot of free time on your hands and don’t mind carpel tunnel, you can draw the bricks with a ball point pen.

Texture roller on tabletop terrain

Colorize Windows:

Add texture and colour to your stained glass files and print the results on acetate sheets. If you would like to use my files, they are available for sale here. I’ve heard that you can also get glass paints that allow you to paint your window colours directly on the acetate, but I haven’t tested it myself. I found printing the windows to be a quick and easy method that gave results I really liked.

Stained glass in printer

Assemble Walls

Use hot glue to assemble your wall pieces. Each section of wall should include 3 pieces of Readi-board with matching window holes. The innermost window should be slightly larger than the others to allow for a layered effect in the final piece. Keep glue as far from the window frame as possible, and do not glue the top of the wall together. We’re going to need to be able to slide the stained glass between the wall sections later – and we can’t do that if it’s glued shut!

(We slide the stained glass in after to ensure no paint or glue gets on the glass.)

Tips and reminders for gluing the wall section of the table-top terrain cathedral

Once your sections have dried and the pieces are solid, you can glue the structure together. I found it worked best to glue the walls to the floor first, then rotate the build and glue the walls together from behind. Hold the pieces until they are completely dry. If you are impatient like me, try crafting clamps to hold your pieces for you.

Gluing the table top terrain cathedral together

Step 2: Balcony and Arch Construction

Hot glue your balcony arch pieces together, making sure there’s about a half-inch gap from the top of the front piece, to the top of the back piece. This will allow the balcony floor to nest inside the walls. You can cut the edges to sit flush against one another if you want a better fit. Then glue your XPS balcony floor into place.

Gluing the tabletop terrain balcony together

Step 3: Railing Construction

Cut two thin pieces of XPS foam to create a trim for your balcony. This should cover the seam between your two types of foam. Like the arch pieces, you can cut the edges to sit flush, rather than butting up against each other. After making my video (and doing my best!) I found this video that shows how to do this much more clearly, and includes tips for cutting other joints as well:

To make the spindles, insert pushpins into the trim you just made at uniform intervals. Glue more trim on top and texture railings with a comb or wire brush to give a wood grain effect.

Balcony close up for tabletop terrain

Step 4: Final Touches and Painting

  1. Floor Design: (Optional) Carve a design onto the floor pieces or use a stencil for accuracy. I went with diamonds at regular intervals.
  2. Mod Podge Layer: Apply a layer of black Mod Podge. You will need to cut through this layer around the window frames and the slit at the top of your window, so try not to make it too thick in those areas.
  3. Painting: Dry brush your build in your preferred colours. I used two layers of tan, and one of white for my walls, and a bright white with red diamonds on the foor.

Window Placement

Your stained glass panels should slide in between your second and third wall pieces. You will need to slice or break the mod podge around the window frame and along the top of the wall so you can access it. This process was slow and fiddly, but the results were worth it! The window is changeable too, so the frame can be left empty, or other glass designs can be added.

Congratulations! You’ve completed your cathedral-inspired temple build. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

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