Building a Stone Bridge...

Years ago, I played in a BattleSystem game, as a general over a Dwarven army.  We were attacking a Drow House, in the UnderDark, which had a stone bridge, as an entry to their large abode.  It had a unit of Drow Archers across the top of the bridge, as well as in a line, directly beneath the bridge...  My Dwarven army had a high level Priest, armed with a Transmute Rock to Mud spell...  It wasn't pretty when I ran my Priest forward, and turned the Archers' stone bridge to a mud bath -- they fell directly on top of the line of Drow Archers beneath them!  It was a terribly satisfying moment, for me.  "Bwah-ha-ha-ha!!!"

Since that game, now more than a decade in the past, I have wanted to re-create that situation.  While there are many ways to construct a stone arch-bridge (just as there are many painting mediums to choose from, i.e., acrylic, watercolor, oil, etc.), I chose this method, detailed below.

Bottom View 1:  You can see the 2"-squares I cut, and used, from a vinyl floor tile.  The squares are actually two squares, glue-side together, with the vinyl business surfaces on the outside.  You can see the twists in the Paper Towel tube used for the bridge section, filled in with Hot Glue.

Top View 1:  Simple, effective, and very inexpensive terrain making, at its best.  Nothing purpose bought, all were garbage/throw-away bits, re-purposed, for miniature gaming.  This takes the bit-bucket to a new level...

Front View 1:  Here is an idea of how this terrain piece will be used within a miniatures game.  The figures are Mage Knight Krugg, re-purposed as Ogres, for AD&D/BattleSystem games.

Front View 2:  This is an illustration of how a player could form two lines, above and below, with his troops.  The troops on the horizontal bridge section, will need to be armed with either missiles, or magic, to be useful in a battle; they could be used as sentries, or lookouts, to warn of approaching enemies.

In short, I used cardboard tubes as an armature, which I Hot Glued to a vinyl floor tile base.  Then I coated them with Hot Glue, for texturing.  I discovered that I needed a flat surface to place my miniatures across the top, to avoid having my painted mini's fall to their chipping!  I first tried a piece of card stock, but it was too flimsy, and it did not remain flat; then I cut a wooden paint stirring stick, to length, and I Hot Glued that to the top.  Voila!

Front View 3:  Note the bits of Toilet Paper, still attached to the two tubes, beneath the Hot Glue texture...  No need to clean the tubes, as the surface is almost completely covered in Hot Glue.  Remember, the cardboard tubes are serving as an armature only -- they are only important for that singular function, being quite easy to twist, crumple, and shape.

Front View 4:  Note the card stock piece, just beneath the wooden paint stir stick -- it did not remain flat, and level enough, to serve as a proper mounting surface for the eight miniatures I plan to place across it, in a line.

Side View 1:  The Hot Glue is allowed to run down, as this gives the appearance of it being a more naturally formed, stalagmite, as opposed to being carved into this shape.

Side View 2:  Here you can see that the bridge portion, is just another, longer, cardboard tube.  The ends were flattened, and folded over the vertical Toilet Paper tubes, which also had their ends flattened, and folded over, to mate with the horizontal tube.

Next I painted the surface with White Glue (PVA), and I drizzled sand over the wet glue, to add fine texture.  The results can be seen in the photo's, below.

Front View 5:  The Hot Glue textured surface was painted with PVA Glue, and then sprinkled with black craft sand.  When this dries, it will be re-coated with more watered down PVA Glue, to secure it in place.  After that, it will be painted to match other UnderDark terrain pieces.

Side View 3:  Much closer to the finished product, you can really get an idea of what it will be like, within a game.  Hot Glue was applied to the edges, to round them, to avoid sharp lines.  Bear in mind, that either steps will need to be carved into the stone Stalagmite Bridge, or an external ladder will need to be attached to the vertical sections, in order for troops to mount the top of this bridge.  Either technique will work, but remember to mention the method, or apply the proper ladder models when you put this on your gaming table.

Side View 4:  Imagine all of that rock, being transformed into mud, and falling on top of a line of troops beneath...  The troops across the top of the bridge, would fall quite a distance, crashing into their fellows beneath them, all of them being covered in thick mud.  Yuck!  But what satisfying fun for the Attacker...

Update, 29 September 2013:

Here, as promised, are the photo's of the finished Bridge.  I have also included some action shots, demonstrating how it will look in a game situation.  The Giants, are of the Frost family, which I had at hand.  They also inspired me to make a second Bridge (not yet started, but soon...), however this new bridge will be made of Ice, not Stone, for my upcoming BattleSystem Skirmish game playing out the Giant Series, by E. Gary Gygax, from the late 1970's convention game modules.  Cheers!

One side of the finished, Stone Bridge, painted, and sealed/shaded,
using Minwax Polyshades Royal Walnut (aka, The Dip).

The other side.  Notice the different textures achieved with the Hot Glue application -- it is never the same...  And that is a very good thing.

Here you can see how the paint stir stick serves to create a smooth, level surface to place miniatures upon, without fear of them falling off due to being on a rough, un-level surface.  To reach the stone bridge's top, I plan to add ladders on the rear, which offers a tactical opportunity:  the attacker could try to remove the ladders, stranding the figures up top, who would not be able to come down, without jumping, help, or some form of magic...

Here is the same technique used to construct an Ice Bridge.  I plan on gaming G2:  Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, using BattleSystem Skirmish rules, so this Ice Bridge will come in very handy.  The bridge has been painted Cool White (craft paint name), and then it received a Magic Wash of Pledge Floor Polish + Blue craft paint, to 'shade' it in a blue color, to give the impression of it being made of ice.  Simple construction, simple design, and very simple painting, produce a model I can happily game with.

Adventurers added to demonstrate the size.  They are 25-28mm figures, some metal, some D&D pre-paints.  The Frost Giants are 60mm tall Viking figures, painted as AD&D Giants.

Here you can see a ground view, from behind the Giants, looking forward at the Ice Bridge, and the Giants' enemies.

A side view.  The Bridge has been based on two squares of vinyl floor tiles, glued together using their factory adhesive, the Bridge being Hot Glue'ed to the tiles, and everything being painted Cool White, with a Magic Wash of Blue.

Here is a close-up of the scene, with the Bridge's details clearly visible.  Place these figures on a white sheet, and you have an instant Glacial Rift, with some ill-tempered Giants attempting to remove some unwanted squatters who have invaded their chilly home...

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