|As of this writing, I'm still making preparations for an upcoming 3rd Edition D&D campaign inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy - or, specifically, The Inferno. How better to start things off, than to build a suitable representation for the Gates of Hell? I was loosely inspired by Rodin's "Gates of Hell", but I didn't care for his blocky rectangles, and instead opted for something more along the lines of a gothic arch.|
I'm constructing a gateway, built around the gothic arch from mold #44 "Additional Gothic Accessories", which in this case has an outer diameter of 4 inches across. The plan is to make something like a "triumphal arch", with room for a door inside that will be just shy of 3 inches wide. The arch itself is meant to have a fairly "generic" gothic look, rather than being branded specifically as a feature of the Inferno. After all, I'd like to leave myself some room for flexibility in using it again. The door that will fit into it, however, should prove to be distinctive.
I was building the foundation for the gateway separately, using several stair sections in the middle, and some decorative pieces from Mold #42 "Gothic Arena Accessories" on each side. To hold the stair pieces up, I temporarily put some column halves in the hollow space in the center for support. Due to less-than-perfect casting on my part, the stairs don't perfectly line up; I'll have to do some sanding and some gap-filling before the project is considered complete.
Here, I have the bulk of the construction done for the archway itself; there's still a lot of sanding and gap-filling to do, as well as the matter of fixing up the uneven top of this.
|Doors Under Construction|
I've done a bit of sanding and filing on the gate itself, to try to bring down some of the rough edges, and I've started making the doors, by using some templates cut from foam core, and building some Sculpey around them, then removing the template and pressing various figures and "bitz" into the Sculpey to get impressions for the mold. The cast pieces suffer from a great many bubbles, despite my most careful attempts. (I couldn't very well use a brush to try to get rid of the bubbles, since that would end up destroying the very detail I was trying to save, as this is a non-solid mold.) Still, I think it gets the general impression, and if the end result is not satisfying, I still leave open the option of gluing on a few more "bitz" to the completed surface for greater depth.
I've used some Magic Sculp to fill in various gaps, and I've spent some time sanding and filling, to try to (I hope) minimize the visibility of seams in the final product. (Right now, they stand out quite a bit, due to the dark grey of the Magic Sculp compared to the white of the Hydrocal(r).) I have the two door pieces standing in the archway. They don't exactly "swing open" easily, and they don't fit perfectly, but I think they'll do the job.
|Doors - Alternate|
This is an alternate "door" piece - a single piece, rather than being split in half as double doors. I'm not entirely settled on just what I'm going to do with it. My basic idea was to repeat the "figures coming out of the surface" idea, but to have a piece that would represent a sort of magical portal, rather than a physical door. I will probably paint this door piece black, and then drybrush in dark red, in order to give it a sort of dark, shadowy, chaotic look. (In fact, the "door" piece could stand on its own, and serve such a purpose.)
In the background are a couple of the Castlemolds that I use - in this case, the molds used to generate the "Fieldstone Arena" blocks used for some "lava tiles" I made for another part of the Inferno.
|Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here|
And here it is! In order to get this picture, I had to set the whole thing on the scanner. The base footprint is 6" x 3", and it's 7.5" high - a lot taller than my typical doorways. ;) (For scale, most of my miniatures are somewhere around 1" to 1.25" tall, roughly speaking.)
|Paladin at the Gates|
For a bit of perspective on the size, here's a Reaper Warlord "Crusader" miniature posed at the Gates of Hell. Big, aren't they? ;)