Temples, pyramids, ziggurats, you name it. They all make great terrain. Here I show how I made some temple structures from some simple and cheap (mostly free) materials. These buildings are designed with two uses in mind: as props for role-playing games and terrain for miniatures warfare games, such as Games Workshop's Sci-Fi minis game, Warhammer 40,000 (WH40k), and their Fantasy minis game, Warhammer..

WARNING: You should not attempt these procedures without an adult present.

Temple Project #1 Raised Open Air Stone Temple

My first time using my shiny new hot wire scroll table from Foam Factory.


  • Pieces of foam appropriate for a bunker
  • Hard board large enough to mount the temple on
  • Hot wire scroll table
  • 5-minute epoxy
  • white glue (a.k.a. PVA glue, a.k.a. Elmer's Glue)
  • sand or green flock
  • large paint brush (1" wide head)
  • texture paint (Behr Premium Plus, Sand Finish)
  • craft paints
    • Delta Ceramcoat Mudstone
    • Delta Ceramcoat Sandstone
    • Delta Ceramcoat Antique White


1. Start with pieces of foam that are close enough to the size and shape you want that modifications will be minimal, preferably just chopping some pieces off. Make a plan. My plan is to use the piece at left as the base and the piece at right as a second, stepped layer. The scraps will then be used creatively to finish the top.

2. I trimmed down the top piece and cut out a space.

3. Then I set the scroll cutter to about a 45 degree angle and beveled the edges of the upper piece, including the inset, which I decided now would hold a ramp upon which I would mount stairs.

4. I then trimmed the lower piece to match the slope that would eventually hold a stairway. I also played around with the scraps and trimmed them until they looked interesting. On a side note: the short walls also make the top of the terrain piece tactically useful for cover from shooting attacks. :)

5. Now to build the stairs. Rather than trying to cut a stairway in, my plan was to mount strips with a triangular cross-section to a flat ramp and then put that into place. First, I cut a base support ramp, then I cut more of the scrap from the upper level into blocks and shaved the corner edges off the blocks, creating strips to serve as stairs.

6. I tested it out to see if looked all right (always a good idea, though I often get carried away and forget).

7. I then glued the strips down and trimmed the edges to match the ramp. In the backdrop you can see the nifty little shapes remaining from the trimming as well as the miraculous tool that is a hot wire scroll table. :)

8. Using 5-minute epoxy, I glued the ramp to the top surface first. This was so that I could make sure the top portion was properly aligned; my feeling was that it would be the most obvious place to spot a mistake. Once that had cured slightly, I glued the top onto the bottom piece, this way, if the steps were horribly misaligned with the bottom piece, I could still tweak the position slightly. After the epoxy cured, I was basically finished with the hard part of the construction.


9. The fun doesn't stop there! I put the top pieces on and put in some battle damage. How did I do the damage you ask?

  • Explosive blast: I tore out a roughly round piece with my fingernails, then I used the Foam Factory engraving tool to scratch/cut out from the center in rough streaks to create the appearance of a central blast area. I trailed a few fracture lines off from the edges to help support the illusion of stone.
  • Stream of bullet holes: I jabbed the engraving tool direclty in then roughed up the edges of the holes.


10. I slightly thinned some texture paint and painted the whole piece with it, using a 1" brush. Once that had dried, I painted the entire piece with Delta Ceramcoat Mudstone. After that dried, I painted all but the deep recessed areas with Delta Ceramcoat Sandstone. After that dried, I highlighted with Delta Ceramcoat Antique White. The final result looks pretty natural and stony. I was worried the simple paint scheme would generate cartoonish highlights, but it did not. Note: for some of the dry brushing I used smaller paint brushes at random, as the detail demanded; large brushes can create harsh and unnaturally aligned highlights on small objects.

11. More to come...
Questions? Comments? Please let me know via my questions/comments form!