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Sprue Madness
by René Raap

When buying plastic miniatures, they almost always come in a sprue. You cut the miniatures off the sprue and then throw it away. And you shouldn't. Why? Because sprues make excellent building material, with almost endless possibilities.

When using sprues as building material, you first need to cut the sprue into little 'bricks'. Make lots, you'll need them.

The easiest way to use these bricks is to make a large pile of them, use some filler of any kind and use them as piles of rubble. These are great for games set in a city scarred by continuous fighting.

You can also use the bricks to really build interesting terrain pieces. All you need is a nice supply of bricks and plastic glue. Put them together just like real bricks (like lego) and use enough glue.

I made my walls building two rows of bricks and attaching them at each end by placing a brick at a right-angle. Everytime I finished a layer, I also dripped some glue in between the rows to make the walls more firm.

The final layer was made using one row of bricks which was positioned in the middle of the two rows (as can be seen on the photographs).

My girlfriend and I made some flower boxes, which she then painted for me! The boxes were made using a single row and they were then filled to an appropriate height. After painting, a bush was glued on top.

There's no reason to stop with walls: There are lots of other things you can build. The next thing I decided to build was a circular temple.

I used a CD as a base and began building four columns. On top of these I constructed a ring running over all four columns. It took me quite some time (and a lot of bricks) to build it, but it was really worth it.

The temple looks great and has featured in a lot of games. It's a nice centrepiece for the table and a good objective, since it can be the location of a ancient relic, important for a local cult or used for many other great plothooks. Because of the construction it's also a really solid terrain piece so no worries about damage.

I also built a corral.using the same method I again used a CD as a base and then built a wall along the edge. I left a part of the wall open, sand closed the gap with a gate made from split matchsticks.

To attach the gate to one of the posts and still enable it move, I drilled a hole in the post and glued a piece of wire onto the gate. As with the temple, the coral also makes a fine and sturdy terrain piece. It's great for a game in which villagers have to defend their livestock against hungry raiders.

To paint these pieces of scenery, I use a black undercoat. I then give the bricks a drybrush with two tones of grey. If you want them to look a bit weathered you could use a green and brown wash in between or after the drybrushing. The green on the bases was painted with a medium green basecoat, then given a dark green wash and finally finished with a pale green drybrush.That's all there is to building with sprues.