I needed four or five miniatures to represent Violet Fungi in the campaign I’m running. As I did not find anything suitable amidst my collection of miniatures, I decided I’d make some myself. Afterall, how hard could it be to make mushrooms?
The answer is: not as easy as it may seem at first. I tried a couple of methods before I arrived at one that works for me. I do recommend this excellent tutorial in CoolMiniOrNot – the person who wrote it is way better at making mushrooms than I am.
So how did I build them? Well, after a trip to the nearest chinese store, I found the main components to build my army of spores:
Yes, buttons and screws. Together with some non-slip rubber pads I had previously acquired, I had everything I needed… just needed to put everything together. And in order to do that, this time I used a cheap glue gun that I got for a couple of bucks. DM Scotty, from The DM’s Craft, has dozens of videos where he builds heaps of wonderful stuff using his trusty glue gun, so why not try and emulate a tried-and-tested method?
Hey… not so bad! I even got to create a somewhat decent texture underneath the buttons that sort of resembles what you may find underneath the cap of a mushroom! I had a lot of glue strings to clean up, since I didn’t want a bunch of webbed mushrooms (although it gives me an idea for another time), but other than that, the process didn’t give me much trouble. Only thing I would change if I were to do this again would be the screws. I tried to bend them so that they twisted and turned, but these screws proved too resilient. Some more malleable ones would have allowed me to create a more organic stalk. Live and learn.
Now for the hard part: how to make a somewhat decent cap? After trying (and failing) to make a flower-like cap like the ones in the CoolMiniOrNot tutorial (one out of crappy brown stuff from the chinese store, the other one out of green stuff), and after spending way too much time getting frustrated that my mushrooms weren’t turning out as I wanted, an idea popped into my mind, and I started to roll up a ball of Green Stuff, which I propped onto the top of one of the buttons, like so:
After the Green Stuff was secured and somewhat smooshed in the process, I rolled the thing on its side, back and forth…
Enough time of that motion and you’ll end up with something resembling a “classical” mushroom. You can try this with differently sized balls of Green Stuff, such as more oblong ones, and different movements will produce different results.
If you find out that you’ve go too far and the rim of the cap starts going too far down, just use your wet finger or a tool to softly push the Green Stuff up – it acually makes a pretty cool effect, as if the cap was turning back up! You can also cut bits of the rim off after the Green Stuff has hardened a bit, sculpt details into the cap (such as small circles) and experiment to find something you like. I tried making something similar to a Morel mushroom by poking holes into the cap and dragging up – didn’t turn out too bad.
So after the Green Stuff hardened overnight, I glued some small rocks (cat litter) to the base using white glue and primed a couple of them to see how they looked. After all the work, I finally had something that I could use at the table!
Yes, the evil-looking one has tentacles, as per the Monster Manual illustrations. And after priming the remaining ones and covering the rest of the bases with Citadel’s Agrellan Earth, all they need is a coat of paint. But that’s a job for another day.
All in all, I am pleased. Learned a lot from manipulating the Green Stuff, the main thing being to always keep your tools and fingers wet. We’ll see how these turn out after they’ve tasted a few licks of the brush… even if they are supposed to be Violet Fungi, I think I’ll take some artist’s creative liberty and try some different colors and patterns.