Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Can't see the Wood for the Trees

The final stages of the scenic elements on the tree bases are complete. The evidence is presented below.

Here we have a selection of large water rounded boulders and a patch of railway modellers ballast. These are glued down with the hybrid glue I mentioned earlier which holds them fairly solidly and dries quite quickly although I do leave them overnight.

Here I have used a sharper edged set of boulders as well as more railway ballast.

This I think is 'budgie' grit and not a feather in sight. I drizzle polystyrene cement over the tops of all these scenic patches and this finally secures them to the bases. We don't want bits coming off as they are painted or even when in use on the tabletop. Again I leave these overnight to make sure the glues have fully cured. PVA and other white glues could be used as well as contact adhesives, in fact any glue you are familiar with could be used as long as it is dry before painting.

I paint the entire base with a beige coloured shade although you could use any lighter shade which blends in with your tabletop colour scheme. Make sure you get all the nooks and crannies covered as this will help with the ink wash stage later. It doesn't do any harm to paint part way up the tree trunk at this stage.

Some of the tree trunks were enclosed in brown PVC tubing by the maker whereas some had bare twisted wire showing. I covered those with a few strips of masking tape and a coat of contact adhesive. This all adds to the resilience of the model.

All your bases will be unique especially if you model the plaster coats differently, vary the patches of gravel and ballast and even the wrinkles in the masking tape will help the illusion.

The next paint stage is to brown coat the tree trunks, a middle brown will do and green the edge of the base if that is your style. Some wargamers try to emphasize the edge whereas others try to disguise it.

My style here is to wash the entire base including the tree trunk with a brown ink. I use Windsor & Newton Nut Brown ink but you may have your own favourite. Make sure this fills all the nooks and crannies as it will add a depth of shading which helps enormously.

Again I leave the ink to dry overnight as the last paint stage will be spoiled if any of the ink remains wet in the pooling areas. I dry brush in white although any light colour will do the tops of the boulders, gravel, ballast and sand. This further enhances the illusion of shadows here and there.

Lastly I matt varnish the trunk and the base to get rid of any remaining shine. I use Windsor & Newton Artists Matt Varnish almost to the exclusion of any other matt varnish. It has never let me down.

Definitely the last stage now. I apply static grass in selective patches on the bases, leaving some of the boulders and ballast showing with PVA white glue.

I use a static grass to match my Hexon II terrain set which unfortunately was not on the tabletop when I took these pictures. For those of you who wish to disguise the edge of your terrain pieces you want to bring the static grass right down over the edges of your bases.

Finally you can see the whole lot together makes one 'L' of a wood.