DIY

Wet Palettes – How to make them and why you should use them!

Wet Palettes – What are they, why use one, and how to make them?

If you’re a miniature gamer, and more importantly love to paint those miniatures, chances are you’ve poked around on the internet for some time looking for help with your painting techniques.  Sooner or later you will undoubtedly come across the concept of a “wet palette”.

You may ask yourself; “What the heck is a wet palette and why would I want one?”.  Well, here’s why!

What is a Wet Palette?

As far as painting war gaming miniatures is concerned, a wet palette is a simple device enabling you to keep the small amounts of paint used flowing (ie : not drying up) for extended periods of time.

If you brush paint acrylics you will hopefully NOT be using the paint straight out of the pot but mixing it on a palette of some kind with a little water. You probably use a proper artists palette, a ceramic tile or just  a bottle cap!

The problem is it dries very quickly and that can be a real problem over extended painting sessions. Also if you have mixed something up for shading or a highlight it might not be so easy to mix a little bit more up if it dries too quick on you or  you forgot how much of each color you used to get that perfect shade.

A wet palette cures all that and although not even remotely expensive it’s incredibly easy to make one …

The basic construction of a wet palette involves having a waterproof container, some kind of sponge, some paper and, of course, water.  This can be a piece of Tupperware with a kitchen sponge and regular old grocery store parchment paper.  Simply fill the sponge with water, place it in the Tupperware, lay a single layer of parchment paper on top of the sponge and you’re done!  Put your drops of paint on the paper and paint away.

Why Use a Wet Palette?

Most people, if they’ve even been using a palette at all have been using a standard old plastic palette.  A drop or more of paint in one of the wells and some water in the neighboring well enable you to pick up paint or water to control the consistency of your paint.

The theory is that the wet palette will keep feeding water up through the paper and keep those drops of paint wet and flowing.  So if you thin your paints you would still thin them as normal, but the wet palette will keep it thin and flowing for much, much longer.

How To Build A Wet Palette

The materials to make a wet palette are cheap and readily available.

As mentioned above a piece of Tupperware, a sponge, paper and whatever water you normally use to thin your paints are really all that is needed to make a proper wet palette.

Container

The container idealy needs to be a watertight container (assuming you want to keep your paint usable on the palette for extended periods of time), most likely made of plastic and with a sealable lid.

A cheap and easily available option is a Tupperware container.  You could use any number of other containers (plastic blister packs from your miniatures, old CD cases) but they are less likely to have a good seal when closed (if any at all) and so will probably only keep the paints useable for several hours, rather than days.

As for the size of the container, you really don’t need anything too big.  You’re likely only going to be using it for a few colors at a time and anything too big will just take up excess space on your work surface and be harder to store when not in use.

Sponge

A simple kitchen sponge will do fine to hold the water, but you can also use two layers of paper towels or even the sponge foam packing that comes in your miniatures blister packs.  Whatever you use as a sponge, make sure there is a bit of room between it and the lid.  You don’t want to close up your wet palette only to find that the lid is touching your paints and making a mess of things.

If your sponge is larger than your container, trace the outline of the container on the sponge and cut slightly along the inside of the outline.  Remember that the sponge will swell when water is added, so if your sponge is dry cut within the outline to give space for the sponge to expand when it absorbs water.

Tip : anything that will hold water can be used as the sponge.

Paper

The best option for this component (absolutely, without a doubt, best) is bakers parchment paper (the kind used for baking, readily available at your local grocery store – brand doesn’t matter, but it MUST be parchment, not waxed or butchers paper).  Alternately you can buy specialty wet palette paper (more expensive and less readily available) or in a really bind you can use regular white paper (but that last option is far from ideal and probably only useful for a quick temporary job if you really have no other choice).

If your sponge is smaller than your container, draw the outline of the sponge on the paper.  Cut the paper around the outline you drew, leaving roughly a quarter-inch (5 mm) border all around.  You really don’t need to be very precise here and the extra border will make it easier to pull the paper up when you’re done with it.

If you custom cut your sponge to fit your container, trace the outline of your container on the paper and then cut slightly within the lines.  Your paper should sit entirely in the container and on the sponge without bowing.  If the paper doesn’t contact the sponge it will not keep the paint wet and your wet palette will not be .. well, wet!

While you’re at it, make a stack of spares/replacements as well.  You’ll want to change the paper when you’re finished with one set of colors and move on to your next project and this way you won’t have to measure all over again.

How to use a Wet Palette

Now that you have a perfect wet palette to work with, you need to know what to do with it, right?

First you will need to fill water into the palette box bottom and let the sponge soak it up completely (any water the sponge does not soak up you can dump out). The sponge shouldn’t swim but always should be fully soaked with water (you want it wet, but not so much so that water is running off it when you pick it up) for the best results.

Next you need to let the parchment paper soak for a while with water (hot water is best). Alternately you can just place it on top of the wet sponge surface.  It will immediately begin to absorb some of the water and curl.  Don’t fear, it will flatten out again.  Let it do its thing, and when it’s flattened out, smooth it by hand.  Then, just flip it over on the sponge.

You can now drop a small amount of your acrylic paint to a clean section of your palette. There it will stay wet for a much longer time as it could stay moister than on a normal palette. When you’ll spread the color to a wider part of your palette you will notice that the color will be thinned more and more; this is because the water from beneath will be diluting the paint as you give it more surface area.
When you’re finished with your painting session, seal up the lid and set the palette aside.  When you come back to it in a few days you will just have to give the paints a bit of a mix with an old brush to get them right back into useable condition!  And when the paper is full of paint you aren’t going to use any more simply throw it out and replace it with a freshly soaked piece.

The Final Word on Wet Palettes

The wet palette costs roughly $1-5 to make. You could make one for less and you could certainly buy one for more if you were so inclined (you can pick them up online for roughly $10 if you really don’t want to make one).

In either case a wet palette is one of the most useful tools for miniatures painters and one that you’ll be very glad you added to your list of gadgets.  You may never paint without one again!

Tutorial : Basing Miniatures

Tutorial : Basing Miniatures

Written by John “Scarab” Salmond, copied from “terrainthralls

Materials Needed :
Dirt
Water
Whiteglue
Static grass
Tall grass
Rocks
Envirotex
Sand
Baking soda

When working with a base you can change things up a bit by carving some of the base away for depth and character (A). In the example below you will notice one base has been chopped up in preparation for adding water (B). I cut a piece of sheet styrene to glue on the bottom of the base so I don’t have a problem with the water leaking. You can also cut part of the base away for rocks or other objects. I use Bondini Gel for all of my superglue needs including figs.

1. Dirt

The majority of my bases have the same foundation. Dirt. I use sifted sand and small rocks for almost all of my dirt (1A).

Apply some whiteglue to your base and spread the glue around with a toothpick (1B & 1C).

Before applying the sifted sand throw on some small rocks to break things up a bit. You want to put the rocks in first so they appear to be in the ground and not resting on top of the soil (1D).

Then comes the sifted sand. Make sure you are generous when covering the bases with the sand (1E & 1F).

Make sure you let it dry completely. You don’t want to start paining with wet glue. When it is all said and done you have the making of some dirt (1G & 1H).

For the base color of dirt I like to start with a dark brown (1I).

I dabble some on a piece of tin foil with a smaller dab of black (1J). I throw in some water so it has a thick wash consistency (1K). Mix it up with your brush (1L).

When applying the paint you can be a little generous. The reason for thinning the paint is because it seeps into all of the small cracks and also allows for some of the original rock color to show through (1M).

After it is all dry I begin the dry brush process. For this example I will use four different colors. Dry brushing is when you apply paint to your brush and them remove most of the paint with a cloth (1N). This allows you to brush the object and apply a minimal amount of paint on the leading edges of the object.

I start with a dark medium brown (1O).

A raw sienna next (1P).

Next is a tan, which will be the lightest brown that is used (1Q).

The last color is going to be very light so remove almost all of your paint from the brush. Apply the light gray very sparingly on the leading edges of the rocks for this example (1R).

You now have the foundation for several different types of basing (1S).

2. Vegetation

Once you have the dirt down you can do a variety of vegetation depending on what your theme is. Let’s start with the basics—grass. I buy my static grass in bulk and mix it up myself. This allows me to control my colors (2A).

I first decide what my overall goal is with the theme I am trying to achieve. I then place some dapples of whiteglue on my bases (2B).

I then begin to spread the glue around with a toothpick. When I apply grass I want to give the illusion that the grass extends beyond the base so I try not to bunch it up in small globs. You’ll see after I spread it around (2C).

I use tweezers to apply the grass. I smash the grass into the glue and then flip the base upside down and tap the bottom. This makes the grass stand up more. You can also vary you colors depending on the theme. Green grass for summer woodland and light brown for snowy dead grass (2D & 2E).

Sometimes I will throw some variety on the base and apply sponge turf. I like to apply it next to the static grass. I apply the glue and then spread it around (2F, 2G & 2H).

You can now add fallen trees which I find roots are ideal for this (2I & 2J).

You can even use dried wood ships, which I use more on my water pieces (2K).

I like to add some tall grass to add depth and variety from time to time. I also buy this in several different colors and mix them together. Grasses are usually never the same color even in the same clump. Note the four colors in a row and the one that is a mixture of all the grass (2L).

After I mix them I make one end of the grass stalk uneven, I cut the other end with scissor and apply whiteglue to the end. i then apply is to the base. Let it dry just a bit and then spread it out some so it is not all standing straight and stiff (2M & 2N).

You can also add foliage clumps for small bushes. I also mix that up so it is not all the same color (2O).

You can also pick from sheet moss to get debris and different looking plants (2P).

You will notice that the base on the left is using some clump foliage. The base in front has a slant on the right I took form the sheet moss. You may also notice that the whiteglue is not dry yet on my grass and fallen trees. I am impatient that way. The static grasses are also different colors.

I could go on for a long time on vegetation because of the wide variety. you can make little mushrooms like I do on most of my figs with pinheads.You can also sculpt mushrooms to add. There are companies that sell small leaves for an autumn look. This list goes on.

3. Snow

Making snow can be done in a variety of methods and materials. this method I will be using whiteglue and basking soda. you can also us a purchased snow mixture (3A).

I mix some whiteglue with some baking soda. I may add some water at times to thin it up a bit (3B).

Go ahead and apply the mixture to your base. Remember to keep the illusion that the terrain goes beyond your base to have some of the snow touch the base edge (3C & 3D).

Once you have applied the glue and baking soda mixture. Sprinkle dry baking soda over the bases and let it dry completely before you brush it off. Sometimes you may want to apply the snow before your static grass is dry so some of the dry mix gets into the static grass. This gives a cool effect (3E).

After is is dry use a brush and gently remove the excess dry baking soda. You can be vigorous in removing the dry baking soda if you want the wind swept look (3F).

4. Water

You can do water in several different ways. You can cut part of your base away or you can apply the water without removing any of your base. You will need to complete the dirt phase of your basing. Wherever you apply the water you will need t paint it first. I like to go with a dark green (4A).

For a swampy look and to obscure the depth of the water I like to throw in some sponge turf (4B & 4C).

You can use two-part Envirote or acrylic Medium for water. I usually like to go with Envirotex. For this example I chose to go with Acrylic medium. I have other tutorials that cover the other products (4D & 4E).

Fill the areas where you want the water located. If you use Acrylic Medium it shrinks when it dries so you will have to apply several layers. Envirotex does not shrink.

After the water is all dry you can use other methods to apply vegetation that I have already covered (4F & 4G).

5. Completion

Now you have some bases that blow mine away. All you ave left is to paint the edge black and you are ready to crush your enemy. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.If you have any questions feel free to contact me at scarab@terrainthralls.com

How to make SIMPLE CRATERS

Tutorial : SIMPLE CRATERS

Here’s a quick tutorial for making a very simple yet effective crater for blast markers or just for varied terrain.

Materials Needed:

  • Pink foam (1/2″)
  • Hot wire foam cutter
  • Whiteglue
  • Sand
  • Base material (See below in step 3)

Procedure :

Step 1: Mark the foam

Mark the outside circumferance of your crater in any shape you want (a simple method is to take a roll of tape and draw a circle using the outside circumferance).  Freehand the inner circumferance approximately a half an inch from the outer.

Once you have both circumferances drawn you want to freehand another line between the two to rougly mark where the topmost portion of your crater will be.

Step 2: Cut the foam

Just cut the outer circle at the line and then carved the inner circle with a knife or hot wire foam cutter.  If using a wire cutter, poke a hole in the middle of the circle and run the wire through the whole and reconnected it so that you don’t have to carve through the sides of the crater.  You will now have a donut shaped piece of foam.

Step 3: Make a base for your crater

You can use just about any material for this that you want.   My personal preference is a piece of MDF, but you could  just as easily use a coffee lid, cardboard or plasticard for the base.  Draw around the craters outer edge and cut it out to shape. Once the base is cut,  paint both sides a base color of brown.

Step 4: Attach foam to base and add dirt/sand

Glue the pink foam to the base (white glue, wood glue or hot glue work well) and add a few coats of brown paint just to create a base for the dirt.

After giving the whole thing a decent coat of brown, make a 50/50 glue/water mix and cover the whole thing and add sand. 

Make a few piles in the the crater for variety but for the most part  just make a light pile of sand over the entire crater.

To get the sand to stick keep gently adding the glue/water mix several times over the next couple of days allowing it to dry completely between applications.

Step 5: Paint

Start with a wash of black (50/50 black and water) to get shadows.  Then a drybrush of brown and another drybrush of tan.

Paperhammer 40k – Continued Papercraft Modeling – Space Marine Rhino

Having once again come upon budget constraints when it comes to buying Warhammer 40,000 models (If only they weren’t so expensive there are so many I would love to get), I have once again moved into Papercraft as a decent alternative.

You may recall my Papercraft Drop Pods  that I did back in September.  In a similar vein I have decided that I could use some more Rhinos for my Tactical marines to move across the board in.  I picked up a couple of Rhino kits fairly cheap off Ebay, but with 4-5 full Tactical squads in my collection, 2 just does not cut it.

Enter the crazy Russian, Eli Patoroch!  For those who don’t know, Eli Patoroch has made dozens of Paperhammer 40k templates.  And these aren’t just quick print, cut and slap together templates.  Oh no, they are works of art!  Each one is scaled to the same size as official GW models and include so much detail that it’s insane!  I absolutely recommend his templates for anyone interested in high end Paperhammer models.

For this project I used the 132 Rhino MkV 01.pdf.  This pdf file is 21 pages long, but fear not.  Many of those pages are full colour templates and instructions.  If you want to paint your Papercraft, then you need only print out the Line drawing/black and white pages of the template.  And even then, several of those pages are Razorback upgrades and not part of the standard Rhino.

 

Materials Required :

  • 210g Cardstock (alternatively you can use cardboard found on boxes such as Cereal and other food products <- this is what i did this time
  • Printer
  • Sharp x-acto knife (or small utility knife)
  • Ruler
  • Glue (White PVA, Tacky Glue, Superglue .. take your pick .. I used a combination of all 3)
  • Optional : Spray mount adhesive (if you are mounting standard weight paper to cardboard)

Once the templates were printed out (I didn’t print out the instructions but rather just had them on screen to refer to) they were mounted to the cardboard with Elmers spray mount adhesive and allowed to dry for a couple of hours.

 Carefully refering to the instructions I then proceeded to cut out the appropriate pieces and assembling (see above picture for the first portion).  AFTER assembly I realized a number of portions I did “wrong”, but the final product does not show it.  They were only wrong if you want your model to be fully operable just like the official GW models (Opening doors/removable hatches).  Specifially I did not cut out sections where the doors and hatches slot into place.

I strongly suggest looking over the instructions (which are not entirely clear but more a good reference to refer to) several times so you don’t make the same mistakes!

 

After all the pieces were cut out and individual parts assembled I very quickly got to assembling the components.  So far this project (one Rhino) has taken me approximately 8 hours.  Next up are some of the extra details (raised areas on the hull).  I will then coat it in a thin coat of watered down PVA Glue, follow up with a coat of black primer and then paint just as I would a normal GW Model.  Yeah, it’s going to look a little rough at the edges.  Yeah, it’s not perfect.  But let’s face it .. if you have more TIME than MONEY, this is a fantastic alternative.  I know there are a lot of people out there who will look at your paper model and scoff, and even fewer who will refuse to allow them in a game;  But most people will simply look at them and say “Wow .. that’s PAPER?  Awesome dude!” and carry on with the game.

Admittedly I am horrible at remembering to take pictures of my progress.  However, here are some comparison pics with my GW Rhino compared to the current state of my Paperhammer Rhino.  Enjoy!

 


Scratchbuild/Papercraft – Warhammer 40K Space Marines Drop Pod

After our game groups previous game night (and the incredible spanking my Ultramarines were handed by the unruley Ork hoards) I have begun the search for new strategies.  One strategy I stumbled up on involves the use of Drop Pods.

“Awesome, this looks like a fun strategy!” I said to myself as I went off to look at getting a half dozen or so Drop Pods.  Much to my dismay, in order to grab 5-6 drop pods even used from Ebay I would be looking at $150+ for what may be a gread strategy, but at the same time may end up blowing up in my face!

In comes my scratch-build mentality!

“Get the Flock out!” – What is FLOCK?

Get the Flock Out!

What exactly is “Flock”?Anyone who is into Miniature wargaming, Railroading or Scale Model building uses this stuff on a regular basis. We all go out and spend too much of our hard earned money on the stuff. But .. what the heck IS this Flock stuff anyway?

From Wikipedia : Flocking is the process of depositing many small fiber particles (called flock) onto a surface. It can also refer to the texture produced by the process, or to any material used primarily for its flocked surface. Flocking of an article can be performed for the purpose of increasing its value in terms of the tactile sensation, aesthetics, color and appearance.

So, flock can be many different things! In our use, it is a general term used to describe any of the materials we use to enhance our miniatures and terrain. This can be sand, fine turf (ie : grass), static grass, small rocks, clump foliage and much much more.

Turf (Fine/Coarse) : Turf is a product used primarily for creating a grass-like effect on miniature bases and terrain pieces. You can have both fine and coarse turf (one is, obviously, slightly larger/coarser than the other) in a massive variety of colours, from simple greens to bright, vibrant reds and yellows, and anything in between! Fine turf is typically used to add texture and highlights to trees, grasses, foliage and other ground covers. Coarse turf is usually used to model low lying vegetation, add texture and highlights and use to transition between low, medium and high ground covers. This, along with Ballast/Talus is the most common of all the flocks used and will eat up the largest portion of your flocking budget
Field Grass is an extremely fine, natural hair product that models tall grass, field grass and weeds. This product often needs to be applied with tweezers to get individual (or a few) strands in place at a time, or placed in clumps like stands of weeds.
Clump Foliage flock is used to model Medium to High ground cover, bushes and medium to large. It consists of a larger clump-like material (thus “clump foliage”). You can also get Foliage Clusters that are large chunks of clump foliage which you can break off into a variety of sizes to simulate whole bushes or tall ground cover.
Lichen is a natural moss product that is used to make quick, easy bushes, ground cover and trees. This is a long time favourite of hobbyists and, in addition to being available for purchase in hobby shops (already cleaned and coloured), you could always go for a nice hike in the woods and gather your own, at no cost!
Static Grass Flock is a fiber product that models grass and/or weeds. This product, while fantastic when applied properly, is a royal pain in the buttocks to use, and gets all over everything! The product is meant to model small/fine grass and will stand up (fairly) straight when used as it is supposed to be. In order to get it to stand up requires the use of Static electricity (thus the “Static” portion of it’s name). Generally speaking, you are meant to shake up the plastic container the product is in and shake it onto an area of terrain or a figure base. You then either need some sort of static electric charge or a “puffer” bottle to get the grass to stand up. Some people claim you just need to tip the piece upside down and tap the bottom a few times, but this does not always work well. With this particular product, practice goes a long long way!
Poly Fiber is used to create vines, undergrowth and other rambling vegitation. Yes, this is the same stuff that is used to fill pillows! You can buy it pre-coloured in small packs from the hobby shop, or you can buy a bag of this stuff at most department/craft stores and colour it yourself. If you leave it white or slightly greyed it can also make fairly decent (and cheap) smoke or smoke screen markers.
Talus, or “rock debris” is used for anywhere you want rocks of any variety of sizes, from small stones to large chunks of rock from a rocky outcroping. Also in this group is Ballast, which would be classed as a Fine talus and can be used to simulate gravel or coal piles.

How to make FORESTS

Tutorial – Forests

We would all like to play on a tabletop that has more trees, right? The big question is how do you get more trees without having to use a ton of individual trees getting in the way of playing?

The answer, of course, is to create a forest! Well yeah, duh, you say. Here we’re going to show you how to make that forest without having to purchase (or make) a bunch of single trees AND having room inside that forest for your armies and vehicles to move into them!

Note – These instructions are for a 28mm scale tabletop, but this would work perfectly well at any smaller scale as well!

Materials Needed :

  • A solid Base (we use MDF)
  • Foamboard
  • 1/4 inch Wood dowels
  • Paintable Latex Caulking
  • Trowel or other spreader for the caulking
  • Sand
  • Ballast and/or small rocks
  • Flock (static grass, fine/coarse turf, etc)
  • Clump Foliage (lots of it!)
  • Hot glue and a hot glue gun
  • PVA Glue (diluted 1:1)
  • Primer
  • Paints and appropriate painting tools

Procedure :

Step 1 : Prepping your materials

Cut your base material (MDF in our case) to an appropriately sized piece with rounded corners. Make it more interesting by adding curves to the edges, maybe even kidney shaped. Whatever shape you want your terrain piece to be!

Cut your foamboard to approximately the same shape as your base, just slightly smaller. This will form the base of your canopy.

Cut your wood dowels into appropriate lengths for the tree trunks. The size
of your forest will dictate how many of these you will need. In our case for a 30 cm x 30 cm (approx) forest we used 11 pieces of dowel cut to 75mm (approximately 3 inches).
If you want to you can add texture to your dowels as these form the trunks of your trees (this is not necessary but it would look pretty cool).

Alternative : Instead of wood dowels, if you are using a smaller scale such as 15mm/1:76,  try using roofing nails as they have a large nail head on them to dig into the caulking and hold them in place!

Step 2 : Adding the forest floor

Add a layer of caulking to the MDF base. Spread it around covering the entire piece approximately 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick.
If you go too thick it will take forever to dry, but if you go too thin it will not hold your tree trunks!

On top of this spread a layer of sand and lightly push it into the caulking so that it holds to the piece.

 

Step 3 : What’s a forest without trees?

Take your wood dowel pieces and push them into the caulking around your piece. Place them approximately 25mm (1 inch) or so in from the edge in a ring around the piece, leaving about 25-40mm (1 – 1 1/2 inches) of space between them.
Add one or two pieces to the center for support. We want to leave most of the center of the piece open for your armies to move around in!

Step 4 : Forest Debris

Add in some fallen tree limbs (twigs from your yard work great for this) and rocks scattered here and there around your forest floor, wherever they look appealing to you. Push them into the caulking while it is still pliable so that they are secured once it’s dry.

Step 5 : The Canopy

While your caulking dries (we left ours overnight) start making your canopy. To do this you will be hot gluing clump foliage to the foamboard canopy you previously cut out.

Start with a ring of foliage around the bottom, outside edge of the foamboard. This will mask the bottom edge of the foamboard and make the treeline look more realistic.

Once you’ve completed that, start hot gluing clump foliage to the top of the foam board, working your way in from the edge towards the center. If you want to add height to your canopy, try using Foliage Clusters (available from woodland scenics) to get the larger pieces. Alternatively you can add another piece or two of foamboard to the areas of your canopy that you want to add height to and continue with the clump foliage.

Set your canopy aside to dry (which shouldn’t take long). At this point you may want to add more colour or texture to your foliage. You can paint it a variety of forest colours, add some coarse turf to the top or any number of other options to vary the surface. You can even add a small branch or two sticking slightly out of the top for variety (again those twigs from your yard come in handy for that).

Step 6 : Primer

Now that the caulking has dried completely you should prime the entire base section. We primed ours with brown spray paint just to save on painting time later and it seems to have worked fairly well!

Step 7 : Colour your world

After the primer has dried it’s time to start painting your forest floor and tree trunks!

For the tree trunks keep in mind that trees are rarely brown! Use a variety of grays mixed with some tans and browns for best effect.
If you primed the floor in brown to save a step you can then dry brush the entire forest floor with a lighter shade of brown.

Do a 2nd drybrush with an even lighter shade still to pick out the highlights.

Now you will need to use a gray or gray and tan shades to pick out any of the rocks you placed earlier and you’ll also want to paint any of the fallen tree limbs you placed at this point too.

Step 8 : Greenery

Once all of your painting has dried it’s time to add flock to the base. Spread some diluted PVA glue in some areas of your forest floor where you want to add grass and flock until you’re content with the look.

Using a variety of colours and textures of grass flocking will add more realism and interest to your piece.

Step 9 : Seal the deal

Seal the entire piece with whatever sealant you usually use on your terrain pieces. Some suggestions are diluted pva glue sprayed over the piece or an acrylic varnish in gloss, followed by a matte varnish to knock the shine off.

Now take the canopy that you finished earlier and set aside, place it on top of the tree trunks on the base and voila; you have yourself a forest!

How to make ROADS and RIVERS

Tutorial – Making Roads and Rivers

There are many ways to make roads and rivers for your tabletop.Some make them simply out of cut pieces of cloth or felt.Others go to extreme lengths and build them right into their custom tabletop.

We’re going to show you our way of making scatter terrain dirt roads and rivers .. modular pieces that can be placed on any table and arranged in whatever way you wish.

Materials Needed :

·MDF cut into appropriate widths and lengths

·Joint Compound/Spackle

·Spatula

·Fine gravel/Ballast

·Paints : 2-3 shades of brown, 2-3 shades of blue, dark green, black, primer.

·Gloss varnish (We use Americana Triple Thick gloss varnish)

·Flock

Procedure :

Roads

Step 1 : Preparing a base

Cut your MDF boards into appropriate widths and lengths.As we are focusing on the 28mm scale we will give measurements for t hat, but you can easily scale up or down for another scale of miniature.

For WW2 roads we use 3 inch widths with lengths of 6 inches and 12 inches.You can also cut out a couple of curved pieces and Y sections to add more options.For pathways we use 1 to 1.5 inch widths in the same 6 and 12 inch lengths.

Step 2 : Adding texture

Add the fine gravel or ballast to your joint compound until you get a nice texture.Don’t overdo it or you’ll never be able to spread it out properly.Just add enough that you will have a bumpy gravely texture.

Spread this mixture onto your MDF boards with your spatula until it’s a nice even surface, about 2mm thick (too thick and it will crack too much as it dries, not to mention it will take forever to dry).

At this point you may want to add wheel tracks or tank tracks to the surface.For wheel tracks just drag a thin piece of wood or plastic through the compound along the length of the piece, being careful not to scrape it all off.

Let this dry overnight.

Step 3 : Priming

Prime the entire piece and let it dry for a couple of hours.

Step 4 : Adding colour

Paint your base colour onto the piece.Usually you’ll use a darkish brown, but you can decide what looks best for your board.

If you want to add a dark wash that will sink into any recesses to add depth, now is the time to do so.

On top of this you will lightly brush on a highlight colour to add some variation to the piece.

You may want to add another very light drybrush of an even lighter colour as one last step.

Step 5 : Flocking

Add some grass flocking to the sides of the road, if appropriate.

Step 6 : Protecting the piece

Coat the entire piece with a gloss varnish to protect it.When dry, spray lightly with matte varnish to knock the shine down.

Rivers

Step 1 : Preparing a base

As with roads, the first step is to cut out your MDF bases into appropriate lengths and widths. For 28mm scale we suggest 4 inch widths and lengths of 6 and 12 inches.

You will also want a couple of Y sections and 45 degree turns.

Map these out on a piece of paper first so you can figure out the angles, as these can be difficult especially on the curves to get your pieces lining up evenly.

Step 2 : Making the riverbanks

Place a line of joint compound along the edges of your pieces, about 1/2 inch in on either LONG side (do not put any on the short sides as this is where the river flows through). Make these lines about 1/2 inch wide by 1/4 inch tall. This will form your river bank.

For variety you may want to make some wavey sections of riverbank so that your rivers are not perfectly straight. Of course, this is completely up to personal taste.

Allow your joint compound to dry thoroughly!

Step 3 : Priming

Prime your terrain piece and allow to dry.

Step 4 : Colouring the riverbanks

Paint your riverbanks a nice earthy colour to match the rest of your terrain. Use a dark brown base, followed by a drybrushing of a lighter shade of brown. You can then use a very light drybrush of tan to pick up the small highlights.

Step 5 : Giving your river colour and depth

Paint your river! This is a multi stage painting process that you will probably need several paintbrushes to do, as we are painting over each stage while it is still wet (and acrylics dry fairly fast, so you don’t want to move too slow on this stage).

Make sure you have your various river colours ready. We recommend a medium-dark green, dark blue, medium-light blue and black as a minimum.

Paint your medium/dark green colour at the edges of the river right up to the banks.

While still wet, add the medium/light blue mixing it into the green about 1/2 way towards the bank, while moving closer to the center of the river.

Now add the dark blue mixing it about 1/2 way into the lighter blue and moving right to the center of the river.

Last paint on a small bit of black right at the center of the river making sure it mixes well with the dark blue.

For all of these stages don’t make straight lines but blur and squiggle the edges. Using these stages you should have a sense of depth and movement in your river.

Step 6 : Making the water shine

Now that your paints have dried, brush on a layer of your gloss varnish. Allow this to dry completely.

You will repeat this step until you have the amount of shine you want. Usually 2-3 times depending on the varnish you are using.

Step 7 : Flocking the riverbanks

Add some grass, reeds and bushes to your riverbanks depending on your personal preferences.

Your rivers are now complete!