Friday, March 6, 2009

Rocky Hill Sides

There comes a time when you realize that not all hillsides are smooth with grass. There are several approaches to model this, the picture is my chosen approach. I have, in the past, done the more often seen; Styrofoam shaped with a hot wire or Sharp knife, painted and dry brushed, alla Warhammer 40K scenics you see pictured very often. I strive for more detail than a piece Styrofoam though. Yet, Styrofoam is the core of this hill. I reverse engineered my process to take a couple of How To pics on the steps I take to do this style.

A base is essential since the rock side is crumbling with weathering. Block is roughly shaped and glued with pva to the base and left to dry, your going to handle it a lot when your on the next step.

Have a rough idea if the entire hill is rocky or just a slope side or even just exposed areas of the hill, as in a ravine that has eroded open. When the core is secure and solidly in place, time to break out some rock molds. I use woodland scenic molds, they are durable and you can cast any type of material into them, at least I have used plaster, 2 part resin and pressed oven bake clay in and gotten good results. If your pouring a material into the molds you don't have to fill each part, leave some poured only part way to get thin rock facings to go along with the major looking versions. This gives a greater variety for the price of one molding sheet.

So here I have a scattered collection of rock pieces I cast, notice that some of them are very thin. I lightly sand the backs and since these are in resin, I wash them in soapy water to get any residue that did not fully dry, old resin.., ready for gluing.

So here we are with the basic piece of core Styrofoam covered with glued on pieces of rock. Do not worry about gaps, after the rock pieces are completely dry you will use a caulking gun to shoot paintable caulk into the gaps. Use a fat stylus rod or your finger to make sure gaps are filled. Once it is fully dry, maybe a day sitting on a shelf .. the caulk needs a lot of time if its very thick to cure enough that water base paint will not melt it, its time for painting. Standard painting tips that you can find on many sites apply. Base coat dark and then dry brush lighter and lighter shades on up till your satisfied with the look. This includes the fallen rocks that you glue to the base of the rock face (cliff) with some sand or kitty litter added with pva glue for the crushed rock that occurs when the pieces fell and smashed to the ground.

This final shot is from the piece in the original picture, from the very front, but gives a good finished view of how the final painting goes over the entire piece. If the back of the hill is grassed and slopes away, simply paint or glue plus flock and its done.So, there you have it.

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