Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lava Field Encounter Placard

Thought to sum up all the updates into one article for the archives. So started with a floor tile, 12 x 12 inches. The object of the piece was for a very dangerous setting for tropical island or anywhere there would be a volcano that the Adventurers might investigate. Hot flowing lava is certainly more dangerous than cold blackened fields are. So first photos:

Styrofoam cut and hot glued onto the to tile to start, left over foam and the tile is like 75 cents. Left shot shows the way I chose to round the edges of the foam, with a BBQ lighter flame. Have to move it constantly, or it will cause a spot to catch fire. You could shave the edges with a xacto blade or similar and then pound on the foam with something to give it a mottled shape, but I chose to risk life and limb with the flame approach. Piece is ready for textured brushable caulking.

So once the piece was textured, using smooth untextured on the "tops" of the islands and on the off board edges of the foam to make them more durable , I primed it all with white spray paint, the brushable caulking, Kel Seal, have been smoothed over the entire piece. As it turned out there were a very few small spots that did not get covered but did add some very nice detail of jagged surface areas. Moving on, on the right, first coat of dark yellow paint in the lower channel areas, hottest. Then Dabs of Burnt Orange paint applied where I was going to spread it, saving time not having to move brush from a pallet to the board and back.

Orange and Brown paints applied. I did wait for each coat to dry before applying the next coat! I was just posting updates as something to do while waiting for the paint to dry :) No special work done to this point, just apply and brush or pat paint where I wanted it. Drag a little dry brush around with the dark brown in the lava channels for visual effect. I like to use at least 3 colors in an area to bring it to life, as 2 colors makes an area look... bland or something.

Here are a couple of final shots of the piece with a lost adventurer to leap from island to island. Last coat is black applied to the island tops and just a touch down the sides, cooled bits sliding into the channels due to the underlying heat. Not the best paint job, but totally new style of stacking colors for the final effect. The brushable caulking, even textured, did not give a rough enough surface for the "bubbling" lava to highlight the colors very well. Have to experiment with other materials when I tackle the Volcano piece.


  1. The beauty of your method (which Health & Safety would frown on!) is that you - presumably get a pretty good layer of melted styrene over the softer centre? Which by extention should take paint better as well?

    Finished article looks great!

  2. The tops of the islands are covered with a smear of smooth brushable caulking. I never got enough of the styrofoam to melt to the point of getting crust on it :)