Monday, June 28, 2010

Easy Trees to Make Mark II

Been some time since my first tree making article and techniques have improved. So with that in mind I gathered the materials to make a new and improved easy tree.
So first the supplies to be used include Clump Foliage, 16D nail, thin plastic base painted a dark green color, some Ground Cover and Grass Material along with some thin twigs from a tree outside donated, white glue and a hot glue gun. I painted the nails a dark brown. Yes, I know most tree trunks actually look gray for the most part but I am a convert to the Hollywood approach, model what you see in the movies and people tend to like it better than having to explain why I did it the natural way.

Next I affix the nail to the base with the hot glue gun. Hot glue is Under the head and smashed against the base, held to cool solid. Then I put the tip of the gun against the trunk, apply a lot of glue and then slowly move it away from the trunk, weaving along a bit and drawing it out. This makes nice Roots for the tree and reinforces the adhesion of the nail to the base. The miniature is a 28mm figure, ACW I do believe, put in for scale reference.
Here I am slapping some paint on the dried hot glue, it takes only moments for it to cool completely. I do not have to be to careful about getting it on the base as I will be gluing the flock to the base right up to the roots, which covers the over paint nicely. I also painted up the base some so the colors are matching, though to tell, it  would be pretty difficult to the eye to tell them apart with out holding it up to the sunlight and looking closely under the tree.
Next I have taken one block of the Clump Foliage and torn it into 4 pieces, each one slightly smaller than the one before. I do not tear them into flat pancakes, rather irregular shapes as they will not be reassembled on the nail so they fill out more space more easily. I will use some small bits from another cube of foliage later to help fill in places that the eye determines needs some help.
First piece is stabbed onto the nail, the largest piece first. It is roughly centered in the widest area of the foliage clump. Do not worry about things sticking out at this point, trimming comes later on. I did not put any glue on the nail either at this point.
Moving along each clump gets stuck on top of the other. Turn the clumps so they are random yet spread coverage out in all directions.  The top most piece gets placed after a goodly bit of hot glue is applied to the last 1/2 inch of the nail head, all around the shaft. The last piece is pushed down and held for a few moments till the hot glue cools and takes hold. Do not rush the cool down time or the piece may still curl up and barely be hanging on. I used a nail with out a base to take pictures with, usually I only use the based nails to assemble trees. 

Here is the rough of the tree on its base, all its chunky bits sticking out all over, little or no rhyme or reason appearing to it. No worries, next is trimming and shaping.

If you want you can snip or use both hands to grip and pull off odd chunks that are not looking appropriate. Do not get overly concerned if you pull a bit off here or there that you realize really did look better. Hot Glue to the Rescue. Use a glob about the size of a pencil erasure to adhere the 2 sections back together.

Okay so here is something new. Taking small sticks from a tree outside, I broke off bits about 2 inches long. The one nearest the tree base has had hot glue smeared on about a 1/2 inch and then a piece of clump foliage stuck right on and cooled. These pieces are for the newer growth on the tree and can be stuck into depressions or where ever suits your artistic eye to add a bit more fill in. Leave some of the stick showing also. A few of the sticks can be lifted and stuck between overhanging pieces of clump foliage to make it look like branches pushed up into each other.

Fun time with PVA white glue. I used a squeeze bottle to lay some trails of glue, and then a old brush to spread it around under the canopy of the tree. Look down on your tree to make sure your getting it to the outer edges where the bulk of leaves and dead branches would fall.

Here is the Flock applied, pressed down and the excess tapped off. I found the really nice dead wood piece in the bottle of Flock material, which I had to open and pour about 1/4 of it into a small bowel and mix it up. Transport and shaking over time had moved the finer material to the bottom of the shaker bottle and the coarse dead wood material to the top of the shaker bottle.
Final step was to use the Grass Material around the edges of the dead wood Flock. Some trees I do darker dead wood flock with more tan colors for dead leaves, especially if the tree will be one of several on a larger joint base. Do remember to brush flock off the top of the major ground roots for a better visual effect.
 And here is the final shot of the new tree. Excluding the time to pose and take shots, probably spent about 5 minutes assembling the entire tree after the paint dried on the nails and gathered everything together. From that point assembling many trees is very easy.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Working up My Tools and Materials listings

Bah, taking time to catalogue the usual materials so I can do in blog links to a reference post as to what it is to save on retelling what Kel Seal is or what type of flocking etc that I use. Nothing exciting here but I think the time spent will help keep my posts a bit more informative.

Grass Material

More of the Woodland Scenics materials. This time their grass and field flock. Have had excellent results with them over the years. Price is reasonable and I do go through quiet a bit of it when doing a new mat or terrain piece. I keep quiet a variety of colors on hand for any sudden terrain ideas I come up with.

Flock and Turf Ground Cover

Really useful material to fill in open woods or even simulate lots of dead wood brush areas. Also a Woodlands Scenics product. Apply liberal amount of pva glue to the base and shake it on from the bottle, let it dry and tap off the rest. The wood chips and chopped twigs give lots of character to my woodland pieces.

Woodland Scenics Clump Foilage

Here is what I use for Bushes and  most all of my Trees foliage.  It is easily torn into shapes that I push down on metal nails to form Trees with or bits can be shaped to brush etc. Woodland Scenics product.

Lava Field Encounter Placard Comple

Thought to make a single complete report on how I built the lava field board, so here goes;

Single sheet of Styrofoam cut apart to make channels, all were glued to the piece of linoleum flooring with pva. After it had dried time to get out the BBQ fire starter and singe the edges of the foam. Did that outside for ventilation and it only took abut 1 minute, care must be used or the foam piece will disappear.

Pictures 3 and 4 show the Kel Seal textured applied in 2 thin coats to "melt" the edges of the islands some. I used the smooth version of the KS on the island tops.

Time for colors, Yellow as the base coat to all but the tops of the islands. Dark orange to the island tops. They started dry brushing with a half inch wide brush.

Dark Brown brushed over the dark orange, then heavily brushed with black, in the centers of the island tops and lightly towards the edges to show the cracking of the lava.

And there you have it. Island hoping ahead for the adventurers as the lava oozes by. Estimated cost of the materials for this were, left over Styrofoam, less than an ounce of paint, bit of pva glue, say 50 cents for the linoleum tile, so less than a dollar for the works.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Chasm Project

Thought I'd take the time to collate the various updates for constructing the Chasm. First I used some Woodland Scenics rock face casting moulds to resin cast lots of rock pieces which would be affixed to the faces of the Styrofoam cliff faces.

12x12 inch floor tile is the base, 3 inch thick Styrofoam,former packing material, forms the walls of the chasm so far. Figure is for scale. Hot glued and dabs of white glue secure the foam to the tile. When its dry, time will be right to start shaping and applying resin cast rock section, though I will keep the sides very steep, or it would not be much of a "chasm" heh. Could paint the bottom area with perspective that it goes deeper, but am thinking that the bottom would serve as a deep gully for desert wadi encounters... options..

Here's the upper rough in of the Cliff walls with an approach cut out on the left, the one on the right is just barely visible. Figuring on a suspended rope bridge with planking... Out of smooth Kel Seal still.. may use up the textured that I have though for this as its more of a desert / arid setting, or even mountainous.. Hmm... Place some jungle plants, on bases here and there and its location would obviously be in the jungle..!

The gap is definitely wide enough that it cannot be leaped by a mere mortal, so its good enough. Also, the actual "distance" across could be double or triple for the purpose of shooting across it by stating the gap is "representational"

Some basic work done on the encounter placard, The Chasm. Had to stop and cast a lot of Rock faces from some Scenic Woodlands moulds. Most were stuck into position with a dollop of Kel Seal.
In the bottom picture is one side of the Chasm showing where the "entry" way is. Just visible is an opening that at times, cover removed, will be a Cave or Temple doorway, or with a Rock plug I will have for it , it will not be there.

Roughed in the sand and gravel for the rock slides and such along the path ways. A quick coat of paint went on just prior to pick out some of the areas that needed touching up with more rock facing.

Bases coated all the rock surfaces. A bit more fill in here and there then painted that up also. Time to start the water effects. Did not want any slow moving water so broke out the Kel Seal and went to it.

After painting in a fairly smooth coat of Kel Seal, I took a stick and patted the surface, raising the edges up in a choppy water state. Had to let it dry overnight to make sure it was ready for painting. The upper right picture shows the wash which went on very wet. While still wet I applied other wash colors here and there to leave the overall effect a swirl of muddy water.

Here are a few more shots of the chasm, the picture on the right shows the rock faces shaded for their final effect.

Kel Seal

Kel Seal Elastomeric Custom Patch. This is similar to caulking from a tube but in a tube that you can used a spoon or putty knife to dig out and spread. It comes in Textured with plastic sand mixed in or smooth. It also comes in brushable and trowable. I use the Trowable as it is a bit stiffer to work with and does not penetrate surfaces as fast as the brushable, giving me a bit more time to move it around. The textured gives a nice arid ground base for fast painting and dry brushing.
It comes in quarts and gallon containers, this brand I purchase from Kelly Moore Paint Stores. Other stores have their own brand name items that do the same thing, just tell them your looking for caulking in a tub to brush or trowel on and they will take you to their version I am sure.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Painting Table, More Units Recruited!

Elite Flying Knights mounted up now, new Large monster burrower underway, a slasher this time. Couple of nasty large wyrms in the below left picture, to be classed as Small Monsters. Then the 3 Golems that will probably be converted into some of Kaptain Kneemo's mechanical forces. Think I will replace the crossbow / bayonet with some sort of small cannon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FR! finished Units

Bases completed we add to the forces of badness with:

Left most is a unit of animated forest as small monsters, nasty worms next as small monsters, perhaps they get poisonous effect, can you have to many fanatics as the whip wielding furry bear guys are? Evil, possibly elite hand weapons in their black robes. Lastly, some dragonkin fanatics, just have to be when they have solid metal masks over their eyes and chunks of metal bars for weapons.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Detail Work on Burrower

Worked up more breaking earth and painted the carapace:

So here's the rear view, darkened the earth, built it a little further up and applied a bit more grass, and to the clods of dirt on the creatures back. Still a bit of touching up to do yet. 
So here is a more frontal shot to show the clods of dirt a bit better. And there you have it.