Image from Games Workshop
This is a Guest Post by Col. Corbain
This week, it's tutorial time. Kicking off the series will be a two part post on making heavy foliage. For Part 1, we'll start with how to make the area terrain bases and then follow that up with making all the additional elements in Part 2. I want to make it clear that these tutorials aren't masterclasses, but more like simple guides to making effective scenery both in terms of looks and playability for the least amount of time, effort and money.
Much like collecting an army, building scenery requires you to build up a set of tools and materials. You'll find that you already have quite a lot of these things as scenery building often uses the same tools and materials as building an army, other things you'll find around the house and some stuff you're just going to have to buy.
Much like building an army, you'll build up a collection of tools and materials over time. So don't worry if you don't have something right now, if you're serious about building scenery, you'll collect these things over time.
For this project, there a few things that are essential.
1. Cake bases for the area terrain pieces
2. Small bases for the foliage pieces
3. Modelling gravel for the bases
4. Your actual foliage (we'll be looking at the different types of foliage you can use later in the tutorial)
Part 1: The Bases
First we're going to make up some area terrain bases to make defining the actual area terrain really easy. My main material I use for making the base are cake bases. Yep, that's right, those silver things you see wedding cakes on. Cake bases come in many different shapes and sizes, virtually all supermarkets stock them and they're really easy to work with. They're basically a rough fibre board, so it's important you wear a mask when working with them.
First, peel off the silver foil, don't worry about the odd bit of white paper left on, but it's important to get all the silver off. If you get a stubborn bit, just use a bit of sand paper to sand it off. Once that's done, mark out your basic shape with marker pen. For this project, I'm doing two corner pieces as I have quite a few round and oval shapes already.
Next, cut your pieces out, and remember to wear that mask as this stuff produces lots of little fibres that you don't want in your lungs. I use a coping saw to cut mine but you can use a hobby saw or even a steak knife. You'll see that cake bases are really easy to work with.
Then you need to bevel the edges so they look right on the tabletop and don't end up looking like step. I actually use a steak knife to make the initial cuts and then sandpaper to smooth it down. Once you're done, it should look like the one on the right.
Next, cover the whole top of the piece with pva glue and then modelling gravel. Leave it to dry for a couple of hours and once it is, shake off the excess.
Once you're sure there's no excess gravel, coat the piece in watered down PVA (white glue). I use a mix of 1 PVA to 4 water, which looks a bit like milk once it's mixed. I find sitting the pieces on top of some paint pots over a piece of cardboard works well for preventing the pieces from becoming glued to your work surface as well as soaking up any excess watered down PVA.
Leave it overnight to dry completely and once it is, paint it up. I normally paint my pieces with Chaos Black (best to use a spray can), then an overbrush of Scorched Brown, then a drybrush of Graveyard Earth and then a final drybrush of Bleached Bone.
Once you've got it painted up, flock it as you would your models making sure that you use a flock that'll match your gaming table.
That's the bases done, and as you can see, it's really easy to tell where the borders of the area terrain are.
Next week, we'll do the individual terrain elements to put on our area bases. I tend to make lots of little round terrain pieces that I can move about as I need to rather than making one big one. I find it gives me more flexibility on the tabletop and makes it easier to store them after the game.
Part 2: How to make Jungle, Basic Woodland and Alien elements.