By Derek Tarvin– January 9, 2013
So, last night I was sitting around without any miniatures to paint. My Malifaux order hasn’t come in yet and sometimes the painting itch just needs to be scratched. I have this idea that I want to create a bunch of terrain pieces so I started looking at what I had laying about.
I grabbed some scrap cork sheets ($6 for four 1 foot square sheets at Target), scissors, and some superglue. Cork sheets have some awesome texture and each side often has a slightly different texture – one side is usually rougher than the other. Anyway, I cut up some scraps, like this:
Next, assembly! This is going to be a pillar of some sort so we’ll make a box out of the long bits, stack the square bits, and then set the box on the stack. Like so:
1. First one side…
2. Then the other side…
3. Stack the squares for a base…
4. Attach the pillar to the base
5. Giving you something like this:
However, the sharp corners and hanging edges don’t look right, so start breaking stuff off:
Giving us a base like this:
Now the pillar needs some wear and tear… I took my xacto blade and started trimming the corners down and popping out random bits from the sides. There’s not really a “correct” way to do it… just start trimming and digging into the surface with the point of the blade. Pop out some of the cork bits to create divots and keep going until it looks “right”
Here are some pics of the “weathering” in process:
Ok… I’m satisfied. I’m not entirely satisfied with the seams and they probably could have been hidden if I had beveled my edges when I glued them together or if I had used anything but the random pair of cooking shears stolen from the kitchen (don’t tell the girlfriend!) However, primer and paint can hide a multitude of sins, so I was willing to let them go and see what the final product was going to look like.
So… let’s prime this turkey. I used some black brush-on gesso as my primer. I’ve been experimenting lately with gesso as a brush-on primer and I think it will be awesome for terrain pieces, but it requires some practice to look right on miniatures. Without some care, it can hide details if it is applied to thickly.
1. Primer - gesso goes on thick but shrinks down to a nice surface coating, so don’t get scared at the thick and sloppy looking primer! When you see the dry version you will see everything is A-OK
(sorry about the glare and stuff – the flash was glinting off the shiny, wet black gesso)
So… painting slate/stone really isn’t that hard. Start with a black surface and then dry brush progressively lighter shades of grey in a progressively lighter fashion. I think I started off with a 3:1 ratio of black:white – I used my black gesso just because it is cheap and I have tons of the stuff. Do a fairly heavy dry brush with this one. It is barely any lighter than the primer, so you won’t be changing the color much. Be sure to hit the faces and edges.
Then, I added some more white to the mix and then dry brushed again. This is somewhat lighter than the base, so go a little lighter on the dry brushing. You’ll probably have to do more than you think, but start focusing a little less on the faces and more on the edges. Don’t ignore the faces, just don’t coat them.
Again, add more white. Now we should be seeing a strong difference between what is being drybrushed on and what is already there. Hit the faces even more lightly and start to lighten up on the edges. Catch the high points. At this point we are almost highlighting
Finally, add more white. You shouldn’t actually be getting beyond a fairly light grey at the end. I think I used 4 steps in my greys, but you can use more or less depending on what you are shooting for.
Ok… So I was satisfied with the stone work. The seams were pretty much hidden or could at least be called “character” Then I thought… Hmmmm… maybe some moss on the bottom. I had an idea that COULD work, but I hadn’t been happy with the results previously so I wanted to explore how I could make it better.
What do you need? Some sponge, some super glue and some paint. Yep, grab some of that sponge that comes in the blister packs as padding. It has a really nice open cell structure, so it will look pretty fluffy.
I just cut a piece of the sponge off and glued it to the base. A couple of notes here:
1. Don’t use too much super glue! The sponge won’t stick if there is too much. I actually put down the super glue and then went back with a paper towel and dabbed off most of it.
2. Don’t worry too much about the shape of the sponge. We’ll be shaping it in a bit. You can see that I literally cut a strip and glued it down.
Next, start shaping the sponge. Tear bits off, give it a trim with the scissors, whatever you like – we just want to reduce the volume a bit and take off the artificial edges.
Finally, just mix up some dark green paint and paint the sponge – maybe throw in a touch of blue if you like. Then, lighten up the mix with a bit of white and highlight the moss. DONE!
So here’s the final product:
All in all, I’m satisfied In my next project, I will probably try a different material. Don’t get me wrong, cork has an AWESOME texture however, for the number of pieces I want to make I don’t think that it is the best material just because of the time involved in cutting and gluing the pieces together. From start to finish, I might have spent 2-3 hours on it, but that is stopping to take TONS of pics every few minutes at each step.
If you like this, let me know! I’m thinking I might turn this into a series on DIY terrain building.
If you want to see something in particular, hit me up in the comments and I’ll do my best to try it in the future.