Sunday, October 25, 2009
Done! As an experiment, turned out rather well. Peeling the tape off left neat, clean edges. The piece has multiple textures, from the 'log', to the grass, to the bits of stones. (Yes, I did paint the 'stones' as the colour they had didn't look right, after airbrushing.) So I feel more confident about doing groundwork for my figures. I have skipped over a lot of details, if you want to learn more, I would thoroughly recommend adding these series of DVDs to your library. Will speed up acquiring the skills you wish to acquire very quickly, and give you ideas on how to tackle future projects.
PS, compendium can be found below, or ask at your local hobby store, or other hobby stockists.
Adding vegetation; here is some etched brass reeds, clipped from the sprue, and just polished at low speed with a brass bristle brush. The gets rids of any chemicals from etching, fingerprint oils from handling, and are now mounted in a clothes peg holder. Like all etched brass, this is two dimensional, and I wouldn't recommend using it for a scale above 1/35 or close to that. It would look thin, particularly on the reed stem and seed head. Adding a fine wire to the stem, and bulking up the seed head with a mixture of super glue and fine silt would work to fix that, though.
After I had polished it, I airbrushed a primer coat, then cleaned out the airbrush while waiting for the primer to dry.
Once that was done, I airbrushed a dark green to the 'plant', the brushed on some different shades of green for visual interest. Set aside to dry, while finishing the base.
Before adding the reed, and the log (which I hadn't glued down yet) I airbrushed the ground with various shades of brown, slightly lighter in some places, bit darker in others.
I then added 'flocking', a type of synthetic grass, to the base after brushing on some ground work glue ( type of water based glue, that doesn't dry "shiny"). , glued the 'log' down (just needed a touch of superglue) and the reed as well.
Please note, the masking tape is still on at this point, to protect the base from over spray, glue, handling and general work bench bumping.
Adding some visual interest (or eye candy). This was always going to be just a test piece, for practice and fun.
Here, I have added some larger size bits of rock, and a bit of a twig, that looks like some part of a log. I have only pressed the twig into the damp (not wet) groundwork, to leave a hollow for it to settle into.
By settling the 'log' into the ground, we can see that the 'log' has been there for some time, and has had dust, dirt etc build up around it. Which does reflect what happens in nature too.
More progress, next entry.
After watching Richard Windrows demonstrations on how to do groundwork, one of the best things in life is to "Learn and Do'. practice of what I just learnt helps lock in the learning.
First step was to prepare a base. I selected an off cut of wood, scored the surface with my trusty Swiss Army Knife, and covered over the edges with electrical tape to create neat edges. Next time I'll do some groundwork, I'll lay done modelling masking tape, then the electrical tape. Why? The masking tape has low tack, so it wont peel of any varnish, while the the electrical tape has a shiny plastic finish, so the ground work wont stick to it. Plus, with both used, a clean removal of tape is assured. Just a thought to keep in mind.
Then I got some wall putty, as a dry powder, added some some small stones to it, added water, stirred till I had a slurry I was happy with. Then I added some paint to it. Adding the paint at this stage (and mixing it in well) means that if any bits are missed at later stages, then we don't have to worry about there being a bright patch being visible after we declare the figure (and the ground work) 'finished!'. Been there, done that, annoying when that happens.
tips; add a darker shade of paint to the groundwork if the medium is very pale. Unless you are going for snow/ ice. Using fine dust adds a visual texture to the groundwork.
tools; plain old artists spatulas, you could also use old spoons and butter knives, if you so desired.
More next post.
Groundwork is one of the major pieces of any figure. A finished figure, done to the highest possible standards, looks like a figure as is, when displayed on a polished wooden base. (or any other base, come to think of it)
Add groundwork for the figure, and suddenly, we have a snapshot of life!! If we see a sentry all rugged up, then we see him placed amongst ice and snow, well then, we appreciate the miniature story behind the figure. Likewise, a figure looking at an empty bottle doesn't say much. again, place the figure in a desert type scene, we have a whole new dimension to the figure.
To that end, some months ago (before moving) I ordered 2 DVDs, one one groundwork, one on airbrushing.
In this entry, I'll share the groundwork review. (I did a similar review on Planet Figure months ago, so this may be familiar to some readers)
Terrain Modelling, with Richard Windrow, goes through some of the basic steps required to make realistic groundwork. From basic groundwork, making rock features, colours of ground, weather effects (dusty ground or muddy) plus vegetation, from moss to shrubs and trees. He also covers urban terrain, including weathering, building, destruction of buildings, rubble (too many dioramas don't have enough), snow and ice, and most importantly, research.
Also covered is materials used, as scaling terrain to figures is key. What looks like gravel to a figure of 1/16th size (about 200mm tall) is very rocky ground to a figure in 1/35th scale (about 54mm tall). Herbs from the supermarket, walks in the countryside and suburbia, and keep your eyes open, and you will find an abundance of stuff that can be used.
Lets have a step by step, to show you what I mean. Next post.
The airbrush review I'll leave for a future post.