Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Having A Go At Making A Frostgrave Terrain Piece

This post came about after an Internet chat concerning making easy to finish, low-level terrain pieces for Frostgrave. I must stress that all of the materials I've used are what I had to hand, and obviously anyone following these instructions can / will change methods or the colours to suite their needs. 
[The pots of paint used were already opened and had been previously used - Don't take the paint levels shown as an indication of how much paint I used.]

1. The Base: in this instance an irregular-shaped piece of MDF.
2. Stones (taken from the garden), Gravel (again, from the garden) and Sharp Sand (builders merchants will stock this, but you will not require a lot).
3. Coffee stirrers (readily available from cafes or supermarket restaurants). Using a Stanley Knife or a craft knife cut down some irregular lengths and whittle the edges and ends into jagged shapes - They are to represent broken timbers remember.
4. Close-up on how I've cut the coffee stirrers.
5. Position some of your stones and gravel on the base - don't glue them yet. Play around with the configuration until you find a pleasing arrangement. Draw around the outline once you're happy.
6. Remove the stones and gravel - it helps to keep the basic arrangement as you place them to one side. You'll be left with your drawn outline on the base.
7. Using glue (superglue in this case, as it guarantees a bond between the stones and wood) begin to stick down the stones and gravel to the base - I also apply glue to the surfaces of the stones where they touch each other as it helps to keep them all tightly held together.
You'll notice that I wasn't able to get the exact layout of stones as shown in photo 5.
8. Using the spare pieces of gravel then begin to position them atop and around the stones you have already glued down - I worked one piece of gravel at a time, seeing where it looked right and when I'd found the correct position I glued it down with superglue.
9. Detail of the placement of the stones and gravel - you can clearly see the superglue stains in the photo's, not to worry as they'll be covered up in due course.
10. A further detail photo - notice how I fitted gravel beneath the larger stone.
11. Here's when I began to position and glue down the wooden pieces of the coffee stirrer. Again, I tried various positions before I found the one I was happy with, then I glued the wood to the base and stones using superglue.
12. What isn't obvious in this photo is the fact that I previously glued two pieces of wooden coffee stirrer together, forming a right-angle 'L' shape. These pieces I positioned partly atop the stones so that they would increase the overall height of the terrain piece. 
Now let all these pieces set hard before continuing.

13.  A period of a couple of hours has now passed between stages and I came back to the glued terrain piece. This is the PVA (white) glue I used to glue down the sharp sand.
14. Paint the PVA glue (I used an old paint brush) onto the base of the terrain piece and then pour the sand onto the glued surface from above - Tip off any excess sand once you've covered the terrain piece.
15. Showing where I painted the PVA glue onto the stones and gravel, working the glue into some of the nooks and crannies of the stones, but leaving the wooden coffee stirrers untouched.
Photo's 16 / 17 / 18 / 19. Show the terrain piece now covered in the sharp sand [I photo'd these at 17:00hrs / 5pm]. At this point I left it to dry thoroughly.

20. [I came back to work on the piece at 21:00hrs / 9pm] The glue has now dried and it's time to apply more glue - both to the sand (to stick it down) and the stones/gravel (to seal the surfaces to take paint). I use an old paintbrush and an old eggcup to mix the water and glue I'll now be using.
 21. Pour an amount of PVA glue into the eggcup.
22. Add some water - this isn't a science, so I don't know a correct ratio - But you won't want a lot of water, just enough to make a thick paste. Try 8 parts glue to 2 parts water.
 23. Using the brush paint the glue over all of the terrain piece. Everything and everywhere.
24 / 25 / 26. Show that I really did mean everything and everywhere. Now leave it all to dry.

27. [09:00hrs / 9am] See how the majority of the glue/water solution has dried... That's good. It's still too wet to begin further work, however.

 28. [14:00hrs / 2pm] The glue has now all dried.
29. The important 'Tap Test', as I call it. I take a metal implement and tap / scrape across all of the terrain piece - If anything falls off then you need to paint on some more glue [just use PVA without water]. In this case the whole terrain piece had dried solid. It's now ready to paint.
30. I use Wilko's paint testers, as they're cheap, water soluble and can be painted over with acrylic paints and varnishes. 
31. Painted black - This serves as the undercoat. You may be required to give the terrain piece a couple of coats - And don't forget to paint into all of the nooks and crannies. 
Sorry, I forgot to take a photo!

32 / 33. Painted dark grey - A couple of quick coats of paint, literally skimming over everything and not being too concerned with neatness.
34. Time to use a lighter shade of grey - Take the brush, load some paint onto it...
 35. ...And then scrape off 90% of this paint against the side of the pot. This is my method of 'Over -Brushing'.
36. Skim the brush with this lighter shade of grey over the raised detail of the terrain piece - This is like drybushing.
37. I went one step further - Took the eggcup and mixed some of the light grey with some Wilko's white primer-undercoat paint - Creating an even lighter shade of grey. 
38 / 39. I then Over-Brushed this mix onto the highest areas of detail on the terrain piece.  
40 / 41. Using some dark brown paint I painted the wooden coffee stirrers, representing broken timbers. I didn't worry about the fine detail on these pieces, nor did I lighten the brown as the darkness contrasts nicely with the lightness of the stones. 
42. Just a group shot!
43 / 44. The finished terrain piece - Obviously further detail can be painted. But I won't be, as the purpose here was to create an easy to finish terrain piece.
45. I'll give it a coat of this Matt Varnish to protect the paint.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Finished Figure For The Forum Painting Exchange

My Paint Exchange Partner's Blog - KAISER BILL IN COLOR

As a painting exercise it was interesting to push myself and to see just how well I can paint, but I don't want to have to do it again anytime soon! 

For the foreseeable future (and beyond!) it's going to be painting to a tabletop standard as working to this much detail and with as subtle a contrast as I can create is one big ballache.

Still, finished now, and I can now enjoy sorting out the Old West board, it's population, and then some gunfighters. 

Oh, if anyone's wondering why I didn't paint the shield centre white and then paint the design atop it, it's because I like the bronzed look and felt such a large expanse of white would draw the eye too much towards the shield and not the 'man'. Also, I read that the designs weren't always painted atop a coloured field. 

This is the miniature that Andreas painted for me in exchange -
28mm Wargames Foundry Mountain Man from their Old West range.
Anyone spotting the pupil-less eye on the left will be please to know that Andreas also spotted it and fixed the problem after the photo's were taken,