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.
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.
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.
...A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER13. 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.
...A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER
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.
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.
...A COUPLE OF HOURS LATER28. [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...
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.