With my other Terrain articles I’ve been aiming for an end product that has some use when gaming. So the Trees and Asteroids have a purpose, the piece this time doesn’t really have a purpose in any game and it’s all for show.
When your out doing demo’s it’s really nice to have something for the mini’s your using to sit on. Whilst a nice glass cabinet is great, it’s a bit much to drag around to places that I’m just doing a demo at. After seeing Mark’s Armies on Parade post it reminded me that my current display board was not only a little small for my expanding force but very bland. It’s just a piece of a very old Zuzzy matt dry brushed and stuck on some blue foam.
As I’ve been pushing my terrain skills of late I decided to do something a little special. After a bit of research and a look through what terrain supplies I have I decided to go with the edge of a woodland look. No big trees just some brush and then ferns etc.
I started this all off with a piece of 1” pink foam. I’ve edged it in white tape so that it protects the edges and also it makes it easier to paint at the end and get a nice look.
After a nice thick coat of PVA I coated the board with builder’s sand. It’s stuff I’ve had for years so it has bits of bark in it and small stones from other projects. It should break up the ground nicely. I then left it to dry for about three hours so that I didn’t have to worry about any sand coming off when I started to paint it.
Once dry I painted it with Woodland Brown, it’s a nice colour I picked up in a model shop in a big tub and I use it for all my terrain. I then roughly drybrushed it with khaki grey and desert sand. I was pretty random in how I did this so that it didn’t have a uniform look. Plus as I was adding a lot of flock to the board a lot of the drybrushing would be lost.
I didn’t really have a plan when I was working out where everything was going so a lot of the flock was just thrown down with the idea of let’s see how it looks. To try and get a more natural look I used several colours as well. This breaks up a single colour and gives you more to look at. It can also simulate those areas that have better water supply or lusher vegetation.
The first layer was put down over a layer of PVA and then any excess was shaken off to be used on the edges or to expand elements of the coverage that didn’t look right. I then coated the bits I’d done with a mist of water and then added watered down PVA glue over the top to hold it in place. It does take a while to dry but it also means that the flock stays on. I tend to use a mix one part PVA to nine parts water for this mix and with some flocks I add a little bit of dishwater liquid to act as a flow agent.
Once this layer was dry I started filling out a few bits of the board using static grass and grass tufts. To really give it a look I used some real ferns that have been soaked in Formaldehyde to preserve them. You can use the actual fronds as Ferns on say a 15mm model to some great effect. The stalks go quiet hard so I made holes in the foam and then pushed them in with some glue on to hold in place. A few of the larger ones look like small pines. I used a warm steam to make them soft enough to twist for this effect otherwise they are a bit flat.
For me I thought that was it it’s all on, sealed looking good and I posted it up on a few FB groups for others to pick apart.
On the whole it was good, though a few people suggested that my edges were a little harsh and I needed to feather them out a bit more to show patches where it wasn’t growing based perhaps on people trampling through etc.
So I played about and added a few more areas, feathered out the edges in a few spots as well. Then I decided I’d add a few flowers.
The flowers were from an idea I’d seen other people do. You take a stalk of something, in my case it’s a bristle from a brush. You coat the end in superglue and then dip it into silver sand and leave o dry. Once dry you paint to a colour you like and mount onto the board. As I’m using foam I can push a pin into the board, put a drop of glue on the end and then push the flower in place.
I only did a couple, but I may add a few more as I’ve started to see this as a work in progress rather than complete.
The things I’ve picked up from this project are great and as I have a second force that’s going to need a display board soon enough it’ll push me to make that one look better. Though I will be taking some of the elements along to some river sections that I’m repainting.