One terrain tile nears completion

I’ve finished the scatter terrain, I’ve finished the dry brushing, I long ago finished construction. All I have left to do is some fine detail work and take some decent pictures for the fanboys.

However since I want to get out of the house, maybe watch some World Cup soccer, try to find a job, I’m going to quickly update this blog, as I do have a lot of new pictures to show off, and I want to write down what I did, in case anyone wants to try and duplicate it, or in case I forget what I did myself…

First of all some eye candy, this is my test model, posing behind some sandbags made by the guy who runs, these are about the nicest sandbags I’ve found. He may sell you some if you ask nice. I painted them with GW colors, the greens are Gretchin, then a not terribly effective drybrush of Camo, followed by 1.5 washes of Gryphon Sepia. Then I did a dry brush of Rotting Flesh which was more effective. I painted the dirt: Scorched Earth, Snakebite Leather, and Bubonic Brown in progressively lighter drybrushes. That’s it, quick and relatively painless. To speed up the process skip out the Camo green and the Sepia wash.


That above picture is on Flickr along with some of my other finished models. The Sandbags are a bit shiny, I think they will be getting sealed with a Matte sealant. Darren was recommending Testor’s the other day, may have to invest in some when I’m gainfully employed again…

So what else do I have to show you, why lots of browns of course. This project requires lots of black and brown paint so I bought a bunch and chose the ones I thought would work best, lets see how I did…

Chosing the best browns

So I gathered together all the new and old browns I’d bought and chose the following, for dirt Brown Velvet followed by Raw Sienna. These are then labeled D1 and D2 as that is the order I will drybrush them on to the rocks and sand. The final dry brush will be GW’s Bubonic Brown as it will help the terrain match my armies bases some. For the wood I wanted contrast with the dirt and the GW colors and ended up chosing Terra Cotta and Golden Brown. All these craft paints are made by Delta, three are labeled Delta Ceramcoat and the third is just an older or newer style bottle. They are 2 Fl. Oz. and available at craft stores for about two bucks a pop.

Hopefully these four bottles which are basically new and full will last the duration of this project. The From the Warp guy is a fan of these paints, he uses them on his miniatures I believe. They cover pretty well, I just straight drybrushed them on except the Terra Cotta…

Terra Cotta which is what I painted the planks goes on pretty orange, especially if you paint it thick. Try to avoid putting too much of it on. When I paint wood grain, which is the case for the foot bridge and the planks in the trenches I try to paint in the direction of the grain. This lets the brush lines sync with the wood grain and with a black undercoat is a quick way to add detail. Again too much Terra Cotta and this works less well. That said wood shouldn’t all be the same uniform color, especially not in the trenches so a little darker or lighter base coat here and there shouldn’t matter.

Now things weren’t looking as nice as the footbridge I did with GW paint, but just tell yourself it is the aggregate effect that counts. It doesn’t matter how well you highlight a given plank, the effect you want is a whole battle field. Hold the terrain at arms length and it will start looking better, this is about how close people will get to it. People pick up models, terrain generally just sits there. Also tell yourself you have to paint at least 23 more tiles and that it will look better when you finish.

So after the orangy and a bit patchy coat of Terra Cotta dries I then finished off the scatter terrain and the next morning begain the drybrush fest. First I drybrushed the scatter terrain, then I drybrushed Golden Brown on the planks. Then the three browns mentioned above onto everything else. I never touched anything up if a little brown goes on the wrong spot push on.Stockpile of modeling stuff

The final touch is tiny details. Over the last few years in addition to collecting resin terrain, balsa wood, and foam, I also bought up on eBay and elsewhere random battlefield accessories.  Warhammer 40,000 is heroic 28mm so I tried both 1/35th and 1/48th scale, both kinda work.  Lots of companies make bits in 28mm too and you can just use most anything to provide that little extra detail to your terrain.

I glued these on with white glue, then painted them black. The last step will be to paint them and assemble the tile and take a decent photo or two. You can add the detail earlier when you are doing the grit, I’ll experiment more going forward, but basically a bayonet here, a canteen there gives the terrain more personality, I plan on adding a lot of personality to this table…

Battle Field AccessoriesMore resine bits I bought on eBay

Small realistic details, bucket, canteen, knife, etc.Almost finished first terrain tile

One More Colour

Well I’m back. Today has been a bit strange. I did a little biking, found out quickly how fat and out of shape I am. I also had a totally flat tire, so I got a new tube. I also visited the art supply store, the local game store, and this weird craft store on Main Street. I invested about another $25 into this project. That is starting to seem like a lot of money seeing as I’m unemployed and have not received a cent in government assistance in almost three months of waiting now…

Enough of that, I still don’t sleep, at least not at night. I worked on the terrain tile in the wee hours. It should be done today. The one thing I haven’t done that will take a bit of time is to go through my bitz boxes and various battlefield accesory kits I’ve acquired in the last three years while scheming up this project. I have too much hobby stuff, I’d like to have a little less hobby stuff and a little more money right about now.

Colour Samples

Anyway I also bought a lot more paint, mostly browns, trying to better match the GW browns I use to do my basing on the Diseased Sons and the Nefarious Fire. I generally do Scorched Earth, Snakebite Leather, and Bubonic Brown, all dry brushes, all the newest versions of those colors. From my previous terrain and display base projects I learned that the cheap craft paint I bought didn’t match very well. I ended up using some of the GW paint, basically you can use two or three craft browns, but if you do the last drybrush of Bubonic Brown it looks alright. I think I did better at matching the GW colors this time, thanks to the swatch I made.

Old Craft Paint

I also bought some browns that contrasted with the GW browns, generally some tan, beige type colours. These will be for the trench lining. I’ll use some GW browns for some things, especially detail work. I think I’ll stick with a trifecta of Gretchin Green, Camo Green, and Rotting Flesh for the sandbags, likely with some Devlan Mud or Gryphon Sepia washes.

Everything should go quick and easy now that I got a good coat of black. Waiting for the thick coats of black and the glue to dry is inefficient working on 12″ square tiles. I’m going to work more on scatter terrain and models in the down time. I have lots of stuff to paint. I plan to build a few models soon.

New Craft Paint

One last tip, to coat the really rough grit, it is best to get a gob of paint on the tip of your brush and jab or dab it on the grit. Trying to paint normal brush strokes doesn’t work so well and ends up knocking off some of the grit. You can paint the really fine grain sand normally. After the drybrush fest we’ll see if I know what I’m talking about.

Three Layers of Grit

All Black Tile?

Laying the Lumber

So after carving my foam and painting it black, the next step was to line the trench sides and bottom with planks or in the miniature wargaming world, Popsicle sticks and tongue depressors. These can be bought at most craft stores along with more precision cut pieces of balsa wood. My trenches turned out to be just under five Popsicle sticks deep.

Timber lined trench

This tile has a removable foot bridge which used to lay flat in the trenches when not needed, but after lining both sides it doesn’t.  I’m not sure on the front lines you saw bridges across trench works much, but further from the front they were needed to send out patrols and what not.

This tile also got two little sandbag walls, made by this fella. This gives any sentries something to hide behind or lean on. I also allotted two surface craters to this tile, these were rather cheap and flimsy. I don’t advocate buying craters for the most part, as they are make-able, but then again I bought lots of sandbags and they are make-able too. I went against my golden rule of maximum modularity and glued the two craters to the tile. They were pretty lightweight foam so I thought this was for the best.

After coating everything black once more it was time for the first texturing. Due to cost and availability I use cat litter for this. The problem with cat litter is it is porous so painting is a bit more work, it is also dusty which is why you need to use cheap black paint early and often. After the glue hardens I’ll do beach sand, then probably this finer grained sand I got from somewhere years ago. Beach sand as long as it is dry is great due to being more irregular than hobby sand.

Trench lining with Bridge

Once again I took a bunch of pictures at each step, including posing with my test guy, a technique I got from someone on the Waaagh.  I need to name my Imperial Guardsmen at some point. The test ork is named Barry… Oh the bridge is made by Snapdragon but he doesn’t make or sell much stuff anymore.

Painting everything blackTile with scatter terrain



Adding texture with cat litter