Sunday, August 28, 2011

Terrain Building: A fountain

Today I want to share with you how I constructed a miniature fountain for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, in a simple and easy way.

My materials consisted of:

-          A small plastic lid (this can basically come from anything) about 6cm in diameter and 1½cm tall.

-          A small podium to stand in the middle. Basically, something a bit smaller than the lid. (I used an old paint-container and peeled off the top.)

-          A miniature to be on display as a statue (I chose a dwarf because…dwarves rule).

-          A piece of polystyrene (or your favorite product for hills) about 13x12cm. This doesn’t have to be that precise.

-          Some filler (I used Polyfilla)

-          Green stuff or something similar that will stick.

-          Glue (the standard P.V.A. glue from GW is best for this)

-          Some terrain grass, ideally also some rubble or stone

-          Optional: Some moss or grass gathered from Mother Nature. Outside, you know. Real world stuff.

-          Paint (including Ardcoat – Gloss Varnish)

1)      Setting up the structure
Turn the lid upside down. Take the old, empty paint container and rip off the top/lid part. You may need to get violent here, but take care.
Place a blob of Green Stuff on the bottom of the lid, and put the container upside down on it, like this:

The dwarf is just for show, so far.

OPTIONAL: You can put on more Green Stuff on the top, in order to get a smooth surface. I decided to do so because a lot of the scripture on the bottom of the container would inevitably show later on.

2)      Fill in the water
Give it half an hour or so to dry a bit and then pour in Filler to act like water. It’s a good idea to actually use a very wet brush to even the surface out first, keeping in mind how high you want the waterline to be.
It’s a good idea to let a little bit of filler attach to the middle pillar. This will give the “stone” a more rough, natural look later on.

If you want still water, this is all you need to do. If you want to add some disturbance (i.e. showing the wind or simply just wish for a more dynamic look) use a stippling brush to gently prickle it.

By this time you will likely reach a waypoint as the Filler needs some time drying up. I left it for 12 hours and when I came back it was ready and fine.

3)      And while we wait… Working on the polystyrene
Meanwhile you can start out on the base. Get your piece of polystyrene and start cutting, ideally using a scalpel (careful!). First, make sure it looks good in perspective, and remember that some of it will have to go, depending on the thickness of your polystyrene block and how steep you want your rise in the landscape to be.

A great idea is to utilize sandpaper as well. Form the hill as you see fit, as you go make sure to check up that your fountain is actually able to be where you wanted it to. If you mess up (like I did) you can always cover it with filler or green stuff.

Once done, give it a solid undercoat of dark brown. I recommend scorched brown, or just basic acryl paint. Leave both of them to dry and watch a DVD.

4)      Getting down with the painting!
As said, about 12 hours later you should be good to go. Glue on the model (I used super glue for this). Then undercoat the entire fountain white, first and foremost. Leave it to dry for a spell.

Then liberally apply Badab Black and leave it to dry (this step is somehow optional, but I prefer it. It gives you a much better impression of what you’re working with).

You’re still with me? Great. We’re starting to get somewhere now.
Apply a thorough undercoat of the entire fountain (EXCEPT the water) of Charadon Granite.

Then, give it a solid drybrush of Codex Grey

Then another one with Fortress Grey, followed by a very light Skull White.

5)      Painting the water
I love water. It’s such a challenge to work with but it pays off really well. Mind you, I’m still a novice at this, so my method is more or less straight out from the official GW Terrain Book. It works for some really great results I think.

Paint all the water Adeptus Battlegrey first.
Then apply a drybrush of Dark Angels Green
Then apply a light drybrush of Scaly Green (NB: Scaly Green isn’t available to sale anymore, but you can mix up your own easily, combining 5 parts of Enchanted Blue, 5 parts of Sunburst Yellow and 1 part of Chaos Black)
Then apply a light drybrush of Catachan Green

This might look very green, and if you feel it’s too much you can either start over or simply add some black or brown wash and highlight with a little bit Scaly & Catachan green. Experiment! That’s the way we improve, after all! : )

Finally, add a nice coat of gloss varnish, and proudly observe your result.

6)      Planting some vegetation
Glue your fountain on to your hill with P.V.A. glue and spread a circle of it around the base. Liberally apply stone, make a little path leading up to it. After 10 minutes or so, splatter the rest of the base with glue, apply grass and leave it for another 10 minutes. The get out the pieces of moss and glue them on around the fountain. Moss is such an awesome thing that should not be underestimated when it comes to terrain making. It looks great as bushes, it’s free and easy to come by. It hardly took me and my girlfriend more than an hour to gather a small bag of it from a nearby forest and even once it dries it’s acceptably durable.

(Click to enlarge)

As you can see I also added in some rocks for good measure. I intend to add a snotling in the bushes later, but for now I wanted to show it to you guys.

7)      Final thoughts
I’m quite happy with it, it didn’t really cost me that much and it is so easily made. There is a lot of room open for improvisations of your own and likely improvements. As you can see, I didn’t do a great job covering up the Green Stuff at the top of the pillar. Likely because I didn’t cut it precisely. Alternatively you could simply use round piece of wood or something.

Hope to inspire some of you there!

(Click to enlarge)

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