Friday, June 30, 2017

Getting your feet wet

OK... one of the main points of this board was to experiment with several types of water, and see if they would fit within those time constraints that I keep talking about!

If you have not seen the two previous articles that showed the board under construction, I will put in some links later in the post.  I wanted to have some splashing water, especially up against natural obstacles, such as this point where several rocks and logs had piled up.

I had some Vallejo water effects left over, which works well for this task.  However, I have discovered that the Liquitex Heavy Glass Gel works even better, and costs a bit less!

This material is applied wherever I want those splashing waves to appear, with the knowledge that I will probably be doing a few additional layers on top after this dries.  Depending on humidity and other factors, it can take a few days for it to completely dry.

You can tint this is you like, using a variety of transparent colors.  Secret Weapon washes, as well as the Badger Airbrush Ghost tints work great, as they are very transparent, and somewhat glossy.

We worked our way around the board, conserving on the water effects to make sure I could at least have one layer in places before I had to use my more current heavy gel material.

While I would have liked to let this dry before applying the Woodland Scenics effects, time was not on my side.  I would have to go ahead and make some pours and hope for the best!

You don't want to apply too much at once.  I could be a little more generous with the application here, since there was a lot of absorbent flock everywhere!

Right away, I could see it react to the dry flock, turning it into "wet" underwater foliage.  This would also give me a little more depth even though the water itself would not be terribly thick.

The easier areas to pour would be the smaller 'pools' which were in one of the corners.  As I mentioned in earlier posts, this board was originally intended to be a swamp board for a Western game.  We did want it to work for Pacific War too, but then this was expanded to many areas of Europe, both east and west!

This image is a good example of how the water pour looked, and altered the flock.  I was able to get it to slip into the foliage around the rim of each pool, which made it look like it belonged on the edge.

A few more pours would be needed, as well as more applications of heavy gel.  Those would be needed most in the water mill channel, to make it look like churned up water.

Stay tuned for the next post, which will have some images of what the dried water effects looked like, and maybe even some figures on there too!

Links to the earlier posts:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Forest for the Trees...foliage in a snap.

In part two of the rapid terrain board build, I have some images of how I tried to make some swamp style trees with the few materials on hand, and in the shortest amount of time possible!

These terrain pieces would be very important for Bolt Action, and they would serve a further function... covering seams between boards!

I cut some pieces of the thin pink foam to create the "area terrain" of the forest, as this line needs to be defined for game purposes.  However, I wanted it to match the floor of the forest, so that it would not be obtrusive to the eye.

You can see the wood glue, the sand and gravel, etc. along with a few tree branches that we gathered from outside.  I shaved down the base of the tree into a point, which was speared into the foam.  Rocks and gravel were added to make the texture.

This variety pack from a craft store was perfect, with all kinds of reeds, and most importantly moss!!

The moss was added to the branch with wood glue and the spray too.

The spray glue proved to be vital to the process.  This would allow me to add all kinds of great color and texture to the moss, which is not very tree like, and some of the colors would not match what we wanted either.

As I added the reeds and bushes to the board, I could add the flock on top of the moss, which would make it look more realistic for the little time invested!

You can see how just a few tree stands and some scattered bushes make this board look much more 3 dimensional, and also give you minis plenty of things to hid behind, and rough terrain for vehicles to struggle through.

For now, the water mill dominates the landscape.

The original plan was to have a Wild West shanty town around this mill, but this will soon be taken over by Eastern Front villages and other marshland areas in France/Belgium... Russian and even England!  Sea Lion here we come ;-)

These views give a sense of how the tree stands can be moved around from game to game, and also cover those seams.

In this image, you can see the process of the swamp tree develop, starting with the application of the glue and moss.  I took the strands of dried moss and soaked them in glue/water for a while, and then hung them from the batches of sponge moss.  

This was sprayed with the 3M glue, and further layers of flock and foliage added over the top to blend these textures together.  I sprayed the base, and added more flock there to match the board itself.

I painted in a trail leading to the island in the center, because the original intent was to have a structure there. We may still do this at some point in the future, but that will wait until after we have done many games of Bolt Action first!

Stay tuned, because we still have to show those water effects!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Having a green thumb...literally

While a good deal of coverage is given to how the trees were made, I didn't want to leave out the flocking process of the main board!

Continuing the process of spray glue and scattering flock, I covered the entire board, sometimes in multiple layers.  I also added a lesser amount of flock to the river beds too, which will make an interesting texture combination with the water effects!

I added some reeds in places, which would add a nice visual touch, but also help to hide the rough cut river banks.  There was only a matter of hours each day to work on this, so I had to be sure that any process which I began could be concluded later that day.

This broader view shows how I tried to cover the permanent seams with textures and foliage, along with the "temporary" seams.  Again, various scatter terrains will be used to further mask this edge.

This trail was added to the central island, since the original plan was to have a structure there.  We won't be doing this, at least not initially, but it can still serve as a "road" for Bolt Action, which is important in game terms.

I tried to add as much texture to that as I could.  I had thought about adding some ruts to it, but I think I am glad that I left it more of a neutral texture at this point.

This view shows another portion of that seam, where a few bushes were added.  They look like a line right now, but keep in mind that several tree stands and buildings will be added to this.  If I put these bushes everywhere, I would really block the amount of space for that scatter terrain!

More views of the riverbed, this time with a sunken rowboat added!

At this stage, I felt like I was getting a nice difference in the colors and textures of the board, with a variety of greens and browns, static grass and flock.

Once the water effects are added in subsequent posts, you will see in the interesting reaction the two materials had with each other!

Here's a quick example of the tree stands, and how they will work in conjunction with the bushes and other smaller pieces of foliage.

The next article will demonstrate how these trees were made, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A terrain board for every purpose, and every system...

When the need arose for a new, multipurpose terrain board, it was time to head to Home Depot and various craft stores to see what we could find to make this board, and do it in a very compressed time frame!

Pink foam is always a starting point.  Due to vehicle size, the thicker board had to be cut into smaller sections.  In the top left corner you see my favorite material, the 3/16 inch thick undelrayment foam!  This is great for buildings, gun emplacements, you name it!

Here are some other materials that we will focus on.  Various moss, flock, water effects and more.  I discovered that the Titebond wood glue has a few different forms.  I think this one might have been more of a rapid drying variety, which was important for this board!

The original intent was to make a swamp/forest board for a western game, but that has since gone by the wayside.  Fortunately, we needed something along those lines for our Bolt Action games!  Roy will be playing British, Russians, and Finns, while I play a variety of about 15 other forces.  Everything from French to Italians to Hungarians.

We knew that we wanted some kind of island in the center of a river, with various branches.  Also, we had a watermill, so a section in the upper left was created for it in the form of a water channel.

The initial pieces of thicker board were glued in place, and some weight applied.  We also tried to make some "open spaces" where we could have lots of options on scatter terrain.  Covering these seams will be something that is dealt with as this story moves along...

Once the very rough river channels were cut (again, time was very limited!)  Some rocks and logs were added to areas where the flow of water would have pushed that material up against a fork in that river.  This would not be a raging torrent, but we did want to have a few places where the water might be churned up against large rocks and logs.

Once the bigger rocks and logs were in place, smaller and smaller sized gravel and ballast were added.  I was not too concerned with exact textures here, since much of this would be covered with flock, and then water.

In this step, I deal with one of the seams.  This is a junction of two separate pieces, so I tried to have as uniform a texture between those two boards as possible.  That meant having the widest expanse of open river, so we would not have to match rock and log debris patterns.

There would be plenty of water and flock going over the top of this too.  In the first image, you can see how I worked the river banks right up to the edge, and then attempted to maintain the same level of texture onto the next panel in image 2.

For the channel that was cut for our watermill, I quickly made some flat boards which would line the sides of this channel.  I was looking forward to having the most water effects wave action in this area!

Thanks to the rapid drying nature of the wood glue, we were able to apply some layers of craft paint to the exposed foam.  This was done to protect it from the aerosol texture paint that we wanted to use to get more texture on the river banks, as those were cut very rough.

If you spray that kind of paint on the exposed foam, the chemicals will eat away at the foam, so this is why it had to be protected.  Finally, it would provide a decent undercoat color for the subsequent flock and foliage.  

This was a mix of brown and black paint, and allowed to dry as we ended the session for the day.  I think this part took about 4-5 hours.

So, with the board completely dry, I sprayed the texture paint into the river beds, and especially on the banks to hide the rough cuts.  Of course, this also made a nice undertone for the flock, which would be applied next.

This was a variety of shades and textures from Woodland Scenics, and it will be adhered with the use of some fantastic spray glue from Home Depot!  That will be shown in more detail in the next article or two.

The spray glue was amazing, as it allowed us to apply a nice spread of the flock in minutes rather than hours.  Have I mentioned how little time we actually had to work on this? :-)

I discovered that I could even layer the flock, spraying the glue a second time over the top of one layer, then adding a different texture (such as static grass), and other types.

In this image, you can see that I left some areas slightly uncovered, especially where there might be a building, or where there might be a lot of traffic.  A few light applications of flock in the river beds would look like aquatic foliage once the water effects went over the top.

You can see the difference these textures make!

I will say that it can get messy, which is why we had a tarp under this, as well as newspaper.  I learned the hard way to control the width of the spray, working in more confined, targeted zones at one time.  Otherwise, the newspaper would get sticky, and then be carried away on my shoes or even pant leg... carrying a pile of flock with it!

You can see the effect of multiple applications of flock in this ground level view.  When you do add this second layer, I advise that you press that into the spray glue to give it a better chance to stick.

Much more to come on this board, since we have to add reeds and bushes, and then create scatter terrain and water effects!!  

Stay tuned...