Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Great Outdoors

This set of terrain is very different from the "set piece" Barbarossa board, even though the vast majority of it is forested.  I needed to create hills that were much larger than anything I had done before, which meant taller and broader.

That would present a very different set of challenges than the board we had been working on, where I could create depth very easily by carving into the thick foam.

You will recognize many of the materials from that previous board, such as the moss, wood glue and spray glue.  However, a few new options presented themselves when I was moving some stuff around to make room for this gaming table.  Over the next few episodes, I will try to show how I used them.

These are the only images that I have of the hills and rivers prior to painting and flocking.  They were made mostly from the same thin pink foam that was used on the buildings.  The tiles are roughly 12 inches square, so that gives you a sense of how large these pieces are!

I tried out a sculpting plaster for the first time, which I needed to create a more gentle slope on the hills.  If that was too steep, the figures would simply keep rolling down these hills!  I wanted something that would not just block line of sight, but be a terrain piece which would interact with the figures.

Once all that dried, I used a watered down glue glaze with various ballast scattered over the top.  I used Badger airbrush paints to get a few quick layers of browns, greys and even a few greens.

As you can see, there were a few tree stands as well as the rivers and hills.  This time around, I wanted to see if I could make larger shrubs and bushes out of the moss.  After seeing countless tables where moss was used as scatter terrain, I thought that I could utilize the moss to create what I have seen over and over again in nature... lots of small trees and bushes growing right on the banks of rivers and streams.

The first task was to glue those in place with wood glue.  That took longer to set, so I did that on all the pieces first.  After setting one clump in place, I tried to surround it and support it with smaller pieces around its edge.

These were made large enough to both impede the progress to infantry and vehicles and offer them adequate cover/line of sight blocking.

Hopefully you can see that I tried to make as many of the clumps as possible hang over the edge.  The main reason I did this was to "hide" the fact that this was just a strip of pink foam placed on a table, as opposed to the dug in river of the Barbarossa board.

They would also be a more impressive obstacle to those vehicles and infantry that I mentioned earlier.

I did the same thing on the larger hills, although I had to be careful not to put too many of those on each hill.  I wanted to have the option of placing buildings, tree stands, gun emplacements and other objects on or near the tops of each piece.

Here's an example of that, where one of the larger tree stands is in place.  It would look very odd if there were suddenly a group of larger trees without even a shrub nearby!  Later I will show you some images of how I used a squad of infantry to judge how big to make them, and where they should be placed.

I made a set of walls to go along with my village houses from the previous set of how to posts, using a few simple strips of the thin pink foam.  After watching many episodes of Midsomer Murders, I had gotten very used to seeing these stone fences overgrown with vegetation!

Much smaller clumps of moss were glued to the fences.

Here's the first of the new materials.  Lo and behold, I had a few bags of the Poly Fiber from Woodland Scenics, something which I had been intending to purchase.  While I love to use the moss for trees, it can sometimes be difficult to use on trees which I make from natural branches.

It there are not enough supporting 'branches', the moss has a tough time staying in place.  The poly fiber is designed to stretch out over such surfaces.  It is also much lighter, so far less glue is needed.  I decided to use the poly fiber to support my smaller clumps of moss.

There was also another material (the packaging was gone so I don't know what it is called) which was similar to the poly fiber, but covered with rough foliage.  It could be stretched out just like the poly fiber, so I used it to create an additional layer of texture on that stand, and as extra support for the sections of moss on another stand.  That is the image in the upper right.

I think this was also intended to be used as vines or ground cover, so I gave it a try on my walls too.  It definitely created a bit of an ivy look...

These larger Woodland Scenics plastic trees had plenty of supporting branches, so I could use my normal spray glue and moss technique.

You can see how each clump is draped over those branches, giving them plenty of support.  Once these were in place, I sprayed them with the adhesive and then dropped a variety of flock over the tops.  Some of it had a heavier texture, as well as different tones and shades.

Here's one of those trees ready for the final colors and textures of flock!  I will cover that in the next episode, so stay tuned!!!