Saturday, September 17, 2011

Khador Commission and Snow Bases

Hey, sorry for the absence. I have been working on a commission, sick, and no longer on vacation so I haven't gotten a chance to post, but here is what I have been up to.

Finished up some Battle Mechaniks and a unit of Widow Makers. They turned out pretty good for table top quality. Also assembled a Behemoth, which took a long time to pin, glue, and gap fill. This was the first time I have attempted snow bases, and I was very pleased with the end result. Here is how I went about doing it.

Materials Needed:

Modeling Paste: Any brand will do. Liquitex Basics was the cheapest, the more expensive ones are thicker, and often easier to shape into what you want. Since I'm not doing anything fancy I went with the cheapest.

White Glue: For putting down the base layer of snow.
Scenic Cement: Works best for this method. You could mix your own glue water solution, but if it is not mixed correctly you could get a weird effect. 
Snow Flock: I used "Snowflake" from woodland scenics. You get way more than the GW snow for only two dollars more. 
Eye Dropper: Applying scenic cement.
Ice blue/Sky blue paint: To change the color of the white modeling paste.
Palette Knife: Applying modeling paste.
Paper Clip: To shape the snow.
Coffee Stir stick: For adding modeling paste to tight areas, or between legs.

I took one of the blister pack packages and squirted out a blob of modeling paste onto it. Dip the tip of the palette knife into the ice blue paint on the lid, or add a few drops from a dropper bottle and mix the paint into the paste. *Note: The amount of paint shown ended up making the paste too blue, so I added a little more paste to bring the color down some. You will only need a small amount of paint, the paste mixes really well and retains the color of the paint.* Once it's mixed it should look something like this:

We are going to use this as the base for our snow and to bond the miniature to the base. If you want rocks or static grass sticking out of the snow, glue all this stuff down before you apply the modeling paste, and shape the paste around the rocks and grass with a paper clip. Grab your palette knife and start spreading it randomly and unevenly all over the inside circle of the base. Be careful not to apply the paste too thick or get too much on the rim of the base or apply the paste too thick. If you do, try to scrape off what you can with your finger around the edge. It is also best to do this before you start painting. I did it at the half way point and did get some modeling paste on the mini and had to pick it off and repaint a few area's. Once I had the base all done I realized I should have done this step just after I prime the mini. I recommend you do the same to save yourself a headache. It should look like this:

Make sure there are no pointy bits on the surface unless that is the effect you are going for. Next, while the paste is still wet, slowly push the mini into the slot available in the base. Modeling paste will come out of the bottom as you fix the mini in, so I recommend attaching the mini in mid air and scrape off the excess that is pushing out the bottom with your finger and transfer it to a popsicle or coffee stir stick. Go back in with the stir stick and apply the paste between the legs covering over the metal tab that the mini sits on.

Once this is done we are going to let it dry for an hour or two depending on the thickness you applied the paste. Now paint the mini until it is completed, and right before you would seal the paint job, start basing the model with the snow. Apply some white glue to the surface and sprinkle the snow all over the base, and shake off the excess. This will give you a good base to start putting the snow down.

You can see that after this first layer you can still see the blue paste underneath. Now sprinkle on a second layer of snow, and place a drop of scenic cement near the middle of the base. You will see that when the cement hits the snow flake it will create a ball, rather than spreading out evenly like it would do with turf or ballast from woodland scenics. Keep adding drops to the original drop untill it startrts to spread out. only apply scenic cement to the wet areas of the snow and tilt the mini to help it spread.

Once it is all wet you can take a paper clip and even out, or contour the snowy slush to the shape you want. When you are done, lightly sprinkle a thin layer or dusting of snow flake and let it just sit on the surface. You don't need to shape this again at this stage, you just want to restore the ice like effect and to give the base some depth and dimension. Also when you are applying the layers, push any snow that gets on the edge of the base, back up to the edge of the snow effect. Once the rim is clear and the snow is all dry (10-30 minutes), paint the edge of the base black, and then seal your paint job, and base details together at the same time. The "Lacquer" and "Dull Coat" layers of sealer will lock in any of the snow flake that is sitting on the surface.

Next up: Terrain Inspiration.

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