February 1, 2012

Hill complete... finally!

I have been busily working away on my hill/knoll. It's now become an escarpment. I could kind of see that happening from the start and while it isn't what I planned it was inevitable. I think it worked out decently too. I wanted to get it finished for the end of January deadline that I set myself and I barely managed it. It took far more work than I had intended but I think it was worth it. I follwed some online tutorials and they proved great. I hadn't realised that adding some plaster to the model would be so helpful and messy! The T3 studios has a great tutorial here. I am not 100% sure how practical their hills are but they sure look good. I approached mine from as practical a position as possible and here is how I went about the final steps. The other steps can be found here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Last time I stopped with the basic ground work done. I then started adding the plaster to the frame. It was just a simple wall filler plaster mix. I put it on fairly thinnly to save myself having to wait ages for it to dry. I smoothed it on with a kitchen knife. It still dried quite rough and in some places it was far thicker than I would have liked. This happened because of the rough cutting I did to the polystyrene. It is also important to pay attention to the join between the cork and the rest of the hill. I allowed the plaster to overlap quite a lot on the cork as I wanted more of a cliff face look than that of an outcropping of rock.

Once the plaster was on and drying I started to work on the ground in front of the cliff. As I did with my other rock formations I like to use some modelling clay to smooth out the ground in front of the cliff. This ties the piece in well and also has the benefit of filling the gaps you sometimes get in the cork. I did this in two stages. The first stage is just adding in a piece every inch or so. After that has dried I fill in the gaps. Doing it this way prevents warping. I didn't think the base would warp but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Once the plaster and clay were 100% complete I spent a few minutes hanging out of my apartment window sanding the hill. The plaster needs to have all roughness removed as otherwise the flock will match the roughness. It helps to strengthen the piece I think by preventing small pieces of plaster and flock from being knocked off. Once that was complete flocking could begin. I am also freaked out about warping when it comes to flocking. I flocked the hill in three stages letting each dry first. In the first stage that you can see in the picture I left the small stones in the sand. In the last two stages I removed these. I did this because I often find that they break off pretty quickly. They are nice to add diversity to the finished hill but otherwise it can just lead to the flock coming off in patches. It took a while to get all the flock on but no warping at all, nice!

I used my airbrush to paint the hill in an effort to save some time. I needed a massive box to catch all the excess spray and this was the biggest I could find. It took one pot of scorched brown to do the complete hill and some grey too which wasn't bad. I thought it would really take a lot but thankfully not. I used the expensive paint as I was too lazy to search for cheaper ones that would still work with my airbrush. I left it a while to dry and then the real painting could begin.

Using the airbrush gave a nice effect where the cliff met the hill. The excess brown spray ran up the cliff. This was nice as I could leave it and get a nice effect when it came to dry brushing the cliff. I also added some green wash in places. This looks like moss when it dries and again adds to the effect. I wwash the whole cliff then in black to bring out the detail. To finish it off I dry brush with progessively lighter shades of grey.

One pro tip I can give is to buy a good big brush when it comes to doing something of this scale. Seriously a big big brush! I managed to forget to buy one and I spent ages doing this hill with a crappy small brush. That wasn't fun. I paint the base colour in with Scorched Brown (GW). I give two further coats of Bestial Brown (GW) and Snakebite Leather (GW). This matches the basing scheme of my varioius armies nicely. I picked out the little stones in the same colour as the cliff. It adds a nice variety to an otherwise boring monotone hill.

Here you can see how large the hill is. Thats a large based Warjack sitting on it. A whole battle could almost occur on the hill. You can also see how I added the static flock on. I added it beside the rocks. This helped the rocks to stay stuck on and it gives a better look. I added a few small bushes here and there but these are hard to see. I haven't added any varnish to the hill yet. I don't intend transporting it or donating it to a club so it won't see much wear and tear. So target one achieved!

2 comments:

  1. Very cool step by step of the hill.. was just in the process of looking for some tutorials, and also saw the T3 version, but I think yours came out better. Or at the very least, more gaming appropriate :)

    Will be referencing back to it often when I get to working on mine. :) Thanks

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