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Custom Terrain & Obstacles For Custom terrain, buildings, and other misc. obstacles


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Old September 13th, 2007, 09:39 PM
Codo Codo is offline
 
Join Date: January 23, 2007
Location: IN - Fishers
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Codo's Custom Terrain Building/Tutorials [Lava Field]

OK, I've got to jump in here. First, I want to thank Grishnakh. His excellent tutorials got me started on the whole terrain modding thing. I've done almost an entire master set based on his guidelines. That being said...I think his terrain is great...but I'm a bit of a do-it-yourselfer, so I thought...what could I come up with on my own. So, for my very first terrain post, may I present LAVA field.





Making this was pretty easy. The first pre-requisite skill is...go read Grishnak's terrain tutorial. It provides an excellent basis for doing your own terrain.

Materials used:
Tamiya Acrylic X-6 Orange (Found at many R/C hobby stores)
Yellow artist/caligraphy ink
Orange artist/caligraphy ink
Water
Glue
Red acrylic paint that is a close match for the lava field red.
Soft Black colored acrylic paint
Gale Force 9 Fine Basing Grit
Gale Force 9 Rocky Basing Grit
White Glue
Dark to Medium Gray Acrylic Paint

I'd like to extend thanks to the great folks at Gale Force 9. I talked to their terrain guy at GenCon because I was stumped about what to do for my lava field. I had tried a couple of things from the train store but hated what I turned out. After talking to this guy...well...his advice started me down the road to what you see here.
  1. Make a terrain mix. Pour a healthy amount of the fine basing grit into an empty container. Then mix hand a few sprinkles of the rocky basing grit.
  2. As per Grishnak's tutorial, spread white glue on the hexes.
  3. Pour the grit mixture onto the hex faces. Make sure you cover all of the glued areas. Let sit overnight.
  4. Shake off any loose grit. Again, follow Grishnakh's tutorial and make sure your hex edges are clean to facilitate hex stacking.
  5. I decided a pure/deep black was no good here. I found a color at the hobby/craft store that I'm a huge fan of. The color is called Soft Black. (It also doubles as an amazing wash for the hex edges when you are doing grassy terrain, it helps give an excellent earthy look). Use Soft Black to paint the grit. Don't be afraid to slop the paint into the grit. So what if it makes the grit start to look like it melted together?
  6. Let the paint dry....and then paint some more soft black in. The problem with the grit is that it is brown and very visible when not painted. You could try doing a black wash to try to fill in problem spots.
  7. Once the paint has dried on the grit, it is time for your red mixture. By accident, I came across a winning color combo. Again, from the acrylic pain section in the hobby/craft store, I used: Crimson Red, Pure Red, and Soft Black. This mixture amazingly came out almost the same color as the plastic is. This step is important. I found that the wash and ink does NOT stick well to the plastic, but sticks fine to paint.Note: I realize that painting the hex area as a whole is out of order from Grishnakh's tutorial, but for this approach I find this the best way to do it for this terrain as you will inevitably get some black paint on the hex lines. No big deal as it will give you some color variation. One additionl thing I did was to take a burr bit in my Dremel and tear up the circle dimples from the machine that made the pieces. Nature doesn't tend to make perfect circles in the terrain.... I suppose you could also drop a little dab of putty in there to fill it in.
  8. Once the red dries, take a quick swipe with the red down the hex lines. You don't have to be as neat this time...just make a pass down the hex lines and you'll be set.
  9. Now for the orange paint. Some more experimenting here on my part. What I finally found was to be very heavy on your paint to water mixture. You want this stuff thick...but watery enough to fill in the cracks...or even better...wick up into the grit. I don't suggest putting the orange up in your rocks on purpose, because I did...and it didn't look quite natural. But when the wash soaked itself up into small areas of the rocks...it looks great. Make sure you get a good dose of orange wash around all of the edges and that it fills in the cracks in the hex lines. It looks pretty nice now doesn't it? Well, wait until it dries and starts to look dull. If the orange is sticking well you either didn't put enough red paint down or your orange mixture is too watery.
  10. Once I saw the dullness of the orange after it dried, I talked to a friend who has been painting minis for years. He gave me one of his secrets: Ink. Did you know ink has shellac in it? I didn't...but that gave me some ideas! I bought a multi-pack of ink from the art store to play with. Originally I tried just using an ink wash without the orange. No go. The colored ink is fairly transparent and just didn't show well. But, drop it on top of brightly colored paint...well you saw in the pics, didn't you? My mixture was 1 part orange:1 part yellow:1 part distilled water (The ink's directions HIGHLY suggest distilled water. Apparently some chemicals in tap water can mess with the ink.) Once you have a good color mix, just wash it across the hex lines. If you have had any of the orange wash wick into the rocks, make sure you hit that area with the ink. Even if you get this ink in non-oranged areas of your black rocks, it won't really show up, so don't worry about slopping this around the hexes too much. Ink soaks into stuff much much quicker than paint. Do NOT get this on your clothes...it probably won't come out
  11. Lastly, dry brush some dark grey onto the lava field. This is just to try to bring up detail. If you look, I did some areas with medium gray. I'm still trying to adjust to exactly which shade of gray I like best for this part.
  12. Finally, you should have some orange wash and ink left. Go find those Obsidian Guards and turn them into true lava elementals! You'll have to be a bit careful with the orange wash on these guys as it looks really bad if it dries on any flat surfaces on them. Just use a good sized brush and float the orange wash into all the nooks and crannies on these guys. Once it dries, slap the ink wash all over him. You don't have to be as careful with the ink as it will actually shine him back up. Make sure you get the ink wash on the fire spots painted at the factory.



In the end, I was extremely happy with the outcome here. I have what I feel is some beatiful lava field areas for my map now. I'm still debating on whether or not I'm going to try some sort of color wash on the hex edges, so I'm going to leave that alone for the moment.

One caveat about the ink paint combo. If you have to paint over an inked area, you will probably need to paint twice. I noticed that the ink seems to bleed through the paint as it dries...and not in a very attractive manner.

Well, that's it for my first post. My next post will be showcasing an advanced version of rocky terrain using the Gale Force 9 basing grits.

Codo

Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
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  #2  
Old September 13th, 2007, 09:46 PM
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elf326 elf326 is offline
 
Join Date: August 27, 2007
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elf326 is surprisingly tart
Cool terrain
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  #3  
Old September 13th, 2007, 10:02 PM
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DeadEye DeadEye is offline
 
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DeadEye is surprisingly tart
nice

DeadEye
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  #4  
Old September 13th, 2007, 10:21 PM
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HSisforcoolkids HSisforcoolkids is offline
 
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Thanks for sharing Codo. My attempts at modded lava stink, but yours are wonderful. Very cool.
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  #5  
Old September 13th, 2007, 11:58 PM
Renquist Renquist is offline
 
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Those look awesome Codo and welcome to the boards!

I only have one question - how much does grit generally cost? I'm more the "mod on a budget" guy as the cost of materials can start to stack up after a couple of master sets.

Did you buy it at a hobby store or a GW?

I tried a few hexes the other day (Only just picked up my first lava set) and could only think of painting it:



I'll be watching for when you upload your rock mods....
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  #6  
Old September 14th, 2007, 07:24 AM
Ted Ted is offline
 
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Nicely done, very detailed. Out of my range for ability.
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  #7  
Old September 14th, 2007, 08:50 AM
Codo Codo is offline
 
Join Date: January 23, 2007
Location: IN - Fishers
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Codo Woo who?
Renquist:
I bought the basing grit directly from GF9 at GenCon. The grit packs were $4 each.... so not too bad. The nice part is, they come in a re-usable plastic container.



I'm sure there is some other material you can use. Kitty litter might work as long as you prep it correctly to deal with absorption. Maybe for true realism, you could get a bag of landscaping pumice and breaking it into smaller pieces. Not sure if that would work, but it could be interesting to try.

As far as other costs... The taimya orange is just one I picked out at the hobby store. I'm sure any suitable orange paint could be used. The paints I used are the basic acrylic paints available at many hobby stores and WalMart (The dark grey I used I just got for $0.44 from my local walmart!) These paints are so much cheaper than gamestore paints. For miniatures, I suppose game store paints are good...but this is terrain! You're going to use a lot...buy in bulk!

The ink is possibly the only piece that might cost you a bit more. I spent $25 on the ink set I bought. I got 10 colors out of that pack. The really good news is that a little ink goes a looong especially when mixed with the distilled water. I found that straight ink sets a little too thick for me and starts to hide the orange paint. That's why I originally cut it with the yellow ink. I still wasn't happy with the look, so that's when I added in some water and was pleased with that result.

Ted:
Quote:
Out of my range for ability.

What? Aw c'mon, that's the best part, I bet I could get my 7 year old to make one of these. The more complex/detailed parts could be skipped and I bet it would look fine. The dremel use on the divots can probably be skipped. If you do that, I'd just make sure to try to keep too much of the orange wash from pooling in there. The drybrush at the end could be skipped as well. It doesn't look too bad that way. I just like the dry brush because it brings out the detail a little better and softend up the black a little further. Maybe you could just use an extremely dark grey instead of my soft black choice for painting the stone....

Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
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  #8  
Old September 14th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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srmalloy srmalloy is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codo
I'm sure there is some other material you can use. Kitty litter might work as long as you prep it correctly to deal with absorption. Maybe for true realism, you could get a bag of landscaping pumice and breaking it into smaller pieces. Not sure if that would work, but it could be interesting to try.
It would be a minor pain to crack it down to an appropriate size, since it's harder, but 'lava rock' is available commercially and relatively cheaply; it's sold in bags as replacements for gas grills and as landscaping decoration, and wouldn't need painting; pumice is typically too white to look good as a lava surface unless painted.

Another trick that I've seen used for model railroading is to mix up a batch of plaster of paris and pour it into a simple block mold, then after it cures completely go at it with a hammer or mallet to break it down into appropriately-sized pieces. You'd still have a porosity problem unless you sealed it before painting, though.
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