Sunday, December 6, 2015

Making Terrain Boards Part 6: Grass and Vegetation



I was tempted to leave my terrain boards in their barren, desert-like state, but eventually forged on and added grass, shrubs and vegetation. Check out my technique after the jump.

If you missed my previous progress, you can check out my build logs here:
I started by assembling my raw materials. The unflocked terrain boards:



... and flocking material. Some I had on hand and others I had recently picked up.



First I created a basic flock blend to apply to the entire board.

Basic Flock Recipe




Applying the Flock Base


I used a paint brush to cover the terrain board with matte medium scenic cement. I didn't want my terrain boards to look like a finely manicured golf course, so to introduce some color variation I sprinkled patches of single color flock on various parts of the boards, afterwards sprinkling my basic flock on top.



After the matte medium dried, I tipped each board to shake off excess and then sprayed matte medium over everything to secure it.



Blending the Roads

The edges of the paths were a bit too stark and manicured, so I used a mix of Flock and Turf Earth Blend and Early Autumn Blend to smooth the transition from dirt to grass along the road areas. I was really happy with the effect the Earth Blend created.

In progress. You can see I'm working from right to left adding the Earth Blend.

After shaking off extra and doing some final blending with various flocks.
I also used the Earth Blend along the banks of the river and around the eroded stones.

Layering Flock

The boards were shaping up, with a smooth, fluffy coating of flock.


It was a bit too manicured, so I began layering extra flock and texture on top. I started with some autumn blends to bring in some yellow and brown, but the color difference was too extreme and I quickly backed out of that option.

Next I used an overspray of scenic cement and sprinkled straight Summer Field Grass static grass. This looked great! Even without an electro static gun to make the grass stand up, the static grass added a lot of texture, and the lighter shade of green of the static grass over the darker base flock added depth to the vegetation.



Once the static grass was dry I experimented with some other textures. I used some Silfor static grass, but they were lost within overall grassy areas, and stood out too much when used on the edges of the roads. Those Silfor tufts are pricey and I decided the effect wasn't worth it on the terrain boards.

Instead, I added a mix of Woodland Scenics Underbrush and Burnt Grass sporadically over the boards to simulate thicker areas of brush and bushes.




Finishing Up

I could have continued adding bushes, heather, long grass and flowers but I was concerned about keeping the terrain boards playable.



Overall I was pretty pleased with the final flocked terrain boards. I think I'll be able to get a few games in on these now, but I still need to add water to the river. Having never tackled faux-water, it's a bit daunting. If you have any tips or suggestions on adding water to these terrain boards, please let me know in the comments!



32 comments:

  1. superb work - I will be stealing your ideas for my boards

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    1. Please do! I'm sure you'll be able to improve on my technique (which I'll steal back to use on my own boards. It's the circle of life!)

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  2. Fantastic results and a useful tutorial. That piece would be a source of pride if in my game room.

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  3. That looks amazing! Well done on the blending!

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  4. Superb.

    Thank you for the detailed step-by-step.

    Tony

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    1. Sure Tony! Hope it helps if you ever tackle something similar :)

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  5. That really does look excellent!

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  6. Looks beautiful and realistic!

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  7. Really nice work, all of the different colors of flock really help to sell the realism of the piece.

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    1. Thanks 'packer! I researched a lot of great terrain artists and it was the one consistent tip they all suggested. I agree, a variety of flock helps the texture and realism of the boards!

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  8. Did you ever get around to adding the river/water elements? I can't seem to find such a post...

    This all looks great by the way. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Not yet. I have the water effects material, and I've done some tests with it. I'm hoping to get it done before Christmas, but lots of real life responsibilities have crippled my hobby time. Stay tuned, and thanks for the comments!

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    2. John, I've been visiting your blog for a couple of months now, and I just now noticed we're practically neighbors! I live in Silver Spring, MD. Would love to game with you sometime! I've just this year got the wargaming bug, and have been buying miniatures and terrain at a rapid clip, playing Songs of Blades and Heroes, and acquiring the necessary minis and terrain for Pulp Alley and Strange Aeons. I hope you'll consider contacting me at joseph.procopio at gmail dot com. Your site has been an inspiration! Thanks, and take care!

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  9. Really really good job, I have been struggling for ideas on my own river board, you might have just helped me out so thanks oh so so much.

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    1. Glad I could help! Now I just need to get around to adding water to my river and they'll be done. :)

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  10. Water!! >:( (great article, thanks for posting ;) )

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  11. Water!! >:( (great article, thanks for posting ;) )

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    Replies
    1. It's coming! Someday! I swear! :)

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  12. Did you use anything on the outside board edges? Like plastic or something to keep everything so smooth and butting up against each other so nice? Thats the only problem I seem to have, is getting things to sit flush. If you did where did you get them, or what is your secret for keeping things so flush?

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    1. Hi! I used thin sheets of styrene plastic card along the edges. You can see more details adding the sides in an earlier step of this build: http://1000footgeneral.blogspot.com/2015/06/making-terrain-boards-part-2-base-and.html

      I used Blick Art to source the plastic: http://www.dickblick.com/

      If you use my plans be sure to read about the styrene widths (I made a minor mistake I'll be correcting in future boards).

      Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions!

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    2. Hi, Mate really good work , regarding the water , It is not as hard as it seems , I use Woodlands realistic water made in the US ,top product and easy to use , just like water pour it on the start of your stream / creek and tilt it down stream , you can add a little diluted paint if you wish to give the impression of disturbance in the creek as in cattle are crossing . You will need to glue a little strip of plastic across your border lines , this should not be noticed when you join everything up . rgds Pat

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    3. Thanks! I'm going to give it a try, just need to find the time to tackle it!

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  13. Use clear plastic over the water ends.. you should be able to hot glue it then remove after. Test to make sure your barrier is water tight. The resin has a nasty habit of finding any hole and leaking. You always get an ellipsis where the water effects dries against a barrier. This can be cut down and smoothed with sandpaper then use a clear gloss paint product to "fix" the cutting & sanding area. Test this first on the product you are using for water. I have used many resins for this, and my favorite is enviro-tex lite. Also, you can remove any air bubbles with a hairdryer. Just make sure you don't heat the terrain up enough to melt your board grass. I would also pour the water in stages (inch or so at a time) and during a time you can keep an eye on it to get bubbles out. Bubbles have a way of creeping back in after the initial heat removal. Best of luck, looking forward to seeing your finished board with minis on it!

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