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“where the light ends”

Writing a short step-by-step post on the swampbases for anyone interested :)

I’ll just show you while making this placefiller for the bonejacks, I was planning to get the unit done today.

First, I took a small branch from my mum’s precious tree, from wich you are not, under any circumstances, allowed to break of branches from!
Whether this one broke of or had just fallen to the ground on its own accord I think is probably better left unsaid.
I pinned the branch to the base with some wire, it’ll make for an old broken tree, and a hanging lantern if I can manage some sculpting.
Built up the ground around the tree using greenstuff, added a skull and some other debris to the base to give it a bit more character, glued on some sand and then its ready for painting.

I forgot to take a picture before I glued on the moss but oh well!
I’m using Woodland scenic’s fine turf for moss, colors are burnt grass and some other one I can’t remember the name of, but it’s a bit brighter green.
I mixed them together so it wouldn’t have too solid a color. Glued it on wherever appropriate.

I used the Andreapaints for the skull, they give a nice bone-color. Washed it over with Devlan mud and Thraka green so it looks like it been here for while.
Washed over the shield and spear as well so they’ll look a bit slimy and overgrown.

Then to add the water, I use Still water from Vallejo, thinks it looks really good, shrinks a LOT though. So you want to add it in very thin layers or it’ll just sink away and there’ll be a hole in the middle. You can fill it in of course, but it makes it more difficult to get a nice smooth surface if that’s what you’re after.

I add mine a few drops at a time and use an old brush to smooth it out to dry (it’s water-soluble so if you use a brush you can clean it out but just in case I wouldn’t use one of my favourites for it). Then the tedious wait, let dry, add more, let dry etc.
I usually get it done while painting something else, it says dry-time is 24h on the bottle but it dries pretty fast if you have a thin layer.

If you want your water to be a bit deeper you can build a rim around the base and fill it up, then let it dry and remove the rim once it’s settled.
You probably should build some kind of rim around the base even if it’s not going to be very deep, if you don’t want to risk the water overflowing if you add too much. It flows pretty thin so I had to add it a few drops at a time (took me a while to figure out just the right amount I could add without the surface tension breaking and I got sticky water all over the desk, luckily it doesn’t stick to wood so it can be peeled off).
I’m a little too lazy to go through building up a rim around the base with every mini in the team, it takes a while to get it waterproof and all, and since I was gonna leave it quite shallow I just add the water it right away.

I’ve read some people use regular clear tape around the sides to hold the water in place, this did not work for me. I don’t know if my tape just didn’t stick well enough, but the water leaked out so I wouldn’t recommend it.
One thing I tried that worked pretty well was making a rim out of plastic (I used old blisterpacks and sealed the corners with white glue, still some experimenting to do to figure that whole thing out but it worked pretty well).

And if you have pinned your mini to the base, make sure you cover up the holes (if it’s pinned down through the actual plastic of the base) using either greenstuff or glue or there will be leaking (it even seeps through cork, and slowly so you don’t notice til you try to pick it up and the base is stuck to the desk in a puddle -.- ).


After that’s all done and the water has dried through, all that is left is adding some grasstufts. And as Corvus pointed out in the comments, you should let the water dry for a few days to make sure it’s done shrinking before you move on, in case you need to add more.
For grass, I’m using these from Army painter.

The particular color I’m using is Swamp Tuft, I like this color best, but they have like 4 different shades.
I would recommend you not to add the tufts before the water. I did that on the first one and it didn’t go well, they soak up the liquid and then it dries in the tuft and leaves it looking really sad. And it’s  not instant so it might look like it’s all good until the water has dried and the tuft looks like crap :(
I ended up having to pry the tufts off after the water had dried and it was harder than you’d expect it to be. Looked really bad too, luckily covering it up with a new tuft, it doesn’t show so I didn’t ruin a base on that mistake. So just to be on the safe side, safe tufts for last.

All done!
There, I just spent hours of my life on making a single filler.

At least, I did get the unit done.

Didn’t turn out that short, hope it’s of any use to you :)

~ by Ethelie on September 7, 2011 . Tagged: , , , ,

4 Responses to ““where the light ends””

  1.   corvus Says:

    Very nice tutorial, thank you!

    I hope you didn’t use a fresh branch for this… always allow them to dry thoroughly before using them on a base. And you should really try priming everything together and then painting the branch, it will look much better and more to scale.

    You will also notice the water effect will shrink quickly in a few days time, just add another few layers to build up the desired volume.

    Take care!

    -Gerrie aka Corvus

    •   Ethelie Says:

      Thank you for the tip :)
      The branch has been drying for quite some time, I got it long ago so I shouldn’t be any problems there. I was thinking of adding mushrooms to it later, sculpting them on so I left it unpainted for now.

      And good point about the water, I’ll add that to the post :)

  2.   Viruk Says:

    Thanks for the excellent tutorial, I learnt quite a few things from your experiences. Also, it’s nice to see how your painting skills are developing, I can see that you’re getting better and better all the time! One thing that I don’t like that much though is the bright chain, it sort of stands out in contrast to the rest. It could use some weathering or you could simply basecoat it black and paint it.
    I definitely will try the Vallejo water effect – another thing to be added to the list of hobby supplies that I need to buy.

    •   Ethelie Says:

      Thank you :) (good to know it’s just not me thinking I’m actually getting better at this).

      I agree with you about the chain, I was thinking of sculpting some sort of lantern using the silvery bit currently hanging from it. I think it would be best to simply prime the whole thing once the lantern is done, and just paint it silver, it looks a bit too shiny as it is.
      I love the water effect, currently experimenting around with it to see what it can do :) there will be more on that topic.

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