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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Backlog part 2: Terrain wrap-up

This has taken far too long, considering the terrain has been finished for nearly two weeks now.  My last post about the islands saw them still pink and brown, waiting for some texture and paint.  I wanted to have them finished for the start of gaming at the FLGS on Monday, but my weekend was slammed, so I enlisted EV to help finish them off.  The first step was gathering materials, so we headed out to Walmart for paint and, perhaps, spackle.  It took much longer than I expected to have paint mixed up, with most of the time being Walmart's computer analyzing a paint swatch and coming up with the proper mixture for it.  I could understand if I was bringing in a teddy bear or blade of grass to have color matched, but I just plucked the swatch from the wall of samples there at Walmart, so you'd think they might have already had the formulas for those ready to go.  Such was not the case.  While we waited for the paint, EV and I discussed sealing the islands and how useful spackle would be.  I wanted some sort of reinforcement on the islands, but wasn't sure what kind.  EV had experience with spackle and said it wouldn't be much more durable than the foam itself, so in the end we decided to just go with the glue and paint that would eventually cover the islands.  If things didn't work quite like I expected, I could always make more.

Our list of materials from Walmart was as such:
Gorilla Glue - $4.50
2 shades of brown flat latex interior wall paint in smallish tubs (perhaps 2 quarts each) - $12 for both
Elmer's Wood Glue  - $3
2 shades of blue Apple Barrel acrylics in largish bottles (3-4 times as large as Vallejo bottles) - $4 for both
$23.50 total (with a bit of rounding)

Add this total with the $21 from the initial supply trip and the total layout was about $45.  As you'll see I ended up with 8 islands and one lonely rock, which puts each island at a little over $5.  This isn't bad in my book, but it's also not the whole story.  After we left Walmart, we headed back to EV's place to put some work in.  We covered the islands with streaks of the wood glue straight from the bottle, then used a brush and a bowl of watered down wood glue to spread the glue around into a mostly even layer except in places where I wanted to have a stone look.  Then we covered the islands in Woodland Scenics Fine Ballast and left them to dry.  Since I had work looming, this was the end of my involvement in the finishing of the islands, and also of my first hand knowledge of them, though I imagine EV will pop in and leave a comment to set straight anything I get wrong.  I imagine he put another coat of glue on the islands after the first dried, though perhaps not, then covered them in the darker brown latex paint.  After that dried, he probably hit them with the lighter brown latex paint, then added flock/static grass for the grassy areas.  He had a couple different kinds of flock and clumped foliage that makes up the bits of forest.  Somewhere around there he probably painted the rock bits black, then again with grey.  I'd guess the water was done last, mostly because that's how I'd do it.  That's about it, or so I imagine.

With all that in mind, you can see there are some hidden costs.  I was set to get some brushes at Walmart, but EV said he was covered, so there's another couple bucks.  EV also had all the flock and ballast, which saved a bit as well as the shakers of ballast are $10-12 a piece.  If you really want to dig deep, there's the black and grey paint as well, though any self respecting gamer will have large quantities of black and white paint on hand, and probably grey too.  I can safely add ~$25 to the total for materials I would have gotten if EV didn't have them at hand, so I'll round up and say $75 went into this project in one way or another.  That'd be not quite $10 per island, which wouldn't be nearly as good as $5 a piece.  But the other hidden factor here is how much I have left.  I may have used 1/4 of the hardboard and foam.  I haven't looked closely at the paint and glue to see how much is left, but the bag felt as heavy on the way to my house as it did when we left Walmart.  I can reasonably expect to get another 30 islands or so out of the materials I have on hand (assuming I get some ballast of course), which would bring the total to around $2 per island when everything is done, and that's pretty good in my book. 

As I've said before, this was my first attempt at making terrain of any kind.  It was a good learning experience, and I think the finished islands look pretty good too.  EV has been talking about doing taller islands with sheer cliff sides, which seems like a good idea.  I certainly have far more foam than hardboard.  I'd still like to do a lighthouse and some buildings/fortifications, and I've been thinking about pulling a dwarf mini from my pile to use as a big statue.  Best of all, we have a sea board to use for US, and one that's easy to pack into a box lid and take wherever the game is.  Now, finally, the pictures.


I think I may add a waterfall to this one where the crevice is.  I think I'd paint the area blue, then put a layer of Elmers on top for the water effect, though I may end up painting the glue blue as well.  Something for the future.


This one may get the waterfall treatment as well, as there's another crevice on the top layer here that doesn't really show up in the picture so well.



I really like the lonely rock.  I hope to use it to great effect in a game sometime.


This is the first island I made, and the largest of the bunch.


The rocky backside of the first island.


And a group shot of all of them on the carpet, because I didn't want to unfold the cloth all the way.

1 comment:

  1. Etna's VassalJuly 22, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    I do still have the "work in progress" shots for you should you desire them. Just bring over a flash drive and I'll transfer them over via my netbook. The pictures are just too large for me to e-mail them.

    The whole process wasn't all that taxing, the worst was picking out the rocky areas in black. Not that it was hard, just time consuming as I couldn't just slap paint on and not care where it went. I'm still kicking myself about forgetting to lay a layer of glue over the rocky areas to make them stronger (as they're still a bit "squishy" and therefore more likely to break than the rest of the island).

    As to how far a bucket of paint will go, I did all my Warmachine / MalifauX terrain as well as a 3'x3' and a 4'x4' board with a single can of basecoat, and I've yet to put any serious dent in my bone white highlight color. In other words- a single can of paint goes very, VERY far.

    Which reminds me- I still have a few unfinished mining machines and gremlin shacks to finish up... A terrain maker's work is seemingly never done!

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