Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Blue's Modular Table Part VII

So...lets wrap up the Table making for now!!!

As you may remember in the last installment I had applied the final highlights to the brown earth areas and had painted the rocks and rubble patches (including cliff faces) a medium grey and highlighted those as well.

At this point there is isn't much left to do...

...except for the water feature....but we will save that for the final blog post (cause I haven't done it yet!)

For the final texturing of the boards I went back in and added some static grass and tufts to strategic locations.  This added some variety and point contrast to to the dominant tan/green/grey areas of the boards.

Tufts were sparingly added to the rubble patches and tucked into crevasses etc. in the cliff faces.  This gives the impression of plants that found some level of protection nestled between the rocks and are growing out.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Blue's Modular Table Part VI

Once more into the Breach my Friends!!!

Painting of the tiles continues!  Lets take a look at the next steps.

Following along with the system outlined in the last post I have continued to work into progressively lighter browns for the roads, rocks and rubble on the modular tiles.  The third color to be applied is the VMC Khaki Grey.  For the application of this color I transitioned into actual Dry brushing.  I used a small cardboard box lid as my pallet...I get a little bit of paint on the bristles of a soft 2-inch bush and then work most of it off with several passes on the cardboard.  Then I apply the color to the terrain board with very soft strokes...allowing the color to adhere to raised portions of the texture on the tile while leaving the darker colors in the "recesses" of the texture.

Here is what a couple of the boards looked like after this step.  Once again note that the area of earth color continues to expand onto/into the large green swaths...further breaking up the putting green feel of portions of the tiles.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blue's Modular Table Part V

...And now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

We have reached the point where it is time to get some new colors on the modular tiles in order to further break up the "putting green" portions of the boards and to make everything a bit more realistic.

This is a s multi step process and I will probably spread the painting over at least two posts.

The first step was to apply textured paint to all the areas that I had covered with filler and the patches of rocky terrain I had created with the coarse ground coffee.  Following Clarence's suggestion I went to the local Lowes and looked at the premixed textured paint...but they only had it in ENORMOUS 5-gallon buckets...which is obviously WAY too much for my needs.  After consulting with the paint expert at the store I settled on a quart of flat latex Behr Paint (called Earth Brown) and a small container of texture material...which is basically fine grain sand.  I also bought an empty quart paint can so that I could mix a portion of the Brown paint with texture, while retaining the rest of the paint in the original can.  In the new can I added a couple of inches of paint and mixed in some texture...I stirred that with a paint paddle...and then assessed the amount of texture by brushing some of the mix on a scrap piece of foam I had nearby...I ended up adding a bit more before I was satisfied...but it was as simple as that. The textured paint is really going to pay benefits when it comes to the later phases of dry brushing.

As I mentioned this was painted over all rough texture patches (coffee grounds), cliff faces, and road ways.  I made sure to thoroughly cover all the filler and overlapped onto the surrounding grass mat a bit.  Additionally I made a few random patches of texture on some of the open terrain areas...to further break things up.  Here is how it looks on a number of the tiles.






Once all areas had received a good coating of paint they were set aside to dry overnight.

For the second phase of the painting process I chose three paint colors that would work well with the colors I use on my figure bases.  I have a consistent basing technique for all my fantasy figures...and this is where that is going to pay off...if I can match the colors used on my table and on my bases the figures will look like a part of the table...and that's a significant goal of mine.(If you are interested in my basing technique, a full breakdown can be found here).

The colors I wanted to replicate are all from the Vallejo Model Color Range:
  1. VMC 140 Flat Brown
  2. VMC 880 Khaki Grey
  3. VMC 976 Buff
To insure a decent match I painted a swatch of each of these three colors onto a 3"x5" card and brought it back to Lowes with me.  At the store they were able to scan each color with their "magic eye thingie" and custom mix colors to match.  As I didn't need a huge amount of each color I had them mix me up tester pots (8fl oz) each of which cost less than $4....quite a bargain IMO.


The colors looked pretty much spot on to me...so lets get the painting started.

First up was applying a pretty heavy coat of the Flat Brown....I didn't completely cover the textured dark brown...but it wasn't dry brushing either...lets call it wet brushing!  Basically I laid down a pretty heavy layer of paint but didn't go back to fill in any spots that were missed due to texture etc.  Like previous coatings I overlapped onto the grass mat...often transitioning to more of a stippling application in these areas.

Here are a couple of before and after pics of the boards after this layer of paint...in these you can see how much I expanded the earth colored areas around the rougher terrain.



I realize there is still much to do...but with each step it becomes more obvious to me that I'm headed in the right direction!

Next up we will apply the last two colors to the earth areas and then start recoloring the cliff faces and gravel to gray.

Cheers for now!

Blue


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reactor Raid...Chaos Fett in Action!!!

***NOTE: Most Pictures Converted back to Color from B&W...I think its better...you?***

Here is a quick break from the Terrain building marathon I've been on...

...today my son talked me into a quick RT-lite game...honestly, it didn't take much convincing.

I let him pick out five figures to be his bad-ass squad (he Chose Chaos Bobba Fett and some Ork boyz with big guns!) and I pulled together some Battle Systems Terrain and an Imperial force to attempt to halt Fett and his minions.



The following bat rep is a...will fill you in on the rest...In a Comic-fied retelling of the harrowing deeds of the day...

REACTOR RAID!!!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blue's Modular Table PartIV

So...On with the Show!!

Now that we have the grass mat texture on all the appropriate portions of the six tiles it is time to start putting some additional texture on them.  Step one of this will be to use Spackle (wood filler) to texture the roads and seal the edges of the cliff features and pond.

I used a putty knife for this operation and started with the road beds.
I plopped a scoop of the Spackle onto the road and spread it with the knife working from the center of the road out to each side in turn.  I made sure that the filler over lapped onto the grass mat a bit and fully sealed the cut edge of the mat along the road. 

 Next I smoothed the center of the road bed by dragging the knife along the length of the road...this further smoothed the putty and added some texture that suggests wheel ruts etc.  At this point many people use some kind of device to create actual wheel tracks in the putty...but I was satisfied with the appearance of the roads after the putty work and decided to skip this step.


Putty was also used around the cliff and pond features to seal grass mat edges and ease the transition into the broken terrain.  Once the putty was applied all the tiles were set aside and allowed to dry thoroughly for a day. 

Here are a couple more the tiles with putty applied.


 

The next step was to add cork bark pieces to the cliff faces to give them some interesting texture.  Frustratingly I forgot to get pictures of this process....but here it is in a nut shell.  I purchased a large piece of cork bark from the pet supply store near by and then I broke off pieces and picked through the pile of bits to find ones that fit well on each of the cliff faces.  The bark pieces were attached to the underlying foam with a hot melt glue gun.  You can see the results in some of the following pictures.  The cork bark was not cheap ($16...I had a gift card...:) ) but it has wonderful texture that will look great when dry brushed.  That said I think that many different types of bark could be just as effective...On the Quindia blog posts Clarence used pine bark pieces and they look fantastic.  So look at the options and see which type of texture suits your design goals. 

Here is the one picture I have that shows some of the bark in place.


Once the cliff texture was in place I moved onto adding patches of rubble/gravel to a number of areas on each tile to help break up the "putting green" of the open terrain and to add more interest to the roads and cliff areas.  Clarence suggested using ground coffee for this application...at first I thought this was an odd choice...but then I remembered a bag of course ground (decaf...ewww) coffee that had lived in our camping equipment for at least two years and never been consumed...and I figured it was the perfect application for these useless beans...

To actually add the texture I applied patches of wood glue randomly in open fields...along roads...etc.



Onto each patch of wet glue I applied a pile of the coffee grounds and set aside the tile to dry.  I was very generous with the coffee...to insure that all the glue was covered....the excess coffee grounds were removed using a vacuum once I was sure the glue was dry.



Significant amounts of glue and coffee were added at the margins of the cliff features to represent small rocks and scree...again it is good if this spreads onto the grass mat to ease the transition between the two textures.



Here you see the excess coffee has been removed with the vacuum
As the tiles were finally starting to look like something I took the opportunity to lay out all six of the tiles and get a group shot.  I'm liking it...but there is still a lot to do!



It is finally time to start adding some color!  Painting is up next.

Cheers,

Blue


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Blue's Modular Table Part III

Well...here we are again...

After completing the build of the tiles and adding the necessary features (hills and pond), it was now time to turn my attention to surfacing the tiles.  Continuing to follow the process outlined on the Quindia Studios Blog, I opted to surface my boards with a Grass mat.  Luckily I happened to have one that was laying around unused and unloved....so this was a perfect application for it.

I liked the reuse of unloved materials with this process, but I had one major concern.  The grass mat I had was a 6'x4'...which is exactly the size of the area that I was needing to cover...my concern being that the hills would require more cloth than a flat tile and perhaps I wouldn't have enough cloth to completely cover my tiles.  But I figured it was close enough and if I was careful about piecing out the grass mat I should have sufficient material...so I plowed boldly ahead!!!


Starting with the "Open Terrain" tile I cut a piece of Grass mat just slightly larger than the tile.  To attach the Grass mat to the foam and frames I relied, once again, on Wood Glue....this was applied to the foam and then spread around with a moist paint brush to insure good coverage.

FYI this is NOT enough Glue...Twice this amount is about right

The piece of grass mat was flipped over and moistened by spraying it with water from a hand sprayer.  We are looking to loosen up the fibers of the felt backing enough to let it stretch a bit...but not making it so damp that the flocking starts to fall off. I think that the extra moisture also facilitates a bond with the wood glue. 


This was then flipped over and laid carefully on the tile and thoroughly smoothed down with my hands...making sure to smooth the entire tile. 


It was then set aside to dry as I moved on to the next tile.

NOTE: Particular attention must be paid to the edges of the boards where you want to make sure you get a good seal.  I found, to my consternation, that some of mine were not glued properly at the edges once they dried...but it was a simple mater to go back and apply some more glue to those specific areas.

Once you are confident that the edges are sufficiently adhered to the frame and glue is dry...then it is time to trim the edges.  This is done with a very sharp knife...Clarence recommended a Exacto knife with a new blade...as pictured here.


I found this to work but I was going through blades like crazy so I switched and started using one of the many cheapo box cutters that I had in my workshop.  These worked great...and when a blade started to get a bit dull and started to catch on the fabric I simply clicked out a new blade and kept cutting.  I think I got these for $.50 a piece in the check out isle at Home Depot.  I'll be getting a few more!


Being a bit nervous about the process at first I focused on the three completely flat tiles...the Open Terrain, S-Curve Road, and Farmstead Road tiles to be specific.  For the two tiles with road sections I glued the cloth down right over the marker road I had drawn previously...it was really just there for planning and visualization purposes.  Once the Glue had had a couple of hours to set I redrew the roads onto the mat and then cut them out with a sharp knife (box cutter)...carefully removing the unneeded pieces of grass mat. 







Don't worry if you cut into the foam itself during this process (I doubt you could avoid doing so!)  ...any cut marks you made will be hidden in later steps.  This leaves the road sections nicely defined and slightly "sunken" from the areas surrounding them.  This affect will be further enhanced in future steps.



Things got slightly trickier with the hill sections.  For the Large Hill and Pond Tile the difficulty came in trying to get the cloth to lay smoothly over the contour of the hill.  This was somewhat aided by the dampened cloth which could be stretched slightly to accommodate the shape to some extent...however...I was still left with a small "bunched" area of cloth at one end of the hill. 


Luckily I plan for this area to be an exposed rocky cliff so I will be able to cut out most of this excess cloth leaving only one short seam to be disguised by later efforts.

You can see that I also removed the cloth piece that was covering the pond.


 For the castle hills the cloth "behaved" a bit better as the hills are not as steep.  My main problem with them was that I was running out of cloth.  I solved this problem on the large hill by using small pieces of cloth and not completely covering the road section.  Omitting this piece of cloth (which would have been cut out anyway) provided me with the extra couple of inches needed to insure coverage of all the panels.  It was a near run thing... but it all worked out.

Large Castle hill with Roads and cliffs cut out
 In the next step we will start adding some texture to the roads with wood filler....time to get some life back on these boards...right now they look like well manicured putting greens!  Which is not really the effect I'm looking for...:)

Cheers for now!

Blue

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Blue's Modular Table Part II

Alright...here we go with phase two of the modular terrain building.

Now that the individual base tiles are complete I started adding on the design features that I had drawn up on the post it notes earlier.  This I simply did with a large Sharpie marker.  As I want these tiles to be as modular as possible I insured that the road sections all entered and left the tiles at a set distance from a corner...I opted for the center of the road to be 5" inches from the corner and for the road to be a consistent 3" wide at the interfaces.

Here is how things are shaping up.

Open Terrain....this one was easy...