Monday, November 26, 2007

Advanced Basing 1: Textured Plasticard

A first installment of advanced miniature basing techniques for those who wish to go beyond the basic white glue with sand and gravel.

The Materials
  • Sheet Styrene/Plasticard (texture of your choice)
  • Miniature Bases
  • Sand/Gravel (if desired)
  • Bits of cut up sprue
A cool way to add a unique feel to miniatures is to use textured pasticard (also known as sheet styrene in the US). Its available in most hobby train stores as well as well-stocked arts supply stores. You can check the manufacturers' websites (Evergreen and Plastruct are two of the larger manufacturers) for local vendors which carry their products.

The textured stuff comes 2 sheets to a package, about 12in x 6in per sheet. It can be somewhat expensive (the pack of two costs about $7-8), thus it might be best for smaller armies/ miniature collections / show pieces. You can actually get a lot out of one sheet if you are careful with your cutting. The circles cut out of the sheet shown below cover the top of a 40mm round base.

Below is a close up of a sheet I am using for one of my projects, textured to appear like a surface of odd-shaped stones, perfect for cobblestone roads or the walls of a stone building.

The sheets are available in a variety of textures, including cobblestone, bricks, shingles, wood paneling, and metal grating. Options for any Sci-Fi or Fantasy theme.

Above is a base for one of the pieces of my in-process Lord of the Rings chess set (more on that later). I applied plastic glue to to the top of the 40mm base, and glued it to the underside of the plasticard sheet. Once the glue had dried, I cut around the edge of the base with a hobby knife. This was alot simpler than trying to trace the shape onto the pasticard with pencil and follow the line with your hobby knife. This is particularly true as plasticard cuts in straight lines much easier than curves. If glued to the plasticard before cutting, the base acts as an excellent cutting guide.

The debris on the base is small chunks of plastic sprue (the frame-stuff plastic models come on) and larger grade sand. Before painting, I gave it a quick spray of textured spray paint. Its a completely optional step, but I like it, as it keeps any of the surfaces from appearing too smooth. Games Workshop sells Roughcoat, a textured spray paint, but I prefer major manufacturer textured spray paint from Home Depot or any other hardware style store. You tend to get more for your money, and can choose from an array of colors/textures. Just a warning, this stuff has rather significant fumes, enough so that Home Depot will actually check your ID when you buy it (I think you need to be 18). Just be sure to use it in a very well ventilated area.

Painting was a simple drybrush of a dark grey, working up through Codex Grey, Fortress Gray, and Skull White. I was a little sloppy with my drybrushing, and it got in the crevices, so I watered down some of the dark grey and painted it into the crevices with a fine brush. Took only a minute or so, but produced a very nice final effect.

No comments: