|The stalwart men of the Royal Navy rush ashore...|
As threatened, I have devoted this weekend to making terrain for a change - which, after all, was how this whole blogging thing started in the first place.
I have always liked rivers on my gaming tables, so I decided I should create one as a start to my new VSF terrain project.
|The river is gradually shaped from 25mm green foam board. The flood-plains are roughly carved, to be sculpted with DAS later.|
Several years ago, while browsing the pages of the now-legendary Major General Tremorden Rederring, I came across the suggestion of using coloured cellophane as water - a tip that I have used to good effect on a number of occasions since.
|Shaped riverbanks and islands loosely laid in place on a bare MDF board.|
Those of you who are familiar with this blog and Leadwood in particular will have seen the beautiful results one can achieve using Woodland Scenics Water Effects. I am still a fan of this. However, it cannot be denied that such materials are expensive - hideously so if creating a whole table - and these days I don't have the budget. Also, they are not at all quick to work with.
|Boulders are sculpted from DAS and a test sheet of green cellophane is laid down.|
Cellophane, on the other hand, is really cheap and can look stunning, if you're a bit clever with it. (Notorious Greg and I used blue cellophane over a dark blanket to photograph my pirate ruins last year). So I set about designing a large set-piece river with cellophane in mind.
|Boulders are undercoated dark grey, then highlighted, then a brown undercoat given to the rest of the riverbanks. Sergeant Tetley regards the barren riverside wasteland.|
I had also mulled over one of the issues that model river banks often present - namely; that they tend to be rather steep. Notorious Greg and I had had a conversation some time ago in which he suggested a 'flood-plain' effect - i.e. a two-level riverbank with lush greenery near the water and lighter, dryer coverage higher up. I decided that this was a good plan and started carving...
|Before applying static grass.|
|When the boulders are dry, a coat of goop is splodged on (technical term - look it up) and static grass is applied - lots of dark green near the water, with lighter tones further away. Shown here against bare MDF.|
The board I am building is 900mm x 1200mm (3' x 4') and will be double-sided so that I can flip it over and just use plain ground. The riverbanks will be stuck down, but the various 'islands' will be loose, to give me a few options for change. I intend to build a couple more boards later, with rivers of different widths. These may - or may not - be planned to fit end-to-end with this one. I am considering whether one should be made with blue cellophane.
|A riverbed effect is painted onto the MDF board using layered tones of greys, browns and greens. The banks are laid down to check the layout.|
|Boulders, grass and cellophane - starting to look finished.|
The overall theme of this project will be a Lost Continent type affair, with jungles, arid grasslands, mysterious ruins, et al. Obviously, I'd like to get cracking on the detail pieces, but a table is sort of necessary to begin with, so I'm fighting my urges and doing the groundwork first.
There is still a bit to do on this piece - the depth-painting in the river needs more contrast to give clearer gradiation between shallow and deep, and once the banks are glued down, they will need to be properly blended in - but by and large, I think this is a promising start.
Keep watching - I promise things will get much more interesting soon!
|Big Mike's wagon train and the Bazalgette Light Armoured Perambulatory Contrivance head into enemy terrain, not even stopping to admire their lovely reflections in the water...|
All the Best!