Saturday, April 9

Project Terra-Forming: Let there be light

Well, its finally time for the next installment of my terra-forming articles.  If you read the last article and are following along, then so far we have a finely built gaming table with no texture or paint.  So this time we are going to glue sand to the table top and get it painted.  There aren’t very many special tools you will need for this but I will list what I used:
  • ·         A large old paint brush (one you don’t mind using with glue)
  • ·         A bag of play sand (typically $3-$5 at local stores for a 50lb bag)
  • ·         A large container of white glue (A gallon jug is less than $10)
  • ·         A cup of water (not for drinking)
  • ·         A cup to disperse sand with (again not for drinking)
  • ·         A gallon of flat interior latex paint ($10.97 at Lowes)
  • ·         A large paint brush (actually for painting) or a roller
  • ·         Some place you can make a little bit of a mess
  • ·         A small bottle of highlight paint (Walmart acrylic craft paint $1.50)

So to start off, you need to find a place to work.  You may need to put down a tarp or something to catch sand as you will dump the board to get the excess off in a little bit.  I used my garage so I was able to simply sweep any sand right out the door.  (Actually I didn’t, but now I know why my father had children!) 
Cheap child labor.
Tools for adding texture.
For this stage I tend to put the board on the ground.  Take your glue and pour some directly onto the board.  Then take about 1/3 as much water and pour it onto the glue.  You will notice it doesn’t mix by itself.  Take your old large brush and mix the two together.  It should be about the same consistency as paint at this point.  The ratio is purely to your discretion, but too much water may warp the board or run when you dump the excess sand off in a bit.  Spread the mixture over the entire board, you may have to dump and mix more glue to cover the board.  Once the board is completely covered, double check, because once you start dumping sand it’s hard to go back and fill in holes.  (It just looks really bad.)

Photo of mixing with help from "the boy."

Sand covered and excess already off.

Ok, now the board is ready for sand… (Little tip) Make sure you sand is completely dry.  I would suggest pouring it into another container besides the plastic bag it comes in to let it dry.  I found this out the hard way on my table.  The top layer of sand was dry, but as I got deeper into the bag the sand had moisture in it and clumped a little.  This is visible on my table, but it was too late, the glue was already on and drying.  (Back to tutorial)  So take your cup of sand and gently shake the sand over the board.  DO NOT just dump it on all at once.  This will waste a lot of sand and can cause clumps.  I always start around the edges, working close to the board, then raise up as I work the sand into the middle.  Give your table good solid coverage, but no need to bury it.  You will see some spots that look like the glue is coming through the sand, but your fine.  

Give your table a minute and then tip the board up on its side.  Gently tap the underside of the table to knock of the excess sand.  Don’t leave the table upright for too long or else your glue will run and streak looking horrible!  Set your table somewhere to dry and not be disturbed.  For good measure I would let it sit overnight.  This will give you plenty of time to go to the store and get your paint!  I chose a color called “Cinnamon Stick.”  It was $10.97 +tax at Lowes for the gallon.  I am going for a desert, but not a tradition light sandy look.  It is actually pretty close to the GW “Vermin Brown.”

Painting tools.

On second Foo Fighter song I think.

Alright, paint time!  At this point, you can choose to use a paint brush or roller.  I didn’t have any rollers and so chose a brush…  Once again, I start in the corners and work out towards the middle.  Don’t pour the paint onto the table like you did the glue.  Now all this sand will soak up a lot of paint, so don’t be surprised.  That is why I suggest a gallon, because you will use a quarter to a third of the gallon on the table surface.  Two quarts will cost you just as much as a gallon, so go big and you’ll have plenty for your terrain you are soon to build.  I painted my board by hand and it took me approximately four Foo Fighters songs, so that’s probably twenty to twenty-five minutes.  While you have your paint out, go ahead and paint the outside of the frame.  It just makes the table look finished.  Once again, place your table somewhere to dry and not be disturbed.  I would wait overnight to ensure the paint is completely dry.
Complete with base-coat.
Dry-brushing tools

Alright, almost done!  Time to dry-brush and add some depth.  This is an aesthetic step, not a required one.  I do feel like the table looks plain without the highlight though.  For terrain painting, I tend to go to Wal-mart and buy their $1.50 little acrylic craft paint.  It works great for dry-brushing and painting scenery.  I chose a “Linen” paint which is basically a GW “Bleached Bone.”  Find yourself a pallet, a piece of cardboard works well.  If you are unfamiliar with “dry-brushing” there are plenty of great painting sites online that can explain in way more detail than I can, check them out.  You don’t want to load a ton of paint onto your brush or else you will have heavy streaking when you go to highlight.  I always work my dry-brushing on boards at a diagonal.  Dry-brush across the board from one corner to the other, then do the same but dry-brush in the opposite direction, so essentially your making “X’s” across the board.  Simply keep dry-brushing until you’re happy with the coverage.  
Final Photo after dry-brush.

So there you have it!  All finished and ready for battle… maybe for Marines anyway.  Other armies might want something to hide behind.  That will be the next installment.  I will begin to build some terrain for our budding gaming table, beginning with some natural features: hills and rocks.  I hope this was helpful and you enjoyed the read.  Until next time…

No comments:

Post a Comment