Bare earth to living rock: worked on the hills / mountains

July 11, 2009

Today was warmer than I expected and as I didn’t have any major duties to attend to, I worked on those wargaming hills (or mountains, as I proposed in an earlier post) because of the favourable weather.

Here’s how you too can complete this stage of hill-making:

  1. Prepare the area where you’ll be working by laying down lots of newspaper to catch dripping glue and all the modelling materials that won’t stick to the hill(s). If you don’t do this, you’ll have small rocks, flock and other stuff going everywhere. I like to use the Weekend Australian (once I’ve finished reading it, of course): 1 Prepare workspace
  2. Apply PVA glue/woodworking glue. The majority of your brush strokes should be from the middle of the hill to its base or rim: 2 Apply glue vertically and you should also make sure the coat completely covers the whole hill (except underneath);  fills every nook and crevice and lastly is not too thin (I like to apply a thick coat, personally): 3 Coat entirely and thickly – it can smooth out hard edges or sharp corners and also plug gaps where polystyrene spheres have popped out during carving or shaping.
  3. If you want to have any exposed rocks or gravel, now’s the time to do it. First I sprinkle on larger rocks (Woodland Scenics’ Talus): 4 Larger talus then the smaller ones: 5 Smaller talus . If any bounce off or fail to stick, then gather them up from the newspaper and sprinkle them on again or press them gently into place with your fingers.
  4. To give the hill/mountain the appearance of having been scoured by the winds, I’m going to apply Earth flock to the top. Not too much, though: 6 Wind-scoured top
  5. Then it’s time for my grasses, so on goes a thick coating of Green flock: 7 Flock . If you look closely, you can see that the edge of the base (or rim) hasn’t had any flock stick to the glue. I pick the hill up in my hand and shake on more flock, so that it does get coated by flock. Then I press down with my hands onto the hill, forcing everything into the glue and making sure everything sticks that can. Some flock and some rocks/Talus may be dislodged by this, so get the Green flock and liberally coat the hill one final time. Then leave it to dry.

The bigger hill, which had one big peak and one smaller peak was done a little differently. Its features allowed more detail to be applied.

  1. On goes the two different sizes of rocks/Talus: 14 All talus
  2. There is a gully betweenthe two peaks. As water would naturally gather there, I emphasise this feature by gluing some bushes there (Woodland Scenics’ Bushes): 15 Bushes in gully
  3. For wind-scouring, it’s time for Earth flock: 16 Wind-scouring
  4. Being a bigger hill or mountain, I can model thicker grasses etc. around the lower altitude by using a blend of coarse turf: 17 Coarse turf
  5. Lastly, the finer grasses – Green flock: 18 Flock
  6. Make sure that the rim gets covered in flock; press down with hands; a final coating of Green flock and then leave it to dry.

I’m going to give them 24 hours to completely dry or cure…24 hours is my usual for nearly everything with modelling, except when doing fine painting.

Many modellers and wargamers will tell you that you don’t have to use all the things I’ve used, and I agree with them. Some people use fishtank gravel or cat litter or stones they’ve found out in Nature – if you also want to do that, do it! It’s your hill and your imagination. If you want to stick on some twigs you’ve found to represent fallen branches or logs, do it! I’ve done that with both my Russian and German infantry bases, to give particulr troops some extra cover. If you want to apply some ashes to represent burn-off or scorching, you could.

I’ve used Woodland Scenics products exclusively today (apart from the PVA glue, which is made locally by Selleys). The particular products I used were:

  • Blended Turfs
  • Talus
  • Bushes
  • Coarse Turf

One Response to “Bare earth to living rock: worked on the hills / mountains”

  1. […] decided during last year that the hills I made back in 2009 don’t really cut the mustard when used in a game. I had collected some polystyrene foam used […]

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