Sinking the Base
I’ve always been interested in ways to make bases appear to be much more exotic or unique that the ’standard’ look and feel. I’ve also wanted to start working with water, whether it be as part of a game board, or a diorama, or?? I thought I’d start small, and see how it would work on a base. I suspect that 30mm and 40mm bases are just too small for this project, so I chose to experiment with a 50mm (large) base. Basically, we are going to cut out a portion of the base, ’sink it’, waterproof it, then add water.
The first step will be to paint/cut/draw and outline of the general shape that you want to cut out of the base. This will be the area that is eventually sunk.
Next, carefully carve out the shape with a very sharp Xacto knife. It’s usually best to start with a fresh blade. It also might help to drill some pilot holes along the outline of the cutout. The plastic is pretty thick, and tough, so be careful…you don’t want to slice off a finger. After cutting it out, you may need to go back and shave off any excess plastic, especially around the ‘ring’ portion of your cutout.
How Firm a Foundation?
Now, before you start pouring 2 part hobby water all over the place, you may want to actually ‘install’ the new subfloor on your base…Plasticard to the rescue! Cut a rectangular shape that covers your cutout. Now, lay the base on top of the Plasticard and carefully carve off the arc or the circle. This will give you a close approximation to the arc of the interior of the underside of the base. Start carving the plasticard down until it fits in the bottom of the base.
ApoxieSculpt is a 2 part modelling clay that is making the ’rounds’ in the hobby industry as of late. I chose to use it for sealing my new subfloor for two reasons: 0% shrinkage, 100% waterproof. YW7 is planning on experimenting with ApoxieSculpt in more detail soon, so I won’t go into the other cool things that it is useful for. Take an equal portion of part A + B, and mix well. Apoxie has between a 1-3 hour working time, so you will have plenty of time to shape the clay as you see fit.
Let the Apoxie cure for 24 hours, or under a heat source for at least 30 minutes, before moving on. Once it is completely cured, feel free to add any additional touches with whatever materials you would like to use. Fortunately, I had an extra jackhead lying about, so I tossed it into the water. I also took misterfinn’s advice, and finally invested in some Premixed Concrete Patch. This stuff is awesome for basing….
After you’ve allowed your bases to completely dry, you need to paint them before adding the fake water (duh!). I utilized my primer of choice, Duplicolor Sandable Black Primer. Once an even coat is applied, the process of painting the base is relatively quick and easy:
- Wash the base liberally with Brown Ink
- Drybrush with a mixture of Brown Ink and GW Bleached Bone
- Drybrush with Bleached Bone
- Glue Static Grass to the base
- Drybrush with Bleached Bone
These simple steps create a great looking base. Of course, if you have any other elements (the Lancer’s head), make sure to paint those with the appropriate colors as well.
There are many products out there that allow one to create the illusion of water. Basically, all of these products are polymer compounds (2 part mixes) that create a thick, high gloss varnish. A word of warning, some of these products stink, and are very messy to work with. I suggest not mixing and pouring this stuff on any surface that you care about. I used Envirotex Lite, as it seems to be held in high regard for projects such as this.
You will need some disposable plastic cups for mixing, as well as an old measuring spoon. Alternately, you can buy hard plastic or glass measuring cups, but I had neither the time nor inclination to purchase those. Pour out an equal portion of Parts A and B into the plastic measuring cup, and mix thoroughly, for approximately two minutes. You have about 60 minutes to work with the product before it starts curing hard enough to make it non-malleable, so mix away!
Once you’ve got it properly mixed, you need to add some color. For this application, mixed 2 teaspoons of each part. This is not a lot of product, so you won’t need a lot of color. I used 1 drop of Higgins Fadeproof Brown Ink + 1 drop of Higgins Fadeproof Blue Ink + 1 teeny tiny dot of Higgins Fadeproof Green Ink. This provided a nice clean, blue water to work with. To create other affects (muddy, swampy waters), just utilize different mixtures of ink.
Now you are ready to pour….Well, actually, I used a wooden craft stick to ’scoop’ out tiny amounts of the water. The area I was covering was small enough to make an actual ‘pour’ impractical. One thing you will notice with Envirotex is that there are 1000s of tiny bubbles in the mix. Don’t worry, the product is designed in such a manner that the bubbles ‘work themselves out’. If they don’t appear to be, you can gently exhale on the mixture to speed the process along. After 24 hours, you should wind up with something similar to this: