Ali and I just wanted to get a couple of quick posts in before we leave on holiday tomorrow - we're going to be away from the studio for a week and didn't want to leave it that long before checking in again. First of all I would just like to thank everyone for the great response to the site and blog - we have had so many great emails! We really appreciate it
This is going to be a pretty brief post from me - partly because we're trying to get everything tied up today before we leave, and partly because I can't really show a lot of the things on my desk that I've been working on. Here's a quick shot of something that I can show though - it's a scenic base for a miniature I am working on for a friend (the amazingly talented Jérémie Bonamant). It shows pretty well one of our favourite basing materials - plaster. It's just so easy to get natural rocky shapes with plaster - it carves very easily to the shape you want and even though it's very friable, it can be hardened with an application of thin super-glue to the surface. I'm not sure how hard wearing it would be for gaming miniatures, but for display pieces, it's fine. Hydro-stone is far harder wearing, but is tougher to carve. I find it's best to get the basic shape right before it sets completely and then work on the texture once it's dry. With plaster you can do all the shaping and texturing once it's totally dry.
We make basic slab shapes from the plaster by pouring it in to blister packs (they are really convenient for this as they are totally water-tight), filling to different depths. We'll do a batch of different sizes and thicknesses at one time. Once it's all dry, you just turn it out of the blister and break it up into chunks with two pairs of pliers. I stick chunks together with super-glue to get the basic shapes, then carve into them to give a natural finish. You do have to 'seal' the surface before the glue will stick them though - just carefully coat the surface with glue (at the point you want to attach another piece) and let it soak in and dry. Then re-apply glue to stick the pieces together.
The sand on this base was also stuck into place with super-glue, there were two reasons for this. The first is that it tends to form onto 'clumps' more than if you use PVA (which I like), the other is that I wanted to re-enforce the join between the scenic detail and the display plinth.
I'll post again on this subject once the base is painted, and the figure is added.
That's it for this post - I'll make sure I get something new up as soon as we get back from holiday!