Monday, May 27, 2013

Improving My Scouring Pad 15mm Hedges

Four years ago, I posted an article Making 15mm Hedges, where I explained how I made hedges using strips of green-painted scouring pads. The hedges were functional but always a bit lacking, looking like cut up scouring pads painted green.
To the left is a photo from that article showing the hedges with one of my Peter Pig figures. (By the way, I've also touched up these figures, improving the shading and highlighting and other details I missed years ago.)  I used them for a few 15mm games, but they really have sat in a drawer with the rest of my 15mm, unloved. Well, with my new commitment to 15mm gaming, a couple weeks ago I decided that enough was enough. I needed to do something about the scrawny scouring pad hedges. The "improvements" I made took only a couple hours spread over a couple afternoon, and most of that time was spent pondering more than doing. So here are the improved hedges.

First, I mixed up some Scenic Express Matte Medium at a 4:1 ratio according to the instructions. I also added a touch of Dawn dish water detergent to help the matte medium flow better. I then began brushing this onto one of the hedges. The pad really spreads the matte medium. I found out the hard way that it's best to work on the hedges vertically, so the mixture flows down through the hedge instead running out the sides. You really want to keep the medium in the hedge and not the base's ground cover!

Once the hedge was coated in the medium, I liberally dumped Woodland Scenics Fine Green Grass Turf over the hedges. I did this over an old plastic dish to catch the excess. Using the end of an old brush, I then patted down the turf into the hedge. When done, I placed the hedge onto a paper plate and moved onto the next one.

Since I wanted to move the project faster, I got out the hair dryer to dry the glue.Who'd think that a hair dryer set to High could blow around little bits of scouring pad glued to little wooded sticks? Not me! I should have had a video of that! After cleaning up the counter and retrieving the wayward sticks of scenery, I decided to let nature dry the sticks overnight.

The next day the hedges were dry. I decided to use some of the Woodland Scenics Flowers in 4 Colors I bought years ago but never opened. You get a pack of mustard yellow, bright white, bright red, and burnt orange. First thing I did, though, was dump each little bag into a small plastic container, making storage and use so much easier. I picked up the plastic containers at the local craft store for a couple dollars. There are enough flowers in the pack to last a few lifetimes, so buy enough containers so you can give your buddies some flowers to brighten their day. (Wow, does that sound creepy out of context!)

I have two containers for each color. Wow. That's a lot of flower power!
I applied a dab of diluted Matte Medium where I wanted the flowers, grabbed a pinch with a tweezers, and dropped them in place. They look like wild flowers. A better method I tried was to take a little piece of foliage turf, the kind we use to make trees, glue that to the base. Then dab the top of that clump with the matte medium and drop a light sprinkle of flowers on top. This looks more like real flowers than sprinkling the flowers on the grass. I think you can see this in the photos? Oh yeah, the flower turf has a slight static charge so watch out when you grab a pinch with your tweezers!

When I "planted" all the flowers I wanted, I then went about sealing the fine turf I had sprinkled on the hedges the day before. If you don't seal it with matte medium, the turf will come off very easily. I diluted the medium a bit more, maybe about a 6:1 ratio. I then brushed the medium onto the hedges. Normally, I would have sprayed it on using a spritz bottle but I need a new spritzer. So brushing worked fine. Turf is ground sponge, so it soaks up the matte medium like a....well...sponge.

Brushing on the diluted matte medium.

The next day, I knocked off any excess turf from the hedges and was done. Voilla! No more scouring pad hedges. Next time, I'll paint the hedge to look more like branches and then apply the turf. That should make them look even better, especially near the bottom or places where the hedge got destroyed.

So there you go. Easy hedges! More 15mm goodness coming as I find the time this week.

If you look closely, you'll see I added more details and highlighting to my Germans.

Some flowers, a bit of turf equals better hedges.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Another West Wind Thug Joins the Gang

Another figure from West Wind's London Thugs pack I finished the other day. This is the seventh figure from the pack that I've finished, leaving just one more to go. I have five more from the London Mob pack to finish. These have been fun to paint. Now I just need to give them something to be rioting about! Maybe some werewolves or Nosferatu or Pumpkin Heads or Mad Bombers. Who knows what I'll pull out of my West Wind box next!

BTW next week I'll be picking up the rules In Her Majesty's Name and see how they look. Amazon says they will have them on May 21st for $13, my kind of price for wargames rules! Cool Stuff across the street should have them for $12. I'm sure well see a flood of posts all around the blogs and forums about the rules, and Victorian gaming. I'm not sure they'll be what I'm looking for, but at that price for a print book I don't mind. It's interesting how we're suddenly seeing an explosion in VSF in 15mm and 28mm. I'm also surprised to see renewed interest in Western rules, which seem to have been quite dead the past five or so years.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crazy Old White-Haired Victorian Dude & Stuff

Last week, my wife and son went on a mini-vacation to St. Louis, so I took a little Me Time to do some painting. My back was still bothering me, but I had to do something. Actually, the back is still bothering me today, more so after bending over to take a bunch of photos for the blog this morning. It's at week five now. Sigh. My wife and son are tired of me being cranky! It's getting better but it will probably take a few more weeks. And now I've lost my train of thought. Oh, right...back on track.

I also worked a bit on the bases of my 28mm Soviets, sealing the ground cover with diluted white glue. I feared that the glue would turn the brown ballast a bit darker, which it did. Drats.

Plus, I really improved the look of the 15mm hedges I made years ago. They don't look like Brillo pads anymore! It was really easy to do. I'll have photos and tips of that later on.Yes, lots of  new 15mm stuff in the works here. :-)

Oh yeah, welcome to all the new folks following the blog. I always appreciate it. Feel free to leave comments.

Anyway, here is the third fellow I've painted from the London Mob pack. I thought I'd try white hair for the first time. I think it came out a bit too white, so next time I'll do it differently. Lesson learned. (I'm rationalizing that he lost his Sanity roll while facing one of Cthulhu's minions, turning his hair total white. LoL.) Any tips on painting an old man's white hair would be appreciated!

Since I have a bunch of these guys done now, I'll start working on the bases. I'm thinking of using the fine ballast but painting the entire base gray. I've seen this on the Pulp Figures site and in WSS magazine for "urban" figures and like the look. Simple and easy. I just have to figure out what color gray. You guys think it would work?

I used Burnt Sienna for the coat. I really liked the color.