Thursday, 1 January 2015

Snow and Ice bases - step by step tutorial

Following on from my last post, a few people were interested in the specifics of how I created the snow base of the undead champion so here's a quick step by step I've worked on over the past few days, although it really only takes a very short amount of time (excluding drying times) to make - perhaps 30 minutes:

The most important material is the Distress Crackle Paint seen below, you actually only need the one on the left for the ice efect, which is called clear rock candy. The right one is good for non-transparent cracking that you may want to paint over (ie cracking armour, mud etc).

There's lots of ways you can prepare a base for this technique, but ultimately you want a hollow recepticle of some sort. You can buy rimmed bases or you can make do with a traditional GW one as seen below, but you'll also need to use some plasticard too:

And cut away the main section, leaving just the rim of the base:

You'll then need to cut a 40mm square of plasticard for the rim to sit on:

And use polystyrene cement to make a water-tight base:

To create a raised area on the base, usually where the model will stand, I use ripped up cork tile and layer it up with a smaller section on top, using superglue to adhere them together and to the plastic base:

At this stage you will want to add any decoration to the base lower, soon to be submerged part of the base, perhaps a frozen body, shield or in this case some reeds. These are made from the bristles of a cheap brush and then cut to size with a scalpel:

And superglued into place:

The next stage I accidentally missed out - paint anything that is about to be submerged by ice, including the base of the cork tile. Oops. But when this is done you should apply a nice thick layer of the distress crackle.
I should say at this point that this is the simplest way to get the effect but you could make it better (as I did with my Undead Champion version) by laying down a thin layer of the opaque crackle first and painting this a pale blue when it is dried. Then applying some layers of Woodlands Scenic water to bulk up the water area and then apply the Distress Clear Rock candy on top.
For this tutorial though I've just applied the Distress paint really thick, up to the height of the lower level of cork. Remember that the thicker you apply it, the bigger the cracks and delamination:

Leave it to dry (I did overnight, but I think it could be ready earlier) and voila:

You could also add some dabs of either scenic water or superglue or the distress crackle iteself to the reeds or other decorations to imitate icicles etc.
Now some painting. I mixed up a very dilute, pale blue wash to apply onto the ice, basically so it runs into the cracks and leaves a little residue on all the ice. Less is always better:

With the cork now painted (!), I can then apply a quite heavy drybrush of white paint over the ice, catching the ridges of the ice cracks:

The next step is to decorate the top of your base - here I've used some Army Painter Swamp tufts:

And the final step is to then add the snow, which in this case is baking soda mixed with a little diluted pva dabbed on. Whilst this is still wet, I sprinkle some of the baking soda on so that it sticks to the adhesive and gives the dry effect of snow..: 

Have a go and let me know if you can improve, add to or even simplify the technique, I'm always looking to make things easier or better! I'll find some time to paint an appropriate miniature to add to the base in the near future.
Please let me know if you have a go, I'd like to see your results.