How to make a realistic ground pattern?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by DarthPineapple, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. I was at a scale (plastic) model convention yesterday and there I bought a model of an artillery piece from WWII. I also boughtsome items needed for a little scene, much like what you guys do here for your train layouts. :) I want to make some kind of grassy/heath kind of pattern but was wondering how to make little bumps and elevation?
    http://www.southwestscotland-butter...fritillary/mf_habitat_heath_mire_ungrazed.jpg A bit like this picture (the front) is what I'm aiming for, but with a little less bushes and a maybe a few trees.

    Also what is good material for a base? I've searched for tutorials but haven't found a good one.

    And I was also thinking of adding a few small rocks here and there, what works best?
  2. ytter_man

    ytter_man Member

    I use sifted sand as a base for ground foam, if you'd like a lot of tufts of grass that stick up a "static grass applicator" might be just the thing.

    Search for "Military model dioramas", there's a lot of info out there for just what you're doing. They use a lot of the same techniques though so you started in the right place :thumb:
  3. Thank you for your response. While searching the internet I found this tutorial:

    The author first makes a rough version by adding cardboard stripes and then gluing newspapers on top of it, a bit like paper mache. But I've seen that lots of people also use foam. Perhaps a combination of these 2 would work best? For example you make a mountain with the paper mache idea, and add smaller elevations on the mountain with pieces of foam.
  4. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

    I use to use the cardboard strips & still use Structolite on metal screen. I use mostly various thicknesses of foam mostly now. You can stop by with permission on some commercial job sites that are in the foundation or roof phase & they will give you the scrap foam.This stuff is used to line the foundation before backfilling & is used on the roof before covering. I have gotten full sheets before if their in a good mood.
  5. ytter_man

    ytter_man Member

    Ahhh, building hills and such. Foam is nice if you have access to a hot wire and surform tool but a sharp boxcutter and wood rasp will work too (get a shop vac too, the shavings can get all over!). This is what i do as a base for scenery in general, cut out layers of 1/2" to 1 1/2" foam like a 3D contour map and then rough things out with the tools.

    I next put on drywall mud or plaster cloth. With plaster cloth the wadded up newspaper method works best but isnt bad if you like carving a bit more foam. Plaster cloth finishes off very well with a coat of thinned (lightly watered down, like pancake batter) drywall mud or more thin powder plaster brushed on w/ 2-3" wide cheap bristle brush.

    With drywall mud, use a putty knife (like you'd use to put the mud on a wall like it's made for) to fill in the foam and 'trowel' it a bit, then keep a 2 or 3" wide paintbrush (with bristles, not foam) in a cup of water to smooth out the trowel marks. This also prevents a lot of cracks, i learned that one the hard way a few years ago! :p

    Paint with earth tone paint once dry and you're ready for the next step. It's taking me longer to type all this out than it would for me to show you in real life, and i average 50 wpm! This is just what i do and there's lots of other ways to go about it, see what works for you.

    I made this video for other purposes but it goes on about how i do scenic cover :thumb:
    Turn up the volume a bit
  6. Thanks for the responses. Foam it is. :thumb:

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