PTA Winter terrain build...

Discussion in 'Dioramas & Displays' started by nebeltex, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    greetings all,
    we are looking to build some winter terrain and develop some of the techniques for depicting a natural setting with Winter snow, etc. there are some quick techniques that can be used to simulate a snow covered land. these might include white cloth or paper as a base for a photo that can be cropped. this works well but there are limitations. a photo in actual snow works really well but you have to have the right kind of snow and this is obviously a seasonal/temporary thing. it is possible to cut and paste photos to a winter background, but we are looking to build something for display and gaming even during our hottest months.

    as mentioned in another thread, depending on your intended scale, a 1 foot square area may do. a 2 foot square provides more. for our purposes, it will be 2 feet by 4 feet or 1/4 a standard sheet of wood. we'll be using composite board. we've done some preliminary brainstorming and we'll share our progress in the next update to this thread soon.

    feel free to make suggestions or share your knowledge along the way...
  2. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    I do not have any suggestions on how to depict actual snow, but here is a German site with a village. The residents of the village did their village in paper and set it in a Winter scene. Looks good so maybe you can get some inspiration from it.
    German Village in Winter

    Click on the 'Mehr Fotos vom Pretzschendorfer Weihnachtsberg' link for pictures. The link above it has a video. :)
  3. Stev0

    Stev0 Active Member

    For filming the battle of Hoth in the movie Empire Strikes Back the Lucas special effects crew used Icing Sugar to simulate 'scale snow'.

    I'm not sure as to what scale your considering but using a white cloth in combination with white flour / icing sugar would be a start. Then again putting armor through a winter wonderland leaves behind something less perfect than that.
  4. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    thanks for that link D. they did a nice job. i think confectioner's sugar would work well but it would be too tempting for the bugs. we have fire ants around here. they hurt, but not as bad as the velvet ones (like a cigarette on the skin). as it is, most of the elevation areas will be built up from paper-mache. i'll have to add to that to discourage bugs too. we're going to try and do this low-tech and low-cost so others might use the techniques. sanded polyurethane foam and resin are going to be my first try for the ground cover but i'm getting ahead of myself....
  5. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    attached here is a concept drawing for the "winter war board". roads drawn, treelines, some building and scenery marks...

    Attached Files:

  6. sakrison

    sakrison Member

  7. dustey

    dustey New Member

    ya woodland effects is what i was going to suggest, also you may be able to buy bags of snow like the bags of grass they sell for model trains they are sold in scale aswell and when aplied right they are very realistic
  8. shrike

    shrike Guest

    Baking soda

    Fine, crystalline, has a snowy sparkle to it, doesn't yellow or fade
  9. 46rob

    46rob Member

    Model Railroader had an article about ten years ago on modeling winter scenes. They used baking soda to simulate snow over a white or earth colored substrate, depending on what the snow depth would be, etc. A dirt road with moderate snow, for example, would still have earth toned patches in places like high spots.
  10. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    interesting ideas from all, thank you. the woodland kit is tempting. i wish i knew how many square feet it covered.... still, i think i would rather go the "anarchist" route and develop the techniques from things more easily available. i can tell i'm going to have to do several test panels to see what works best. it would be nice to have more than one good option. about to start cutting some plywood...
    thanks again, c.b.
  11. josve

    josve Active Member

    For snow I have used the Xmas spray snow.....nice effect.

    The snowpiles are just cottonwool sprayed with the xmas snow.
  12. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    i found some wood to cut up. it is a half-inch thick piece of plywood that used to be my train board. before that, it was on the pool table for ping-pong purposes and even hosted a couple of slot-car races back in the day. i found the original price on it, $12.95 USD! when first purchased, ho chi minh city was still known as saigon....

    Attached Files:

  13. Amazyah

    Amazyah Senior Member

    That piece of wood is worth an awful lot more now, that's for sure!
    I'm eagerly awaiting learning some new tricks from you here.:twisted:

  14. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    i think we'll all be learning a few things as we go along! i have built up the elevated areas using empty cigarette packs. they are light-weight and modular. they should be arranged in a somewhat irregular pattern to avoid the "wedding cake" elevation areas you sometimes see. two trenches were added and slope fillets from foam core added. the large paper balls will become boulders and when the real thimg is added, it should be difficult to tell the difference without weighing down the display. if your display ends up more than you can carry, it's probably too heavy, too large, or both. most of the open areas have been painted a medium tan as a base color. the roadways have been coated with light molding paste by "GOLDEN". once the layer was on, it was scored with the round end of pens to groove some ruts into paste. once dry, the excess was carefully brushed away and the roadways painted with a couple coats of medium brown acrylic paint.

    papier-mache next...

    Attached Files:

  15. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    we have finished the papier-mache of the elevation area, added some texture and some rocks, and painted them with fleckstone paint. we have also painted the underlying texture colors of the terrain. next we'll cut in the terrain colors to the proper edge of the rock areas and add an overcoating to subdue the color details....

    here is an overhead view....

    Attached Files:

  16. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    we have added more paint and positioned some inexpensive winter trees. still a lot of detail to add but it is coming along nicely. time to finish building some more trees and add some more winter vegetation. winter trees should now be on sale in many retail outlets...

    Attached Files:


    NULLMOON Member

    looking good:thumb: ......the golden modeling pastes are great try some of the texture effect types they really do look good even if they are a bit on the pricey side

    another tip is to use gummed tape instead of paper mache its much lighter,harder and drys in hours i used it for a number of sculptures on my art foundation year i balled up piles of waste paper held in shape with sellotape into the desired form put this inside a plastic bag and worked over it with 3 layers of gummed tape 4 layers is as hard as wood and needs a saw to cut then texture over the top:mrgreen:
  18. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    here is an over-view of the terrain. it is finished except for the baking soda snow and a couple more buildings to design. it has turned out about how i thought it might but i'm anxious to finish....

    Attached Files:

  19. cgutzmer

    cgutzmer Guest

    Thats a really nice looking setup! Thanks for sharing the pics :)
  20. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    thanks for the kind words C. it has finally snowed.....

    over-view (from rear of board) and a detail shot;

    Attached Files:

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