We're joined again by SFG Hobby Guru Michael Archer. You may have seen Michael's last article where he walked us through painting the Mason's & Brewer's Terrain Pack, and if you cast your mind back to August 2017 then you will also remember his article on building the Mason display board we had at GenCon 50.
Today, I would like to show you some simple terrain tutorials to expand your Farmers Guild terrain collection, so you can field a table of themed terrain.
- 1mm thick plastic card
- Wood filler paste
- Super glue and super thin super glue
- Bass wood
- Chip paint brushes
- Sand and/or coarse pumice gel
- Hobby Knife
- Putka (miniature dried seeds that look like pumpkins)
- Green or Brown Stuff
- 26 gauge wire
- Hobby clippers
Pumpkin Patch Rough Ground
First up will be a pumpkin patch rough ground piece. Last year I was shopping and stumbled upon these miniature dried gourds call Putka that are used for holiday decoration. I instantly saw them as the perfect size for miniatures. You can find them online as well.
Step 1: Use 1mm thick plastic card to cut out a base for your rough ground and bevel the edge by scrapping the edge with a hobby knife. Glue a few small pumpkins down, odd numbers are easier on the eyes. Then use sand or pumice gel to create a ground texture. I like the pumice gel because it is flexible.
Step 2: Mix some green or brown stuff and roll out some thin strands to make vines with. Once they are rolled out give them a couple twists to add some texture. Lay a long strand down first then use a hobby knife or sculpting tool to gently press them in place. You can use a small amount of chap stick to coat tools so they don’t stick to the putty. Then make some small vines branching off the longer vines.
Step 3: You could stop with just the vines if you like or chose to add some simple leafs to make them look a little more interesting. Take a small ball of putty, and pull a few pieces off so that one end is nice and thin. Gently pull a small flat piece off. These will make nice durable leaves. Carefully apply them one at a time with a hobby knife or sculpting tool.
Step 4: While you are applying the leaves, you can gently fold some of their edges over or reshape them to look more leaf like. Use the back edge of your hobby knife to make a central crease in the leaves, this will add to the look but also help press the putty into the ground and make them adhere better.
Farm Themed Obstacles
It’s always good to have some Obstacles, they are quick to make and easy to theme around your Guild. For this I again use the putka for miniature pumpkins to make a pile of pumpkins and some bass wood to make a rickety farm fence.
Step 1: Cut some bases from 1mm thick plastic card making some nice organic shapes. Then bevel the edges by scrapping them with a hobby knife.
Step 2: Use some square bass wood strips to make the fence. Score the edges carefully with a hobby knife to make them look worn. Then make two end pieces. Make sure they have good points of contact where the pieces of wood cross.
Step 3 and 4: Once dry cut some smaller square strips of bass wood and weather edges. Glue a beam across the top to join the two pieces, then glue some pieces at slight wonky angles on the front and a cross beam on the back.
Step 5: Make a nice little pile of pumpkins, choosing some larger ones for the base and smaller ones for the top. Glue them to their base. Then use some two part putty or wood filler putty to build up some ground around the base and on the other base for the fence. Apply some glue to the bottoms of the fence posts then press them into the putty. Add a pumpkin or two to the fence base to tie it in with the other pieces.
Harvested Crop Forest Terrain
For a forest I made a simple little crop of straw or wheat that has been harvested. This is probably the trickiest piece to make for this set but fits the theme well and is cheap to make.
Step 1: Grab a few medium sized chip brushes from your local hardware store. Use some clippers to unbend the metal band holding the bristles of the brush to the handle. Be careful some chip brushes use small nails, these will fall out so just keep an eye out for where they land. With the brush removed from the holder use a hobby knife and clippers to remove the bristles from the small piece of wood they are glued to. This can be a messy process so doing it on a tray or a covered workspace is recommended.
Step 2: take a few bunches of bristles still glued at one end and carefully wrap some 26 gauge wire around them. Use a pointer finger to hold the bristles, and your other hand to wrap the wire around. Once partially wrapped hold the wire in place with your thumb, so you are able to tighten the wire. Twist the wire so that it is tight around the middle.
Step 3: Carefully cut the glued bristle ends with scissors. Take it slow and try to get a nice even cut for the bottom. Once cut they will be some what fragile so be careful not knock to many bristles out of the wire or it will become loose.
Step 4: give the bristles a slight twist, then make sure they are lined up the way you want them. Hold the wire so that you are not touching the straw. Very carefully apply some super thin super glue. This stuff can be a nightmare to work with so treat it with respect, but it can achieve some amazing gluing feats. The capillary action of the thin super glue will suck right into the wire and brush bristles fusing them together. Also apply a drop to the center bottom and the center top.
After you have made 7 or 8 individual bundles of straw, you can then move on to make the crop base. For this again use some plastic card like in the previous pieces.
Step 1: Mix 1-part wood filler putty with 1-part coarse pumice gel or sand to make a thick earth paste. Then apply it to the base in nice thick layer with a craft stick. Use a clean craft stick to score lines in the paste about ½” apart. Then use a craft stick dipped in water to smooth and round the edges of the lines you just made and to clean up any mistakes or thin spots.
Step 2: While the putty is still wet use some of the excess brush bristles to make little stumps of cut straw. Space them kind of randomly making sure they are not too tall. If some end up to too tall don’t worry you can cut them down once the paste dries. Also push a few over like they have been trampled so that there places where you can place the bundles of straw and have them sit flat on the base.
Step 3: Using the bundles of straw that you made its now time to form them in larger groups so that they can stand on their own. Hold 3 or 4 bundles together, then carefully apply a few drops of super thin super glue to the bottom where the bundles meet. Then doe the same for the tops. Be careful to hold them in away that doesn’t glue your fingers to them.
Step 4: Make two of these to go on your base, then make sure they sit nice and flat. Cut any excess strands off, clean up the bottoms and apply any extra glue where needed.
Finishing Details and Painting
With these four pieces basically done you can go in and add some finishing details to your liking. for instance I used the 3 chickens from the mascots base to place on some of the pieces to give them more character. (Insert Photo: WIPgroupshot.jpg)
With the details finished you can now paint them all to match your other Farmers Guild pieces and team. I choose to paint the straw and pumpkins even though they were already good natural colors. I do this to create a more coherent visual when they are displayed with the other painted pieces and miniatures. For the static grass I put down a layer of fine medium green flock then glue the static grass on top of it. This layered look adds more depth. I also use some dead grass tufts to add to the Fall harvest look.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this tutorial and at least learned about some new materials you can use for future projects. Making small terrain pieces like these can be super fun little projects that don’t take to long but still add a lot to your over all play experience.