Sunday, December 5, 2010


So what do you do when your snowed in. Make desert terrain......

As I said in my last post I enjoyed playing in a Sudan game put on by my friend Dave. During the game my friend Tom asked if I could make a set piece of terrain for an upcoming game he wants to play. He asked if I could create a piece of terrain to represent the Wells of Jakdul.

During the War in the Sudan, Jakdul was a hidden group of wells half way between El Deb and Khartoum. The British would go on to fortify these wells to use as a base for keeping their stores. At the time, the british forces didn't have enough camels to transport both supplies and men. So they would bring some of both half way and return for the rest. Once everything was in place off they would go.

So for constructing Jakdul, Tom had requsted something about 12" around. It just so happened I had a piece of pink foam board that size laying around. Taking that and a bunch of foam chunks I had laying around I began building the base. At the time I also had a can of "Great Foam". So I thought I would try it to see how it would work as a binder and filler for the gaps. In hindsight, I would suggest not using it. Basically the density of the foam is too soft compared to the pink board and is more the consistency of a firm sponge than foam. So after placing the blocks I began carving out the rock structure with a zip knife. Once the structure was carved to what I liked I made a mix of ballast that I glued to the foam.

Once the ballast was dry, I made mistake number two. I painted the whole model with Gesso, thinking it would seal the foam for my next step. I was wrong. But heres what happened. I started spraying the gesso'ed foam with a golden yellow spray paint. I immediately saw the foam was melting. The gesso didn't seal it good enough. So I switched to a similar color acrylic paint I had and covered the whole thing. Once that was dry I hit it with a beige Flek Stone paint. Mistake number three. Even with two separate coats of acrylic paint the foam still melted. Strong stuff I guess. So after that, the detail I carved was gone, but there was different details in its place.

So this was the final effect. It looks good but the resulting shrinkage of the foam opened up all of the seams a bit. I gave it a quick drybrush to make the detail pop a bit as well as distinguish the sandy areas opposed to the rock. I showed Tom who liked it but asked for a little more in the sand area. I made a mix of ballast again and glued it down where the sand would be. I then gave the whole thing a heavy drybrush to lighten it up. I also added some elmers white glue to the water area at the base of the mountain. This is still drying at the time of the picture as you can see the white in the photo. The great thing is it will be clear when totally dry and show the base color underneath.
Overall I'm happy with it. I think it will look good on the table with figures on it. I learned a couple things regarding my construction choices, but all in all, its all good.

Hope you like,

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