|Plaster cloth on the rocky hill|
With all the plaster and glue dry, it was time to start texturing everything. I pulled out my bag of stones, a small plastic container of sand, some glue, a bowl of water, some paper towels, and one of my terrain brushes. I always keep a bunch of cheap brushes on hand just for terrain, since the sand and other rough material really wears them out quickly. For this process I make sure that I have a couple of paper towels ready, because I always drip glue on the table.
I use a box I have specially prepared to catch the sand and debris as I go. To make the box, I cut down an old Priority Mail box so that it has short sides. I taped down all of the flap with packing tape, making sure that the tape is smooth and flat along all the edges. This prevents sand and debris from getting caught under the flaps.
The sand is in an old instant coffee container. I like these for working with sand because it's small enough for me to hold easily and the rounded corners make it easy to pour the sand accurately on a piece of terrain. It's also small enough to keep on the paint table without taking too much space, but big enough that I can dip figures and small terrain pieces straight into it.
I started the texturing with the hills. I glued a few small rocks around the bases. Then I covered the edges of the round hill with watered down glue (one part glue to one part water with a bit of Future floor wax mixed in to break the tension) and poured the sand on the glue. After it had set for a few seconds, I shook off the excess sand into the box. I worked in small areas, applying the glue, pouring the sand, and shaking the sand into the box. I repeated the same process for the large hill with the scree slope, making sure to add glue and sand on the side with the scree.
For the rocky hill, I textured the edge the same as the other hills. I also added some patches of scree and loose gravel on the bark chips by spreading small patches of glue and sprinkling them with sand. I tried to concentrate on areas where gravel and sand would tend to build up if this were a rocky area. Mainly, I focused on deeper cavities and protected shelves.
I set the hills aside to dry while I worked on the other pieces.
|The hills textured|
For the rock spires, I added a bit of texture on the spires using the same method as I used on the rocky hill. For the edges of the bases, I applied thinned glue and sand like on the hills. Then I set them aside to dry.
|Texturing on the rock spires|
The hedge needed a bit of trimming and shaping before I could texture the base. I used a pair of scissors to trim the corners and shape the scrubbing pad a bit. I glued the bits and pieces I cut off onto the top edges to break up the shape a bit more. Then I glued a few stones around the base and textured it with sand like the other pieces.
|The hedge trimmed and textured|
The crystals took a little more work than the other pieces. I'm trying to keep the actual crystals clean and unpainted, so I made sure to be as careful as possible while applying the texturing. I glued some rocks in place on the pieces. Then I applied the sand like I did on the other pieces, but I made sure to try to keep it as close to the edges of the underlying plaster as possible. When the sand was applied to each piece, I dipped a brush in the water and pushed the sand down so that it just covered the edge of the plaster. Then I used a paper towel to clean off the glue and water on the crystals.
|Shrieker Crystals textured|
Once the glue on the texturing was dry, I added more water to my glue solution and painted over all the textured areas with the thinner solution to seal it in place. I set everything aside to dry again.
This is one of the things that is important to remember about working on terrain. Every time that you use glue or adhesives, plaster, spackling, or whatever, you need to give it time to cure and dry. This is especially important if you are using any kind of water effects or filler. If you apply anything over something that has not fully cured, you run the risk of the uncured material never fully setting. That creates soft spots and potential instability in the model.
Today I applied a couple of layers of material on the rocky hill. I put down the plaster cloth and followed it with some texturing. In between, I made sure to leave a few hours for the plaster to dry. I also accelerated it a bit by putting it under a desk lamp with an incandescent bulb. (If you do this, make sure to check the piece regularly to make sure that it is not getting too hot. You don't want to start a fire!)
Before I put on the texturing, I checked to see if the plaster had cured. Plaster cures fairly quickly, so it wasn't a problem. If the plaster had still been wet, I would have set the piece aside until later. It's always better to wait and get a nice, durable piece of terrain than rush things and end up with a piece that will crumble apart with just a little use.