Sunday, September 25, 2022

Making a Flagstone Scenery Base

I'm working on a scenic base for model photography, so this is the perfect opportunity to show how I make flagstone bases for scenery.


I'm incorporating a crypt in the center of this piece, so I trimmed away a portion of the Sigmarite Mausoleum base, and and attached it to some styrene card. The stonework in the front sits at ground level, and the card is cut to fit around it and under the rectangular dais. (I would have glued it on top of a whole sheet of card, but its stones are already so thick, I don't want to add anymore thickness.) 

I trimmed the top edge of the card to fit around my tombs, so the tombs will serve as a backdrop, with the flagstone floor in front of it with an unbroken join between the two pieces.


Here, you can see the plastic base with the styrene card around it. I'm using 1.5mm thick card by Evergreen Scale Models. Two layers of the thick card are almost as high as the plastic stones, and leaves enough room to attach individual bits of card to build the stonework over the surface. (You can see one stone piece in place already.)



To make the stones, I cut squares and rectangles of various sizes tocover the surface. Each one is distressed and chipped with a hobby knife to resemble slate paving stones, with a few larger "flakes" cut out of the corners to represent the layers of slate chipping away. Most of the stones are 1.5mm thick, but I mix in a few stones made from .75mm card to get a little variety in the surface that will show up nicely when drybrushing the surface. The stones are attached with super glue, and I leave slight gaps between them in places so I can add fine ballast between them.


Adding the stones is the most time consuming part, but it's a lot of fun. I cut some of the larger stones to look like they've cracked in half, and I use a sharp sculpting tool to scratch grooves in the surface of some of them.


Once all the stones are in place, I go around the edge and use my hobby knife to clean up the edges. This is just a matter of cutting and scraping the layers of card to get a smooth, uniform edge that looks like a single piece of plastic. If there are any gaps between the layers of plastic, I add some super glue and sand the surface– The glue and plastic dust mix together to do a decent job of filling in the gap.


Once the stonework is completely finished, I mix up a batch of 3 parts water to 1 part Mod Podge, and use a pipette to drip it into the cracks. The capillary action of the liquid lets it flow in between the stones.


Then I sprinkle some fine ballast over the surface and wipe away the excess.


The ballast is added in sections; trying to add glue to the whole thing ends up getting very messy, or it starts to dry out in spots before I can get the sand on. I just work on a small area, and then move on to the next, until the entire surface is finished.


After the Mod Podge dries, I spray the piece with black primer, and then a light dusting of grey primer.


To paint the stones using the techniques I've laid out in my previous tutorials. You can see a few different painting methods in these posts:

Project Log: The Tombs of Tithing, Part 12

Modeling and Painting: The Garden of Morr

Terrain Tutorial: Graveyard Hills

'Til next time!


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