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Does anybody know of a good way to make a desert/sand base on a piece of small wood? I tried plaster as the base for texture covered with woodland scenics fine ballast, but it doesn't seem to look very good. I used woodland scenics glue but it doesn't seem to hold the ballast down very good, and looks to grainy for 1:35 scale.

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I use acrylic matte medium with good results. After you have the basic shape for the base using foam, plaster, whatever, brush on the matte medium and paint. You can even mix sand colored paint in at that point. I wait till it's try and spray the whole thing. The medium comes in several different textures. Head to your local arts and crafts store to find it. I use Liquitex.

 

Does anybody know of a good way to make a desert/sand base on a piece of small wood? I tried plaster as the base for texture covered with woodland scenics fine ballast, but it doesn't seem to look very good. I used woodland scenics glue but it doesn't seem to hold the ballast down very good, and looks to grainy for 1:35 scale.
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Try dirt. Get some back yard variety dirt and dry it thoroughly by spreading it on a baking sheet and put it in a warm (around 200) oven for a hour or so. Then put it in a bowl and start to break it up with a spoon or knife handle so you get it as fine as you can. Then run it through a fine tea strainer. You'll wind up with a very fine dust. Mix this with water and a little white glue and "paint" it on your base. When it dries, it will have the texture of the fine dust and the white glue will hold it in place. If its the color you want when dry, you can add tones by brushing on pastels. If not, paint it with oil based paints whatever color you want and then add pastels for tones.

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Try dirt. Get some back yard variety dirt and dry it thoroughly by spreading it on a baking sheet and put it in a warm (around 200) oven for a hour or so. Then put it in a bowl and start to break it up with a spoon or knife handle so you get it as fine as you can. Then run it through a fine tea strainer. You'll wind up with a very fine dust. Mix this with water and a little white glue and "paint" it on your base. When it dries, it will have the texture of the fine dust and the white glue will hold it in place. If its the color you want when dry, you can add tones by brushing on pastels. If not, paint it with oil based paints whatever color you want and then add pastels for tones.

 

Same application as Ron said above, you can use play sand also. Pick up a bag at a local Home Depot or Lowes, etc.> Works well.

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Hi, Charles,

 

I just came home from the IPMS/SPASAM meeting. One of our members was working on a base for a cannon. His base material of choice is Elmer's Wood Putty. He's made it look like concrete, asphalt, rutted mud, dirt, sand, etc., in the many bases he has made. Elmer's does not shrink or crack when drying, and it can be applied thick or spread thin, smooth or rough. He'll run aircraft tires through it as it is drying, and he gets great results with tank treads too. When it is dry, it can be painted to represent most anything. It can be applied directly onto wood or sheet plastic with equal sticking power. The coarse texture could just work out for a sand look in your base scene. You should be able to find Elmer's Wood Putty at a hardware store, Menards, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc., fairly cheap and in quantity. Good luck.

 

Ed

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really prefer to use tape and bed joint 'mud' to make my sand bases...it's cheap, readily available, sets up slow, and easy to sand when dry, or reshape by adding water back to the dried surface. It accepts paint, tints, and pigmented powders without problems. Holds up well...I have many bases over 15 years old that still look great.

 

Kendall Brown

Plano Texas, IPMS NCT

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Related to Kendall's recommendation, I use Durham's Water Putty. The only difference is with the Durham's you add water to activate it, but tinting, painting and texturing are identical.

 

For desert sand, I will add a good amount of the appropriate colored acrylic paint to the paste (water applied 1:3 ratio with powder), apply with a trowel and texture with stiff brushes. When dry, I tint with an artist's oil wash and dry brush with light acrylics.

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