22 October 2010

Runestones and Menhirs

A quick tutorial about basing and painting a runestone/way-marker/menhir from Gareths' blog here:

Step 1
Okay, I didn’t take a picture of the pre-basing stage, but it’s hardly rocket science, right?  First you’ve got to find yourself a suitable monolithic column, this can be a stone from your garden or a commercially available piece cast (usually) in resin.  Because I wanted something a bit special I opted for ‘viking runestone 4’ from those lovely people over at Fenris Games.  The piece duly arrived and I was very impressed by its detail and size (just over 3” tall and about 1.1/2” across at the base).  The stone is based on the impressive memorial picture stone from Stora Hammars, Sweden, and is rendered in exquisite and accurate detail.  Unfortunately this is to be used for fantasy gaming so historical accuracy ain’t remotely important, but, still, kudos where kudos is due.  

Before commencing with the technical side of things give your monolithic column (MC, from now on) a good scrubbing (that goes for stone and resin, though obviously don’t be too rough if the latter).  Initially I based mine on an 8cm mini disc (ebay, obviously), with the column sat on a small rectangle of corrugated fiberboard to raise it slightly, but then decided something grander was needed and glued the lot onto a standard CD which further gave the impression the stone is sat on a small raised mound.  Hooray!

Step 2
Next up I whipped out the indispensable B&Q Ready Mixed Filler and liberally slapped the stuff on, smoothing it out as it became pliable (it can initially be pretty wet), especially round the edges.  Being a true artist I use my finger for this operation (usually my right index), though it does necessitate frequent trips to the sink to get the clinging stuff off your hands!  People who wear gloves for this are without exception ‘of the other persuasion’.  When it was looking suitably dome-esque I left it to dry overnight.   Kurwa mać!

Step 3
Next cover the base with a coat of barely watered-down PVA which seals the filler and acts as an adhesive for further texturing.  Before the PVA is dry (hurry, it won’t take long) lightly sprinkle on some fine gravel/cat litter/whatever, especially around the base of your MC, followed by a liberal dusting of fine sand all over.   

Any further details like skulls et cetera can be added at this stage, though I suggest using superglue for such larger additions.  My skulls (see finished picture, below) came from the Freebooter Miniatures pack (Shop>Accessory) - I bought mine through Allsorts Emporium UK - and were a tad pricey to say the least, and I was especially irked to find that 12 of the 20 ‘skulls’ are in fact flat-backed decals!  Argh!  I knew I should have waited for Battle Wagon Bits to restock their Vampire Counts skeleton skulls, but there’s impatience for you…  Still, the ram’s skull does look rather spiffy.

Step 4
When everything’s nice and dry spray the entire thing black.  I use Halford’s Matt Black Spray Paint because it’s cheap and does the job proper well, innit?  Okay, now wait a few hours for the undercoat to dry before proceeding further.  When dry you can begin painting in earnest.  Obviously you can employ whatever colours suit your palate and/or coordinates with pre-existing terrain pieces, but for the curious I list my method here.  Firstly give the earth areas a good coat of Scorched Brown and the MC one of Graveyard Earth.  When dry give the earthen areas a fairly solid drybrush with Graveyard then liberally wash the MC with Devlan Mud followed by an overbrush with a 50:50 Graveyard/Kommando Khaki mix.  Drybrush both the earth and MC with Kommando Khaki, then make a Khaki/White mix at about 50:50 and lighty drybrush the whole thing.  Skulls are picked out with black, then painted Khaki, washed with Devlan Mud and highlighted with the same Khaki/White finishing mix but with a touch more white added.  Viola!  

Step 5
When all’s dry add some final extra detail.  I use Gale Force 9 Dead Static Grass sparingly around the edges and a few Fredericus Rex Dry Grass Clumps (Large and XL) here-and-there.  I did think about adding some piles of broken weapons, but in the end couldn’t be bothered.  Give the thing a good spray with a decent matte varnish if you want.

Step 6
Get your piece onto the field of battle!  I actually created a SBH scenario called The Boundary Marker for the specific use of this piece, which I’ll hopefully post here in the near future after some further tweaking.

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