Gaming on a Budget: The Silent Hedges Part 3
Welcome back everybody. Here begins the final chapter in my creation of dirt cheap hedgerows for my new gaming table setup. When last we spoke the hedges looked something like this, having just had sand added to their bases:
With a good solid brown basecoat in place, it was time to start painting. Again, my goal with using a brown basecoat was to create the effect of dirt mortar between the stones holding up the hedgerow walls, rather than a traditional mortar.
The areas with sand on them were given a coat of the same brown paint I’d used for the rest of this project- an inexpensive acrylic paint from a craft store.
This was then dry brushed with a lighter brown to create highlights. The color used was consistent with the rest of my terrain and was likewise, a craft paint.
Turning towards the stone walls, I gave a heavy over brushing of Codex Grey. Over brushing, for those unfamiliar with the concept, is similar to dry brushing in technique. To over brush, simply do not wipe your brush off as much as you might in dry brushing. Then just swish your brush lightly over the surface you are painting and watch the results. You will get good coverage over raised surfaces (much heavier than dry brushing), without the chalky and light effect often left after dry brushing. This ensured that a minimal amount of my brown “mortar” showed through in the end.
After the over brushing, a nice standard, traditional dry brushing of Fortress Grey was applied, to act as a final highlight. You can see the final product above.
In order to match the hedgerow sections to my gaming surface, I applied the same mix of static grass I’ve been using for the entire project to the bases.
This was applied simply by brushing a standard white glue mix diluted with water onto the bases. A liberal amount of static grass was sprinkled over the glued areas and shaken off a few minutes later. When working with any basing materials such as flock, static grass, or sand, make sure you’re working over a piece of newspaper or other surface. You can use the newspaper to collect any material that falls off and add it back to your container of basing mix. The amount of waste eliminated by this process can be quite shocking.
Wherever I had a gate section, I left the grass patchy and rutted to simulate traffic. Though I have generally been going for complete grass coverage, this is one of those areas that would be patchy in real life. To get a patchy effect, all you need to do is not cover the area about to be flocked completely by glue. By leaving thin lines of bare earth as you can see in the picture to your right, I have been able to simulate years of wagon or truck traffic through a gate between fields.
Adding Trees and Larger Shrubs
Before finally adding the hedges to the hedgerows it’s time to sort out the tree and large bush situation.
Since I was working with a small number of remaining woodland scenics trees on removable bases, I had previously buried the bases in the stone walls while they were being created. By carefully not covering the hole in the tree bases I was able to easily locate each one and place a tree in it. Having the trees being removable like this can help out a lot later down the road when I need to store these or when the challenges of gaming make model placement tricky.
Beyond the premade woodland scenics trees, I also had the trees I made in part 2 of this series. I had also scored a 50 pack of Z scale trees on ebay for $3 a couple of years ago. These made perfect small trees or large bushes. Unfortunately, none of these had bases made for them, so I needed to accommodate them in the stone walls. That was done by drilling a small hole into the tops of the hedges using a 1/4″ drill bit on my Dremel.
With the holes in place, all I needed to do was put a bit of white glue over the hole and insert my trees.
Once all the trees where added, I was left with pieces similar to this:
Adding Clump Foliage
To finish off the hedgerows, hedges were necessary. These were made using clump foliage (the only major expense of the project, as about $12 per 16 oz shaker). To create a varied effect, I purchased two containers of foliage in different colors- a medium and light green. My Z scale trees were a lighter color still, so this added further variation to the final look. Now, being the crafty individual I am, I had also being collecting all of the bits that had fallen off of my woodland scenics trees and other things while I was working with them, I then had another color to work with.
Applying a hefty quantity of white glue to the tops of hedgerows, working one section at a time, I had a base to stick my clump foliage to. With the glue in place, I stuck pieces of foliage to the top of each hedge. This will create a thin layer of hedges at the top of your hedgerows. Since some of the clump foliage is bound not to stick, and this didn’t have the height I wanted, I went back and added a second layer of clumps to many areas, after the first layer had dried.
In hindsight, rather than white glue I would have preferred to use a tacky glue or even clear drying caulk or hot glue to apply the foliage, for a quick and solid bond. If you’re planning on doing something similar to this, I’d advise using something like that.
After everything was dry I sprayed on a couple of coats of matte varnish to create extra hold for the foliage, trees, etc and to protect the painting and stability of the stone walls.
While waiting for all of this to dry, I glued the gates I’d made into place.
This is what they looked like in the end. You’ll have to wait a little bit to see these all lined up together on the table though, but don’t fret, the big reveal for the table is coming soon.
That’s all for today. Drop a comment if you have a question, suggestion, or just like what you see. If you’ve got an idea for a future article in the ‘Gaming on a Budget Series’ e-mail us at [email protected] See you next time.