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11-01-2011, 12:20 PM #1
Alys - The Base
Ok, here's the "how-to" on making a toadstool base, that I shall be using for the Alys paint along...
1st of all, parts.
I used - the Alys model, a paperclip for pinning her feet, a Privateer Press style 30mm base, a small bolt and nut, a piece of tubular plastic and a BNS 30mm recessed resin plinth (which you can get either by contacting Iain via PM, or go here - LINKY ). Oh and some putty, which in this case was some standard yellow/grey Milliput mixed with a bit of Pro-Create. The typ of putty isn't that important, although standard Milliput is particularly suited to this kind of thing.
I used a razor saw, drill/pin vice, bit of sandpaper, glue (super glue and araldite ideally), a sculpting tool and a couple of clay shapers. Water is useful to have around for the putty stage too.
In the second pic you can see the 1st "assembly" stage and type of bolt used. If you have a rummage around in the garage, then these sort of things inevitably turn up, but these particular bolts just happen to slip nice and snugly through the slot in the base. Of course if you use a different type of base and/or bolt, then you may need to pilot drill a hole for the bolt. Same applies if you feel that the hole for the stem should be central to the toadstool. I feel that mushrooms and toadstools in real life are random in their shape and size, so being central wasn't important.
Once you have it in the right position, a blob of super glue will just fix it in place for now.
Next is the stem, made out of the length of the bolt, plus a piece of tubular plastic - you could use a drinking straw or similar for this stage.
I just cut it to a length where I could get the nut on the end so that it would thread over comfortably.
Next, mark out the spot where the nut will fit into the plinth and drill a small recess, just wide and deep enough to drop the nut into. Don't worry if you drill a bit too deep (I did) just pack out the bottom of the hole with a bit of putty, which you leave to dry before gluing the nut in place.
At this stage I mixed up a small batch of putty - partly to help back fill the hole in the plinth - ready for the underside of my toadstool.
There are several morphological forms of spore bearing surface involved in the structure of toadstools/mushrooms, the commonest being the flat gills; but there are pores, ridges and even TEETH!
I went for the gills and did this quite simply by squashing some putty flush into the underside of the base, letting it cure a little, and then drawing lines away from the centre with a sculpting tool. Then, whilst the putty was still soft, pushed the plastic sleeve softly up into the putty to get the following...
You can see here that I have also fitted the nut into the plinth. This was done by fitting the nut to the end of the bolt, imprinting it into the putty in the hole so that the canopy of the toadstool matched the plinth and the nut itself was flush to the surface of the plinth. Then when the putty had dried, glue the nut in place with a bit of araldite. I used araldite cos my gluing is notoriously poor, and I will be using the nut joint a lot in the process for more than one purpose...
And here you have the basic "toadstool" shape...
Next post - The canopy, prepping to accept the mini and 1st stage painting.
11-01-2011, 02:49 PM #2
Right. An apology. It would appear that I didn't take any in between pics on this bit, but it is simple enough to explain, so here we go...
I left the bit above for a couple of days, but I would guess that a wait of about 6 hours is all that would be necessary before moving to this stage.
1st, I mixed up a decent lump of Milliput, with a bit of Pro Create mixed in. I add the Pro Create (GS would be equally useful here) to just make it slightly less brittle around the edges.
Next, I took a bit of sand paper and just sanded off the worst of the blobs left around the rim from making the gills under the canopy. I also just lightly sanded off any bobbles on the gills themselves to make it a bit easier when it comes to painting.
Grab most of the putty mix and smear it over the whole of the canopy/base, reasonably thick, and curl it right over and past the edge of the base so that you get an almost pastry like crust under the rim, like this...
Then screw the stem into the plinth and smooth the top into a nice round dome shape - you can add more lip if you want, like the options in the post above. I use wet fingers to do the vast majority of this smoothing off, working from the middle outwards.
Leave it for a few minutes for the worst of the water to dry and then make lots of small balls of putty up whilst you wait. Make them in different sizes, and the smaller is often the better here.
Then press the balls into the surface, randomly, of the toadstool, as these are going to be the spots. Flatten them off, again with a wet finger, for the larger spots, but you may want to use a clay shaper (I used the flat cup shaped one) to flatten the smaller dots and not make them disappear.
You should then get something like this...
At this stage I imprinted the model into the base before it dried. I pinned Alys' feet (see other article) and just pushed her into place, then removed her and left the base to dry.
Let this dry completely for several hours before you move onto the stem...
The stem was quite simple. Mix up a bit of putty and roughly smear it over the plastic tube, not too thick, not too thin, and then shape some very rough "rings" around it like so...
Once this is done, roll out a small bit of putty and make a sort of collar to the stem, which you roughly push into place and score up to match the rest of the stem, like this...
It is important that, before the putty dries, you screw the stem tightly into place and unscrew again, before leaving it to dry. This will give a tight gp free join with the plinth.
Once dry, your base is ready for a really light sanding before priming.
I primed with Tamiya fine light grey spray, but a brush on primer, or alternative spray is no problem. Just use what you are happy with.
Next episode - Painting the toadstool, and plinth.
12-01-2011, 12:09 PM #3
As already mentioned, this was a resin plinth from BNS. The recess in this plinth gave me a few options, but what I wanted to do with it was have a dense patch of grass that the toadstool could be growing out of, and this plinth allows me to do so in a simple and very tidy way.
The plinth itself only needed a light rub down as the casting is nice and smooth anyway, and then I just primed it and laid down a coat of black around the outside and the rim.
The top of the plinth inside the recess received a quick coat of Vallejo sandy paste, just to give it a bit of texture if any of the ground shows between the grass. Some fine sand or grit, mixed with some PVA is just the same as the sandy paste if you don't have it.
Once the paste is dry - about half an hour - I laid down a quick base coat of a mud colour - VMA Panzer Aces Dark Mud with a wash of Dark Mud mixed with black paint - and then left it to dry thoroughly
While waiting for the paint to dry, I selected the material for the grass. I had a bit of a raid at Antenociti's Workshop about a year and a half ago and well and truly stocked up on basing stuff. For this base I used some mid length Silfor tufts in the Autumn colour, and pepped it up with a few green shoots (so it looks like my lawn at home, which is mostly a burnt brown interspersed with little green tufts of life!). The green shoots are long grass/hay bits, glued into tufts, painted green (VMA Panzer Aces Tank Crew green colour mixed with goblin green in this case, but whatever green suits you is fine), and then cropped to suit.
The green tufts were actually too long when I finished the base, so I just trimmed them with a sharp pair of scissors.
The grass and tufts were fitted using super glue. What I did was cover the entire base with a spiral of super glue, planted the green tufts with tweezers 1st, and then selected the appropriate tufts to fill the gaps in between.
A quick touch in with black paint around the plinth where bits had rubbed of and the plinth was done.
I then had a final look like this...
Right. A lot of the toadstool was done whilst waiting for stuff to dry on the plinth, and viceversa. So there'll be a couple of pics that are previous to the plinth being finished, where there is progress on the toadstool. Also, as already mentioned, by screwing the toadstool into the plinth I have a great handling point for it without risking damaging the paint on it.
The first thing here was to decide on a colour scheme for the toadstool. I was tempted to go for a bright red cap with bright white spots, but I was rather worried that it may over power the relatively small model on the top, so I thought it prudent to reverse the scheme basically, and go for a "white" toadstool with reddish spots.
In fact the white I'm aiming for is more of an earthy cream - typically like the mushroom colour you might find in the DIY store when deciding between shades of cream for your lounge or downstairs toilet, with the wife on a Sunday morning....
So, the basic colour. I used a couple of P3 colours for this - Trollblood Highlight and Rucksack Tan. The tan is a nice slightly orange cream brown and the T/Blood H/light is an odd sort of organic grey. Mixed them about 50/50 and you get something like this
When base coating I often have the same colour mixed at different dilutions as above. Doing this helps me because if I use something like Tamiya light grey spray or a brush on primer it often ends up very smooth and I get problems with the base coat sliding off if it is too dilute. Also, if I've pre-shaded the model then a thinner base coat allows the primer shade to show through a bit whilst I place the base coat, and perhaps the 1st couple of highlights.
Once the base coat is on it should look something like this...
Next I mixed up the highlight colours. Now, I use a circular palette with 10 wells, so I tend to mix up 2 highlight colours - a mid highlight and a final highlight and then have them 2 or 3 spaces apart in the palette, allowing me to mix in between transitions, depending on how the blends work (or don't work and need correcting!!)
The mid- highlight was made using 50/50 P3 Trollblood Highlight and P3 Menoth Base (which is a creamy colour, not dissimilar to bleached bone but a hint more yellow), and the final highlight was P3 Menoth Highlight (a colour like fresh milk) with a hint of the mid-highlight.
The shade colours were also mixed at this time.
The 1st shade is the base colour with a bit more of the Rucksack Tan, next was very thin Rucksack tan on it's own, next some very thin P3 Bloodstone (a red brown colour) and a very thin mix of P3 Bloodstone, P3 Umbral Umber (a really nice dark brown) and P3 Sanguine Base (a dark burgundy colour that will make more sense later!)
The dilutions of most of the above are approximately 1 drop of each of the paint to 5 or 6 drops of water, so you get a consistency of something like milk - not so dilute that you can see through it, but not so thick that it's gloopy. The really thin stuff is about 1 drop of paint to 8 or more of water.
For this base I am using a size 5 R&C series33 brush, a size 3 and a size 2.
The base coat is done with the size 5 and left to dry. Once dry I unscrewed the plinth and began on the stem and gills.
Part of doing the stem and gills before the top allows me to make any colour adjustments and there's plenty of texture to muck about with too. So I just laid down smaller and smaller layers of highlight, with the highlights at the edges at the bottoms of the "frills" andonce happy with that I washed shades into the recesses, allowed it to dry, re-established the highlights a bit where I was untidy with the washes and painted a small amount of mud from the plinth onto the very bottom of the stem where it will be in contact with the plinth.
That gave me this...
Next, painting the cap.
14-01-2011, 11:27 AM #4
Now we basically only have the cap left to do.
We have the colours mixed from above and once we refit the toadstool to the base we don't have to wait for the underside to dry, as we shouldn't have to touch the stem whilst we paint this part.
Now, for me, blending up large areas of colour can be a little problematic, in terms of the colour shifts, so I tend to do a fair bit of painting up and down until I am happy.
However, with this toadstool there are a couple of "get outs" that will help avoid turning this into a 30mm colour shift from hell!
1st is the spots breaking up the area and 2nd is that toadstools/mushrooms generally have a stripy texture, radiating out from the centre of the cap. We can use this to our advantage later on.
So, we have the base colour on, and I worked through the highlights first. First pass of the mid-highlight is over the entire top of the cap that is visible from above – i.e. not the “crust” underneath – with the brush lightly loaded with thin paint and ALL brush strokes from the edge to the centre, in smooth sweeps, slowly rotating the plinth after each pass until you have gone all the way around. Hopefully the 1st pass hasn’t dried by the time you get right round and you can do a second pass in too. This will allow you to tidy up any pooling around the spots or from where you touch the brush to the model first of all. Pooling is bad, m’kay?
By covering the whole top like this, you should have an effect where the mid-light shows very slightly towards the edge and heavier towards the centre.
Once dry, repeat this, with the same paint, but start about 10mm in from the edge, and pass around twice.
In doing this you should get the start of a small transition of colour. You might get a slight band with regards to the darker edge, but don’t worry too much right now.
Next, start on the final highlight colour. You definitely will get a fairly stark variation here from the colour below if your paint is too thick. However, if you have it thin enough, you will be able to quickly establish a final colour at the top of the cap by starting about halfway down the cap and brushing towards the centre as previously, and going around 2 or 3 times.
This should give you something like what you see in these pics...
Here you will of course notice the latex glove that I use when painting. More of that in the main painting thread. Also you can see me painting at the speed of light such that my hand is nothing but a blur!! Lol
In all seriousness though, you can see the angle of the brush, and that I often will PUSH paint with the brush when blending, and not DRAG the brush. WHY? Well, I find that it stops me leaving to much paint at the point of contact when I start a brush stroke. If you are using a slightly larger brush like a 3 or 5 then the tips of the brush will bend to suit and effectively flick the paint forward too, which helps to create a bit of the stripy texture mentioned earlier.
Once we have established the highlights, mix a thin mix of the mid-light and the base colour and paint from the centre all the way to the edge in a couple of full rotations of the cap.
It is vitally important that the paint is thin here and that you really blot the brush well before applying it to the cap. This is basically a glaze to pull the colours together, and if you put it on thick you’ll just be painting over the previous work and obscuring it.
To start getting the stripy look working I took my size 3 or 5 brush and dipped it in the final highlight, then blotted it well, flattening it out in the process, so that I did NOT have a point. Instead, I had a slight splay of the bristles. I then very lightly applied spaced out strokes from the middle outward to about ¾ of the way to the edge. Once happy with this, I took the base colour and repeated the above, but working from the edge to about 1/3 of the way towards the middle.
That gave me this finish...
Next post – shading and the spots!
17-01-2011, 11:25 AM #5
Well, if you're with me this far then congrats and thanks!
This post we are going to finish off the base painting, so here we go.
The last pic in the previous post
is a bit deceiving in that it is quite a warm colour all over, where by now you should have something at the peak that looks mostly sort of off white. However, this should be more obvious once you do the next couple of stages anyway.
As mentioned a couple of posts back, we have our shading colours ready mixed, so we start with the base mixed with the extra tan colour and starting from under the lip we brush some thin strokes over the edge and up to about 1/3 of the way towards the centre of the cap - It is best to have the toadstool unscrewed here, with the centre of the cap held by your thumb, and the end of the bolt held with your middle or index finger, this will allow you to spin it in your hand and not change your brushing angle.
You would do well to use a splayed brush again here, with the brush well blotted 1st to avoid pooling.
Once you've done that, do the same with the Bloodstone shade but only go about a quarter of the up and space the strokes out more, and finally do the same with the darkest shade, concentrating on the underside of the lip and barely painting the upper surface of the cap, apart from the odd stroke here and there.
Once you're reasonably happy with this, I would suggest that you paint in the base colour of the spots before you go any further
1st fix the toadstool back onto the plinth, and then base coat the spots using P3 Sanguine Base. You can always adjust the stripes a bit once you get the spots in place, but also you can decide whether you want to emphasise where the lightest part of the base is going to be, to suit the model - in my case I have made it brightest just immediately in front of where Alys will stand.
Once the spots and shades are dry, you are hopefully looking a bit like this...
Painting the spots
Right, we have the base colour on, so let's highlight them...
Mix up some reds starting from P3 Sanguine base and then up from there. I used a mix of P3 Khador Red Base and Bloodstone to give a slightly orange/brown red colour as the mid tone, Khador Red Base on it's own as a 1st highight and P3 Khador Red Highlight (which is essentially a bright orange colour!) as the final highlight.
So, I painted the mid tone over the base colour in strokes from the edge towards the centre across the whole spot, but thin enough to leave some base colour showing through on the lower edge, then the same with the 1st highlight, only painting over about 1/2 of the spot, and the last highlight over the top 1/4 of the spot.
To shade I just used some really thin GW scaly green and brushed from about 1/4 up to the bottom edge.
Finally, a glaze of the mid tone over the lot brings it all together.
You must be careful when painting the spots not to get it on the toadstool cap if at all possible, cos it is just tedious repainting where you've splashed red onto the cream part!
If you wish to adjust the shading and/or highlighting on the cap, you can carefully do this now - I would recommend using a small brush and doing small, individual stripes of the highest highlight and also of the shade colours.
Once you are happy with your tweaking, you should have a finished toadstool that looks something like this...
And that is the end of this step by step. I hope that you have enjoyed it, and I look forward to seeing lots of magic mushrooms floating around the forums soon!!