A Bit of Pre-Crisis Gardening

Well, more yards than gardens if I am honest. I laid out the table yesterday in order to see what was required and immediately spotted a major blunder. I had completely forgotten the build and paint the village garage which would create a bit of off-high-street interest. In fact, not only had I forgotten to build and paint it, I’d forgotten to but the damned thing too! A quick phone call to Martin at Warbases was made, “Can you send me a kit post haste?” was the plea. Being a true gent, Martin came to the rescue in style. He has such a model already painted and would be happy to bring it to Antwerp for me to use. Superstar. He gave me the measurements and I plotted it on the table. Phew!
Next I looked for green spaces. By which I mean green spaces where it shouldn’t be green. So that’s back yards and the garage “forecourt”. What I had decided on was to knock up some flat areas with a few eye catching bits on them which would break the monotony of the perpetual green which one can find on wargames tables. I planned to bring along all sorts of bits of scatted with which to “dress” the table, but these areas of heavy footfall would improve the overall visual feel.
I used 3mm MDF for the bases. I cut these out with a saw and then clip the corners to round them off, after which I sand them down to get a clean finish. One base was to be two small rear gardens divided by a fence and with washing line in one. While doing this I also made a fence out of coffee stirrers and a couple of short bits of balsa in my bits box.
2014-10-28 13.53.10The other was the rear yard to Le Flammant Rose, so I thought a simple dog kennel and I could then add some barrels or other bits as desired on the day. I ran up a quick kennel out of artists mounting board like so:
2014-10-28 14.07.46This I then stuck together with a hot glue gun and shoved it on the base.
2014-10-28 14.15.50My old mate Sidney has created some beautiful small structures like this by applying green stuff to the outside and then carving wood grain onto the model. I truly couldn’t be bothered, so any detail will be painted on.
Next was the garage forecourt. The garage is set back, so this are will meet the high street, so I really wanted to give the feel of a provincial establishment. I fancied some petrol pumps so I used a couple of old batteries, topped them with two spare plastic figure bases and then created the hose with paper clips. There was a bucket in the Tamiya 1:48th set which I had purchased for pimping up the Panzer IVs, so one pump is clearly leaking and its delivery end kept in that. I found a couple of spare wheels in my bits box and a large sign, more of which later.
2014-10-28 13.51.07So, with the basic designs done, I added my basing material.
2014-10-28 14.18.41Several people have contacted me and asked what I use for basing and how I paint them. The basis of my basing material is Sharp Sand. I like it as it contains all sorts of different size small stones. To that I add a spoonful of the various model railway rocks and grit that I have picked up over the years. What I do not want is something which looks like the Giants Causeway, but I do want some texture to add visual variety. This mix I apply using PVA glue, thus:
2014-10-28 14.18.41It is absolutely vital here to remember that thus applied them sand will simply fall off at the earliest opportunity. When that is dry I apply a second wash of PVA, this time thinned to about 50% consistency with water. When this dries the base is almost rock solid and the stuff is well and truly stuck.
When that is dry I spray the whole thing black with matt car paint. You can see here that I have then added a sign I painted with a hot glue gun and then added more basing material to hide the joins.
2014-10-28 16.58.26With that dry (it takes a while) my standard base painting process occurs. I paint the base with Acrylic Raw Umber from Daler Rowney (code 247).
2014-10-28 16.59.07I let that dry, again a slow process which can be accelerated in the over, but DO NOT EVER PUT BATTERIES IN THE OVEN if using them for such daft purposes. They will explode and kill you and 90% of people in the neighbourhood. Try explaining that to the wife.
Once that is dry, I dry-brush on Vallejo Khaki…
2014-10-28 17.03.44…then a lesser dry-brush of Vallejo Stone Grey…
2014-10-28 17.05.26…then a final light dry-brush of white over areas with heavy traffic, or where there are some nice large stones which will look better picked out. Voila.
2014-10-28 17.07.00After that, and it is a process of minutes, I add the static grass. I mix my own with all sorts of odds and ends in there. I base it on an autumn or winter meadow grass as that has a nice mix of colours in there, but I add some other colours until I get the feel I am looking for. I then add in a few small rocks (VERY small) leaves and small bits of floral material, but in such small quantities that it’s a bit like the sixpence in the pudding: it’s a novelty to get one.
To apply this is use PVA, tapping small dots on the area I want covered. If you put a dot the size of a pea you’ll get a clump twice as big, so I go small at this stage. I then shake the box full of grass up (I keep mine in an old ice cream tub) and then dip the base in and give it a gentle shake.
2014-10-28 17.11.15With that done I can add some more detail. Sid suggested to me that making some of the bases potential objectives would be a good idea. “You know” he said “the type of things that people would want to capture”. Well, looking at the recent transcripts from St Albans Magistrates Court, it seemed clear that for Sidney a washing line full of “unmentionables” would be perfect!
2014-10-28 17.18.39Finally the garage forecourt was done. I painted the petrol pumps with PVA glue to give the paint something to key onto, so the black undercoat was firmly in place. I robbed some typres from some of the random unused models I had kicking around and stuck these in piles with PVA glue. After the gig I can soak that off and put them back in place. 2014-10-28 13.15.57A couple of cart wheels from the spares box completed the ensemble.
2014-10-29 08.22.402014-10-29 08.22.55And that is that. The build is complete, so today is going to be dedicated to sorting out stock and generally packing up all of the toys. We’ll report on the show after the weekend.


5 thoughts on “A Bit of Pre-Crisis Gardening”

  1. Those petrol pumps look fantastic (although you could have used them to light something up as well)
    You could use the dog from the free figure at Salute for Sidney? Mine has gained a british helmet in case of air raids and might be used as a tank commander for one of my Churchills.

  2. Beautiful, plenty of tips here for future builds , thanks Rich. A hair dryer will replace the oven on safety grounds. Brut , was,nt that the after shave you favoured in Belfast last year ?

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