August 7, 2015

Tutorial: Swamp Terrain Part 1

Welcome back!

I've been so busy with work, Pathfinder and Warmahordes I've had problems with finding more time to do this tutorial. But finally, here it is... Part 1 that is.

Ok, first things first, the stuff we need to make swamps (well, some of the things, but this is for the first part).

  • Foam Core, the core of most terrain pieces! I used 5mm foam core I had lying around for years now.
  • White Hobby Glue, you know... the gluey kind.
  • Spackle or Filler, I used wallfiller I had lying around. Any kind will do, especially the cheap stuff.
  • Sand, to pretty it up a bit. I used bird sand, I think it has a nice texture to it.
  • A cutting mat or board, you do not want to ruin your table.
  • Stanley knife or exact-o blade, other brands will do fine!
  • Popsicle stick, I got loads thanks to summer.
A nice picture for reference!

First things first! Take the foam core and your blade and cut it into a round-ish shape. Make it look natural with some curvature. Easy enough. Just don't cut your fingers, fingers bleed like pigs and the blood WILL go everywhere. 

 Nice and easy!

 Keep cutting those foam core sheets!

Good job at cutting those sheets, champ! The next step is a little trick I learned from the model train builders. You can choose to make this the first step, it doesn't really matter.
It's time to remove the paper from one side of the sheet. It's really easy, but one of the best tips I've learned: Run some hot water, the hotter the better. Take your sheet and let the water run over the top. Make sure the hot water dissolves all the glue that holds the paper and the foam together. It should take a couple of seconds. You don't have to soak it, just heat it up a bit. Then peel it off.
I suppose it's even easier when you have a heat gun. Just blast the paper and peel it off.

*I've had a little problem removing the paper from very old foam core, so beware of that.

Scissors don't beat paper, hot water does!

Next step! Bevel the edges! Just take your sharp knife and cut in a 45° angle around the edges. This shouldn't take very long. Don't worry about mistakes like small holes dull blades make, we're gonna fix them in a later step.

No more sharp edges or corners, sweet!

The next step is the least fun. Well, the way I do it is just shit. Let me know if you find a better way, because you probably will.
I take my fingernails and pluck out the inner part of the foam. I leave a ring of foam around the edge of the sheet. Make sure you do not destroy the paper on the other side of the sheet. It doesn't take long though.
 When you do a lot of these like this, it will hurt your thumb. You have been warned.

Make sure you keep a ring of foam.

Now back to the fun part! I use filler for this part. It looks tasty but its not food. Believe me.
Take a popsicle stick, scoop up some filler and 'splotch' it in the corners and rough ugliness you made with your fingernails. Sure, you can keep some holes in there, but this will make everything look a little bit smoother.
I promise you its not goat cheese!

Work it in with that pop-stick! 

It should look like this when you're done.

And hey presto! We've got a nice base to work from! Let the filler dry, it shouldn't take that long.
This is the last step of this tutorial. Make sure to follow me for Part 2!


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