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Getting Your Just Deserts

This post is a bit of a two for one special offer this week. Firstly we have a rather large selection of photos of my finished desert board including a few with the 8th Army boys from before. The second part is a step by step of how I made the trees/scatter pieces for said board. If you want to get straight to the step by step feel free to just skip to the end.

So here come the pictures. The buildings I got from Timeline Miniatures and the earthworks I picked up from Red Dragon Gaming. The trees/scatter were scratch built as I'll show below.

Tree Scatter Tutorial

Now for the tutorial/explanation for the scatter pieces. I do have to state right out the gate that I've not really done anything like this before and I was kinda making it up as I went. Which, seeing how they turned out, is probably the best bit of advice I can share from this. Just give it a go and see what happens, even if it goes a little wrong it can always be fixed or adapted. As Bob Ross so rightly said, there are no mistakes, just happy accidents.

Right, step one. I found some 2/3mm plywood in the shed that I had thought would be useful to keep. Turns out I was right and it seems to make a good base. Since I didn't really know how big anything was going to get, I kept the wood whole and just cut around it afterwards. So I picked up some cheap air dry clay from the local hobby/craft shop for about £4 and a bunch of stones from the garden. The trees I found on ebay and it cost me less than £5 for 28, including postage. I think they are intended for aquariums and came in rather plain brown and green plastic and needed a little clean up first. As for fixing it all together the stones and trees were either molded into the clay or smothered in PVA and hope. A few bits fell off later but they just got more PVA glue and left overnight to dry properly.

Once I had finished all the pieces the clay needed a few days to dry out properly before I could do anything further. After it had all dried (I left it for 6 days just because thats how my shifts run) I marked out the bases and got to cutting them out with a stanley knife. This is the bit where you really should get some adult supervision. Then I sanded down the rough edges to get them nice, neat and rounded. 

The next stage was to smother everything in PVA and modelling sand for texture. Once it has dried properly everything got a thinned down PVA layer to seal in the sand, stone, and any bare wood ready for painting. 

Painting was mostly a simple affair, layers of dry brushing our pre-mixed desert board colours, with a little tonal variation (Ding!) in the rocks. The tree trunks got a base coat and drybrush of various browns. I can't actually remember which ones now, but I was looking up some reference photos online to get the colours and picked the closest matches I had.

The leafs were spray painted using a Humbrol Grass Green paint from a rattle can for ease. I stuck a match stick in the hole of each leaf cluster to make it easier to work with. Then the leaves got a yellow/green over brushing on the outside edges of the leaf. You can also see here why they call me Doctor Green Thumb.

Once everything was dry and set, just needed to stick the leaf clusters back on and we're all done and ready for the table.