Groundwork Steps PLEASE! Im Going Crazy!!

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Groundwork Steps PLEASE! Im Going Crazy!!

Perry Lockhart
Perry Lockhart

July 31st, 2004, 11:38 pm #1

I have tried to make ground work for my doirama 5 times, each time I **** up. Either I have trouble spreading it, Its pink or red, it looks nothing like it should , ext. I have just had one of those days where you just want to give it up, awful feeling guys
Will someone, anybody, please walk me through STEP BY STEP, what paint color to use, what to mixin my celluclay, how to spread it, and everything inbetween. And please dont recommend books, I have Sheppard Paines Diorama books, and many more, I just need some serious help. Will someone put me out of my modleing misery and help me out. GOD BLESS

Perry
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James Smith
James Smith

August 1st, 2004, 4:55 am #2

...but I know a lot of modelers prefer this for some reason. I use normal plaster of paris; easy to use and manipulate and rarely cracks(unless you hit it with a hammer). I experimented with celluclay but had a lot of trouble with it myself and just found plaster easier(and less time consuming) to use. With plaster all you need is the standard thick sheet of polystyrene(boxing foam) for the main base, plaster, white glue, a handful of real dirt, water and a few spoons of brown concrete colouring. You can find this at a hardware store fairly cheap.
I mix the plaster and concrete colouring in a large bowl first until it is blended nicely(it usually still looks white at this stage). Pour in the needed amount of water(enough to make it firm, but still liquidy). Stir this until all the dry plaster and colouring is combined. The colouring makes it really brown. Pour in some white glue(helps stop cracking) and the dirt. Mix and then pour the mixture carefully over the base. If it is a large base work really fast, but if small just work fast. Spread out with a stick or whatever so it reaches right to the edges(make sure the plaster mix is about 0.5 to 1cm thick). Push in the rocks where you want them and trees also(this make them solidly joined to the base). Make sure you have worked their position out before hand. Put down a sheet of plastic wrap and push in tank tracks and the like. Pull the wrap off and allow to dry(two or three days). Remember to wipe off any spill over from the edges before it dries(or tape off the edges and pull away with the spill over on it before it dries). Once this is dry it is a simply act of gluing down static grass, bushes and whatever else you want. Dry brush and spray with a matt varnish if you want. Don't expect the first one to be perfect, practice is always necessary. But have fun. Hope this helps and ask questions if you like, James

PS:- if celluclay doesn't work for you, don't use it unless you really want to.
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Rob Bridges
Rob Bridges

August 1st, 2004, 7:21 am #3

I have tried to make ground work for my doirama 5 times, each time I **** up. Either I have trouble spreading it, Its pink or red, it looks nothing like it should , ext. I have just had one of those days where you just want to give it up, awful feeling guys
Will someone, anybody, please walk me through STEP BY STEP, what paint color to use, what to mixin my celluclay, how to spread it, and everything inbetween. And please dont recommend books, I have Sheppard Paines Diorama books, and many more, I just need some serious help. Will someone put me out of my modleing misery and help me out. GOD BLESS

Perry
Here are my steps:

1) Get Blue Bulders/Insulation Styrofoam at Lowes/Home Depot. Comes in large sheet which will last a life time. Cut with large Xacto knife to make your base. Cut and sand the base you just made to make contours/hills, fox holes etc.(don't worry if it is not perfectly smooth-it will be covered up later). You can build a wooden picture frame box and inset the styofoam into it or buy a wooden frame. Stain and varnish looks great or just paint it black. Or glue the styrofoam to a unfinished precut/presanded wooden plaque you can buy at Micheals or Hobby Lobby. With this option or if you just want to use the styrofoam as the base, you can later apply plaster of Paris with a spatula, sand it down, and paint it with well thinned flat black (with enamels: ModelMaster or Humbrol). If the plaster of Paris is still a little rough after sanding, apply some Spackle (wall repair compound-I use 3M Spakfast)with a very precise, smooth and sharp spatula-for example on small base border fo a 1/4" to 1/2" high, I use a flat Xacto Blade as a spatula. Paint black as above. Remember it is important you tape of the base and base boarders(when the paint is completely dry!) so you won't get your groundwork(and latter paint) on these borders. Use a low tack masking tape such as Tamiya's yellow tape.

2) I use Sculptamold or Das Pronto air drying clay (or both!)With Sculptamold it drys must faster than celluclay and much slower than Plaster. Mix Sculptamold with water to get a lumpy oatmeal like consistancy. Then add Elmers or wood workers glue (PVA). Exact amount is not important, but I usually add about a 1/6 to a 1/4 of the Sculptamold mix. After adding the glue, make sure the mix still has the consistancy of lumpy oatmeal-not to wet. Make sure it is not runny and that is has the lumpy oatmeal texture-if not-add more Sculptamold. You can add some cat litter, sand and sifted "garage dirt" at this point, but I like a more controlled approach and add it later. The beauty of scuptamold plain without adding the above dirt is that if left "plain" it looks like packed/real earth. Spread the sculptamold out with a Spatula on the styrofoam in a thin layer (about a 1/4" thick). After speading, use your fingers to push it around-this gives it the earth texture. Remember-spread it out-don't build it up. You can now add cat litter for larger "rocks"-press 'em in. I also usually add some dryed "twigs" and pulled apart Scothbrite sanding pads for roots(where appropriate). Planning is the key-where do you want smooth earth (roads, packed earth), earth with a lot of debris (roots, scotchbrite) and rocky earth (cat litter). Always remember you will be adding grass, trees, bushes etc. You can put the grass over any of these options, but I like to keep a few open just to show of some rocks/roots with the earth. At this point put in vehicle traks or foot prints if you wish. Use plastic wrap between the groundwork and your model.

3) Let the base dry. Get some Matt Medium at the Art Store or Michaels-dilute with a little water. Decide if or where you want fine grain dirt (sifted garage dirt). Use a small brush, apply the Matt Medium-sprinkle on the dirt-blow off the excess. Do small areas at a time and build of the effect if you wish. Planning and experimentation are the keys. Let dry again and you may want to add one more thin layer of Matt Medium.

4) Paint the earth (dry earth) with an airbrush-the whole base. Acrylic Tamiya Flat Earth (70%) and Desert Yellow (30%) is a good starting point. Next paint the individual rocks with differnet grays, sand colors and or redish browns-or leave in the Tamiya earth base coat. Let dry. Add thin washes of Oil paints-burnt umber, raw umber and black. Use thin washes and build up the effect. Use a sap green (mixed with yellow ochre) wash on some rocks or twigs(in the earth to simulate moss)Let dry completely. Drybrush with Humbrol flat earth mixed with desert yellow. Add more desert yellow until you get the effect you want. Also try mixing Humbrol dark earth with brown yellow, khaki drill or pale stone to get different effects. Drybush your painted stones (cat litter) in lighter grays or reddish browns (what ever color you paint them). Optional:You can apply a very light misting (and I mean light) with an airbrush of Tamiya Buff to blend it all together. Also works good for a dusty road.

5) Plan ahead of time where the grass grows. Many different options for grass. For Heki wildgrass or static grass use matt medium for the glue-glue it down over your painted groudwork. Plan where you want it before-this is key. Work in small areas.The tall Heki grass bordered by static grass looks good-irregularity is very important. After this grass is attached and dry, try adding some scotch brite grass (what you made your roots from), some Sweetwater Railroad scenery natural tree fibers (looks somewhat like Heki but is more irregular-can be glued like Heki-but takes patience), coconut grass, sisal twine (unraveled), hemp twine/rope (unraveled) long grasses (paint brush bristles or Woodland Scenics), dryed bedding ferns, Ming fern and your favorite dryed assortment form Micheals. I usually add this randomly in with the heki or static grass holding a clump with twissers and dipping into the matt medium. Just stick it into the Heki-it will stay! Photo etched fern fronds also look cool. Let dry and base coat all grasses Tamiya yellow green with an airbrush. Overspray with Tamiya deep green until you get the green hue you want and spray some of your individual grass clumps different greens such as Tamiya olive green,JA Green and Flat green. Mix in a little flat yellow or yellow green to get different hues. Experiment painting individual grasses or plants with Vallejo US Uniform green, Lime green and Wehrmact camo medium green (and mixes of these colors).

Dry brush your grasses with yellow green or a humbrol mix of green and trainer yellow. Add more yellow to the mix until you get the effect you want. Make sure you drybrush the static grass. Some dryed palnts can be added now and left unpainted. Find ones at Micheal's that meet your needs. Also chopped up Sweetwater natural tree fibers look good unpainted as dead grass.(Cuisenart!)

6) Use some Mig powders to make your road dusty and to blend the border between earth and grass (or drybrush). If you use the Tamiya earth mix above, Mig Normandy dust mixed with light dust will give you just the right color. Use sparingly and "grind" it into the boarder areas (between grass on earth) with an old brush. Put it very randomly and sparingly everywhere else on the earth areas-you don't want to cover up your drybrushed/painted earth.

Insert your figures (brass rod drilled into boot)coated with elmers-hole drilled in base. Plan this out way before this step!

7) Print out a sign for your diorama on your computer with a publishing program. Use thicker photo paper. I like black signs with white lettering. (it matches the black border around my groundwork) Cut out with a Xacto blade and straight edge. The nice thing about black is the cut edges are easily touched up with a black 'Sharpie" magic marker. Attach with a very thin/dry mix of white glue. Or use transparent paper, print black lettering and spray the back with whatever acrylic color you want.

Wa La- your done!

Good Luck!

RB
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Stefano Germani
Stefano Germani

August 1st, 2004, 8:59 am #4

I have tried to make ground work for my doirama 5 times, each time I **** up. Either I have trouble spreading it, Its pink or red, it looks nothing like it should , ext. I have just had one of those days where you just want to give it up, awful feeling guys
Will someone, anybody, please walk me through STEP BY STEP, what paint color to use, what to mixin my celluclay, how to spread it, and everything inbetween. And please dont recommend books, I have Sheppard Paines Diorama books, and many more, I just need some serious help. Will someone put me out of my modleing misery and help me out. GOD BLESS

Perry
I usually do what Rob does. A valid alternative to Das pronto is tile grout (any brand should do): just spread it on the base and cover it with sand, crushed cat litter etc, paint it while wet. let it dry. Add grass. Drybrush it. Le voila!
Have a go
cheers
Stefano
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Perry Lockhart
Perry Lockhart

August 1st, 2004, 8:14 pm #5

Here are my steps:

1) Get Blue Bulders/Insulation Styrofoam at Lowes/Home Depot. Comes in large sheet which will last a life time. Cut with large Xacto knife to make your base. Cut and sand the base you just made to make contours/hills, fox holes etc.(don't worry if it is not perfectly smooth-it will be covered up later). You can build a wooden picture frame box and inset the styofoam into it or buy a wooden frame. Stain and varnish looks great or just paint it black. Or glue the styrofoam to a unfinished precut/presanded wooden plaque you can buy at Micheals or Hobby Lobby. With this option or if you just want to use the styrofoam as the base, you can later apply plaster of Paris with a spatula, sand it down, and paint it with well thinned flat black (with enamels: ModelMaster or Humbrol). If the plaster of Paris is still a little rough after sanding, apply some Spackle (wall repair compound-I use 3M Spakfast)with a very precise, smooth and sharp spatula-for example on small base border fo a 1/4" to 1/2" high, I use a flat Xacto Blade as a spatula. Paint black as above. Remember it is important you tape of the base and base boarders(when the paint is completely dry!) so you won't get your groundwork(and latter paint) on these borders. Use a low tack masking tape such as Tamiya's yellow tape.

2) I use Sculptamold or Das Pronto air drying clay (or both!)With Sculptamold it drys must faster than celluclay and much slower than Plaster. Mix Sculptamold with water to get a lumpy oatmeal like consistancy. Then add Elmers or wood workers glue (PVA). Exact amount is not important, but I usually add about a 1/6 to a 1/4 of the Sculptamold mix. After adding the glue, make sure the mix still has the consistancy of lumpy oatmeal-not to wet. Make sure it is not runny and that is has the lumpy oatmeal texture-if not-add more Sculptamold. You can add some cat litter, sand and sifted "garage dirt" at this point, but I like a more controlled approach and add it later. The beauty of scuptamold plain without adding the above dirt is that if left "plain" it looks like packed/real earth. Spread the sculptamold out with a Spatula on the styrofoam in a thin layer (about a 1/4" thick). After speading, use your fingers to push it around-this gives it the earth texture. Remember-spread it out-don't build it up. You can now add cat litter for larger "rocks"-press 'em in. I also usually add some dryed "twigs" and pulled apart Scothbrite sanding pads for roots(where appropriate). Planning is the key-where do you want smooth earth (roads, packed earth), earth with a lot of debris (roots, scotchbrite) and rocky earth (cat litter). Always remember you will be adding grass, trees, bushes etc. You can put the grass over any of these options, but I like to keep a few open just to show of some rocks/roots with the earth. At this point put in vehicle traks or foot prints if you wish. Use plastic wrap between the groundwork and your model.

3) Let the base dry. Get some Matt Medium at the Art Store or Michaels-dilute with a little water. Decide if or where you want fine grain dirt (sifted garage dirt). Use a small brush, apply the Matt Medium-sprinkle on the dirt-blow off the excess. Do small areas at a time and build of the effect if you wish. Planning and experimentation are the keys. Let dry again and you may want to add one more thin layer of Matt Medium.

4) Paint the earth (dry earth) with an airbrush-the whole base. Acrylic Tamiya Flat Earth (70%) and Desert Yellow (30%) is a good starting point. Next paint the individual rocks with differnet grays, sand colors and or redish browns-or leave in the Tamiya earth base coat. Let dry. Add thin washes of Oil paints-burnt umber, raw umber and black. Use thin washes and build up the effect. Use a sap green (mixed with yellow ochre) wash on some rocks or twigs(in the earth to simulate moss)Let dry completely. Drybrush with Humbrol flat earth mixed with desert yellow. Add more desert yellow until you get the effect you want. Also try mixing Humbrol dark earth with brown yellow, khaki drill or pale stone to get different effects. Drybush your painted stones (cat litter) in lighter grays or reddish browns (what ever color you paint them). Optional:You can apply a very light misting (and I mean light) with an airbrush of Tamiya Buff to blend it all together. Also works good for a dusty road.

5) Plan ahead of time where the grass grows. Many different options for grass. For Heki wildgrass or static grass use matt medium for the glue-glue it down over your painted groudwork. Plan where you want it before-this is key. Work in small areas.The tall Heki grass bordered by static grass looks good-irregularity is very important. After this grass is attached and dry, try adding some scotch brite grass (what you made your roots from), some Sweetwater Railroad scenery natural tree fibers (looks somewhat like Heki but is more irregular-can be glued like Heki-but takes patience), coconut grass, sisal twine (unraveled), hemp twine/rope (unraveled) long grasses (paint brush bristles or Woodland Scenics), dryed bedding ferns, Ming fern and your favorite dryed assortment form Micheals. I usually add this randomly in with the heki or static grass holding a clump with twissers and dipping into the matt medium. Just stick it into the Heki-it will stay! Photo etched fern fronds also look cool. Let dry and base coat all grasses Tamiya yellow green with an airbrush. Overspray with Tamiya deep green until you get the green hue you want and spray some of your individual grass clumps different greens such as Tamiya olive green,JA Green and Flat green. Mix in a little flat yellow or yellow green to get different hues. Experiment painting individual grasses or plants with Vallejo US Uniform green, Lime green and Wehrmact camo medium green (and mixes of these colors).

Dry brush your grasses with yellow green or a humbrol mix of green and trainer yellow. Add more yellow to the mix until you get the effect you want. Make sure you drybrush the static grass. Some dryed palnts can be added now and left unpainted. Find ones at Micheal's that meet your needs. Also chopped up Sweetwater natural tree fibers look good unpainted as dead grass.(Cuisenart!)

6) Use some Mig powders to make your road dusty and to blend the border between earth and grass (or drybrush). If you use the Tamiya earth mix above, Mig Normandy dust mixed with light dust will give you just the right color. Use sparingly and "grind" it into the boarder areas (between grass on earth) with an old brush. Put it very randomly and sparingly everywhere else on the earth areas-you don't want to cover up your drybrushed/painted earth.

Insert your figures (brass rod drilled into boot)coated with elmers-hole drilled in base. Plan this out way before this step!

7) Print out a sign for your diorama on your computer with a publishing program. Use thicker photo paper. I like black signs with white lettering. (it matches the black border around my groundwork) Cut out with a Xacto blade and straight edge. The nice thing about black is the cut edges are easily touched up with a black 'Sharpie" magic marker. Attach with a very thin/dry mix of white glue. Or use transparent paper, print black lettering and spray the back with whatever acrylic color you want.

Wa La- your done!

Good Luck!

RB
Thanks so much w/ the help so far, but what is matte medium and where do you get it?

thnx,
Perry
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Rob Bridges
Rob Bridges

August 1st, 2004, 10:21 pm #6

Get it at Micheal's or Hobby Lobby-in the art department. Or at an Art Store. I use Liquidex brand in 8oz bottle-about $10.

Or use well diluted Elmer's Glue.

RB
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Mike Riedeman
Mike Riedeman

August 3rd, 2004, 2:38 pm #7

Matt Medium will work. something cheaper that I use is my wifes hair spray. Buy cheap unscented , in a pump bottle, hair spray. It will go on pretty "wet" but dries out in hours. If my wife's hair won't move your ground cover won't either ! Another way to assure that your ground cover stays put and is "flat", spray with Testors DULLCOAT. This Testors product can also be had at MICHAEL'S craft store and with there 40% off coupons (seem"s like they have their coupons every week) can be gotten cheap. HTH.
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Cliff Leverette
Cliff Leverette

August 3rd, 2004, 6:11 pm #8

Here are my steps:

1) Get Blue Bulders/Insulation Styrofoam at Lowes/Home Depot. Comes in large sheet which will last a life time. Cut with large Xacto knife to make your base. Cut and sand the base you just made to make contours/hills, fox holes etc.(don't worry if it is not perfectly smooth-it will be covered up later). You can build a wooden picture frame box and inset the styofoam into it or buy a wooden frame. Stain and varnish looks great or just paint it black. Or glue the styrofoam to a unfinished precut/presanded wooden plaque you can buy at Micheals or Hobby Lobby. With this option or if you just want to use the styrofoam as the base, you can later apply plaster of Paris with a spatula, sand it down, and paint it with well thinned flat black (with enamels: ModelMaster or Humbrol). If the plaster of Paris is still a little rough after sanding, apply some Spackle (wall repair compound-I use 3M Spakfast)with a very precise, smooth and sharp spatula-for example on small base border fo a 1/4" to 1/2" high, I use a flat Xacto Blade as a spatula. Paint black as above. Remember it is important you tape of the base and base boarders(when the paint is completely dry!) so you won't get your groundwork(and latter paint) on these borders. Use a low tack masking tape such as Tamiya's yellow tape.

2) I use Sculptamold or Das Pronto air drying clay (or both!)With Sculptamold it drys must faster than celluclay and much slower than Plaster. Mix Sculptamold with water to get a lumpy oatmeal like consistancy. Then add Elmers or wood workers glue (PVA). Exact amount is not important, but I usually add about a 1/6 to a 1/4 of the Sculptamold mix. After adding the glue, make sure the mix still has the consistancy of lumpy oatmeal-not to wet. Make sure it is not runny and that is has the lumpy oatmeal texture-if not-add more Sculptamold. You can add some cat litter, sand and sifted "garage dirt" at this point, but I like a more controlled approach and add it later. The beauty of scuptamold plain without adding the above dirt is that if left "plain" it looks like packed/real earth. Spread the sculptamold out with a Spatula on the styrofoam in a thin layer (about a 1/4" thick). After speading, use your fingers to push it around-this gives it the earth texture. Remember-spread it out-don't build it up. You can now add cat litter for larger "rocks"-press 'em in. I also usually add some dryed "twigs" and pulled apart Scothbrite sanding pads for roots(where appropriate). Planning is the key-where do you want smooth earth (roads, packed earth), earth with a lot of debris (roots, scotchbrite) and rocky earth (cat litter). Always remember you will be adding grass, trees, bushes etc. You can put the grass over any of these options, but I like to keep a few open just to show of some rocks/roots with the earth. At this point put in vehicle traks or foot prints if you wish. Use plastic wrap between the groundwork and your model.

3) Let the base dry. Get some Matt Medium at the Art Store or Michaels-dilute with a little water. Decide if or where you want fine grain dirt (sifted garage dirt). Use a small brush, apply the Matt Medium-sprinkle on the dirt-blow off the excess. Do small areas at a time and build of the effect if you wish. Planning and experimentation are the keys. Let dry again and you may want to add one more thin layer of Matt Medium.

4) Paint the earth (dry earth) with an airbrush-the whole base. Acrylic Tamiya Flat Earth (70%) and Desert Yellow (30%) is a good starting point. Next paint the individual rocks with differnet grays, sand colors and or redish browns-or leave in the Tamiya earth base coat. Let dry. Add thin washes of Oil paints-burnt umber, raw umber and black. Use thin washes and build up the effect. Use a sap green (mixed with yellow ochre) wash on some rocks or twigs(in the earth to simulate moss)Let dry completely. Drybrush with Humbrol flat earth mixed with desert yellow. Add more desert yellow until you get the effect you want. Also try mixing Humbrol dark earth with brown yellow, khaki drill or pale stone to get different effects. Drybush your painted stones (cat litter) in lighter grays or reddish browns (what ever color you paint them). Optional:You can apply a very light misting (and I mean light) with an airbrush of Tamiya Buff to blend it all together. Also works good for a dusty road.

5) Plan ahead of time where the grass grows. Many different options for grass. For Heki wildgrass or static grass use matt medium for the glue-glue it down over your painted groudwork. Plan where you want it before-this is key. Work in small areas.The tall Heki grass bordered by static grass looks good-irregularity is very important. After this grass is attached and dry, try adding some scotch brite grass (what you made your roots from), some Sweetwater Railroad scenery natural tree fibers (looks somewhat like Heki but is more irregular-can be glued like Heki-but takes patience), coconut grass, sisal twine (unraveled), hemp twine/rope (unraveled) long grasses (paint brush bristles or Woodland Scenics), dryed bedding ferns, Ming fern and your favorite dryed assortment form Micheals. I usually add this randomly in with the heki or static grass holding a clump with twissers and dipping into the matt medium. Just stick it into the Heki-it will stay! Photo etched fern fronds also look cool. Let dry and base coat all grasses Tamiya yellow green with an airbrush. Overspray with Tamiya deep green until you get the green hue you want and spray some of your individual grass clumps different greens such as Tamiya olive green,JA Green and Flat green. Mix in a little flat yellow or yellow green to get different hues. Experiment painting individual grasses or plants with Vallejo US Uniform green, Lime green and Wehrmact camo medium green (and mixes of these colors).

Dry brush your grasses with yellow green or a humbrol mix of green and trainer yellow. Add more yellow to the mix until you get the effect you want. Make sure you drybrush the static grass. Some dryed palnts can be added now and left unpainted. Find ones at Micheal's that meet your needs. Also chopped up Sweetwater natural tree fibers look good unpainted as dead grass.(Cuisenart!)

6) Use some Mig powders to make your road dusty and to blend the border between earth and grass (or drybrush). If you use the Tamiya earth mix above, Mig Normandy dust mixed with light dust will give you just the right color. Use sparingly and "grind" it into the boarder areas (between grass on earth) with an old brush. Put it very randomly and sparingly everywhere else on the earth areas-you don't want to cover up your drybrushed/painted earth.

Insert your figures (brass rod drilled into boot)coated with elmers-hole drilled in base. Plan this out way before this step!

7) Print out a sign for your diorama on your computer with a publishing program. Use thicker photo paper. I like black signs with white lettering. (it matches the black border around my groundwork) Cut out with a Xacto blade and straight edge. The nice thing about black is the cut edges are easily touched up with a black 'Sharpie" magic marker. Attach with a very thin/dry mix of white glue. Or use transparent paper, print black lettering and spray the back with whatever acrylic color you want.

Wa La- your done!

Good Luck!

RB
I always bake my sifted dirt in a low temperature (350 degrees f) for a few hours. This dryes the dirt out, makes it easy to sift and kills kills some bacteria. If you are a real stickler for using clean dirt, pop this in the microwave after slow baking and nuke it on high for a couple of minutes or shorter. That will almost sterilize it. Apart from the fact that it's dirt, it's pretty clean.
I feel pretty stupid baking dirt, so I wait until noone is around and bake enough to keep me in dirt for several dioramas. My wife found my dirt stash and asked what it was, said she was throwing it out because I could always get dirt. I stopped her, telling her that it was really special dirt (actually it was cause I had to sift through the clay we call dirt and get rid of the clay. She looked at me pretty funny, one of those looks that makes a man feel like a little boy, but we have stayed married.
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Perry Lockhart
Perry Lockhart

August 3rd, 2004, 8:32 pm #9

Thats funny, Im still smiling :)) I really like your way of doing it, but could you explain all your steps for me? Do you mix the clean dirt with sculpt a mold or celluclay and paint it after it dries? And then glue the grass on and paint it? I also heard that hemp rope works well for grass. Is that true? Thanks alot guys!

Perry
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Cliff Leverette
Cliff Leverette

August 3rd, 2004, 9:56 pm #10

Hi Perry,
I have been using a bag of Hudson and Allen ground mixture which is about the same as paper mache. I mix with dry tempra paint, a dustless variety, and when this is almost dry, I sprinkle my precious dirt on it so that it becomes damp, but not wet. When this drys, I can get rid of the excess, and then I start gluing grass down using white glue. HOWEVER, if I can, I don't glue grass to real dirt as it can have poor adherance. But sometimes this can't be helped. For instance, if you want to do a dirt road that has grass growing in the middle and on the sides and you want the line between dirt and grass to be "blurred" to avoid a hard line between dirt and grass.

I am still working on my technique and I am soon going to start using a different paper mache, simply because it is cheaper than the Hudson and Allen brand.

I also use the foam that florists use rather than styrefoam, which I used to use. It lets me carve much better because rather than being made up of cells, it is more of a relatively weak structure filled with tiny holes. It is also easy to push items into if you want to add a tree, fence post, etc, later. This is strudy, with the foam and paper mache, but not as durable when handling as styrefoam covered with vinyle spacling paste.

Why not simply do a diorama base without being concerned with design or models to go with it, sort of a groundwork diorama, where you can be free to experiement with techniques? Take a look at this site for simple ground work that is very effective: http://www.guntruck.com/ and also look at Steve Zolaga's comments concerning his groundwork on todays' Allied Discussion Group main page.

I don't exibit or photograph my work, but I really enjoy doing it. The most recent dio I did was a partially burned Panther that is draped with telephone wire, sitting in a field near a hedgerow. In the dio I had to cover 90 percent of the base with field grass (Model railroad supply) and it took me several days to complete the grass part. There is no dirt showing, except on the side of the hedgerow under some roots where erosion was taking place and the point was to add it without making it stand out, so it gets lost, and that's good.

Glad you enjoyed the dirt on dirt.
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