How to make parched desert soil?

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How to make parched desert soil?

Brad Thompson
Brad Thompson

December 12th, 2002, 3:38 pm #1

Speaking of deserts, does anyone know of a good method of producing that cracked desert earth surface, like you'd find in Death Valley? I'm thinking of the deep intertwined cracks that you'd find in a place that hadn't seen rain in months and months, and had been tortured by a relentless sun.

For what it's worth, I work in 1/24 scale, but I'm sure that 1/35 methods would transfer pretty well.

Any ideas, desert experts?
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Joined: May 26th, 2002, 1:25 am

December 13th, 2002, 12:12 am #2

Gday,

I was pratting about recently trying to make a realistic looking bomb crater. On one I had a bit of an unexpected result that may be of some use to you.

I was shaping the craters out of a wet sand / white glue mixture. I let that set 90% of the way they sprinkled on a thick layer of bentonite ( almost the same as cat litter thats been pestle and mortared ). Waited a couple of hours and then shook it out gently. There was still a lot of powder but it looked good so I airbrushed a very thin water, white glue and brown gauche over the whole thing. I left that to set and when I came back it had completely crazed looked absolutely spot on for a dried up desert crater. The crazing had even taken the shapes from the crater walls. Now I screwed up at this point and decided to try a dry brush of a sandy colour over it. Sadly the gauche in the mixture wasn't fully set and I ended up with a mess on my hands :P. Now if I'd left it to dry for another day and then sealed it with either glue or a varnish I think it could have taken the dry brush.

I reckon that what happened was that the water was bieng absorbed into the powder causing it to clump and the white glue and gauche were "skinning" the way tube acryllics do.

HTH

Tony
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Brad Thompson
Brad Thompson

December 13th, 2002, 6:35 pm #3

Wow - I never would have thought of that. I think I have something to try this weekend. Thanks.
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Joined: April 17th, 2002, 10:01 pm

December 18th, 2002, 7:55 pm #4

Speaking of deserts, does anyone know of a good method of producing that cracked desert earth surface, like you'd find in Death Valley? I'm thinking of the deep intertwined cracks that you'd find in a place that hadn't seen rain in months and months, and had been tortured by a relentless sun.

For what it's worth, I work in 1/24 scale, but I'm sure that 1/35 methods would transfer pretty well.

Any ideas, desert experts?
A thick application (about 1/8inch) of sheetrock mud or textured paint baked in a warm oven will shrink and crack and leave a very realistic "rough terrain" appearance. Sprinkle tile grout over it for the sand effect and you have a very nice desert drylake.
Les White
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