Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kraag for a King - part three

This is part three of a multi-part series on the building of a mountain fortress or Kraag for the (soon to be) Great Martian King Antevaxx. The previous part, two point five, is here and the first article in the series is here.

 Where we left off:

I decided to live with the blobbiness as it gives an organic look much like a mud dauber wasp nest. I needed some household repair items so while at the hardware store, I picked up another can of foam and some primer. I built on what was already done and ended up with the picture above. 

Note that this is low expansion foam designed to fill gaps of about an inch / 2.5 cm. There are higher expansion foams available but I can't see using them for this kind of project - they would expand far too much. I had some foam left in the can so used it to make some random shapes and other terrain bits. I'll cover those another time.

So with the base complete, I gave the whole thing a shot of primer. Expanding foams can be very sensitive to UV light and will decompose into a crumbly mess. Given the pallor of the average gamer (myself included) UV exposure should not be a problem but one never knows. The primer I used was the same enamel based one I use for metal figures but the store was out of grey and I had to buy white.  After application, the primer stayed tacky for a good 24 hours. I was a bit concerned that being oil based it was eating the foam but in the end it dried properly. I have since used the primer on metal figures with the same result. It seems this particular batch just takes a while to dry. For future foam projects, I will look for an acrylic primer just to be sure.

I was happy with the general form of the Kraag, but the texture was too smooth for my liking. In the space 1889 canon, Mars is depicted as having once had a high level of technology but now is slowly degrading into barbarism. One of the technologies lost was the ability to fuse sand and soil into a strong glass like building material. So, building off the blobbiness of the foam, I wondered what such a material would look like after being blasted by wind driven sand and dust and studied various images of weathered glass and ceramic. Or - I needed some cheap texturing materials for my minis and figured I would use the same on the Kraag. I decided to go with a sand based texture and again while picking up home repair supplies, grabbed 66 lbs / 30 kg of sand for about $6.  

For the first pass, I used a brush to apply a 50% mix of PVA and water to an area of the foam. Then I spread sand over the wetted area and shook off the excess. This process was repeated until the whole Kraag was covered.

As you can see the results were patchy but promising. The PVA mix tends to run off the high spots giving nothing for the sand to stick to.  I let this first phase dry while I had a think. Digging around the gardening supplies, I found an old plant sprayer. I loaded this up with the PVA mix and went back over the Kraag. Then I laid down more sand, the end results shown in the pictures below.

The Big Picture
Up Close
The spray method worked much better. There are still a few bare spots but I think I will leave these as less worn areas. The surface is a little fragile yet and may need another application of PVA. Be sure to clean the sprayer well after use or the internal gubbins will be glued solid by the PVA. I am very happy with the work so far and Antevaxx will be by to inspect once everything has dried up. The next step will be to apply some colour washes over the sand.

1 comment:

Herne said...

This is looking great Pat! =)