For scenes like this I like to build a solid cored base that will be created separately from the decorative wood base. To that end I created a paper template that would mimic the cylindrical shape of the base and used it to cut layers of balsa that I used for the back of the core. To the front of this I attached pieces of basswood to create the outside face of the hill fort. All of the basswood was distressed using a steel wire brush. this gives an aged rough hewn look to the wood that will weather well under the painting process.
Once the wall face was complete I began to use scrap pieces of balsa to build up the core of the groundwork. This will save me a lot of putty in the long run and help me build up the groundwork to properly stage the figures as I had originally envisioned. I also trimmed the sides of the wall straight and softly rounded the edges to conform to the cylindrical shape I am working with.
I periodically placed the figures on the balsa core to test for the best placement. This is a very important step in keeping the staging under control.
I began to skin the balsa and basswood core at this stage in plastic sheet. I started by using my paper template to cut out a plastic circle that would fit in the hollow of the oak base. This sheet was glued to the bottom of the core with 5-minute epoxy. I then wrapped the core with a sheet of paper and marked out the outline of the core, cutting a template that was used to mark out a sheet of plastic to wrap the back and sides. Once cut and test fit, this sheet was curled around a wooden dowel until it held the cylindrical shape of the core. This wrap was now glued to the core, again with 5-minute epoxy. Once the glue cured, I trimmed the plastic around the outline of the wall. Please note that I left the area around the rocks and earth untrimmed. This will be completed once the groundwork is sculpted.
Now I created a walkway on the back of the base with strips of basswood and sanded the edges to conform to the shape of the plastic cylinder.
In the next post I will begin to create the groundwork on the front of the base using A+B Epoxy Putty. I will also continue to add details to the walls and walkway.