Saturday, January 28, 2012

Roman Heavy Infantry - Groundwork

The focus of this post is the groundwork for my two heavy Roman Infantrymen. The scene of this battle is set in what is known today as Ceylanpinar Turkey, on the border with Syria. The land is arid, dirt and scrub land. I began to build my groundwork with Apoxie Sculpt after putting toothpicks in the holes drilled previously for the pegged feet of the figures. After initial rough shaping the toothpicks were removed and the feet of the figures were pressed into the putty to locate. I always dip the feet in water first, in order to ensure they will not stick to or lift the putty.

Once dry I added more putty to further finalize the desired shape. Some surface detail was worked into the putty while wet using various tools at hand. I rolled the surface of rocky areas with a toothpick that had bits of dried putty attached. This rough surface helped bring out a rough rocky look to certain areas. I also work some areas with a bit of broken balsa wood which also creates that rocky effect. I constantly test fit the figures to make sure I haven't lost a tight and natural connection between the feet and ground.

After everything has thoroughly cured I began shaping with my Dremel tool, using various grinding bits. This further shapes the surface and helps develop sharper rocky surfaces in scale with the figures. This can either be subtle as on this base or more dramatic as seen in many of my previous projects. The photos below show the groundwork after all the putty work was completed.

The next step was to apply a scattered coat of very fine sand to the surface of the putty. This is attached using a 50/50 mix of waterproof Elmer's wood glue and water. The thinned glue dries quickly and being waterproof, will be impervious to any paint or additional products that will be applied later. The scrub grass is the usual mix of model railroad static grass and some of the finer bits of leaf seed material that I collect from my White Birch each spring. This is all attached with the same glue/water mix. After I have primed the surface I will apply one or two of those wonderful little Fredericus-Rex tufts of grass to vary the scrub.

The groundwork is at this point complete. Prior to priming I may add a few small rocks here or there to add a bit more variety to the surface. I will also be inserting some fine brass wire to replicate the shafts of arrows stuck in the ground. Paper fletching feathers will be applied prior to priming. This is a battle and the arrows are an important part of the story.

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