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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIP I Could Use A Little Help

Currently I'm working on what will be a rather large project that will require a lot of figures and a lot of terrain building.  And before I get too deeply into this thing, I could use a little advice.


I just built and painted this barn scene using Styrofoam and stirring sticks that I nicked from a coffee shop that shall remain nameless.  I used a weathering technique that I picked up from Thanos when he did a tutorial on building and painting fences but mine didn't turn out as well as his did, but I gave it a go!   Now I have only done that on the red part of the barn, the white's need doing yet.  Can anyone give me some tips on how to make this look better.

I'm also having a devil of a time using flocking and undergrowth. I've never done it before and these little "bushes" look horrid.  If anyone knows of a quick tutorial that would help me with the basics of building things up using these materials I would be grateful.


I'm painting my first figures from Foundry and I love them. They are charming and have so much character. Clearly she is not done yet, but before I finish, I'd like some input on how she's looking now. I freehanded the flowers on her skirt as I want to begin doing more and more of that on my figures in future.


This will be her husband and they both come from the Victoriana collection farmworkers pack. With these figures I have to do something I haven't had to do much of and that is drybrushing. I'm not very confident with the technique yet and could use constructive criticism before I finish the figure off.


This is a picture to show scale. The Dark Sword miniatures run between 30-32mm while the Foundry figures are 28mm.  The difference in scale combined with the difference in sculpt require differences in brushwork and I'm trying to cope with that right now.

I'm posting these on Friday as the first installment of my new story so there's still time for me to improve them. And if I can make it work, I'll be posting my first 'conversion' of sorts on Friday as well.

This is posting at 3:00 a.m. my time so I'm going to grab some shut-eye and come back in a few hours to comment on peoples blogs and to deal with replies.  Thank you.



69 comments:

  1. If I had helpful words of wisdom to share, you know I would, but I have none. They look pretty great to me! Not that my opinion means much since I have no serious technical knowledge!

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    1. Thank you Mel, any encouragement helps when I'm doing something I'm not sure of. And with the kind of talent that's around here, it can be intimidating just to post something like this.

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    2. Any time you are in need of some encouragement, you know where to find me! And I really do think you do an amazing job on all of the things you post!!xx

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  2. For a quick answer. All looks very good! For me the following page is always interresting and inspiring: http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.de/2009/10/tutorial-overview.html. There are several tutorials available. Later I will go through my link list and will have a look, whether I can find more information for you.
    Regards
    Bruno

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    1. Thank you Bruno. I just visited the site and they've got some really useful tutorials and they have a great sense of humor as well. I've bookmarked the page and will go through it later today.

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  3. I think the models themselves are coming along great! Especially the skin tones, and the flowers on the dress look good.

    Concerning the diorama, I would look for Woodland Scenics basing materials. - http://www.maelstromgames.co.uk/index.php?act=cat&cre=hob-wsc-lsc - For an example. I think the biggest thing here with the scene is that the parts used don't look realistic? The plant on the right looks plastic, while the one on the left looks more real. The grass looks more like that used on a Baseball pitch in the US, instead of what you would see growing freely around a barn. Not wild enough.

    Barn looks great though, and once the struts get painted white, I think it will look fantastic. Maybe a bit of brown or very diluted black could be used to tone down the red a bit, but even that might not be needed.

    Looking forward to the finished product, and hope the above helps more than hinders..

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    1. I bookmarked the site and will look through their catalog later. The unnatural look of it is bothering me and the clumsy execution is a problem. Getting this part right is going to take some playing around with. I haven't gone so far with it that I can't still make major changes to it. I'm going to try adding some things from around the yard and see how that looks.

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  4. I think you've done a fine job on the barn. As for the white, you could always paint it grey then drybrush off-white or white, that will give it an aged weathered look. Love the flowers on the dress, that's excellent work!
    I'm not quite sure what you mean when you said
    "The difference in scale combined with the difference in sculpt require differences in brushwork and I'm trying to cope with that right now."
    It shouldn't make any difference to the way you paint the figures??

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    1. I'm still a beginner and differences can throw me a loop. I rarely dry brush on a Dark Sword mini because there are deep enough grooves for me to damp brush very carefully instead and avoid dry brushing entirely. Also there is not as much detail "built in" to these figures. I had to create cheekbones where there were none. Her jaw is really very square and masculine so I had to use trick of the light painting to soften the jaw and make it appear as if it tapered gently into a delicate chin. And with less room to maneuver I had to have better brush control.









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  5. I must admit I love foundry figures, the flowers on the dress are excellent and for once I have to agree with Ray about the scale, I have started painting 15mm and the difference in painting from my 28mm days is dramatic but eventually you get used to it an adapt!

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    1. I love the whole Victorianna line. They've got these bobbies on bicycles that are aces and I want those. They've also got these really killer little orclings that I have to have. The orclings are the first thing that I'm getting when the ban on spending has been lifted!

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  6. A cheap way to improve your basing is to use real herbs, twigs, roots...Once in a while, I'd go in a forest and collect lots of bits and pieces and let them dry. YOu can then break them up and mix them with PVA glue, it will give you a nice texture. You can them paint them and use some more (unpainted) to decorate, mixed with various products available online (flowers, flocking grass etc...).

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    1. I've used spices on bases and they worked well. This is a bigger piece and I wanted to try out some of the things the military gamers use for a change. I think a mixture of both will work better on a project like this. I've got plenty of trees, twigs, gravel and such around the yard that I can gather up today and try out.

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  7. I really like the foundry woman- the dress looks good, but especially impressed with the face, you're getting good fast.

    A thin, mid-brown wash over the white accent boards on the barn would be good, then can bring it back up with an off-white, but 'damp brushing'.. think of it like dry brushing, but with 'damp' brush, as a mid way between normal wet & dry brushing, this can give it some texture like wood grain. could add some brown into your red if the barn isn't weathered enough for you- starting out with red that isn't bright would make it easier to weather.

    for the ground work, one thing that would help is more of a variety in textures and colors.

    woodland scenics sell a lot of different dry textures and vallejo sell a lot of textured pastes (can also get some from liquitext at art stores like Michael's).

    putting on a layer of textured paste in the path to the barn would make it look more muddy and trodden, adding both fine and medium ballast texture (apply glue, sprinkle on the ballast) with some patches of coarser and finer around it, gives more variety of earth. use the same concept for the grass but with colors too. some patches of green, some areas of more dried yellow, and add static grass patches so that you get variety of heights. they also sell large clump foliage, which can make good bushes- the best bet is to use many colors & levels of textures in any of these things, and it will turn out more natural looking. You can also make bushes by taking an old brillo pad, cut it, spray it if it's an odd color, dip in glue and then granulated sponge flock- a couple hues of color is best.

    aquarium plants tend to look more natural for jungle than temperate. companies like woodland scenics do sell tree armatures, but I find a few sticks from the yard, with flock or lichen make nice trees, and cheaper too.

    getting a couple grades of ballast, couple colors of flocking, static grass, texture pastes, etc- can be a bit of money,but they do last for a very long time- lots of life in them once you have them.

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    1. Thank you so much for that Ferret. I bought a brillo pad that has a green top to it and considered pulling bits of it out and using it. Now that I have some flocking I'll try mixing the two together. I didn't even know textured pastes existed. The only think I have is plaster and that's because I have plaster walls and have had to do some patching. I'll look at the Vajello. I have to drive at least 45 minutes to get to a hobby store from where I live and that's become a big problem. With the Hubby like he is, I can't leave him alone for that long and I can't really expect him to sit in a car for that long, so once a month is about all I get to go places. Makes it tough buying online because you can't hold the stuff in your hands and know what to do with it. I'll try layering this up like you said and see how that works out. I've gone minimal so far to allow me room to make changes. I'm going to haul those plastic trees out of there and get some twigs and experiment with those.

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  8. Well I thnk you have a cheak, first off running a long standing painter so very close in your chalange then aking for elp when you have painted such good looking minis. Oh you naughty girl!!!!

    Joking aside I really like the look of the figures. I really like the flower pattern, not sure I could carry it as well as you have! I would say though that if you have the colour to match the dress, removethat one errant yellow pettle as it is the only blemish on a good looking mini.

    As for the scenery I echo Woodland Senics, tough don't use the link to a UK supplier get it from the US direct. I would use miniNatur tufts and in that scale go for the long ones. Tall prairie tufts (I use early fall) but a mix of early and late work best. That is a German company but US suppliers are about.

    Barn itself, the red could be toned down but it's not needed but taste wise I would a litle. The joints of the wood could have been better which would add to the real effect. I think I would stain them with either inks or drop them into cold tea to soak a few hours remove and leave to dry. Then add some off white for the really faded effect. Obviously now it's attached I would use the method above with the greys followed by off white/ivory onto a bit of white.

    Dry brushing. WARNING. Use old knackered or cheaper brushes for the job as by default it screws them up. Match the brush used to the area you want to cover (works with senics and models the same).

    I don't think you realise how far youhave come in the short time you have taken up the journey. I can imagine the odd painter throwing their brushes away in disgust and dismay all over the world ;-)

    Ian

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    1. Thank you Ian. That's a brilliant idea with the cold tea. The coffee stirrers have an unnatural wood look to them and that would help to get rid of that. I'm having a serious problem with getting my edges tidy and getting joists lined up properly. One of my problems is that I don't have anything that will give me a clean cut and I don't have clamps to hold pieces steady when I cut them. Some of this is due to me being in a hurry and not taking the time to be careful enough. That's going to be like learning brush control. All those little mistakes really show up when you shoot macro too.

      I learned the hard way on the dry brushing. I'm on my second set of brushes because of it. I bought some cheap brushes and have about two out of that batch that will work for dry brushing. That's been a tough technique for me to master so far.

      There's so much talent around here that I can get discouraged pretty easily by comparing myself to experienced peoples work. But I won't give up, I'll just keep at it until I get better.

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    2. Anne no need to get discouraged as yourvwork is well above the average out there (you tend to see only the better stuff). also you are right about the macro pulling up stuff you don't see before. I want to get a daylight strip light as that makes evrything seem much clearer but it's £50-70 a pop so a lot to spend given the amount of lead you can get for that amount. If you lay out your wood bits flat on the table you will see what matches up. Also very cheap is balsa wood which is very easy to cut and shape so once you have a bit spare you could get a little bit for about $1-2 I expect and that would last a good amount of time.

      Your work is good and the speed it is improving is amazing, you hit in on the head though, rushing and impatience will spoil your work

      Ian

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    3. Next time I make it out to the hobby store I'm going to pick up some balsa wood. I made planes with it as a little girl and I remember how easy it was to work with. I'm hoping I can make cleaner cuts with it.

      Right now I'm working on several pieces all at once and I'm really excited so I'm getting sloppy with the buildings. I have to find a way to slow myself down.

      I think the same way. If I can buy 10 mini's for the same price as a tool, I go with the 10 minis.

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  9. I can't wait to read your story Anne. I have to admit that I know nothing at all about this kind of thing and I feel guilty about that but really I see few problems with the model in general, it looks awesome and it looks like you're getting better and better at perfecting your hobby.

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    1. You're in this story Matthew. You come in on the second installment.

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  10. Anne, you've already had some good advice so I won't go over ground that's already been covered.
    For the bushes rather than using the lichen, I'd suggest tearing up the sponge part of a kitchen scourer, soak in PVA/white glue and then dunking into "foliage" flock.
    You're certainly coming along very well in the short time you've been doing this.

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    1. Thank you Tamisin. I'll try that with the sponge today. And I'm going to try to make my own trees as well. I think that same idea could be applied to making clumps of leaves on the branches. I took your advice on the coffee stirrers and I'm glad I did, those things are going to see some use.

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  11. Hi, You can always brush the stirrers you use with a steel brush along the length of the stirrer. That way you create a natural look and more detail when drybrushing. You can also shave of the sides of the stirrer with a stanley knife to create a more weathered look.

    Cheers and good luck!

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    1. Thank you for that. I've been really bothered by the unnatural look of the wood and wondering how to introduce the idea of a real wood grain using just paints. I'm going to be making an interior that has wooden floors and I'll try this when I do it.

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  12. Very nice modeling, Anne. Your creativeness is definitely showing-off! And I can smell the rosemary from here.

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    1. I'm going to be breaking out the parsley here in a few minutes. The color and texture of it will be better than what I'm using now I think.

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  13. I love the white parts on the red building, darling, I wouldn't touch it anymore, leave it like that, it's has a lovely balance of colours. It's not good when you put too many nonmatching shades together, it's better like this! Love the plants too!

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    1. You know when you see these barns in the distance in a field they look brilliant red and the white stands out in a great contrast. But when you get up close you can see the effects of time and weather. I'm going to be shooting in macro so I'll have to weather it for it to look like the real thing. But if you stand away from it, it will look as bright red and clear white as a barn in a field seen from the road.

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  14. I have no clue Miss Anne but I like what you do.

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  15. I have no words of wisdom to offer - all I see is a more fine work. I must say, the figure on the right is just dead sexy! Devin and I looked at your challenge pictures last night and he was very, very impressed with your work and with Ray's work too. He also showed me this site in case you're interested:

    http://www.coolminiornot.com/

    Maybe you can get some painting ideas from there? =)

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    1. She is sexy and one of my best figures to date. I shop at CMON all the time. They and Dark Sword are my two favorite places to buy from. CMON is at GenCon this week and have taken much of their stock with them, so for a little while it'll be hard to get stuff from them.

      I'm so pleased that Dean liked my work as he knows what he's talking about.

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    2. I have no idea what GenCon is - I'll have to ask Devin when he gets home tonight and I didn't even know they had a store LOL I was impressed with their Top 10 list. They didn't look like figures; it was amazing how talented those people who did them are...

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  16. I like the flowers on her skirt. And I love the Beatles -- thanks for that video! Their static stance while performing seems very old-fashioned compared to today's wild and crazy bands, doesn't it?

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    1. McCartney was my first crush. Up until I saw him I thought boys were just for playing in the mud with and fighting with. Paul changed my mind on that score. The performance for me is very indicative of the period and I love that because it takes me back to my childhood. Which as a blogger I get to live eternally as a child@

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  17. I am no artist so therefore have no words of wisdom to pass on! I'm sure whatever you do will turn out lovely! You are clearly improving your skills!

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    1. Thank you Dan and I hope you like the figure I'm naming for you in this new series. It fits your personality perfectly.

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  18. I'm completely and totally lacking in artistic skills, but I will say that I'm enjoying watching as you continue to learn and improve. Love you, sis!

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    1. Oooh you've changed your avi. Did you get my email last nite. We really do have to catch up because I need to know about how the Weight Watchers is going-are you working there and all about the yoga and don't forget the belly-dancing. And are you still planning your trip to England in November. Miss you petal xoxoxo

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  19. It all looks great to me bushes look fine, love the free hand. As already suggested for the white bits undercoat grey and then use thin washes of white to build the colour up perhaps.

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    1. I've already made some improvements to it, just a bit more and it will be done. Thank you Brummie.

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  20. I think she looks great!! I love the flowers you free handed on her outfit. Makes her look innocent but able to give a surprise attack!! You are very, very talented. :)

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    1. Thank you Jax. She's very different from the ladies I usually paint up. I've got a really cute strumpet coming up and she's adorable.

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  21. I think I need help to help you for I have no friggin clue. Art and me don't get along well that I can surely tell. But they both look really good and the first scene with the barn reminds me of a barn in the walking dead with zombies. Reminds me of a dead land, is that a helping hand? haha

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    1. I'm working my way up to doing bigger settings. I've got a King's hall to build and that one will be tough. Any input helps Cat.

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    2. A kings hall hmmm you know why couldn't you make the harder stuff to find or make out of play doh, get the correct shape you want and such and then paint over it or somehow put something over it so that you don't know it was formed with play doh, could make things easier.

      Recently I was trying to do a kiddie book with Play doh characters, I could make them up easy but I had no damn backgrounds, so that screwed me haha

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  22. try painting the white white and then adding a brown wash, lichen bushes look good or look for some bushes at a hobby store railway materials include them. thew often say all natural so perhaps moss dried out?

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    1. I've seen people us real moss and I'll do that one day. I've gathered a bagful of materials from the yard and am going to be experimenting for the next couple of days to see what works.

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  23. looks like the comments already cover any crit i would give...the white is not as weathered as the red...some muddying up would look good...i am impressed though...these are coming along nice....

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    1. Thank you Brian. I was waiting for some advice before I did the white because I wasn't sure about using grey undertones or brown overtones. I'm going to do both and layer up the color for texture and depth.

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  24. Ok..in answer to your question: I was going to add a comment here earlier but seeing as you asked (without the "?" mark ;-D)
    There are a lot of tutorials going about scenery etc..about 80%f them are next to useless. Why? They make a couple of basic mistakes. First being that they write them from the perspective that the reader already has a good knowledge of what is going on, they should assume the reader has just started in the hobby, even if this appears like they are repeating stuff that has gone before. Secondly they use a lot of "in talk", colours of paints that only users of that particular brand has heard of or glues, tools or whatever. Call it what it is, a scalpel is a scalpel, red is red.

    Best thing for scenery..stick to what you know.."don´t try to run before you can walk" as it´s said.
    What you have created says "Anne" to me..it is your style, the balance, the colours.
    By creating more such things you will, especially with the likes of the tips above in mind, "discover" other ways of doing something..a sort of revelatory "aha!" thing.
    Same with the figs...as you say with the freehand flowers, they look good but there are tricks to doing things like this, tricks you will "learn".

    To answer the other question I will need a lot more space..and time(I´m crap at trying to explain myself in writing..where are my pics!?:-D)
    You have a FB link, do you have an FB account? E-Mail?
    Cheers
    paul

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    1. PS..I´ve just seen your question about the tent. One..I am actually making one at the moment..Two, I´ll make a how to to go along with it when I post the "end product".

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    2. Thank you so much Paul. I know I'll pick things up along the way and right now I've got ideas that are bigger than my ability and it's frustrating the hell out of me. And money is an issue. Store bought scenery eats a hole through the wallet and I have to find creative ways to use what is on hand, but also to make something correct for scale. It will come I know.

      And the flowers, I know there is a way to shade the petals that go into the folds because I've seen it done. Right now these are a bit "flat"
      and one-dimensional. There's also a technique out there for painting dresses that appear translucent. There's a figure, Woman Emerging From Water that I want and the paintwork on her is fantastic. I have to figure out how to duplicate that effect.

      Thank God you're making a tent. That one has been niggling through my mind while I try to sleep every night. So thank you very much for doing a how-to on it.

      I don't have facebook, so I'll pop over to your place and give you my email

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    3. I´ve written down your mail and have deleted it from the comments list..better safe than sorry :-D I´ll get back to you ASP on the scale issue.
      Shop bought scenery! I´d love to be able to buy some of it..no, wrong..tons of it but money is the problem. I´d say though, there´s a couple of things in defense of not having enough money to buy all one wants. You get more creative. I remember the days of the limited ranges of figs on the market and having to make do or convert to get something I wanted..sometimes I would like to see those days again but they are long gone.
      Also..the learning process of actually turning a piece of "throw-away" into a bit of scenery or whatever and the satifaction of being able to do so.
      I think, frustration is just the inner will telling one to actually get down to it as it were, not necessarily the want not being met by the capability. Imagine, would life be great if everything you did turned out exactly as you wanted it? I´m not sure it would be. There wouldn´t be any challenge..and if you want to try and create a translucent material effect then a bit of frustration is almost guaranteed :-D, but I reckon you have the perseverence for the challenge, I wouldn´t even attempt it.
      Cheers
      paul

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  25. Not that I have anything to give here, but I think its impressive that they're NOT done.

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    1. Thank you D4. The scenery will look much different too with the figures in place and the photo done on macro. That changes everything.

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  26. Been mad at work today so only just made it over here! It seems that you have all the advice you need now, particularly from the likes of Mr Ferret and Paul, both class acts. When it comes to scenics, variety is important and that should include levels. A simple raised area using bits of old card and covered in household filler can really help to give depth in a small area, check out http://28mmvictorianwarfare.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/falklands-commemorated.html.

    The figures are just delightful, the freehand painting is definitely your thing and I think that should become your 'signature' as it were and I would be honoured if there were a Sir Michael!

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    1. I know I need levels and I'm concerned about putting them in the wrong place and obscuring the view of the mini's. I'll go to the website and see what I can learn there as I've got loads and loads of scenes to do.

      And thank you for saying yes Sir Michael!

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  27. Um, for the grass, I guess use real grass.
    But that'd dry out. Shi...ft.

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  28. The barn looks great and so do the figures. Don't think I can add much to what others have already said as far as advice goes. A bit of experimentation to find what suits you would be a good thing. We are all different, so do what you like the look of.

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  29. I'm looking at this through the eyes of an amateur, so I can only tell you that I think it looks great so far. To echo what D4 said, it's amazing that you still have more you want to do. That's real dedication, and the quality will definitely show because of it. Cheers!

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  30. If you want, it' s possible a small amount of light grey washing on white and a mix of black-dark brown washing on red. On red, always if you want, you can paint the wood grain with pure red...;-)

    Marzio.

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  31. Lovely freehand on the dress Anne. Only a dozen miniatures and you're already doing floral patterns? Very impressive.

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  32. Hi Anne,
    I think you could use some brownish (with a black twist) wash for the red wooden wall. If you apply in on the seams, the weathering will look very realistic. Before doing that though, you could try to drybrush some sark brown on the wood surface. This way, you will manage to make 'levels' of wood weathering.
    For the white beams you could use a white as base, and then drybrush some light, very light grey on it. For extreme highlighting you could use a thinned down dark grey colour of your choice. But be careful, try not to overdo it.
    As about the greenery, you could either use some Vallejo's pastes (black lava for instance) so as to save time for mixing sand and pva glue together. Its very easy to apply it on the bases. After that you could use some static grass, same as you did in the wooden barns base.
    Keep up the good work you're doing Anne. Its getting better and better every day! Welly welly done!! :)

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    1. I've got levels built up on it now and am going to do the weathering here in just a minute. It's the layers of color that I'm missing, the depth. And I have decided to use the grey to weather the white. I have many shades of gray and will find one. I'm still having some trouble with dry brushing, but I have to master the technique to get the realistic look I want.

      Thank you Thanos!

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  33. Kudos to you Anne for you trying a diorama. Lot's of good advice you have received so far so not much I can add to that other than don't try to do to much and overdo the scenic effects. Sometimes simple is best.

    The Foundry figures are looking great! The flowers on the dress are really well done and stand out on that pale blue dress.

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  34. I really look forward to seeing this play out, as I love diorama style scenes. You are off to a great start.

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  35. The freehand flowers on her dress look amazing!! I almost wanna say YOU should be making a tutorial for other people!!

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