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Troy’s Crock Pot: Building Terrain with One Tile Mold, Part 4

In this series so far we’ve created tiles from plaster using molds, assembled and glued them into place, and applied the base layer of paint. Now we’re ready to add layers of paint that will bring out the texture of the tiles.

1. Wash (then rinse)

Here’s a spot where a small detail brush comes in handy. We’re going to do a wash, that is add a lot of water to a dollop of paint to make is extremely thin. We’re using black to fill in all the cracks on the mold.

Wash technique adds black accent.

Don’t fret if the paint gets on the surface of the tiles. The wash will fill the low areas (thank you, gravity) even if you don’t paint directly over the cracks.

2. Dry brush

Now we’ll use a dry-brush technique to bring out the texture on the molds. Dry brushing means putting some paint dry on the brush, swiping the brush on some other surface until it seems the paint is almost gone, then lightly brushing the desired area with what little paint is left on the brush.

Use paint gingerly when dry brushing.

Be sure the surface you are dry brushing is completely dry. Otherwise, the paints will mix, and you won’t get the effect you are hoping for.

Dry brushing brings out the highlights.

For the water, mix some white with the original light blue. This is to create the effect of foam or ripples on the surface of the water.

What about ‘fake’ water?

If you have done any railroad modeling, for instance, you might be familiar with the technique of using a clear resins to simulate water. These are usually poured into a low area and allowed to dry to the level of the surrounding area, essentially filling in with a clear plastic. I consider this an advanced technique that is beyond the scope of this series. But if you wish to explore how to add this effect to your pool, you can start by following the instructions at the Hirst Arts [4] site.

For the stonework, this will be in two stages. First, we’ll use a light brown to put a thin later over the surface stones. Note the immediate contrast with the cracks filled with the black wash. Don’t cover the dark brown completely, that’s part of the layering. Next, mix the light brown with a white or cream, for an even lighter dry brush.

Frosting for the tiles. We’re almost finished.

I think of this last bit like adding frosting to our chocolate bar tiles.

3. What’s next?

Now you have a tile set you can use to make modular dungeons with. Adding a clear coat to the tiles will give them extra life, but they can be used as is.

I hope this series will prove useful and encourage you to make your own set of tiles. And if you’ve stuck with me this far, I’ve included a short mini dungeon adventure I created using the same tiles. You can download it here: PILLARS_OF_ABBAI_01.pdf [6]


8 Comments (Open | Close)

8 Comments To "Troy’s Crock Pot: Building Terrain with One Tile Mold, Part 4"

#1 Comment By Razjah On February 28, 2012 @ 7:16 am

I’ve really enjoyed this series. If you have more to add about terrain making, I would love to see it.

#2 Comment By Roxysteve On February 28, 2012 @ 8:24 am

Washes: Best done with “wet water”.

No, I’m not pulling your leg. You make wet water by adding one drop of either detergent or (better) alcohol to the wash.

It breaks the surface tension of the water and allows it to flow into the cracks better. It also makes the wash flow all over the place better so don’t slather it on until you have practiced a bit.

This is one reason why those dipping washes – actually, just re-branded wood stain in most cases – work so well; they are solvent-based and have a very low surface tension.

Plastic Water: Woodland Scenics makes a pellet-type product that you heat with a hair dryer to melt into a clear liquid. Not for the very young to be sure but it is odorless and has a certain amount of do-overability, neither of which is true for a two-part epoxy product. You make the pool the exact same way you did, using the graded colors to convey depth, then you add the plastic layer and the “wow” happens.

Very nice series of practical articles, Troy. I may just try this myself. And damn you, sir, for directing me to that voracious time-suck castle & dungeon molding website. Two keyboards lost to drooling into them right there.

#3 Comment By Noumenon On February 28, 2012 @ 8:40 am

I like your dungeon formatting, specifically the skill check section.

#4 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On February 28, 2012 @ 8:45 am

[7] – Thanks, and I’ll keep that in mind.
[7] – Thanks for the best practices tip for the alcohol wash. Glad you enjoyed it. Happy Building!

#5 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On February 28, 2012 @ 8:50 am

[8] – Glad you find it useful.

#6 Comment By Martin Ralya On February 28, 2012 @ 11:24 am

This has been a superb series, Troy, and one that I’ve looked forward to and thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you for writing it.

#7 Comment By Scott Martin On February 28, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

I’ve enjoyed the series too; we spent a lot of time casting, but our project petered out. You make it sound like a reasonable enough project to get some good out of them again.

#8 Comment By Troy E. Taylor On February 28, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

[9] – Go for it!