Dwarfology (Part VII)
As I told you many times before, I've never been good with bases, a weakness that always made me sad because, indeed, I love bases and scenery in general!
Probably it's because it is requested a kind of sculpting and planning ability, concerning bases, things that are not the house speciality, here.
However, one of my new-year-resolutions is improving my basing skills, so I put all my doubts and fears apart and I started to create some scenic bases for my Iron Crow Sentinels.
Before explaining the process of these first experiments, let's see the result:
I wanted to make something more complex than my usual standards, not only to use some of the amazing scenic accessories that Davide and Valerio sculpted for our Dwarf range but also to start presenting you some first views (in miniature...) of Kazhuk Izril lands!
*dlin dlon: non-profit advertising moment*
To achieve my goals, I took three amazing plinths by Darkmessiah Bases, that are my favourite plinths out there because of their modern, clean design. John, owner of DB, is such a nice person and his products are excellent, so, for what it's worth, I strongly recommend him and I wish him all the best.
SENTINEL B BASE
The first base I made was designed for the Sentinel B. I wanted to use one of the bases of the Scenic Set, but I wanted also to have a kind of mountainous vibe: the Sentinel B has a classic "on-watch pose", and I always imagined him looking the horizon in search for intruders, on top of a high, rocky, hill. Our scenic bases are 30mm wide, and these plinths are 25mm wide, so I had to decide how to integrate them all together. With a Dremel, I carefully carved a side of the plinth (1), and I cut a part of the scenic base to make it fit with the plinth (2).
With a standard Milliput (the yellow/grey one), I started to sculpt the rocks, not only on the cavity carved with the Dremel, but also to better merge the scenic base with the plinth (3).
I wanted a kind of stylized design for the rocks: it's not only more "fairish", so it suits well with the style of our miniatures, but it is also easier to sculpt, perfect for a baby-sculptor like me!
When the first "rocky layer" was dry, I add a new layer of smaller rocks, to create a nice composition (4).
SENTINEL A BASE
For the second base, I decided to make something more complex. The Sentinel A has a kind of thoughtful pose, and I wanted to value it creating a perfect scenario for him. I imagined him standing on a small bridge, with a river that flows quietly behind: a classic "Ligurian Zen scenario"!
In Liguria, in fact, the whole traditional architecture is based on dry constructions made by stone bricks (called "maixei"), and being born and grew up in the Ligurian countryside, I felt a kind of ancestral pressure on me when I started to sculpt the stone bridge for this base.
I don't know if my ancestors would be proud of the result, but at least, I'm happy of how it came out.
I started cutting the plinth with a Dremel, to create the riverside (1). I made a mess, cutting the plinth so badly that it seemed to be cut by a drunk Jason (Friday the 13th). For this reason, I had to create some flat and clean borders, made with a cork sheet. Cork sheet is the poor (and environment-friendly) version of plasticard: it can be easily cut with scissors and it's easy to work. Unfortunately, to make it as hard as plastic, you need to cover it with several layers of superglue (bye-bye, environment-friendly...). Always, always, always use superglue in a well-ventilated area, especially when you have to use A LOT of it and you don't want to have acid-experiences in the process.
Or just use plasticard instead.
So, after I achieved a nice section on the plinth, I create a rough bridge structure, using a cork sheet (2). To make it, I just drew on the cork sheet all the various sides of the bridge structure, I cut them with scissors and I glue them together with superglue.
With some milliput, I put the bridge on the plinth, finding a good position. Initially, I thought about adding a small stone, taken from the Imperial Crows set, but then I decided to remove it because it would have messed the composition, wasting too much space of the plinth (3). Don't worry if, at this point, everything seems horrible or just a waste of material and time. Just avoid to look at it too much, think positive and don't cry, at least not in front of your cat.
After I found a good composition, I cleaned the scene, merging the bridge section with the plinth using milliput: at first, just add milliput and shape it with your hands and a bit of water 'till you're satisfied, then after the milliput is dry, sand it with sandpaper in order to have smooth, clean and fulfilling surfaces (4).
Now, it's time to add many and many bricks to the scene! Here is a brief tutorial about how I sculpted them:
Everything started with some milliput (1): I mixed the two components, adding a bit more grey part to the mix than usual. Once the milliput dough is ready, I create some rough pattern of stones, using my hands. Being a rough Ligurian-style bridge, you don't need to be accurate, just try to create a pattern that looks bridgy (does it exist?!) enough (2).
With a normal sculpting tool, I then flattened the bricks, starting to give them a more definite shape (3). With one of my fav sculpting tools (the plastic one of the Citadel set -expensive as hell, but at least this guy is worthy of its price!-), I then defined better the shape of the various bricks, working principally on their edges and border (4). The cool thing about milliput, is that this material is super easy to smooth: you only need some water and a brush. With a moistened brush, I then smoothed the bricks, insisting on their borders to define almost definitively their shape (5). Now it's time to leave your bricks alone for a while (a couple of hours): you need to wait 'till the milliput become harder, to go to the next step.
After the milliput has become harder, it's time to give a more "rocky" texture to the bricks: with the same tools I used in the previous steps, I started to define the texture of the bricks: I flattened some edges, I made some border more angular and I gave more tridimensionality to the surface of the bricks (6).
When these first bricks are completely dry, I added some very small pebbles here and there, to break the uniformity of the pattern and to add a more interesting look (7). I worked these little pebbles in the same way as their big cousins, and then the pattern is finished! (8).
Now that you know how to make Ligurian bricks, to complete your bridge you only need to sketch a credible pattern and unleash your obsessive-compulsive serial killer inside (we all have one...): you have to make A LOT of bricks, so be patient and if you want to keep the serial killer inside and avoid it to go outside, take some rest once in a while.
Once the bridge was finished, I added some details to the riverbed: a dwarf stone, taken from the Scenic Accessories set and some pebbles (5). Once painted, I will add the water effect: please, pray for me.
SENTINEL C BASE
The last base, made for the Sentinel C, in my mind represents a kind of rocky cliff. I imagine the Sentinel C, with his lantern, giving signals to the sailors that are approaching one of the many islands of Kazhuk Izril (maybe Orn Duval?!): water, and sea in specific, is a main theme in Inneath lore, so I think it's important to show it as much as possible in our miniatures.
I started by creating a rough structure with a cork sheet, carving a cove for one of my fav "miniature" of our range: the tall dwarf stone of the Scenic Accessories set (1-2). Davide made some excellent design, with these stones, I would like to 3d print them 1:1 scale and decorate my office with them.
I glued the dwarf stone in place, then I carved the plinth using my trusty Dremel: being these plinths made by resin, when you have to sand or carve them (or resin miniatures in general) I highly recommend you to wear protecting masks with appropriate filters, and always work in well-ventilated areas.
Once I obtained an interesting cavity, I sculpted some edgy rocks to merge all the components together and add rocky vibe to the scene, a must-to-do when you are basing Dwarves (3).
Once everything will be painted, I will add water effect (maybe some waves effect) and a little fish, friendly borrowed by my brand-new Jedi Master (and bases master) Josua Lai.
So, here they are, my first 2020 basing experiments!
I hope you enjoyed these unconventional step-by-step tutorials about bases, made by a basing-newbie! Now it's time to put the milliput apart, and take my trusty colours: I can't wait to paint them!