Mediterranean Island Pirate Mega-Map ReaperCon 2012
Quote:Thumper said:
Well ... it's too late now, but I have an alternative method.

I've been using my wood rasps lately to texture my foam. Great ground texture, doesn't crack up if someone leans on the piece  Angry  and doesn't add weight   Big Grin
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Over this I just normally put a 50% PVA/25% Raw Umber Acrylic/25% Water mix and it hardens nicely ... then add any rocks, foliage etc...

Quote:stubbdog said:
Have you tried using your heat gun (from a respectable distance of course) to decrease drying time?

I like the idea of the "oatmeal blend". I still havent decided what I want to use yet. Was leaning towards something literally like peet moss or the like. How smooth or rough will it be after it dries do you think? Will putting flock and grass on top of it be all bumpy? I am guessing from the theme that your landscape probably wont need as much of the flock and grass as mine but still curious.

My last table I did (which was a few years ago), I put down a layer of watered down PVA glue, then used a sugar sifter to sift play sand all around the table and it worked really well, it went on easy, it stuck together great. It painted easy both with brush and spray, and the texturing was awesome. With the sifter I could build up in areas I wanted more and less in other places. And it went really fast too. Except for one small detail that I realized later during gaming, which was that it was sand and as such I basically made a huge thing of sand paper and it was gritty enough that it was stripping and rubbing paint off of all the unsuspecting miniatures. I told myself no sand again after that.

I will have to see if I still have pics of that table hidden on the ole hard drive somewhere..

@ Thumper - Thanks for the ideas about the rasps. They look really useful. I will have to see if I can find some and do some experiments to see what kind of textures I can get with them.

In this particular case, I like the strength and look the sawdust coating gives the main surfaces of my maps. Players can lean on it or drop heavy metal units onto them point first and I do not have to worry about blue holes showing up.


@ stubbdog - Left as it is, the sawdust texture leaves a slightly spiky surface with the odd ~1/8 inch bump sticking up. If I want a less protruding surface I can rake the surface back and forth a bit with a large screw driver, stone, rolling pin or something similar to knock the upstanding bits off. If I want a little less roughness to the texture, I can coat it with a layer or two of plain PVA.

In this case, since I want the majority of my natural surface to resemble crumbly rocky ground, I will likely just knock down or crush any overly bumpy bits that might tilt units excessively but otherwise leave the texture alone. I will add my flock and other greenery over the top of it where needed.

@stubbdog - One of the nice things about using sawdust for texture is that you do not have to worry about the "sandpaper" effect abrading the underside of miniatures. Smile
Once my sawdust texture mix dried, I took down the small spiky bits by going over the flat surfaces with a sanding block. I sanded just enough to take off any peaks that would have tilted units or made placing a hand down uncomfortable, making sure that the main texture effect remained in place.

As I was sanding, I also realized that my effort to use tape to make the edges between my maps nice and clean was not as effective as I would have hoped.

The tape led to my creating little sharp edged walls that stuck above the level of the terrain wherever the tape was applied. I had to sand all these down. Also, the tape did not always stay adhered tightly to the foam. This allowed some of the sawdust mixture to run down into the gap unseen. This excess texture that was now down between the maps had to be removed as well.

In contrast, the north edge of the map where I did not add tape because no other pieces were joining there was fine. My casual freehand techniques made for a nice clean edge with no upraised walls or drips down the side.

Lesson learned. No more tape for me when applying texture, at least not for this purpose.


After I sanded the peaks down, I added regular clay cat litter at the bases of my terrain transitions and around my foundations. I used the technique described in this post about wetting with alcohol before adding dilute PVA that is part of my Jungle Maps thread.

Since the process is described well in the above post, I did not take any WIP pics of this step on this set of maps.

Here is one pic of everything "littered" up and drying. You may note the small fan exhausting air out under the partially upraised garage door in the right of the background. This much isopropyl alcohol starts to make my eyes water as it all evaporates if I do not vent the space.

Now my garage smells like a doctor's office.   Big Grin

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When this all dries the next step if to spray down a layer of paint. I am really looking forward to how this all looks when it is a single color.  Big Grin
Quote:N810 said:
There is soo much awesome,   Big Grin  
I can't wait to see some paint on it.

Quote:Thumper said:
Is your spouse aware of the whereabouts of the mixer?
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Might want to clean the PVA and Sawdust off the beater before returning it   Wink

Looking great ... eagerly awaiting your next steps  Big Grin

Actually, the mixer is mine. I was the only one in my college dorm that had carpentry hand tools and a mixer. I was (and still am) a SPECIAL kind of person.   Tongue  

I use the mixer now-a-days to make instant ice cream with liquid nitrogen when we talk about cold in my science classes.  Smile

I mixed the sawdust mixture with my bare hands in a tub. Better to get a feel for the lumps and viscosity. More fun too.  Big Grin
The rocks have dried and are ready for painting. All these rocks are locked solidly in place with glue. They look like they are loose, but they do not move at all.

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I took the maps out to the back yard in preparation for spray painting. Those with keen eyes will notice that one of the 12 maps is missing from the pic.

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That is because as I was sweeping off each map for loose bits prior to painting, I found that I had forgotten to add alcohol and glue to the rocks on the top section of one of my maps.

This necessitated an emergency rock gluing session with accelerated drying aids if I was to keep my painting schedule on track.

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While using the heat gun to help things along, I accidentally got a little too close to the foam. The foam started to melt a bit under the dried PVA layer put down earlier.

I kind of like the effect the heat gun created. I might take advantage of it on another project.

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I have since covered everything in spray paint. Once that finishes drying and out gassing, I will see if I want to add a darker wash before bringing everything back inside to start my dry brushing.

Off to watch paint dry.   Big Grin
Quote:N810 said:
Come on paint dry faster so we can see awesome painted terrain sooner.   Wink

I found some spray paint that is intended for making camouflage paint schemes on hunter equipment. The range of colors is very limited, but they have a completely matte finish.

The color I used is darker than I originally intended for my spray paint layer.

I will still do a darker "wash" before starting lots of lighter dry brushing to get back to my Mediterranean limestone look.

Here are some quick pics of how the initial spray paint came out.

That is all I can do for now. It is time for me to go teach.  Smile

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Quote:N810 said:
Shy  Ohhhhhhhhhh  Shy

Quote:havre said:
Looking forward to seeing how it all ties together after paint. My only concern so far is the very fresh looking statues. Maybee some of your texturing spray paint from another project could remedy it?

Quote:ableman33 said:
One thing I could use everyone's help with is coming up with ideas for "piratey" embellishments for the map after I am done with all the Greek stuff.
I already plan to have a shipwreck along part of the cove that has been canibalized for parts to make a ladder and lookout post on the lone standing spire around the cove.

What I need are some other ideas I of things I could do to give all three map sections a pirate feel.

Some stuff I have already come up with:

  • Some hanging "body cages", perhaps one with skeletal remains, suspended under the northern arch of the cove.
  • A rowboat in one of the southern sea caves.
  • Stacks of barrels here and there. Pirates have to have rum after all.
  • Making strewn fish nets out of mesh or window screen to decorate with.
  • The odd pirate flag, possibly with emblems from the factions that will be involved with the game.
  • Converting one of the smaller caves into a brig with iron bars.
  • Treasure chests.
  • Impromptu defensive positions/lean-tos made from crates etc.
  • Some tentacles reaching out of the water along the coast/from a sea cave.

Makes me think of Trull's amacing Piraten triologie. Maybe something inspirational there.
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The screen dump is from his thread over at Gidian Gelande.

Quote:Zaboobadidoo Sr. said:

Quote:havre said:
My only concern so far is the very fresh looking statues. Maybee some of your texturing spray paint from another project could remedy it?

My thought exactly. I love the color and the textures you have going here, and I'm sure that once everything gets washed and drybrushed it will look even better, but those statues don't seem to quite fit. They look broken but a little too smooth and new at the same time.

Those cliffs and rubble are fantastic, btw!   Big Grin

Quote:pendrake said:
A barbecue pit, or several. A cattle pen or maybe a hog pen. Buccaneers and barbecue have a shared history.

Thanks for the ideas and comments everyone.  Smile

I agree about the surfaces of the statues being a bit too smooth, especially compared to the nearby pillars and stones. I needed to see what they all looked like after everything received a coat of paint to figure out what I needed to do next.

For starters, while I do like the nice matte finish of the camouflage spray paint, it looked too dark to me for the final look I was going for. (The pics out in the bright sun make it look lighter in color than it really is.) Last night before it got too dark, I went over everything with some lighter spray paint that leaves a more textured sand-like finish. I am about to go out and see how it looks. It is possible that the graininess of the new paint will help the statues enough on its own. Otherwise I will be playing around with some more ideas.

Wish me luck.   Big Grin

Quote:pendrake said:
More Piratey-ness:

You need an:


A big, mysterious X, as in "X marks the spot" somewhere. It could be subtle, made of fist-sized stones for edging. Or, it could be a place where the grass is oddly a different colour...

How about a ship's crow's nest (and mast) lashed up to one of the surviving stone columns for a lookout post?

How about a rude lighthouse? (Really just an improvised platform with a place for a beacon fire.)

How about a gun battery that covers the entrance to the cove?

Quote:stubbdog said:
so you covered the majority of the foam with the ground oatmeal, and some of the cliff sides with cement spackle. That would protect them from the lethal powers of spray paint.

Did you do anything to protect your stonework and the rest of the cliff facing (the non spackled areas)?

Or did you use a spray paint that is ok on foam? If so, please share a picture of what you used.

Quote:Elderac said:
Spray paint will melt untreated foam. A common pre-treatment is to paint it with a solution of PVA glue and water - about the consistancy of milk.

I should add a caveat that you can spray foam with latex paint, but that usually requires a paint sprayer and a spot outside where you can use it. I have not tried it, but it should work fine for the undercoating. I recommend trying it on a piece of scrap to see if the latex will obscure detail.

I covered everything in a layer of undiluted PVA before painting. If there are any pinholes in the coverage that allow the spray paint to make some small pits in the foam, I will just say that is more erosion.   Big Grin


I have been tweaking my base paint job. After the matte camouflage paint, I sprayed on some almost white texture paint with a sand like finish. I then tried washing everything down with some very dilute dark brown craft paint. I diluted the cheap paint too much resulting in very faint accenting of cracks and crevices with colors that separated into reds and greenish-browns.

So I mixed up a thicker batch of wash with the same paint with lots of black added. Rather than act as a wash, this pretty much just acted as paint. At this point I am going to let things dry and leave them as they are. I will try to get the look I want from this point out using lots of dry(ish) brushing.


One of the difficulties with projects of this size is that they are just so HUGE. It is hard to get a consistent look over such a large surface. It is also not economical in time or materials to use techniques you could use on much smaller projects.


Thanks for all the input everyone.   Big Grin

Quote:threewolftats said:
for projects the size of what you take on... i'm surprised you haven't acquired a small compressor and a car spraying gun..... then you can spray everything safely with acrylic based paints...... its the propellent/solvent i spray cans that does the damage.....

i'm loving this project.... just Fabulous!!!!

keep it up....


Quote:Sman455 said:
I'm new to this whole thing, and I just want to say, WOW! This is the sort of project that has gotten me into this hobby.

Also, the beginner in me wants to say thanks for all the description. It is not
only inspiring to see this type of project being built, but also being told how it was built (and realizing that aside from your massive array of awesome tools, I can probably imitate your work, though obviously without all your skills and quality)

I can't wait to see more pictures. Great work, so far.  Smile

@ threewolftats - I have considered getting a spray gun and/or air brush. In fact, I have signed up for a class at ReaperCon (where these maps are going to be used) to learn the beginnings of air brushing. After that, I will give more thought to investing in some equipment. It certainly would have helped here.  Smile


@ Sman455 - Welcome! We are glad to have you join us here.   Smile  TerraGenesis is full of nice people who are willing to help. I am glad you find these threads useful. I enjoy the process of building these projects and sharing their construction even more than I do playing on them. I know I have always enjoyed seeing and hearing about others' processes, including the mistakes along the way. I look forward to seeing your work. Again, welcome.
As I mentioned above, my final "wash" ended up being more of a painting job. This did not turn out too badly. Everything now looks like it has a nice "dirt" layer. Next step will be to start damp/dry brushing on some cream colors to add the "rocks" back on top.

Here are some pics of how things look right now.

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Regarding the smoothness of the statues, my options are fairly limited. These are not solid, but rather very thin and somewhat fragile plastic. When I broke pieces off, it was necessary for me to pack the exposed gap with paper, cover it with hot glue, then texture the smooth hot glue with concrete patch.

All that means that I cannot simply chip away casually at the statues to get a more weathered look. The best I can do is add stuff to the surface.

Right now these statues have some sand-like texture provided by some textured spray paint. Up close this helps break up the smoothness.

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I could possibly add some more texture here and there, perhaps by brushing on some more concrete patch to exposed surfaces. I do plan to hit these with some plants and vines, dirt, rain stains, and obligatory pigeon poop. Perhaps that will be enough.

OK, off to start damp/dry brushing.   Big Grin
Quote:HobbyDr said:
I miss the blue.............  Tongue

I think the statues look all right. Adding the vines should give them that ancient feel. This just keeps getting better and better.


Quote:threewolftats said:
those figurines for the statues were a find of the century... i'm always rooting around in junk shops, charity shops and £1 shops looking for stuff like those.... all i ever seem to find is seriously tacky christmas candles tho.....

lucky beggar.....

looking forward to seeing the details get added.... finishing touches often lift a great board into a fantastic board...


Quote:havre said:
Great texture on the statues!
An on the rest off course
OK, things are starting to get serious.

I only have 19 more days counting today until these maps need to be complete (May 16, 2012).

I feel like I am about halfway to where I want to be. I am positive I can get these maps to look like a Mediterranean island with Greek/Roman ruins on them in time. I am less positive I can get the pirate details in that I want.

Well enough worrying, back to work.   Smile


I gave everything a generous damp brushing with some medium brown paint to warm things up a bit.

(My camera's automatic color adjustment tried to be various amounts of helpful depending on how much of the image the maps dominated. In reality, the maps look kind of rusty brown like in the first picture.)

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Of course, right after I finished the putting brown on the last map, I discovered I had only half as much of the next color paint on hand than I thought. This discovery was also made four minutes before Hobby Lobby closed, and they are closed all day tomorrow...   Sad

Looks like I will either need to wait a bit on finishing my painting (and work on other stuff for the map) or get creative with my paint colors. The challenge here is that in order to keep all 12 maps looking as close to the same as possible, I had hoped to not have to custom mix any colors.

Time to put on my decision making cap.   Big Grin
Quote:pendrake said:
Wallyworld (Walmart) has many of the same craft paints as found at Hobby Lobby and they are open 24/7...

Quote:Eldarac said:
As does Michaels and JoAnn's fabrics, although they are not open 24/7, they are open Sundays. Regretably, Michaels no longer carries my favorite - Ceramcoat.

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