Desert Oasis
OK, I'm throwing my hat into this ring!

I'm still building desert terrain, that's not new (although I'm playing a new game with it - I foolishly allowed myself to get sucked into TFL's Chain of Command and now I'm doing WW2 North Africa, gods help me).

What is new are a couple of the techniques and materials. For the oasis itself, I will be using water effects, something I've never done before but always wanted to do. Additionally, I'll be working with paint that includes crackle medium, as I want part of the pond to have a properly desert-y dried mud look.

For the palm trees (because what oasis is complete without palm trees?), I'll be using a new natural material in the form of pinecones (there's a tree in my neighborhood that has these delightful tiny pinecones that I think will make perfect date palm trunks) and a new technique in the form of hot glue. What's that you say? "You've been making terrain for 20 years and haven't used hot glue yet?!?" Indeed, my TG cred is in jeopardy, so it's a good thing this competition came along when it did.  Confused

I've already cut out the base for the oasis itself (from 1/16" sheet styrene) and built up its banks using ink insulation foam. This was then covered in acrylic texture paste (something else I've just recently begun using) to smooth it out, fill any holes or gaps, and create the "shallow" part of the oasis that will be the dried mud surface.

[Image: 2016-07-25%2B21.17.59.jpg]

Tonight, if all goes well, it'll get sanded and primed. If I'm feeling super ambitious, it'll get base-coated.
Excellent! Glad to have you with us.

This sounds like a great project. I look forward to seeing it come together. Smile
Good luck with the water effects. I've always been put off by the price (it's all super expensive here). That and I'm also super lazy and try to get by with varnish or thin layers of PVA over a painted surface.

Super interested to see these pinecones too!
A little update: I finished the sanding and another layer of texture putty (followed by more sanding, of course). I added a couple of rough stones that I picked out of my driveway for a touch of extra visual interest. This is the piece with the base coat of paint done.

[Image: 2016-07-28%2B22.45.00.jpg]

I think I'm going to add a new technique to my list for this project - while I've done scads of drybrushing on terrain, I don't think I've ever done stippled wet-blending like this before, certainly not across a surface this big, and definitely not across four colors. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I'm about to do the crackle paint layer (it will go over-top the dark-brown part, such that any cracks that go all the way through show "wet mud" underneath). Wish me luck!
Are you going to eventually paint the rocks from the driveway?

Yes. Actually, I've already base coated them a nice, dark, yellow-tan color, I just don't have a picture yet. They'll get stippled with some olive-drab and dark-gray, then drybrushed and highlighted.

So I did the crackle-paint last night (I used GW's "Agrellan Earth"), and in the process made an interesting (if slightly unfortunate) discovery: when applying a nice, thick layer of Agrellan Earth over a surface, if that surface is made of acrylic texture paste (over which you've used spray-primer and a coat of acrylic paint, foolishly thinking that would be enough to seal the various layers), the crackle medium in the Agrellan Earth can soak down into the texture medium far enough to cause it to crackle as well. On the plus side, the end effect is that my "dried mud" flakes are nice and thick and have a beautiful curl to them. The downside is that their undersides - as well as all of the gaps between them - are the bright white of the base texture paste. [Image: cripes.001.gif]

It's not a total loss, as I just need to wash and re-highlight, but it's still kind of a pain in the *****. Had I just mixed a dark brown paint into the texture paste when I was making the thing, I'd feel like a goddamn genius right now.
Ouch, my sympathies about the crackle paint. Sad

Thanks for sharing your results so that we can all learn from them.

The only crackle paint I've ever used was designed as a two part product. The crackle paint itself was designed to go on top of a shiny slick undercoat. You could buy their special under paint, but any glossy paint would work. I believe having a glossy/slick under coat made the crackle pattern work better as the top coat would shrink and "slide" across the glossy paint.

Once the crackle paint had dried, I went back over everything with a wash to cover over the shiny under layer and give the paint more color texture. It sounds like you have just having to do the same thing. Smile

Best of luck with the rest of the project. We're rooting for you. Big Grin
Progress! And another WIP photo:
[Image: 2016-07-29%2B22.02.16.jpg]

repainting and highlighting on the cracked mud is done, the rocks are colored, the sand is applied, and I'm ready for water effects. Fingers crossed!
That is some nice cracked mud.

How robust is it? Do you have to be careful putting figures on it?

And I like the stippled color transition you've created.

Best of luck with the water effects! Big Grin
The dried mud seems pretty solid. I drybrushed it relatively vigorously and only had a few little pieces come off. Also, another update!!!

[Image: 2016-07-30%2B12.00.32.jpg]

It seems to be going well so far. The resin ended up a little darker than I wanted, partly because I needed to mix in more brown ink after my five year old son (who was "helping" me) dumped in way too much green at first. The one thing I've noticed is that I'm getting some capillary action drawing the resin up the sides of the walls into the sand. But overall, I think it'll turn out more or less the way I wanted it. Not too bad for a first try.

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