So I made some progress; not on the Kill Team, so much, but on their scenic base. I mentioned previously that the plan is to have the team in the aftermath of an action having just taken an enemy position; I think that Trench Warfare really suits the look of the IV, so I can copy the basic technique I used to make the muddy mess of these bases.
That's all well and good, but for a larger scenic base I can't just pile on the mud, as it'd look flat and boring. There needs to be something underneath to establish the basic contours of the patch of ground the team are standing on (and also allow depth, letting Astartes properly sink into the ground), and my experience of doing the Rogue Trader base (I know I still need to finish that...) showed me that plaster or filler isn't neccesarily the best material for something of that size. I thought I'd experiment with something else; so I went with papier mache pulp.
All you need to do this is paper, water, PVA glue and time, so it's practicaly free; but as Milton Friedman would tell you, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and as I tore up the newspaper the Borough sends out every month to tell us residents how wonderful it is, I realised that my massive Council Tax bill actually means I've paid a lot for the materials...
Local politics aside, it didn't take me very long to rip up the whole paper into small bits, dump it into a bowl and then pour some warm water in to cover it. I also added some salt; this is meant to reduce the chance of it rotting while drying.
I then left the mixture for a bit. I think technically to do this you're meant to leave things to soak overnight, but I found that after a few hours I could mush things up together to begin turning the paper back into pulp.
After a while like this, I poured out as much water as I could without losing any of the paper, and then started picking lumps out and squeezing them dry. You don't want to remove all the water, just most of it; when it felt about right, I squeezed a big load of PVA glue in there and mixed it all together. The result was a sort of thick paste, as shown below.
When this was ready, I took a plastic tea-tray that I bought from the pound shop, and started pressing the mixture into it. As I went, I used my fingers to press the surface into the sort of topography I wanted the final base to have. Obviously the mud will go on top of this, but this is the opportunity to prepare things like shell holes and (not that I did it here) trenches.
The one negative of doing things this way is that it takes a very long time to dry; even leaving it on a radiator, the mixture took around 48 hours to properly set. The one advantage of this is that you have plenty of time to work out where everything goes and make sure that things can be placed properly; here's a photo of the Kill Team and the other bits of scenery dry-fitted on top, to make sure things weren't too crowded. As you can see, I decided against giving the team seperate bases, although I easily could have done; I'll just fix them directly onto the base this time round.
Once I was happy and things were sufficiently dry (ie still malleable but not sopping wet), I glued all the scatter terrain (casualties, posts, tank traps, etc) in place. There will be barbed wire too, but I'll add that when I've given the thing its spray undercoat. Here's a little detail that I quite like that hopefully shows how this is gradually turning from a mess of pulped newspaper into terrain.
As this is papier mache, it's not waterproof, but that can be remedied with some varnish. Now that it's bone dry I've sprayed on a thick coat to seal things up; this process will be completed when I spray some paint on top. Next step is to paint the scatter terrain and then add the mud to cover things, which should give a nice sense of depth to the whole thing!
Edited by EdT, 11 March 2015 - 09:56 AM.