Glad people liked that- it's nice to have the thing finally finished! While as a scratchbuild it's nothing like as polished as, say, Blackadder's stuff (but then what is?), I learned a lot doing it. I'm glad it all came together in the end.
Now, back to the Mechanicum. I've spent the morning being industrious with the pilgrims' scenic base. Here’s my tester- I’m quite pleased with the result, although there are a few tweaks I want to make for the real thing.
As I've mentioned, the idea was to have an expanse of Martian wasteland for the pilgrims to traverse, with a small wayside shrine by the path to add a little interest. As before, my base for this was a tea tray from the pound shop, although a rather larger one than the one I used for the Iron Warriors- there are quite a few models to fit on and I don't want things looking too crowded. My first step was to stick masking tape over the handles to cover the holes there; once that was done I poured in a layer of plaster to work as a base. When that set, I worked out where to place the shrine; I wanted a mix of terrain, so I thought I'd make the area immediately behind it part of a dried up lake or watercourse of some sort. Having worked out the placement of the shrine (which is basically a toothpick container sat on a box for foot plasters- complex stuff) I added a few bits of detail for the dustbowl section and drew a vague line where I wanted the usual, rocky terrain of Mars to begin.
With that sorted, I then got some cheap clay from the art shop down the road, and made a ridge across the board. It also let me begin to integrate the base of the shrine into the surrounding terrain. None of this needs to be too detailed; the clay will be covered by particulate etc when dry, but it provides the underlying topography. As I mentioned before, I really liked the idea of having the shrine be surrounded by prayer flags, tibetan style; so I stuck some toothpicks into the wet clay to serve as flagpoles.
Plaster is cheaper than clay, so rather than build the whole raised area from scratch, my next step was to give myself a foundation by pouring in a layer behind the clay ridge, using that as a sort of dam to keep the lower area as it was.
WIth that dry, I could start doing the proper topography. As the clay takes a while to dry, I decided to do this in two layers; I want the pilgrim trail to be slightly eroded by centuries of feet/tracks/mechandrites trmaping up and down it, so it'll be a tiny bit lower than the surrounding ground. Here's the first layer on. You might also notice that I've placed one of the fantastic resin Opus Machinae Forgeworld used to produce as a marker; the second layer of clay will be built up around it, so it looks a bit more set into the rock surrounding. This was an astonishingly generous gift from Marius Perdo, and will hopefully really set off the other details; so thanks again to him!
At present, I'm waiting for all this to dry before I can move on. But there's more! Earlier I mentioned the prayer flags; I basically used the Brother-Chaplain Kage Tissue Cape method to make them, but with a few alterations. So, first off, I cut a load of 1.5 cm square bits of tissue, folded over so they were double-ply. I then measured out the length of chain I'd need, noted where the supports would be, and worked out how many flags I could fit on (actually it's one more than the photo shows- each section ended up with three flags each).
With that done, I hung the chain from the supports, and fixed each flag to it in the right spot with a bit of superglue. Once that was dry, I soaked each flag with my vellejo clear water, which I find does the same job as PVA glue but quicker and more effectively (at the cost of being a bit pricier). The soaking meant that each flag hung naturally from the chain and had some ripples in them; none of my other models have billowing capes so for the purposes of this base I'm assuming it's not a windy day on Mars. As an aside, this is also a decent photo of the detail of the Opus Machina Marius sent me. Isn't it brilliant?
With this dried, the next step was painting the flags. After an initial, failed go using stencils that I'll draw a polite veil over, I painted over everything and decided to do the detailing by hand. Genuine prayer flags have prayers stamped on them (well durr...), so I wanted to go with something similar, but with a Mechanicum twist. Using a micron pen (or in the case of the gold design, a toothpick) I added on my designs; a (presumably holy) circuilt diagram, a devotional barcode, and a QR code. Since this photo was taken I’ve dulled down the gold a fair bit. They look a bit rough at this distance but once the weathering goes on and they're surrounded by everything else, they should hopefully really add something to the shrine...
Edited by EdT, 25 April 2015 - 12:29 PM.