Basing Models with Casting Plaster

   

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Using plaster to create bare earth (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Tools:

Plaster of Paris or other casting plaster

Base material (a CD in this case)

Coarse grit sandpaper

PVA glue

Atomizer or spray bottle

Small piece of card / plastic

Stage 1

Use the sandpaper to scuff the surface of the CD. This will provide a key for the plaster to grip. Glue a piece of card or plastic over the hole with PVA and leave to dry for a few minutes.

Stage 2

Take a spoonful of plaster, hold it above the base, and tap the side of the handle to get small quantities of powder to fall onto the base. This should create a rough texture

Stage 3

If you want a structure on the base, add it now, or at least add the foundation layer so you can build onto it later. Place it carefully onto the dry powder. You can also add large pieces of rubble at this stage.

Stage 4

Add more plaster around the base of the walls. Bear in mind that there will be most build-up in any corners.

 

Stage 5

Fill the atomizer with water, and GENTLY spray all the plaster from a distance of about a foot / 30cm. The idea is just to dampen the surface at this point.

Leave things for a few minutes for the plaster to begin curing, then spray again - this time more liberally.

Leave to dry overnight.

Stage 6

Mix PVA, emulsion paint and water in roughly equal parts and liberally spray the whole model again using the atomizer. This should seal things and provide a base-coat in one step.

Leave to dry.

Stage 7

To clean the nozzle of the atomizer, invert it and spray a few times until no more liquid comes out. Then wipe the top with kitchen roll to clean the hole.  If it won't be used for a while, remove the nozzle, stand the tube in clean water, and squirt until clean water sprays out.

Stage 8

Apply a first drybrush of the mid-tone on the walls.

Once this is dry,  paint  the whole model with a "dirty wash" of a very dilute dark brown & black mix, adding extra in some places to create variety.

Stage 9

After a second thin coat of dark brown & black on the ground it is a pretty good colour for bare earth. If you are going to cover most of the base with flock or static grass, I think it is good enough at this stage.

Stage 10

If large areas will be left as bare earth, a gentle drybrushing with a slightly lighter shade will bring out the details.

 
   
This pile of soil was made using the same technique. ...and this ploughed field is nothing but plaster. The collapse from this bricked-up doorway had a few broken brick pieces added to the pile of plaster.

 

A collapsed section of a trench or emplacement.

Instructions below

Test piece with tank-track.

(Instructions to follow)

   

 

Failed retaining walls from plaster (Click thumbnails for larger images)

 

Materials & Tools:

Plaster of Paris or other casting plaster

PVA glue

Atomizer or spray bottle

Stage 1

Create and paint the model upon which you want to add the effect. This could be a broken-down retaining wall, a damaged section of a trench or emplacement or a collapsed section of sewer tunnel, to name but a few.

 

Stage 2

To add the pile of dry plaster with some precision, I made an applicator from a recycled plastic milk bottle, though you could use a teaspoon or folded card.

How to make a scenics applicator

(Opens in new window)

Stage 3

Now add any large debris like broken bricks or stones to the pile of dry plaster.

Stage 4

Fill the atomizer with water, and GENTLY spray all the plaster from a distance of about a foot / 30cm. The idea is just to dampen the surface at this point.

Leave things for a few minutes for the plaster to begin curing, then spray again - this time more liberally.

Leave to dry overnight.

Stage 5

Apply a coat of dark brown & black onto the bare plaster.

 

Stage 6

Drybrush with a lighter grey-brown colour to bring out the highlights, and the model is ready for flock or static grass.

A collapsed section of a dungeon wall made using the same techniques.

 

 

 

 

Ploughed fields from plaster (Click thumbnails for larger images)

Materials & Tools:

Plaster of Paris or other casting plaster

Base material (a CD in this case)

Coarse grit sandpaper

PVA glue

Atomizer or spray bottle

Card / plastic

Large-toothed comb

Stage 1

Use the sandpaper to scuff the surface of the CD. This will provide a key for the plaster to grip. Glue a piece of card or plastic over the hole with PVA and leave to dry for a few minutes.

Stage 2

Add a layer of dry plaster to the base, two or three millimetres deep. Use a piece of card or a the edge of a ruler to get a nice even layer.

Stage 3

Keeping the comb at an angle, slowly drag it through the powder to create the ruts from the plough. Once you are happy with the texture, continue by following the instructions from Stages 5 to 7 above.

Once cured and base-coated, my test piece looked like this.

... and after a final drybrush.

 

Contact me with suggestions, comments or questions.