Category Archives: Desert

Shaped by time – Wind-swept rocks for your gaming table

Your desert themed gaming table features dry lake beds and areas of deeper sand. So far so good, but this time we go vertical. Just as promised we will focus on large wind-swept rocks in this installation of the arid terrain series. The rocks are suitable as stand-alone pieces and can be freely placed on the gaming table. Depending on your design choices they can serve as inaccessible line-of-sight blocking terrain or be climbed by miniatures to give them an advantage. Naturally integrating the rocks into a larger structure or modular gaming board is a possibility, too. Per usual illustrated step-by-step instruction will guide you through the process and scenic photographs will provide examples of how these rocks can liven up the gaming table in combination with the other pieces we built in this series. So take a pick and chisel and come along, but mind your step. Continue reading Shaped by time – Wind-swept rocks for your gaming table
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Sand in your shoes – A tutorial on arid rough terrain

Arid terrain still preoccupies my mind and we shall not stop at dry desert lakes. Instead, in this second tutorial of the series, I would like to focus on the ever useful rough terrain, or in this specific case a terrain piece that features deeper sand. While you could depict rough terrain with a stretch of land filled with rocks and thorny bushes, I felt it would be much more interesting and challenging to depict an area that features fine, wavy sand, where with each step your troops or characters sink deeper, adding to the exhaustion of sun and thirst. I did also add some weathered rock outcroppings and sparse vegetation to round the piece off.

As always a list of the materials you will need for this build is followed by easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Work in progress pictures will illustrate each step and naturally I won’t break with the tradition of including scenic shots of the final piece. So put on your pith helmet, fill your water bag and follow me once again to a harsh desert environment that offers much more than featureless stretches of land to the modelling enthusiast.

Continue reading Sand in your shoes – A tutorial on arid rough terrain

Mirage – Making a dry desert lake or Oasis

I always found deserts to be fascinating habitats. A cursory look will leave you with the impression that it is hell on earth: sandstorms, unbearable heat during the day and freezing at nighttime. Yet, the desert is not only home to thousands of plant and animal species, it also has a simple beauty to it, dominated by the shapes the wind forms. They are thus a worthy subject for the modeler and can provide an atmospheric backdrop for our games. The exploits of the Crusaders come to mind as well as the cultures inhabiting Northern Africa, for instance the ancient Numidians.

In this first tutorial on arid terrain (more to follow) I will show you how to make a dry desert lake or an oasis that is slowly drying out. Using a similar technique I will also provide you with some ideas how to model a partially dry river bed, with only a small stream of water remaining. Per usual I will talk about the materials needed and provide you with step-by-step instructions how to make a cracked lake or river bed and scratch-built a dead tree to add further interest.

Continue reading Mirage – Making a dry desert lake or Oasis

Lines in the Sand – A review of the AK Gravel and Sand Fixer

When working with fine or coarse sand as well as pigments I often had the problem that the traditional PVA and water method did not quite yield the results I was after: A natural, matt look that does not require painting and preserves colour variations in the sand, so that drybrushing is not necessary.

After I read a very positive review on the Lost in the Warp blog I thought I give it a try myself and went to the local modelshop and got me some AK Gravel and Sand Fixer.

It follows a series of tests of this product on a number of finer and coarser sands as well as experiments to depict ripples on a  dune.

Continue reading Lines in the Sand – A review of the AK Gravel and Sand Fixer

Fire and Ice – Experiments with the Golden Crackle Paste

There are many products available that are not originally meant for the aspiring model terrain maker, but nevertheless provide us with the right tools to recreate nature. One of these products is the Golden Crackle Paste. Being an acrylic effect paste that – as the name suggests – cracks during the curing process, it supplies us with the perfect means to depict dried out lakebeds, but also cracked ice or even cracked lava.

In this short review I document the curing process over several days and show two of the terrain pieces I made using the crackle paste, namely an almost dry lake with barren trees and a water hole as well as  a frozen lake with cracked surface and a snow-covered tree.

Continue reading Fire and Ice – Experiments with the Golden Crackle Paste