Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finishing My Desert Hills

by SandWyrm

Time to finish up those desert hills I started making for Flames of War.

On a tip from Farmpunk, I headed over to our local hardware store (Menards) and looked around at the various textured paints they had. For reference, I brought along a finished Panzer IV. They didn't have a good matching paint, but I figured that I could mimic the process I'm using on my tanks and use a darker brown textured base with a lighter sand color on top. Together, they would make the shade I needed.

Here's the base color I chose.

And something I'd not seen before, a fine textured 'sandstone' that I could use over top of the base.

So home I went to try them out. First went the dark brown textured paint.

Now, I'd already sprayed the Styrofoam pieces with a tan-colored acrylic paint the night before to protect them from the enamel paints I planned to use later. But the acrylic didn't protect the Styrofoam as much as I'd hoped. The foam began to melt and pit anyway. Ugh!

On the bright side, the texture and the melting did do a nice job of hiding the cut marks.

I was worried though that I'd end up with all kinds of little white pits in the middle of the hills that would be difficult to fill in later.

Well, there was nothing to do but to keep going and hope for the best. So I started spraying on the Sandstone.

I sprayed this color less evenly, hoping to vary up the color a tiny bit.

Hmmmnnnnn... not bad. The pits are still a bit deep for my taste, but I do like the rest of the texture.

The 2 colors in combination did manage to match my tank pretty well without a lot of work.

I think for something quick and dirty it actually looks quite good. The Sandstone filled in the holes and gave the hills just the right amount of roughness.

It's a bit more volcanic rock than sand, but it looks nice from a distance and beats anything the North Store has on hand to represent desert.

Next time I'll try some sort of PVA glue layer with some sand or talcum mixed in instead of the Acrylic. I've also decided that any more hills I make will be of the gently sloping variety rather than the stair-step sort. I tested these tanks at all angles on the hill and they cling to it just fine.

Total project cost: About $25.


  1. Good work!

    About 10 years ago one of my gaming buddies took a swatch of GW's Graveyard Earth down to the local DIY store Home Depot and had them mix up a couple of quarts of paint, one of which he gave me. I'm barely a quarter of the way through it as I have only so far used it for model bases, but eventually intend to texture/paint a table and do hills and terrain bases in the same. Drybrush and wash to your heart's content after brushing or rolling on this as a base.

    Also, I think I have same or similar can like your lighter Sand Stone, but mine is gray as I only used it for it's texture and am painting over it separately; Mixing sand with glue and paint seems like a lot of extra work.

  2. I love Menards. I was there picking up JB Quick weld, Caulk, Dark forest green cammo paint (for my Shermans).
    The textured stuff is right there next to the Cammo paints at my Menards.

    who would have guessed I'd become a Rust-o-leum paint fan? so many good flat colors...

  3. Watered down PVA mixed with dirt or sand is a quick and easy way to get whatever texture your heart desires, although to be honest even with the up close shots I can't really tell what (if anything) is wrong with those hills. The added texture looks very much like the kind of rough, rocky desert that you see around CA and NV.

  4. Beer4TheBeerGod beat me to it, but I came to suggest the watered-down PVA as great for protecting styrofoam from melting under the onslaught of spray-paint.

  5. Reckon they look great!

    And the way FoW minis 'stick' to terrain so much better than 40k stuff is a nice change - I guess it's simply the lower centre of gravity on a broader base.

    I love FoW infantry bases too, with those tiny nodules to enable you to pick them up...


out dang bot!

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