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Simple Technique for Enhancing Fabric Texture.

Hi there! Today, I want to share a simple technique to enhance the texture of your fabrics. Let’s dive in and discuss how we can make our materials look more interesting. I’ll guide you through my process and show you how to take your fabrics to the next level!

This article is a remastered repost from my old blog twistedbrushes.

First, we will inspect Grinder, who has a red ribbon tied around his top knot. Then, we will move on to Wraith and Viking Chief, as the technique varies slightly.

In the beginning, I was going for plain and smooth red. I did all the lights and shadows as smoothly as possible. Then I realised it didn’t look good enough. Especially when I compare it to the leather elements. Besides, it’s almost a sin not to try some freehands with this scale.

I noticed that the folds and recesses of the cloth looked almost like feathers. So I thought about emphasising it with adequate freehand, but then I worried it may look too girly. And Grinder is anything but girly, so finally, I decided against it. Then, I thought about a simple fabric pattern. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do and should look real/believable enough.

I had only a general idea of how to get the effect I wanted. So I jumped into deep water. I took the brush with a bit of ‘Jack Bone (P3) and started to paint thin lines on the brightest parts of the cloth.
Why ‘Jack Bone? No idea, honestly. It might be because it was already on the table, and I was too lazy to look for off-white. I genuinely doubt there was any clear thought behind it.

Of course, not every line was nice and thin, but I decided it was OK. Sometimes, manually woven fabrics have thicker threads as well.

I did some red lines on the bright areas to keep the fabric nicely red. It helped to create even more contrast between threads. Then, I used the same red to create light threads in the shadows. And finally, I also used some Leviathan Purple/Druchii Violet (GW wash) to make dark threads there. After a while, I added a few beige lines in the shadows at the back of the cloth in the shadows.

When the threads were almost done, I applied a layer or two of red ink (Deep red W&N). After a few more touch-ups and corrections, the cloth was ready.
As you can see, the red ink changed the hue of red quite significantly. It’s now a colder shade of red, which I quite like.
Using wash instead of ink would also do the trick. I’d need a few more layers (as inks have more pigment than washes while still being transparent). If there are washes with such intense pure red, of course.

OK, so I used Oils for the first part of the painting, and I have no idea what colours they were. If I did it in acrylics back then, I would most likely use:

  • Flat Red (VMC 70957)
  • Burgundy Wine (Reaper Master Series Paint 9025)
  • Black (VMC 70950)
  • And the colours that I did use for sure:
  • ‘Jack Bone (P3)
  • Flat Red (VMC 70957)
  • Leviathan Purple/Druchii Violet (GW wash)
  • Deep Red (Windsor & Newton Ink)

For this piece, I was planning to do a mantle full of mystical symbols and signs… But I was too afraid I’d spoil the paint job, so I decided to do something simpler.

The technique I used here is pretty much the same as with red cloth on the Grinder. First, I made sure that the blending was smooth enough. I wasn’t overly worried about the contrast yet. I knew I’d increase it further with texture and glazes at the end.

When I was happy with the base, I painted thin and faint white lines all over the mantle.

After that, I used some turquoise glazes, followed by turquoise lines and more glazes. I decided not to introduce really dark lines in this piece. The whole mantle should stay relatively light in colour, ethereal. I tried to do the lines thinner than on the Grinder as well. Mainly because the mini is much smaller. I didn’t want the fabric to look fake or extremely thick-weaved.

  • Off-white (VMC 70820)
  • Blue-green (VMC 70808)
  • Medium blue (VMC 70963)
  • Black (VMC 70950) – used extremelly sparringly only in deepenst shadows

As a side note:

The noticeable differences in the hue of the cloak are mostly the results of my experiments with painting. And only a slight inconsistency with lighting.

I used the same technique while painting Viking Chief.
You can see a few steps in the photos below:

First clean base. I painted it neatly enough, even knowing I would cover it with texture later. Then, I did initial lights and shadows.

Then, I painted all the thin lines, in this case, light and dark. I chose the colours corresponding to the base to increase the contrast and make it look natural.

After that, I painted layers of glazes to unify the whole coat. The glazes are integral to this process, making everything look coherent.

I can’t remember what colour I used for the base for the life of me. All the time, I was sure it was some grey-blue, possibly French Mirage Blue (VMC 70900). But after looking at the paint right now and comparing it to the photos, I realised it’s not it. I honestly don’t remember. So any blueish colour would do. I basically covered it with texture anyway, so it’s barely visible.

The rest of the colours are as follows:

  • Off-white (VMC 70820). I used the pure off-white only in the highlights on his shoulders. Everywhere else, it was mixed with French Mirage Blue.
  • French Mirage Blue (VMC 70900) – I’m sure I’ve used it for texturing.
  • Basalt Grey (70869)

The easiest way to answer this question would be to say: I pick colours that would naturally be highlights and shadows. That would be boring, though. I usually introduce at least one colour close to the main colour scheme. It is close but not what you would imagine as natural light or shadow to add some interest. I don’t introduce intense colour variation, just a bit of interest. You can add bolder colours if you want, but it might be too distracting.

This way of adding interest to your miniatures is relatively simple. It requires only a brush with a good tip and patience. Well, a lot of patience. In fact, the sheer amount of work to make all the thin lines in at least 3, ideally 4 colours, might be the single biggest challenge here. Especially if you decided to try it for the first time on a big area. Start small, and you won’t get discouraged;]

I hope you found this article helpful and are excited to try these techniques and see what you can create. Don’t be afraid to try new colours and textures to make your miniatures stand out. And hey, if you have any other techniques you’d like me to cover, let me know! I’m here to help you take your miniature painting skills further. So, keep painting and have fun creating!

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Ein Stein’s Leather Apron

Orc miniature painted by Minichix studio. Leather apron distressed. Orc with googles and big pointy ears

This time, I’d like to show you how to paint the leather like I did on my Ein Stein.
Ein Stein (or Da Rock) is a beautiful bust sculpted by Alan Carrasco many moons ago.

This article is a remastered repost from my old blog twistedbrushes.

The bust was released by Figone under the name Einstein. In German, Einstein means Ein Stein, which translates to one stone; hence, Da Rock is on his plaque, and Ein Stein is on the back of his work overalls. I guess I was watching Sons of Anarchy when I was painting this bust… Trust me, it all makes sense, I promise.

As you can see, the leather apron Ein Stein is wearing is very distressed. It’s dirty and full of all sorts of discolourations and stains. Almost like he was working in some kind of Orkish motorcycle shop or something? Initially, I didn’t plan it this way; it was a spontaneous decision.

I don’t have any photos picturing particular stages of the process. So, I had to recreate the same effect on something different. I decided to use cardboard as a nice flat surface. It looks almost the same, yay me;]

The first step was basic. I applied more or less even layer of a base colour. It was some sort of mixture of Graveyard Earth (GW), Desert Yellow (GW) and ‘Jack Bone (P3).
The exact colours are not that important; you can use your own paints and mixtures. I’m listing them in case you find it helpful.
I’ve used an airbrush for this and the next stage, but you can easily do this with the brush. You don’t need an extra smooth surface to paint leather. In fact, some imperfections in the gradient will add more character.

For this step, I also used an airbrush and sprayed some Graveyard Earth on the bottom of the apron. I directed the airbrush nozzle from the bottom of the bust, making sure I hit all the recesses. Then I added a few thin layers of ‘Jack Bone on his shoulders to readress highlights.
I didn’t care too much about the shadows on the edges at this point. I was planning to take care of them closer to the end.

After blocking the first shadows and lights, I moved to glazing. I used various shades of brown, green, and black to create colour variations and more contrast. Then, I used more ‘Jack Bone and Dessert Yellow to brighten the top parts of the apron.
At this stage, I wasn’t really going for smooth transitions. In fact, some roughness, especially in ‘light’ areas, was deliberate. I used it to create a leathery texture of vachetta leather. It has no shine and is rather dull compared to grain leather).

After finishing step 3, I could move to the fun part. With a stiff brush and a toothpick, I speckled the apron with various paints. I used washes and diluted paints to ensure the specks were small enough. I concentrated them on the middle part of the apron, where they’re most likely to happen in real life.
This method is entirely random and seems messy. But with all the non-leather parts of the mini covered with Tamiya tape, I could go to town with it. And with a bit of practice, you can create great effects. And if it goes seriously wrong, you can always repaint it with base colours and start again. It not only won’t ruin the piece but can even add a bit to the texture.

It’s entirely up to you what colours you use for that step, but here’s the list of those I used:

  • ‘Jack Bone (P3)
  • Badab Black (GW Wash)
  • Agrax Earthshade (GW Wash)
  • Ogryn Flesh (GW Wash)
    Seraphim Sepia (GW Wash)

You can add some with the brush if you’re not entirely happy with the splashes and dots created by the toothbrush. I used diluted washes to create a ‘coffee print’ effect. But it’s really up to you how diluted paint you will use.

I used some Graveyard Earth, brown, and black washes to blend the whole surface. Then green, red and maybe even blue to add some colour nuances to the leather. After years of extensive use, some stains and discolouration were expected.
The effect on the photos is not exactly the same as on Einstein’s apron, but you got the idea of how I did it so far. Changes I was doing from now on are somewhat difficult to reproduce on the cardboard, so I will move back to the mini.

I then used a few more glazes to blend the whole surface slightly. After that, I reintroduced contrast with dark glazes. I put them on the bottom of the miniature and in the recesses. Then, I used light colours in the brighter areas. A slightly ‘chalky’ finish in the highlights added some texture and a worn finish.

With the middle of the apron more or less ready, I took care of the edges. I applied bright colours with the side of the brush to the apron’s sharp edges. Then, some glazes in the little holes and indentations under them did the trick.
The same goes for all little holes in the surface. I applied some dark/black wash inside and then highlighted the bottom edge with Menoth White Base (P3).

When the rest of the bust was fully painted, I reassessed the leather again. I added a few extra highlights and shadows to the uneven edges of Ein Stein’s apron to make it stand out more next to the intense orange of his jumpsuit.

And that’s it! With these simple steps, you can achieve a beautifully distressed leather effect on your miniatures or other projects.
You can use this method whenever the leather you are painting is worn in a place where it could get dirty.
Remember, imperfections and textures only add to the character of the piece. So, have fun, be creative, and happy painting!

If you want to learn more about painting different types of leather, you can check out my other articles.

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How To Make Magic Mushrooms

Little Alice from Smog1888, painted on a base with whimsical mushrooms sculpted by Minichix Studio

I don’t know how about you, but I prefer to make everything on my base by myself. Well, within reason, of course. I’m not going to make my own plinths. And sometimes, I use pre-made parts, like wooden planks or cobblestones. But whenever it is reasonable, I do my own stuff. Or repurpose things that otherwise would go to the bin.

This article is a remastered repost from my old blog twistedbrushes.

This base for Little Alice was done basically from scratch. The only exceptions are the wooden planks I used as the door and the cobblestones creating the pathway. The rest is either natural materials or sculpted. It’s full of issues and imperfections. But it’s still very special to me. It was my first elaborate base, and I did it after more or less a 10-year break in painting. And it (with the miniature, of course) gave me my first Gold at Euro Militaire in 2011. Yep, it’s that old.

Alice is a beautiful girl from Smog1888. It’s a range of 1/35 models sculpted to represent Steampunk adventurers and cultists. Unfortunately, the company that released the miniatures (Smart Max) is long gone. You can sometimes find their miniatures on eBay or other second-hand selling sites.
She is one of the more benign-looking miniatures from this range. Clearly based on Alice in Wonderland with the pocket watch and giant rabbit in her arms. Did I mention the rabbit is wearing glasses? It is.

It won’t be a step-by-step tutorial on how to build the base like I did for Alice. I don’t have enough documentation to do that. I will focus only on how I made my mushrooms. I don’t have enough photos for every stage of the process, I’m afraid. But I’ll explain and show you all I can; you’ll see they’re pretty simple things to make.

Here are a few reference photos I used to understand how I want my mushrooms to look. As you can see, they are all tall with long, thin stems. Combined with the rest of the base, they should give me the eerie feeling I wanted to achieve.

  • Putty – it doesn’t matter which one. Pick whatever you’re most comfortable working with – I used Green Stuff mixed with Milliput; you can use the baked one if you’d rather work with this kind.
  • Thin wire – to create stems. It has to be sturdy enough to keep shape before the putty hardens.
  • Sculpting tool that can create thin lines – whatever you are comfortable with. I used a thick sewing needle if I remember correctly. Only because I had it at hand.
  • A primer that goes chalky and creates a nice texture – as you can see in the photos – I used Vallejo grey in a can.
  • Texturing paste if you’re lucky and don’t have bad primers.

I took a small amount of putty and formed more or less a ball. I wasn’t looking for a perfect shape; I just wanted to get the putty slightly warmed up and formed in roughly a round shape. Then, I flattened it into a disc, making it thicker in the middle, with significantly thinner edges. Then, I bent the sides downwards to create the shape I wanted. At this point, I didn’t worry about leaving any fingerprints. I was going to cover it all with a texture later, anyway.

The bottom line of the cap can be imperfect, too; it’s even better if it’s uneven. Many mushrooms, especially older ones, are highly asymmetrical and irregular.
Depending on the size of a cap I was creating, I formed them on my finger, the end of a brush or a pen. You can choose anything that works for you size-wise. I used chemically curing putty, so I had to give it some time to harden. If you use putty that requires baking to cure, follow the instructions for your kind of putty.

Here is a picture of ready caps. They are already covered with primer, but I couldn’t find any without it in my ‘treasure chest’. As you can see, shapes are slightly irregular and differ a lot.

If I made the mushrooms now, I would add more irregularities and damage to the cups. I’d focus on the bigger ones, which could have weathered more. If you google photos of older mushrooms, they often have broken caps. It’s either a clean break line going to the middle or more organic damage, like some bugs munched on the shroom.

When the caps were hard and ready for further work, I took a bit of fresh putty and placed it inside the cap to create gills. Because I wanted the gills to be quite sharp, I used Milliput without the Green Stuff. I pressed the putty to stick nicely to the sides of the cap. I made sure the putty didn’t fill the cups completely. I didn’t reach the edges, making sure they were thin.

While the putty was fresh, I created a hole in the middle for a stalk. Then, with the sculpting tool of choice, I made some gills. I dragged the tool from the middle to the sides, creating a slight indentation. I tried to be somewhat symmetrical with it. It’s good to go around in intervals and add more and more lines between the existing ones. Once again, it doesn’t need to be perfect.

All the mushrooms I found in this particular style that I wanted had gills under the cups. If you wish, you can go for other options: Pores, teeth or ridges. Whatever works for the project you are doing.

I wanted my mushrooms to be wispy and fragile, opposite to the stocky ones sitting low on a thick leg. So I took long pieces of wire and wrapped them in putty. I made steams pretty smooth and even, with only slight thinning closer to the cup. I left the top and bottom few millimetres of the wire clear to help fix them to the ground and the cup.
Before the putty hardened, I formed the steams to the right shape.

As I said, I made the steams thin and simple, without any extra elements. You can add the veil to the top of the steam to give more visual interest, but it’s optional. With some practice, you can make them thin, wispy and irregular.
Once the putty on the stems was cured and ready for further work, I attached the caps with some putty. Once again, I didn’t worry about fingerprints or other imperfections. I wanted the mushrooms to look natural and organic.

For this part, I applied a thick layer of primer that I knew would go chalky on me. I simply sprayed on the cups from the top. I didn’t shake it too well to make sure it would give them the texture I wanted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t even a necessary precaution. This sucker just never sprays smoothly. If you don’t have primer like this, you can use any delicate texturing paste. Or simply plaster of Paris mixed with PVA glue. Experiment with the consistency that works best.
To be fair, working with a texturing product can give even better results than using a faulty primer. You can localise the texture to the places you want to have it. For example, you may like to keep the middle of the cup smooth. Then, you can introduce texture gradually, making it more visible on the sides. Or the other way around, textured middle with smooth edges.
You might also prefer to keep your mushrooms smooth altogether. In this case, ensure you’re not leaving fingerprints while sculpting. Or even if there are fingerprints or other marks on the shrooms, sand them down.
I primed the bottom and stems with a different primer that gives a smooth finish.

It all depends on the scene you are building and your chosen colour scheme. I wanted my scene to be subdued, not very colourful and trippy. So I went for very mute colours.
I first painted the whole mushrooms with ‘Jack bone (P3 064). Then, I gave them a thin sepia wash, skipping the cups’ middle. Then, I applied layers of washes to the cups, making them progressively darker the closer they got to the edges. I mixed Sepia with Agrax Earthshade to keep the tone of the mushrooms on the colder side. At the end, I added a few brush strokes with ‘Jack Bone going from the centre and slowly fading closer to the edge.
This painting scheme suits the whole scene. But honestly, the options here are limited only by your imagination. Mushrooms are truly fantastic in their colours and textures.

And that’s it! Creating these mushrooms is pretty straightforward. You can use them to add an eerie or mystical feel to your miniature bases or dioramas. So why not give it a try? Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new passion for sculpting and creating unique bases.

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Woodland Scenic Base – Painting.

Let’s talk about painting the woodland base I built for the Viking’s Chief. This Is not gonna be step by step tutorial. I will talk more about what and why I did it, not how I did it. Focusing on my thought process more than brush strokes. I will discuss separate parts of the base: the trunk, bark, mushrooms and rotting foliage on the ground.

If you want to know how I made this base, the please have a look at Woodland Scenic Base – Pt 1, found here.

This article is a remastered repost from my old blog twistedbrushes.

Even though the piece of heather I used already looked pretty much like a fallen tree, I decided to paint it anyway. For one thing, it lacked some discolourations and delicate moss here and there. But mostly because I thought it would look weird next to a painted miniature if left unpainted. Painting them unifies the whole piece.

So first, I took care of the naked parts of the trunk. Using GW washes, GW Graveyard Earth and P3 ‘Jack Bone, I covered certain areas in paint, creating stronger contrast. It also added some colour variations that could appear in a wood exposed to the weather for a long time.

The damaged parts of the front were a bit more tricky. It was challenging to reach the deepest recesses with a brush. I introduced dark washes and some Catachan Green (GW) using a big old brush. It emulated moss that could find its way there.

For this part, I used primarily dark brown, some GW washes, a bit of P3 ‘Jack Bone and lots of GW Catachan Green. I used Brown washes to deepen the shadows and Jack Bone to highlight the colour and add extra contrast. I then painted thin layers of green, mostly under the trunk and in the recesses, to mimic moss. It often grows on older, and especially fallen trees. If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, google ‘old bark moss’, and you can find many examples.

Below, you can see various stages of painting, from the very natural unpainted wood to the final version. I decided to post only one set of photos for both the trunk and bark. They would be very similar; you can see all the painting steps here.

Mushrooms are the exception on this base. They were mostly left as they were in a natural state. I was afraid that too much paint would cover the natural pattern of the tobacco stalks. They reminded me so much of the actual mushrooms, so I wanted to preserve them.

I didn’t really paint them as such. I only used some GW washes (brown and green) to better unify the colour with the rest of the base. You can still see the natural texture and the thin stripes of light and dark colours. Adding the washes discoloured them only slightly, making them look more like a part of the scene. But as the shrooms are pretty alive, unlike the fallen trunk they grow and feed on, I kept them in warmer colours.

Below is a photo of shrooms just after I glued them to the base and after applying washes. In the third frame, under a different angle, you should be able to see the pattern I was talking about. Darker and brighter lines create some visual interest and emulate the real mushrooms.

I painted the fern mostly with an airbrush. I used Catachan Green as a base and some GW Desert Yellow and Snakebite Leather mixture to do the highlights. For the shadows, I used various GW washes. I have no photos from painting this part (even though I’m pretty sure I took some), so you need to take my word for it:D

I painted these parts using the same colours as on the bark. Dark brown washes and some gently dry brushed ‘Jack Bone to create contrast and unify these parts with the rest of the base. Then, I used some green washes to emulate moss that started to grow on the leaves. I focused the green mostly under the trunk, at the front, and in deep shadows, where the moss would grow the fastest.

There is also some amount of moss in the open areas. If the leaves are laying there for a few months, starting to rot already, there should be some moss on them as well.
The photo below could be better, but you should see some greens on the ground.

And that’s all I could tell you about painting this base.
Here you can read about how I built the base.

The only additional tip I can give you when working on a project like this is to look at how nature does it. It’s the best way to make your bases look epic and natural. So, next time you are out and about, look for things you could recreate on your bases. Or at least Google extensively to build an image base to draw from when you are working.

Here how the base looks finished.

Thank you for reading about my process of painting the woodland base for the Viking’s Chief. I hope you found my insights and tips helpful for your own projects. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and let your creativity guide you. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, and I’ll happily answer them. Happy painting!

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Woodland Scenic Base – Building.

In this article, I’ll show you how I created a scenic base for the Viking Chief miniature from Pegaso Models.

This article is a remastered repost from my old blog twistedbrushes.

Viking Chief is a 90mm scale miniature that depicts a seasoned warrior and chieftain of the village standing on a stone step base.
The Vikings were known for their wooden structures. The stone base then most likely serves as a symbol of their conquests over more advanced civilizations. You know, Vikings being Vikings, pillaging churches and monasteries, as they liked to do.

But when I look at him, I don’t see the pose and facial expression of a conqueror surveying his spoils. It’s more like a seasoned warrior, a chieftain, standing on a cliff deep in thought. He’s looking at the sea and planning a new excursion. Or, he’s just wondering what his wife is angry about right now; who knows.

That’s why I’ve decided to create a forest base, with a fallen trunk (to substitute the step) and some fern and grass.

Here you can see all the materials I used for the base:

  • A piece of Heather – or any other small branch that can be used as a tree trunk.
  • Etched brass fern – you can use paper one if you prefer.
  • Artificial grass – I chose grass that was already formed into clumps.
  • tobacco bits (more on that later)
  • grounded sponge – it’s widely available in hobby stores in various colours.
  • Tea leaves – or any other crushed dry leaves.
  • Texturing paste – I used Vallejo Sandy Paste, but you can use any material of your choice or go for sand mixed with PVA,
  • Milliput or any other self-curing putty.

Old branches of Heather work great as tree trunks in scale. They’re really ideally oval in profile, often having a lot of deformations and weird knobs. All the imperfections and strange recesses create visual interest. Also, the texture of the bark looks convincing in scale and represents tree bark very well. The bark also falls off the trunk quickly, leaving nice, smooth surfaces. This makes the trunk look like old and damaged.

First, I had to choose the best piece of Heather and cut it into the correct size. I went for a branch with a split end. It helped me to create the illusion that it broke under the strong wind or lightning, not cut down by the axe. Falling bark will add more character, making it look like something has been lying on the ground for a while now.

Cutting the other end was trickier, though. Heather is pretty hard, so you need a proper saw to cut it properly. And you need to be careful so you won’t hurt yourself while cutting.

Then, I placed the cut piece on the base. On a slight angle, with the damaged end pointing in the same direction the Viking will be looking. It created harmony in the piece. Around the wood, I placed some Milliput to mimic the ground and make space for the socket for the other foot.

When I was happy with the shape of the ground, I covered it with sandy paste to add some texture. I’ll cover most of the ground with some foliage later. But if some of it shines through between the plants, there will be some interesting texture.

With the ground more or less ready, I reached into my tobacco stash to create some mushrooms on the trunk.

To be fair, the whole idea of using tobacco as mushrooms is not mine. The credit is due to guys from MassiveVoodoo, and here you can find the article that inspired me to try it on my own. And here, if anyone’s interested, you can see a photo of the best ‘mushroom material’ I could find so far. I’m not gonna publish the picture here. I’m against smoking, and I don’t advertise it any more than necessary.

And yeah, so far, I haven’t found anything else that could replace tobacco cuttings in creating tree fungi. I might try sculpting some and printing them out in the future, but for now, it works.

The process itself is straightforward. I picked some of the tobacco stem cuttings from my stash of preselected materials. They are usually round or elliptical in shape. I cut one side of each with the scalpel and glued them to the trunk with a bit of Superglue.

Tree shrooms usually grow in a particular formation. It’s good to research them before glueing them to the trunk.

With all that done, I placed the mini on the base. First, I had to cut a hole in the trunk to hide the piece of metal under Viking’s foot. Again, it was a challenge, with Heather being as hard as it is. So, if you also work with it, be careful of your fingers.

Next, I started work with Fern.
I used brass etched fern because I already had it in stash. You can use paper ones if you prefer. For me, brass is more durable. And even if it’s harder to form them to look natural, I still prefer the longevity of metal over paper. But like with everything in this hobby, try some of the options.

Etched brass is still thin enough that working with it is pretty simple. I gently shaped some of the leaves more naturally, trying to mimic different stages of growth. To keep the curves of the stem fronds, I used various cylinders to achieve initial bends. Then, I used small round pliers and fingers.

After shaping the fronds, I placed them around the trunk in bits of Blutac just to find out the shape of the plants. When I was happy with that, I put some grass around, for now, without glueing it, just to find out the right spots. Because I had to paint every fern separately, I took a few photos from different angles. It allowed me to place them more or less the same way after painting. And, of course, to ensure I won’t mix them, I kept every bunch on a side while painting. I took photos of this stage but lost them, so you must take my word for it.

With all foliage in place, or at least planned, I could move to the moss and dead leaves on the ground. Even in the middle of the vegetative period, some leaves always lie on the ground in the forest, especially under the big trees. I used a grounded sponge to create moss. You can buy it in almost every hobby store. They come in various colours, it’s good to have a selection for different occasions. I used the warm yellowish shade of green to add some variety of colour. I glued it mainly under the trunk and Fern.

For the dead leaves, I used some tea bags. Tea leaves in the bags are usually crushed into almost a pulp. In the scale, it makes them look like old, broken, dead leaves lying around for at least months. A bit of glue between the tea makes it look even more like decaying foliage.

After I’ve painted and glued it all together, I used more tea and a grounded sponge to mask more ground under the fern and grass. At the end, I carefully placed a few bits of bark around the trunk as if it had just fallen off under the Viking’s shoe.

Here, you can see what the finished and painted base looks like.

I hope this guide has given you the inspiration and confidence to take your miniatures to the next level. You can do this by creating your own stunning scenic bases.
And remember to check out the next part of this article. I share the painting and finishing techniques I used for this base.

But most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment. Use different materials and try new techniques. And create truly unique and personalized bases and dioramas. Let your creativity run wild, and enjoy the process of bringing your miniatures to life!
Happy modelling!