Mushrooms as Base Details
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Tools and Supplies:
- A Pin Vise
- Small Pins
- White Primer (Decrolon)
- Zap-A-Gap is an excellent super glue used for miniatures and modeling. For particularly small parts, put some Zap-A-Gap on a space piece of plastic and, using tweezers, dip the small part into the glue -- it's a lot more accurate than using the tip of the bottle.Zap-A-Gap
- Vallejo Cadmium Maroon
- GW Red Gore
- GW Blood Red
- GW Bleached Bone or Vallejo Pale Sand
- Green Stuff, or Kneadatite, is the most common two-part epoxy that sculpters use to craft miniatures. This is not due to any wonderful sculpting properties (in fact, it sculpts somewhat like chewing gum), but because it's heat resistant enough to survive the vulcanizing mold process. Most miniature stores carry this now.Green Stuff Epoxy Putty (optional)
- Candle (optional)
So you've laboured over a figure for hours on end, only to sprinkle some sand on the base and call it done. Beyond any doubt, a poorly executed base can detract from an otherwise beautiful piece of miniature art. Bases need a little visual interest -- otherwise they're just dull little circles of plastic with dirt glued on.
Luckily, it's extremely easy to add basic yet interesting elements to a base. One of the simpliest is adding small speciality items like mushrooms and cat-tails. These are very easy to create.
We'll start with basic mushrooms and move on to the more advanced mushrooms later.
The key to good mushrooms is finding a good pin with the right type of head. Once again luck is with us, as your typical pin is very common -- such as used in new shirts or in sewing -- and makes a perfectly scaled mushroom with just a little bit of work.
I keep a small tin filled with pins handy for various purposes. Not only do they work wonderfully for faux mushrooms, but they also serve to hold small pieces in place, make excellent supports for pinning larger models (instead of paper clips, which can be too bulky), and are handy for very fine detail work when sculpting with green stuff.
In general, you only want the top 25-20% of the pin, including the head. Of course, you can make it longer or shorter depending on your tastes. The only thing required is that the mushroom have a long enough stem to glue into a hole in the base and still rise slightly above whatever other ground or terrain you use to cover your base.
This step is quite clear: using a pin vice, I drilled two holes into the plastic base where the mushrooms would be inserted. Like all elements of visual interest, placement is important to the overall feel but ultimately up to individual taste. Just remember that mushrooms in real life tend to cluster together. You could even go crazy and put a miniature in the middle of a mushroom ring.
For this tutorial, I'm only putting in two basic mushrooms. This is a small figure -- one of the Reaper Halloween familiars -- so I don't want to overwhelm the miniature with too much visual interest on the base. Tweezers will prove perfect to place the tiny mushrooms into their appropriate holes.
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