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Warmachine Cryx Inspired Board

Hi Everyone!

I’ve been lurking on this site for a few months now, and I finally got my project done and thought I would share it. First and foremost I want to say thank you to all the people who post on this site. Your work is truly amazing and inspiring. I’ve learned so much in such a short time and hopefully I’ll be able to pay some of that back.

A little about me, my name is Walt, I live in Jacksonville FL, USA and I’ve been gaming since the red and blue box sets of D&D, the early 80’s in case you didn’t know. Razz I mostly did role play but I got into BattleTech back when it first came out and was actually called BattleDroids and came with plastic models! Man that was nice. But, life got in the way and the gaming subsided for a while. About 3 months ago, a friend got me into Warmachine (I play the Cryx faction), and I remember reading an ad for some terrain and it said something to the effect of, ‘Your figs don’t look bad, neither should your terrain’, and I thought to myself, they have a good point.

One of things that I never liked while playing BattleTech back in the day, was the flat map and I was determined not to have that while playing Warmachine. So I started looking around at all the cool terrain that was out there and then said to myself, self, you can make that! And so I did and so here I am.

After looking at all the stuff there is on making terrain I settled on a couple of goals and went to work. There were 3 main things that I wanted to accomplish with this project. First and most important was to try some of the techniques that I’d seen and just start messing around with different materials and see what would happen.

Second, I wanted to make sure the board was playable. Unbeknown to me, this was going to provide some interesting design problems. With Warmachine our largest base is 2 inches, so I wanted to make sure that all the areas were large enough to accommodate this. It’s funny but you don’t realize how fast 2 inches adds up on you and how quickly you can lose space. Lesson 1 learned

Lastly I wanted to try and make it look half way decent. Designing and building things, I’m half way decent at. Picking colors and painting well… that’s another story. But it’s something I’m working on.

So, with all that in mind, here is my first ever terrain project!

First thing I did was come up with something of an idea of what I wanted and I sketched it out, but sadly I draw worse than I paint, but at least I had an idea of what I was going for.

Next I started working from the ground up. I got two 2’ X 2’ 1/8” hardboard / masonite primed them and then taped them off based on the piece that was going on top of them.

Why did I tape them off your wondering? Well I’ll tell you, and this was mistake #2. I had some Knockdown leftover from repairing a hole in the wall (don’t ask) and thought that it would make for some good rocky texture. Knockdown, btw, is basically spray spackle / dry wall plaster, and it’s what they use to give the walls in your home that rough look. But I didn’t have enough to do everything so I thought that by taping and only hitting the areas that would be seen I could spread it far enough that I wouldn’t need another can.

Wrong! I needed another can any way, and to add insult to injury none of the taping was quite right, so I had to come back after I was done to redo several spots. It’s quite amazing how noticeable even the smallest spot of pink foam is, lol!

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So here is the good and bad about the Knockdown. It’s an aerosol so you need to have your foam protected first or it will eat it like spray paint does. It was fast and easy, just spray it and your done. They only negative was that it didn’t turn out quite like I wanted. If you look at the walls in your house and they have knockdown on them the edges tend to be at more of a steeper angle, by spraying it on a horizontal surface and not a vertical one, gravity took over and the angles ended up being a lot less steep. But in the end I think it came out ok, epically for how quick it was.

Next was my 2 main base pieces. I made these out of 2 pieces of ½” foam glued together (I couldn’t find any 1”). I used a hot foam cutter to cut out the pieces, glued it together with PVA, and then used a flexible box cutter knife to add the slopes. Nothing special, however I did make mistake #3 and #4 here.

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First, I learned that even though the PVA seems likes it dry, it might not be. I stood the pieces up on their ends to get them out of the way and the PVA leaked from the not dry center though the crack between the pieces on to the carpet Embarassed Second, it took a lot of sanding to get the ends to meet up where the 2 pieces come together right, and they still don’t. Since then, I learned when joining 2 pieces together cut them so the machined edge of the insulation will be the sides facing each other and then you don’t have to worry about it.

Next was my volcano. Yeah that’s what I calling it, perhaps a sad attempt at a volcano would be a better description, lol. Here I wanted 2 things, the Cryx have a green glow to them, it’s from the background fluff and is called Necrotite, so I wanted to try and replicate that at the top, and of course it had to be playable.

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The green glow didn’t turn out too bad. I found a green plastic cup with bumps on it that I hacked up and then put in the oven (bake at 300 for a few minutes, keep an eye on it and you’ll see it start to flatten out). The problem was that it was too clear and you could see all the way to the bottom of the piece. Then I found some opaque plastic sheets at the craft store that were originally designed for doing stenciling. By cutting out the top of the volcano some I was able to layer and set flush the cup and stencil, and when you put a glow stick under it you get a, not too bad, green glow.

The playability aspect of the volcano provided me with some issues, this is where the 2” came back to bit me. Due to the height that I wanted, mixed with the need to have 2” around the opening, meant that I didn’t make the piece wide enough to accommodate the 2” pathway that I needed to get to the top at a slope that wouldn’t cause the models to fall over. Mistake #5, and to make things worse, I couldn’t really make the piece bigger because if I did I would lose the 2” around the piece that it was sitting on. Stupid 2”! Brick wall

But I did fix it, and it only took about a week and an entire can of spackle. Lessons learned you ask? Plan better; rough sketches without measurements don’t work to well when height is involved. Also, next time I’ll just redo the piece, it took way too long to fix.

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Next up is the ‘bunker’, as my wife calls it. Originally I wanted to do a tunnel through a mountain, and this is how it ended up, nothing like I thought it would, lol. Because of the earlier 2” fiasco, I decided to just level off the top to give a good size playable area. This worked out ok. The next problem came in with the tunnel aspect. It didn’t dawn on me until I tried to actually place a model in it for size how big it actually had to be. I found out that in addition to being able to get the model in there you also have to get your hand in as well to be able to move the model. Mistake # 6. Because of the need for the 2” around this piece, just like the last piece, I couldn’t widen it so, hence the bunker look. Not quite what I was going for, but it was playable which was more important.

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Next was painting time. I covered the foam pieces in PVA followed by a light coat of spackling to get some texture. Then I primed everything black with .99 cent black primer then dry brushed a gray followed up by a lighter gray. This was my first time dry brushing and I think it came out ok. I could have had a lighter gray for the final coat, and / or gone over it for a 4th layer with white. But I didn’t and this is what I got.

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At this point the board was looking kind of plain so I decided to try adding crystals to the bunker. Again, not great, but not too bad. I dug out small holes with a dremel, then 5 min epoxy to hold cocktail stirrers in place.

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Next was the Necrotite holding tank. This piece came out pretty good I thought. I started off with a foam ball (yeah yeah I know!!!) and drilled holes through it. Next I scratch built a base and control panel from styrene / plastruct. The styrene had a smooth finish on it that I didn’t think was appropriate for the piece so I got out my trusty dremel and used an engraving bit at high speed and very lightly and quickly went over the plastic allowing the bit to drag and bounce along and rough up the surface. I was pleased with the result and used it for the rest of the pieces to give them the rough look that they have.

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Quick side note about the styrene. I got a 1/8 inch thick 4 x 8 foot (yes foot) for $16. Check your area for plastic distributors and / or sign companies, they carry this stuff in stock. Much better deal that the craft / hobby stores.

Next I built the support from plastic I-beams. I had a friend who’s into model trains tell me about Evergreen. They make all kinds of cool different scale structural pieces for scratch building. However this did lead to mistake #7. Since the pieces were small and didn’t have much surface area, I used super glue to try and put them together. I can’t tell you how many times I glued my finger to themselves or the piece, lol! I then switched to testors model master glue, it takes longer than super glue, but not as long as regular model glue, and comes out in a thin liquid, and the problem was solved! If you haven’t used it, I highly recommend it.

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To finish off the ball, I added sewing pins for the rivets and pvc pipe for the detail pieces. Then I installed 3 green LED’s and covered the ends of the pvc pipe in the same stencil opaque plastic that I used for the volcano. And thus we have mistake #8. The problem that I had with the LED’s was that they moved around and I didn’t have a good way to fasten them into place. In retrospect I probably should have cut the ball open and securely fastened the LED’s where I wanted them, but I didn’t, and not all of the pvc pipes get enough light. Oh well. However on my next project I’m going to experiment with EL wire, that should be fun!

Lastly were some straws for the pipes leading down to the base, and then some gears that I had. I ran the wire inside one of the straws and then hid the 9 volt battery in the control panel section. For the painting I did a base color of a redish brown, followed by a darker shade of a redish brown that I used a stipple brush to apply and then I washed it with a mud color. Then a brass color for the down pipes, gears, control panel bits, and rivets.

I’m not quite sure if I like how the paint job turned out, it’s ok I guess , but again not quite what I was looking for. However it was the first time for stippling and washing. I continued this same process and color scheme for the other pieces. I think my technique got a little better with the stippling as I went on, and I think the main issue I’m having was the color choices. Any advice on this matter would e greatly appreciated.

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Green Glow!

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Then was my lift, and mistake #9. And guesses what it was? It was the return of the 2” problem! The idea was to make the lift large enough to accommodate any model. Well I had the necessary 2” around the bunker where the lift was to sit, but I forgot to take into account the width of the material used to make the lift. d'oh! End result. The platform on the lift was a little under a 1 ½” wide instead of the 2”. Oh well, earlier learned lesson successfully reinforced. Plan better!

To make the lift I used the I-beams from earlier, added some gears to the top, and attached the chain. The chain was a cheap necklace from the craft store that someone would have used to add beads and what not too. I think it was 60” for $2 or something like that. Getting the necklace to stay on the gears was a bit of a challenge. I ended up using 5 minute epoxy. I let it tack up some then applied t to the top of the gears and held the chain in place till it dried enough to let it go. I did the same thing at the base of the lift to attach the chain there as well as the top platform.

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Lastly was the bridge. I cut out a support from foam, and the bridge it’s self was styrene with the I-beams glued to it and gears cut in half and put on the ends. The original idea was to make it like a support bridge and have the chain that I used on the lift come down from the support to the I-beams. Well as you can see that didn’t happen. Reason being was that it would have made the piece on solid piece and because of the length of the bridge it would have been difficult to transport, so I left it as 2 separate pieces. But now I had yet another problem.

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The bridge still looked a little plain to me and needed something. Then one day, while on TG I was an ad for some miniature skulls, and thought to myself, self, Cryx are undead skulls might work! So I gave it a try. Thanks Andy for a great product, good service and advice.

So the skulls came in and I attached them to the bridge support, and then decided I’d ask Andy how he painted them, which he told me, and then also advised me that I should paint them on the spur. Mistake #10. That would have been SO much easier, as I had to go back and repaint the support after I was done with the skulls. Once again, not the best paint job, but I’m working on it.

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And finally here are some shots of it all together with some figs for scale. Well I guess that’s about it. C & C welcome, however this piece is done as far as I’m concerned, but any advice or criticism about what I should do with my next piece will be greatly appreciated. Also any advice on the post itself would be appreciated too. Too many pics, not enough, too much description etc. BTW I already know my grammar and spelling suck, but like the painting, I’m working on it Smile

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One last thought. I’ve already begun work on my next project. It’s a gaming board that will be 4 x 6 in 3, 2 x 4 sections. I’ve come up with an idea that no one has done (yet, and that I’ve been able to find) and I’ve come up with a concept that might change how we look at gaming boards. But you’re going to have to wait to see it! I’ll post when the first 2 x 4 is done, and then do the last 2 as WIP.

looking good. Thumbs Up

One tip:
Krylon makes a line of spraypaint called H2O that doesn't eat foam.
I usethis stuff in my terrain building a lot, and generaly makes working with foam easier. Wink

I didn't check the length of this before I started reading -- I thought you had just made a volcano... oh no! You went and made a whole board! Pretty ambitious for a first project! Laughing

I think I like the holding tank the best -- things like the rivets & weld lines show that you think like a pro even if you haven't been doing this very long.
Also, I like all these gears -- did you find them at a craft store or have you dismantled a clock recently?

I'd like to see more color variety in your rocks, but that's no big deal. And some loose rocks around the base of the bunker etc would've made it more interesting. I wouldn't beat yourself up too much about the 2" areas that didn't work out. They'll still fit some dudes with the smaller bases, just not the big ones. Like you said though, you're done -- it looks good, you can play on it, what more can ya ask for! Cool

Welcome, nicely done, and quite an extensive first project. Thumbs Up

I'm sure that Tob will officially welcome you with your C&C Welcome but I'm done comment d'oh!

Anyway, this piece suffers from what many of my pieces do ... "Cleanliness" ... something that I'm still working on Embarassed If you don't want to add to your piece and still have some of the leftover cut offs, scrap foam etc ... you can base it and use it as "scatter" terrain.

Looking forward to your progress on your next piece in the WIP section.

This turned out well. I like the green goo volcano; with the lift and the tank thing, this would appear to be some kind of industrial site for collecting that green goo.
I think the piece has an unfinished quality to it. I say this because the surrounding rock looks more like concrete, and there's no roads, paths, or rubble to break it up visually. Roads and paths can be left off for flexibility of play, but you're still left with that grey-white-black GW concrete. This could be alleviated in 5 minutes with a couple of quick spongings of earth tones.

Nitpick: I'd expect to see goo residue around the mouth of that volcano where the goo would blorp out.

You mentioned you didn't like the paint job on the ball tank. If I had to guess, I'd say that what you don't like about it is the evenness of the color. It turned out nice, looks very rusty, but if it doesn't look "right" to you, it may be because your washes were too thick. I think you might have covered up the nice stippling job with the washes, giving that even color. In the future, use a thinner wash and you'll get the look of rust in areas where moisture pools.

I also love the lift! I really appreciate the 5 min epoxy solution to the chains on the gears; 5 min epoxy is my solution to everything too. I spent a lot of time looking at the lift and my brain was trying to tell me that something was missing. I never listen to my brain so it took awhile to realize that the lift lacks a power source; what makes it go up and down? Not a big deal since we can all suspend our disbelief, but you could add a big motor to it by sticking gubbins to a small medicine bottle. A quick rusty paint job, and your lift has motivational power. I really like the chains on the gears. It's the small things.

In all, I have to say this is a very ambitious project and I for one appreciate seeing n00b terrain that isn't the standard corner ruin from the GW book.

WOW Surprised Applause What a way to introduce yourself to the TG community. There is so much to appreciate about your work and not just the terrain, but your willingness to take us all through the whole process. It seems to me that your first terrain building experience can be wholeheartedly qualified as a success. You built a great piece of terrain, you learned a whole bunch in the process and you joined TG to show off your work. Bravo! and welcome.

I'm going to echo the comments of Thumper, Melly-Monkey and Tob in that the large expanse of drybrushed grey detracts from what is otherwise a really impressive board. Just as Tob said, this can be easily rectified by sponging or with several washes of various browns, green, even purple to add depth and define the changes in elevation.

Hi guys thanks for the kind words Smile

@ N810 I did not know about the non foam eating spray paint, thanks for the tip. I like to do things the easiest way but it doesn't always seem like I do, lol.

@ Mell Monkey I grew up with tools in my hands and was building model at a young age, so I'm not 'completely' new but it's been a long long time since then. And I've always believed that there isn't any point is doing something half way! Regarding the gears, yes there were from an old clock. If you check eBay and etsy you can find them there. However I lucked out, there is a clock / watch repair place literary next door to a local hobby shop, so I just went in one day and asked if they had extra parts that I could buy, and the owner, this really cool older German guy named Lou, (he looked and sounded like just like what you would think a German watch maker would be) just gave me a few old clock mechanism that I then took apart.

@ Thumper Yeah I think you hit the nail on the head with the 'cleanliness' aspect. It was one of the reasons that I added to the crystals to the bunker to try and break it up. I had though about adding loose rocks around, but I was too concerned with the playability factor and people have to put down marker because their figs don't fit. But looking at it again there are certainly places where I could put some stuff like that on this board that wouldn't effect game play. Next time!

@ Tob I agree that the piece needs something a bit more to break it up. I like the idea of roads / paths, but I'm not sure if I completely understand about the sponging of earth tones. Do you have something that you could show me that I could use as a reference to how it should look?

I thought about actually having green 'lava' running down the side of the volcano and I was going to try some silicon or some water effect, however, I wasn't kidding about taking over a week and an entire can of spackel to fix the size issue it allow pieces to move up it. Brick wall After that I was just kind of over that piece Mad So... Next time fore sure!

Yeah the paint job... I should have taken some pics of the in between stages so you could have gotten a better look. Originally I wanted to do the pieces in silver, then add the rust color and then wash or add rust pigment. Well... What had happened was... The silver looked to close to the gray of the rest of the board, and when I did a test piece it just didn't look right. So what you see is what I came up with. I not sure it I stippled it too much or washed it too much or both. Next time before the piece is done, I'll hit you up with some WIP pics so you can advice me if you dont mind Smile

Yeah the lift was fun to do and I love 5 minute epoxy, and I don't leave home with out it Laughing I thought about using a dowel to make a generate with wires sticking out of it to power the lift, but didn't obviously. Again, next time! And if you like the chains your really going to dig what I'm doing on my current project.

One thing that you and everyone else can expect from me is not the 'normal GW stuff' or any other 'standard' stuff. I really enjoy designing things and it's much more fun designing your own stuff.

@ coxrltw Yeah, like a friend of mine says when we play spades, "Come big or don't come at all!" Cool I didn't want to post this as a WIP because I actually didn't want the help till it was done. I hate to say it but I learn better some times by messing up v.s. someone telling me how to do it.

There is an old saying, "experience is learning from your mistakes, wisdom is learning from someone else mistakes" I've gotten some experience, now it's time for the wisdom Wink

Thanks for the comment about my willingness to walk through what I did and why. I've got a degree in Philosophy (hence the documentation and step by step) and I enjoy writing so no problem, and hopefully, someone will gain some wisdom from it Smile

Two things I could use some help on for my next project, without giving away what it is Wink

First, does anyone have experience with air brushing? Specifically what I'm looking to do is being able to spray colors that you can get in a spray can. I'm not looking to do any 'fancy' air brushing techniques just your standard tape and spray stuff. I've been looking at air brushes and they seem to run the gambit in features and cost. I just want something that will do a consistent decent job and will last. Any thought?

Second, as I mentioned I used an opaque plastic that was originally used for stencil making, to allow the LED's to show through. This worked 'ok' at best. I was wondering if anyone knew of a better material to use, with the goal being a good even transfer of light, while not being able to see the source of the light behind it, thus giving it a 'glow'.


wdlanghans said:

I was wondering if anyone knew of a better material to use, with the goal being a good even transfer of light, while not being able to see the source of the light behind it, thus giving it a 'glow'.

Rosco diffusion filters. You can get Swatchbooks free from your local dealer, and a full sized sheet (20"x24") costs about $10. About two dozen to choose from, they are thin enough to be cut with scissors.

As for the sponging, there's not much to it. Find a big sponge; a natural sponge will give you a more random break-up, but any will do. Spread a little paint on a plate and dip the sponge in it as if it where a rubber stamp. On scrap paper, make a few test stamps with the sponge to check to see that the coverage is acceptable (and to take off excess paint similar to drybrushing) and then stamp your terrain. Repeat as necessary.

At the bottom of this page you can see the technique as applied to grass. You'll want to use less grassy colors. The real trick to doing this is spending 5 minutes practicing so you know how much paint you want on the sponge. Also, rotate the sponge as you stamp so that an obvious pattern does not emerge.

Brick wall Crud! Thanks Tob for the Rosco site! I really need to learn to ask first THEN buy stuff. I just order 50 feet of EL wire, with the thought of placing it being the opaque plastic that I already have and get my green glow that way. However with the Rosco products it looks like I could just use a simple white bulb behind it which would have been much cheaper. But on the bright side I had another idea for a board where I'll still need the EL wire, so at least it wont go to waste. Smile Also, thanks for the sponge details, I'll give it a try. And b.t.w. much props for working in such a small scale, I think that trying to do things that small would drive me crazy very quickly!

wdlanghans said:

]And b.t.w. much props for working in such a small scale,

That's nothing. See Caleb's 2mm work for terrain three times smaller.

Sponging is an underrated technique. I highly recommend it for implied texture or any large area needing variant coverage. It's just like stippling, only larger.

Tob said:

See Caleb's 2mm work for terrain three times smaller.

Don't kid yourself Tob, no one can see my 2mm stuff. Laughing

Another few interesting materials to sponge with are scouring pads and furnace air filters. They give a different texture to the sponging.

I really like this terrain. For a first project it is far more than I'd expect. You certainly went big. Like others have said this is a nice start, and while totally playable there are a few things that will make it better. The good thing is that it is playable now, and you can always add small details later when you have time.

So how do you do the quote thing? I hit the quote button for my last post but it didn't seem to work, obviously, but I'm sure it's user error Smile Also, is there a way to send private messages to TG members?

@ Caleb Thanks for chiming in on my post, your work, like many others here is truly excellent. And about the "no one can see my 2mm stuff" That's what she said!!!! Razz I kill me... Seriously though, I do respect your work and if you would keep an eye out for my post and please comment. Thanks!

@ Tob The sponging technique I think I can not only handle but eventually master, the issue that I think that I'm having is picking the colors. I really don't seem to have a good eye for that. I hate to say it, but if it wasn't for my wife I'd probably leave the house with a polka dot shirt and striped pants! Laughing Any advice and / or how to pick colors would be greatly appreciated. And b.t.w. in case I didn't say this earlier, I also have great respect for your work as well, truly awesome!

wdlanghans said:

So how do you do the quote thing? I hit the quote button for my last post but it didn't seem to work, obviously, but I'm sure it's user error Smile Also, is there a way to send private messages to TG members?

Alright, this is the format, I'll need to change the word quote to quoth, that will keep it from working, and thus you'll be able to see it.

[quoth=Caleb]Alright, this is the format, I'll need to change the word quote to quoth, that will keep it from working, and thus you'll be able to see it.[/quoth]

Change the H to and E and you get:

Caleb said:

Alright, this is the format, I'll need to change the word quote to quoth, that will keep it from working, and thus you'll be able to see it.

There is a method to PM members. You can access it either through their profile (there is a button that says PM on it) or you can use the 'messaging' button on the left of the screen, just type in the name of the person you want to send the message to.

EDIT: Also, while checking out the buttons to there left, you'll notice there is a chat room. Somewhat glitchy at times, but there are often people in it. You can see how many in the green banner at the top of the screen.

wdlanghans said:

the issue that I think that I'm having is picking the colors.

The key to color choice when stippling or sponging depends on the effect you're after. It's not the choice per se, but the order in which you lay down the color that creates different effects; doing marble is different than doing grass. For basic ground cover or walls or grass or water, the technique is fairly simple: Hue, shade, tint, tint+, tint++.

We'll do grass as an example. Start with your base color (hue) and if you want early spring grass a yellowish green works well. Brush this on for full coverage and let dry. Now sponge on the shade and your shade will be the hue plus a complimentary color (or black) to make a darker but related shade of the base hue. When dry, sponge on your first tint which is your base hue plus white to make a lighter version of the hue. Then do more tints with more white added each time. You can add a little yellow to that as well, as you saw on my 1:285 board.

For dirt, do the same thing only with dirt colors. Browns, reds, yellows, or what ever the colors of dirt in your neighborhood. Water; blues, greens whatever. Doing walls this way has the greatest variation. Grey-white-cream, or tan-brown-yellow, or anything of the sort.

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That's the only photo I have of a wall in this technique done with a stippling brush. I think that was ochre-white-brown. The flock is tea.

The thing is, your color choices are going to depend on each individual project. The Hue-Shade-Tint process is not that much different than the Base-Wash-Drybrush process; the color choosing is about the same, only the applicator (brush vs sponge) is different.

Thanks, again Smile , for the good advice. It was exactly what I was looking for. My biggest problem is that I'm not an artist or even that creative, everything for me is mechanical. My stuff is at a certain angel or distance or size, something that can be plotted out. Someone can sketch something and I can automatically turn it into a 3d graphic in my head and tell you how to put it together. But when it comes to things like free hand curves, colors or shading that where I come up short. However I do learn!

I like the stippling on the house in your pic and looking at it I 'think' what I did with my stuff was too much stippling too close as well as the wrong tint. It's something that I'm just going to have to work on and play with. My biggest fear is spending lot's of time putting a great piece together only to have it ruined by a piss poor paint job. Sad

Are there any videos out there that you recommend that I watch for the Hue-shad-tint process?

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