Thursday, May 24, 2012

Custom Basing 2: Advanced Techniques (ApoxieSculpt Slate Sheets)

This tutorial builds on my first basing post, found here: Custom Basing 1.

The techniques used here are a sweet, and rather easy way to build custom stony/slate bases.
The first thing you need to do is make the ApoxieSculpt slate pieces. I've tried a few different mediums for this, and by far the best is ApoxieSculpt.
You'll need ApoxieSculpt, wax paper (commonly used for baking), a rolling pin, and a hard surface (I use a cutting board).
This process is really straight forward. Mix the putty, form it into a tight ball, flatten it out with your fingers so that it's a bit thicker than your desired finished product, place it in-between the wax paper, then roll it out flat.
I recommend that you do several different thicknesses of slate. The end result will be much more interesting and realistic that way. You'll see in the pics that I made one big ball of ApoxieSculpt, then broke it into two pieces. I rolled one out thicker than the other with the rolling pin.
 Sometimes the wax paper will leave the surface of the ApoxieSculpt sheets a bit rough when you rip it off. There may be wrinkles or was residue. I always liked the little bits of variation that that added. If you want your ApoxieSculpt to be completely smooth for some specific project, don't use wax paper. Use a large plastic freezer bag, and cut it up so that it opens into a single sheet. If you do that, you'll have to apply Vaseline to both sides of the plastic before putting the putty in. Otherwise the putty will not spread easy in the plastic, and the whole thing will just turn into a real mess. You'll also have to wash the finished product well with soap and water once it's dry, before proceeding.
 Be sure that you wait for the ApoxieSculpts sheets to dry completely. It doesn't work to break them apart when they're still wet in the middle, it'll wreck the work you've done thus far.

The other materials I use for this are cork (mostly saved from wine bottles), small rocks (from my yard), occasional plastic bitz from model kits, pliers, and super glue.

Once you have gathered all of your supplies, and your ApoxieSculpt slate sheets are dry; it's time for the fun part.
The ApoxieSculpt sheets can be broken apart using pliers. You might need two sets of pliers to break it up if you made some super thick sheets. Always start by breaking off the edges of your sheets with the pliers, all the way around. Keep the pieces that you break off, as they can be used for all kinds of projects.

Be careful about grabbing the finished ApoxieSculpt with the pliers in a spot that will end up exposed. The pliers may score ApoxieSculpt. I use a hand rag in between the pliers and the ApoxieSculpt to prevent this.
You can continue breaking them apart until they're the size that you need for whatever your basing project is.

Remember at this point to score up the bases with a modeling knife before trying to attach any putty to it. Alternatively, you could attach the putty in the next step with super glue. Either way, it will not permanently stick to plastic bases without some help.
The way I attach the ApoxieSculpt sheets to the base is with a little more ApoxieSculpt. Make another ball of ApoxieSculpt to work with.

Take a small piece of uncured ApoxieScult, and spread it on your scored base. Make it a bit uneven. Put a dab of super glue on it, then attach your ApoxieScult slate sheet to it. While the ApoxieSculpt on the base is still pliable, you can manipulate the slate sheet into any interesting position that appeals to you.
You can use more or less fresh ApoxieSculpt to make the slate sheets higher or lower on the base.

You may want to put a sheet higher up, so that the model ends up standing taller than those around it. Doing that will leave a gap under the ApoxieSculpt sheet, and above the base. This is a great place to use the scraps that you broke off of the edges of your ApoxieSculpt sheets earlier on in this tutorial. Just take a bunch of them, and push them into the wet putty under the ApoxieSculpt sheet with the rough/broken edge out. I've found that it looks much better to make it look really random and uneven when doing this. I always add a few drops of super glue into the mix to hold everything together.
 Alternatively; you can also layer multiple sheets of ApoxieSculpt slate on a base, to make it higher. That way requires making more sheets of ApoxieSculpt slate, but looks just as good in the end.
 You can use the ApoxieSculpt sheet scraps that you broke off earlier to add a ledge to the edge of a base. Take the scraps, super glue them to the base so that their rough/broken edge parallels one (or more) edge(s). Then use fresh ApoxieSculpt to smooth the back sides of them down, making an even transition from the raised ledge to the level of the base.
You can also use those ApoxieSculpt scraps in combination with the techniques from Custom Basing part 1. After you have a bunch of ApoxieSculpt spread out on the base, randomly push the scraps into with the rough/broken edge facing out. That's how I'm doing the Orctonnian bases.
Another thing that looks really sweet is to make your model interact with the base. Check out how this daemon is stomping a huge crack into the ground:
This was done by making an ApoxieSculpt sheet of the size I wanted for the base, then picking a spot of impact (marked with a marker), then using the pliers again to break the piece up like a pizza. I attached it with ApoxieSculpt to make the center look sunken.

That's it for now. Perhaps at some point in the future I will come up with more for a Custom Basing #3.


Unknown said...

Awesome, I'm so glad you did this blog I was looking at your Reikland ogre pics earlier and wondering what were the sheets of chocolate your models were standing on!

Tony said...

I found both this and part one very interesting - thank you for posting.


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