Preparing for the overhaul...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wizard's Eyrie: Landscaping!

I'm now at the point with the Wizard's Eyrie where I can't do anything further until my Richard Stacey brick slips and thatched roof materials arrive.  Today, I finished the landscaping--what there is of it.  My biggest challenge, when creating this, was figuring out how to give it a realistic-looking stone base.  The eyrie itself is made out of slabs of styrofoam, which are attached together with foam glue and dowels.  A couple of dowels run right through both sides, from top to base.  This adds a kind of stability that simply gluing everything together can't.

I got the "stone" effect by first painting the entire eyrie with several coats of "stone" paint.  I actually used a brand that's now gone off the market; I got a huge discount on all the tiny little bottles I used--and, believe me, this was sort of a wasteful project.  When I started it, I had no idea how much paint I'd end up using.  First, just coating a material like styrofoam isn't that easy.  Second, this structure, with all its crags and plains, has a lot more surface area than you'd think.  Third, getting rid of the "styrofoam" effect took a lot of work.  I wanted the "stone" effect of the paint, not the texture of the underlying armature, shine through.

Then, I spray (very lightly) painted the "rock" with a different kind of "stone" paint.  By using basically an airbrush technique, I was able to achieve light flumes of color across the surface of the rock--just like in a real rock formation.  I grew up on the beach, and I've always been obsessed with rocks of all kinds.

The next step is landscaping...

I added colored sand to simulate "dirt", and architectural landscaping "foliage" material to simulate small clumps of greenery.  Since this is supposed to be a windswept tumble of rocks, there wouldn't be too much in the way of growing things.  I just added a few details here and there.

Once I've finished facing the hut with bricks, I'll add more clumps of greenery around the rest of the base. 

A close-up of the greenery. 

Another close-up. 

In real life, this would probably be a combination of scrub grass and moss. 

Most of the greenery is concentrated around the cleft in the rock, which--eventually--will have a little trickle of water dripping down. 

The (forthcoming) natural spring provides just enough moisture and humidity to support some small growth.

A close-up of the stream bed. 

Another close-up of the stream bed. 

The base from the back.

A close-up of the cleft.

When planning a miniature scene, the interaction between "inside" and "outside" is always a challenge.

I took a few pictures with the flash on, so you can see the detail on the rock face. 

A close-up of the rock itself.

The almost-done facade!

I'm really excited to finish this.

Here's to hoping the rest of my materials arrive soon!

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