Friday, August 24, 2018

Painting Terrain Quickly

Hey Everyone!  Today I wanted to discuss the topic of "Painting Terrain Quickly" as it was a project I recently had to tackle for the upcoming NOVA OpenGames Workshop generously donated a veritable mountain of terrain to give the event some top tables.  As the T.O., and person who requested some stunning terrain, it fell to me to get it all ready.  It was a task I was happy to tackle since running the event meant I wasn't busy painting an army for the event.  The downside was due to the details and getting everything sorted meant the window to get it all ready was very short.  All in all, I had about a month from when the terrain arrived until the event.  Thankfully by the end of the project it only took about ten or so hours and today I will talk about how that was possible.

The first step in the process is, as you would suspect, building the kits.  Before I opened a single one I cleared off plenty of space on one of my Hobby Tables, stocked up on Super Glue, and broke the pile down into smaller chunks.  I would build a few kits each night over three nights to get everything done only spending about a few hours each night.  While some kits went together easily there were some which had warping and simply would not line up without some force.  It can be frustrating if you are not prepared for this, but I have built plenty of kits before so I had my secret weapons at the ready, Rubber Bands and Electrical Tape.  I cannot recommend these enough to help correct and warping in the kits as the glue dries.

Once all the kits were built and cured I removed the Electrical Tape and Rubber Bands in order to clean up any mold lines I saw.  I didn't stress too much on the mold lines, but I did take care to fill any large gaps I noticed.  While Green Stuff is a great tool for filling gaps on smaller models the gaps on terrain can be much larger and with a bit of patience and some balancing acts you can easily use PVA Glue to fill them, but I recommend checking on every hour or so as it cures to ensure it stays where you intended it to stay.

When it come sot bulk terrain painting the priming method of choice is Spray Paint or Rattle Cans.  All the terrain above only took a few cans to cover everything and after drying for a short while I was able to store them for a few nights to defume for the big paint day coming up.  When priming with a Rattle Can be sure to work in short quick bursts about a foot away from the piece.  It is also important to make sure humidity is low to prevent and fuzzing of the paint as it dries.  It has been very wet around my home lately so I had to be ready for the weather to shift in my favor.  You cannot wait for the weather and your mood to line up when you are trying to get it done quickly.  When the weather it is prime time!

I thought about painting the pieces in smaller chunks over a few days, but when painting I prefer to assembly line so I set everything up with the intent of painting everything in a single day.  If you gave everything a solid prime coat you can get right to my favorite painting technique, drybrushing!  My advice is to sort the terrain in a way where you won't be switching paint colors to often and prepare to get messy.  Large brushes are key for the first part as you drybrush stone, bark, and dirt on your terrain.  After the first pass covering the bulk of a piece of terrain, you can go back in for some detail work.  This is where you can get lost in a piece and lose valuable time.  I suggest hitting the bigger and obvious bits first to get the piece to a tabletop quality and as I am currently doing use the time once each piece is at this level to go back and get some of the finer parts of the kits.

The last piece of advice I can give you is to get some help.  My good friend Matt came over and for five hours we took everything from primed to tabletop level.  It wasn't a bad day at all as we got to chat, listen to music, and share a drink to our victory.  This hobby is all about the community and friendships you make within it so asking for help on a large project such as this is a great way to enjoy that friendship and get some hobby done!

I hope you found some of my advice useful and at the very least you feel less stressed about taking on a large project with only a small window to complete it in.  If you have any other tips that help you finish large projects please share them below and help spread the knowledge and help your fellow hobbyists out.  Until next week, Happy Hobbying!

Chuck Moore