On our last installment, we were shaping the “shoreline” for the pool of liquid that will be a prominent feature on this piece of the battleboards. I thought this would be a good time to talk about one of the issues that crop up around here over and over, which is material compatibility.
I’ve been involved in some heated debates around here when I notice one of the other artists trying to use materials that don’t bond or react badly together, such as PVA glue and plasticard, or spray paint on styrofoam, or nylon with just about anything else. I speak from a lot of experience and melted heaps of plastic on this matter.
So that being said, the plaster I slathered onto these boards will not stick to the styrene. Plaster also has great compression strength but zero flexibility, and as a result, when the board is picked up and bent even slightly, all the dry plaster pieces release from the slick plastic like an egg off a Teflon skillet.
I knew this ahead of time however, and counted on it. I wanted to make the shore hard, lightweight and not have to use 4 boxes of milliput on this single board. I set the dried pieces aside, to be glued down securely later. On to the next chapter.
This board had a big ol’ pool, but I wanted to maintain accessibility while adding something really eye-catching, so I started work on the stone bridge. I shaped the basic form out of a thick layer of Polymer clay over a framework made from aluminum foil and chopped up soda cans. At this point I spent a lot of time on the logistics of placement, paying special attention to the position of the other battleboards when stacked. I didn’t want the weight of the other pieces resting squarely on the bridge arch.
I also wanted to make sure this bridge would be wide enough to move squads and vehicles over, so extended the sides a couple times until a Leman Russ could pass over comfortably. I still haven’t glued the plaster shore pieces down yet.
After deciding on the position, I carefully lifted the bridge and baked it hard, using another aluminum scaffold to help it maintain shape while cooking.
I couldn’t glue the bridge down yet either, because I knew what a hassle it would be to try to texture and paint beneath it later. I just settled it into position and got to work trimming, clipping and fitting resin cast pavers and bricks to glue over the bridge.
Well, that was tedious, but at least I made some of the paver sheets interlocking for the top of the bridge. Next I had to mortar the gaps with milliput, smoothing over the seams between pavers and then sculpting in details to keep the pattern continuous.
By the time the bridge was finished, it had a layers of squadron putty, followed by a layer of hard resin cast cobblestones, followed by milliput epoxy putty gluing everything together. The underside of the arch was sculpted entirely in Green Stuff epoxy putty. I could probably stand on this thing.
Now I finally glued down the shoreline, glued sand texture under the bridge where the water will flow, primed the inside areas of the arch black and started using filler and pieces of cobblestone sections to blend the bridge into the surrounding landscape. I used milliput extensively to fill gaps and bond the pieces to the board securely. I ran out of white squadron putty and opened up a case of green. Squadron green has a finer grain, but since all the board will be textured and made to look like dirt, foliage and horrible little chaos details, it wouldn’t make any noticeable difference.
I left a little gap in the upper area of the cobblestones, keeping some of the board-sculpted details intact. The end product will look like a pothole with skulls inside. This is the kind of detail that will carry through all the boards in this project.
I didn’t put the bars in this culvert, because I plan on this one being “occupied”. More on that later.
That’s where I pause for now. Next update will conclude this particular board, at least structurally. Stay tuned!