THE CABBAGE PATCH
by Tony Harwood
Originally posted on Barking Irons Online in May 2011
Re-posted here in reply to a query on The Miniatures Page - see this link for further details.
With this latest piece of terrain I am going to attempt to
build a generic piece of Flintloque themed terrain using scraps and recycled
material. I will be building a small
vegetable garden – or Cabbage Patch
which will hopefully be used with my Sauerkraut
Wars background, see my Blog for further details.
3mm thick plastic sign, used for the base, I have cut it to
a rough oval and chamfered the edges.
Blue foam, a scrap piece which was about the size of a
Wood strips, from a wooden tangerine packing case.
A broken twig (from the garden).
A couple of pieces of Balsawood, again a couple of scraps.
A resin cast barrel, the original of which was modelled by
me and cast by Grand Manner.
A strip of corrugated cardboard.
A broken cork (from a bottle of wine).
DAS Modelling clay.
Filler (Spackle in the US).
Card decoration artificial paper roses.
The first couple of photos show the wall being constructed
from the Blue Foam. I have cut the foam with a ‘snap-off’ bladed modelling
knife, first into thin strips and then individual bricks about 4mm x 6mm x
10mm, the corner posts were cut a little bigger and the upright capping stones
are about 6mm x 6mm. Some variation is
actually better than a uniform brick size.
I have used undiluted uPVA glue to glue the wall together,
it’s a little fiddly as the glue takes time to fully dry, but once set the
whole structure becomes very stable. I
have not worried too much about shaping the individual stones as I will be
painting them with some textured paint later.
To the outside of the garden area, I have added a number of
individual and loose stones, as if the wall is in disrepair.
The base is a piece of 3mm thick plastic which was
originally used as an estate Agents For Sale sign, the walled area is 160mm
long x 130mm wide and the wall is 25 – 28mm tall.
The wooden fence is made from one piece of scrap wood which initially
came from a wooden box in which tangerines were sold. This wood is ideal for modelling and can be
picked up free of charge at any traditional greengrocers, the uprights are 26mm
tall and the horizontal fencing is 90mm long.
I have used thick superglue to glue these pieces into position and
detailed the joints with small slivers of sliced plastic rod to model rusty
The cost so far has been minimal, the plastic sign was a
road-side find, the blue foam, a free gift which was left over from a school
project and the tangerine box (loads of modelling wood) given free of charge,
by a greengrocer in Stourport-on-Severn, just tell them what you will be using
it for and you will be surprised what they are willing to give. In terms of time, this simple wall and fence
has taken about one hour to complete.
One modelling hint
that I have not used is; when building
model walls or fences, to construct them on to a thin foundation, for example a
strip of card, the same length as the wall but slightly wider, say 3 – 4mm
wider both sides, this has two advantages, the wall can be better blended in to
the groundwork and as Flintloque miniatures are slightly taller than your
average 28mm figure, the proportions look better. As I said,
I have not used this technique on this section of wall.
In addition you can
replace the blue foam with cork, try cork tiles or cork coasters.
The field was sculpted from strips of corrugated cardboard,
where the top layer had been removed and the remaining ridges were modelled to
look like a ploughed field or ridged field, the joins were built up with both
filler and DAS modelling clay. The
random effect was caused by only having a small strip of corrugated card and
therefore I had to stagger the ridges.
I have added a small twig, taken from the garden, which was
cut flush on the base and superglued in the corner. The roots were built up from Green Stuff
while the top was left rough and broken.
The small wooden trough is modelled from a small scrap of
Balsawood, literally a small piece about the size of a playing card, the design
is a simple tapered box raised on two legs and further detailed with some
slivers of plastic rod. The barrel is a
resin casting, however the original was sculpted by me and later cast by Grand
Manner. The modelling of a similar
barrel is not difficult and should be within the skills of most modellers,
however it is time consuming and I would suggest that a bought barrel is a
In an attempt to add some texture I mixed up some filler,
fine sand and uPVA glue. The mixture is
loosely painted on to the walls, the ploughed ridges and on top of the areas
modelled with DAS, when dry I painted on a second coat to which I added some
white acrylic paint, this helps to fill any small impressions and ‘tie’
In an attempt to cram as many modelling hints and tips into
just one terrain piece, I have added some broken cork (from a bottle of wine)
to one corner of the field. I will be
adding more surface texture later, but for now you can see a number of
different techniques on this build.
Prior to starting the painting, I once again made up a mix
of uPVA Glue, Filler, fine sieved sand and Acrylic Paint then with a large
brush, I once again painted the walls and ridged field area. The dry
glue/filler/paint finish is very strong and a perfect base for painting.
Once this mix was fully dry, I painted on some diluted uPVA
glue to the ground areas and then sprinkled on some sieved sand. To seal this sand, I used a dropper to add
some water to which I had added a tiny drop of washing up liquid.
I would hope that the wide variety of modelled features and
the use of ‘scrap material’ would inspire others to try building their own
Once the textured paint had fully dried, I basecoated the
whole model with Inscribe Acrylic Paints Bark Brown. This is a new approach for me – painting
everything dark brown first and then building up with ‘scrubbing’ rather than
building up layers or drybrushing over a black undercoat. I’ve been reading about this style (and
discussing it) for some time. It will be
interesting to see how it differs from my earlier terrain pieces.
From the dark brown base, I have started the process of
‘scrubbing’ a lighter brown mid layer. The term ‘scrubbing’ is the best term I can
come up with to describe the painting process, using a stiff hogs hair brush I
am scrubbing or rubbing the loaded brush into the terrain and unlike dry
brushing, I am actually building the layers of paint. I am using an action that is very similar to
the process used when stencilling, not too much paint and using an upright
prodding action with a stiff brush.
Subsequent layers are build up with Games Workshop Snakebite
Leather and Snakebite Leather and Skull White mix. The final effect is much like my usual
painting technique. In fact my final
highlight was a drybrush of Snakebite and White!
The next part was painting the stone wall and once again I
have used the scrubbing technique. I
started with a mix of craft paint Black and some Mid Grey, then a mid layer of
Dark Grey and a final third layer of Mid Grey.
As with the soil – I used a final drybrush of very light Grey.
The Fence was a mix of Brown and Green, highlighted with
Grey and the tree trunk and water barrel were painted in the same colours.
Detail painting was limited to the barrel rings, the metal
fixtures on the trough and the pale areas of the shattered tree. I addition I picked out some of the larger
stones with Grey paint and highlighted them first with lighter Grey and finally
The whole painting process took less than a day – and most
of this time was spent waiting for the paint to dry!
Once the painting was finished, I varnished the whole
structure with water based acrylic varnish, I find that this helps to prolong
the life of the terrain as well as ‘matting’ everything down.
All of my Flintloque terrain pieces are finished in the same
way – a coat of uPVA glue to the outside of the base and then dipped in dyed
sawdust. My gaming board is finished in
the same sawdust and using this technique on all pieces helps to give a uniform
finish and ‘look’ which is more pleasing when displayed on the gaming table.
Now – you may be asking yourself – why a cabbage patch? The answer is simple – I had seen an earlier
modelling article showing how small paper roses which are used to decorate
cards could be used to model cabbages or flowers and I wanted to try the same
idea on a Sauerkraut Wars themed terrain piece.
I bought some pale blue paper roses (£1.00 for 27) and painted them
green, then highlighted them with a lighter green, not worrying too much if the
blue showed through - as everyone knows – Cabbages are in fact Blue/Green when
fully grown. The paper roses – from now
on referred to as cabbages were cut from the backing card and glued in rows
with uPVA White Glue. I have used all 27
roses – sorry cabbages and planted them in neat and organised rows.
Before calling it a day – I have added some static grass
tufts and two clumps of wild mushrooms which were made from split peas,
superglued to cut off cocktail sticks and painted in the traditional (if not
very accurate) red cups with white spots.
Once the paint was dry the mushrooms were cut off and superglued in to
place. I had modelled nine, but I lost
two when cutting them to size and the third one broke. The lesson when modelling mushrooms is to
always make more than you need.
One Cabbage Patch – Finished and ready to be used in my
Sauerkraut Wars background. It was fun
to build – but hopefully it will show how easy it is to build your own terrain.
I have tried to show a number of simple terrain modelling techniques, that can
be used to produce simple but effective terrain. The total cost for this piece
of terrain which measures 11inches x 8inches was less than £4.00, £1.00 of which was the cost of the paper
roses! It also allowed me to test out a
new painting technique; one that I think has worked well.
In gaming terms the Cabbage Patch can be used as rough
terrain, with hard cover (the walls) or light cover (the fence). It can also be used as a game objective
having both food and water featured.
Finally, it can be used as a garden area and when situated behind one of
my model houses.