Monday 11 September 2023

Maxwell's Stone Barn - Sculpting the DAS thatch

A recent comment over on The Lead Adventure see here made me realise that I needed to better explain how I sculpt or model thatch from DAS modelling clay.

Image 1

Shows the model before any DAS has been added. The MDF kit has had the roof trimmed and sanded flush and I would recommend a layer of diluted PVA glue - just to make sure that the DAS sticks in place.

Image 2

The initial sculpting is quite rough and ready, this is done my applying medium sized (about the size of a large grape or small plum) DAS and then spreading it out with your finger or with a flat sided sculpting tool to the depth of about 6mm - 8mm and then adding some texture - in this case I use a scalpel blade over some stippling with a stiff brush.

NB. how I have not tried to sculpt the whole roof - the edges in one go. This can be competed or tidied up later.

Image 3

I have 'cooked' the DAS in an electric oven at low heat for about 15 minutes. Do not try to increase the temperature as it can cause cracking in the DAS, loss of texture in the blue foam and warping of the plastic card base. Guess how I know?

The edges of the thatch are then added by sculpting sausages of DAS over PVA along the edges and then texturing with the stiff brush and the scalpel.

Do not worry if the effect is not perfect as thatch was usually a little 'wonky'. You can always carve or sand the DAS once fully set to refine the shape.

Image 4 and 5

The Terracotta DAS upper section was added in one go. Terracotta was used because I had run out of the DAS white.

I like to add upturned ends, something that is seen on actual thatched roofs (and it looks so much better). The additional texturing/detail on the upper thatch was done with a stiff brush, a scalpel used in a scoring action and then other detail was prodded into the DAS with a trimmed cocktail stick.

Image 6

After sealing the fully dry DAS with a layer of dilute PVA glue the model was spray painted with black, grey and finally white spray paints in a zenithal highlight

Image - 7

The painted yellow gold thatch which was built up over a Snakebite Leather base, drybrushed with mid brown and then again with yellow. This can take some time as yellow is notoriously difficult to get right. Prior to taking this photo, the thatch was 'washed' with a mid tone wash.

This is my technique for sculpting thatch and I believe it to be the best for adding the bulk that is needed for a realistic thatched building.

I hope that this clears up any questions that you may have about sculpting thatch on wargame buildings.



Codsticker said...

Excellent tutorial- thank you.

Tony said...

You are welcome.

Andrew said...

Thank you for answering my question in detail - I've dug out a MDF kit to try though I'll let it dry naturally :-)

Tony said...

Have some fun.