I've finally cracked on with some terrain preparation for my pirates (they still haven't arrived, so I'm settling for the native creatures and temples for the time being). I had bought two sets of palm trees and a moss ball (usually for aquariums) a long time ago - as mentioned here.
The palm trees were bought here and here for a really good price.
Also, since I had already tons of lizardmen and other reptilian creatures alike, the time felt right to kick-off with the project (yet another one in hundreds that I've started!).
First, with the bases:
I used foam board and cut it into several bits, with all sorts of sizes and shapes, for variation.
Then, I put PVA glue on it and based it with sand.
After it dried, it was time for some colouring. I used Wilko's tester pots.
So, the colours were:
Nutmeg spice (same as GW Calthan Brown) - for the base;
Coffee (GW Vomit Brown) - for the first highlight;
Milky Coffee (GW Dheneb Stone) - for the last highlight.
Then it was time to place the vegetation. I had two types of palm trees and some bushes from the moss ball. One word of praise for a moment: moss balls are great. Each ball has a minimum of 50 bundles of bushes and each bundle has 4 plants. So, I cut each plant from its bundle so it could be placed anywhere within the base.
As for the palm trees, they were perfect, as they come with a small appendix at the root, which can be cut and then used to fit the base in a steady way.
As for the base itself, the reason why I decided to go for the foam board instead of a card board, was that I could create more stability when placing the trees and bushes on the bases.
So, the first step was to pierce a few small holes on the base (I used a compass for this, but anything will do, as long as you don't pierce all the way down through the base). Then I made sure the bushes and trees would fit the holes. Finally, I put a bit of superglue on the root of the bush or tree and stuck it in.
Before moving on from this, I placed a few ruined statues to give it some character (the ruins are from Scibor - http://sciborminiatures.com/en_,shop.php?=872).
Some of the bases were left with a bit of space in the middle so they could accommodate models that could be hiding.
With that out of the way, I moved on to work on the board. The colours of my actual board are quite versatile for lots of different terrain, but not that suitable for a beach or desert. Fortunately, I still had a wooden board left which was big enough to cover half of the whole board. The other half would be covered by sea.
So, I placed the blank board on top of the big one and worked on it.
Since sand would take a long while to dry and stay firm on the board, I went for an alternative route: a stone effects can. I sprayed it all over and used a hairdryer (when my girlfriend wasn't looking) to speed up the dry process (2 minutes, altogether). I only covered a few patches and not the whole board to give some variety in texture.
In the end, the "stony bits" left by the can were enough to simulate real sand, with the advantage of being much sturdier and durable than actual sand.
It was time for the painting. I basically went for the same colour scheme as the one for the bases (Wilko's Nutmeg spice, Coffee and Milky Coffee). Needless to say, the tester pots are the best thing in the world for this kind of task. They're cheap and big enough to do the job. And in the end there's still loads left.
Finally, they have a place they can call home...
Anyway, it was time to test the waters (literally!).
Since I was mad enough to get the infamous GW Dreadfleet (which I still haven't even assembled, let alone played), I thought I could try the sea mat that came with the game as a seascape for my board. Fortunately, it actually worked quite well (not perfectly, but hey ho....). I placed it over the other half of the board - which is lower - and folded it so it could fit in with the "sandy" board. Folding the mat was also useful as its back is light blue, which could represent the waves crashing on the shore.
The sea mat itself was quite a revelation. It can cover a big portion of the board if necessary, but it also looks quite realistic. And it even gave me the idea of placing some of the bases with the palm trees on the sea mat as little islands.
From there to figuring out that I could also give the same use to other pieces of terrain, like GW's Eternity Stair, was only a small step (no pun intended).
Well, hope you've enjoyed this utterly looong post. I will be painting some more bits and pieces, like the Dreadfire Portal to use as an island. And then, I'll get myself some pirates and ships! Oh yeah - or shall I say "oh Yarr"!