Flocking bases

DSCF2218Following a comment from fellow blogger Ssendam asking about my basing technique I thought it would make much more sense to show it rather than explain it, and it’s one of those things a lot of us seasoned gamers do without thinking and it’s not obvious to newcomers to the wonderful hobby of wargaming. Above is a GHQ German Horsedrawn Wagon painted and washed superglued onto a plastic base after it has been roughly textured with green putty or milliput – green putty drys much quicker but pongs and can remove paint, milliput takes much longer to dry but can be sculpted and can be painted before fully dried. Once dried the base has been painted with  Vallejo Flat Earth, and then roughly drybrushed with any other darker brown. A small stone has been superglued on for added detail.

DSCF2224If you want to add a little more depth to the brown, like you might on a very muddy base, add a dark wash. You might have noticed how I’m using brown before adding the grass, whereas a lot of folk use green. This is a personal preference borne of knowing how after a few years flock can fall off and this way it reveals the mud below, combined with liking quite rough looking bases with a lot of soil showing.

DSCF2219For flock I typically use three different types based on the palette I want to use across an entire project. Given that this project is Europe ’44-’45 I decided to go for a high summer look. Above is a blurred image of my dark green flock, but it still functions to give an idea of the colour, which I mixed from three bags of rather posh flock from EMA. It’s meant to represent the best kept lawns you might find.

DSCF2220Here’s my light mix, a combination of several bags of Javis flock which is typically spongier, mixed with a little of the EMA dark stuff. This is meant to represent sun-bleached grass.

DSCF2222Here’s my mid-range tone everyone’s favourite static grass. It comes as this wide spectrum of colours ready mixed.

DSCF2225Back to the wagon and here’s the first coat of PVA glue sparingly dotted around. Now I’m after a patchy effect, so I add each layer in patches. For thicker or more regular grass you use thicker or more regular coats of glue.

DSCF2226Then as speedily as you can pile on the first layer of flock, here it’s the darkest one. I’ve gently tapped it down, and then tapped off the bulk of the excess. Now at this stage, before the glue dries, if you leave it as shown the glue will spread and when dried most of this flock will stay on the base. It’s totally acceptable as it is, but I want a bit more soil showing.

DSCF2228So I wait less than a minute and then blow off the whole of the excess flock. This is much more what I’m looking for.

DSCF2229Having let the first layer dry completely, I now add the second coat of PVA glue. Again this is patchy, some on bare soil some on the flock already there.

DSCF2230On goes the light mix, follow the same procedure as previously to get the look you’re after.

DSCF2236I decided on a bush, which I added before the static grass, using Javis bush material. Again this is a mix of two tones from seperate bags, chopped roughly together. To attach to the base I use superglue gel, into which I press a large pinch of the Javis hedge mix. When dried you can, should you choose, pluck and form a good looking bush which you can then set with a little liquid superglue gently poured onto the top branches. This, like the PVA glue will produce some shine, all of which will vanish once you matt varnish the base in it’s entirity.After the bush I put a few blobs of PVA around for the final layer, the static grass.

DSCF2238Here’s the near finished base, it just needs a matt varnish, which I’ve not done as I spray my bases en-masse. Obviously using three types of flock triples the time it takes to finish each base but I think the finished look is worth it. It is worth experimenting as you go along, to get the kind of finish you’re after, one thing worth considering is mixing near identical shades of flock, for 6mm scale it produces the kind of detail you need for realism on such a delicate scale.

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9 Responses to “Flocking bases”

  1. Michael Says:

    How long does that take to do?

  2. 6milphil Says:

    Not long at all once you get going.

    Texturing the bases to hide the figures base is about a minute a base, painting the base colour is about a minute and a half for the first coat because I’m delicate around the feet, etc. Second coat or wash a few seconds of boshing

    I tend to do a bunch of around ten at a time when it comes to the flocking. Glue and flock each one, by the time you’ve flocked the last one you can start the next step for the first, so about a minute per layer per base.

    I always try to do the flocking seperately from any painting because it’s it’s own world of mess.

  3. Ssendam Says:

    Thanks dude. I think my bases are ok, but the effect of mixing a couple of different flocks makes a big difference.

  4. 6milphil Says:

    Aye it does. I did used to just use a single flock but it does look a bit mono in tone, and thanks to the web we’re all striving to make everthing better and more realistic.

    I might do a shorter post on making bushes, which until recently, were just blobs but now I’m getting into sculpting them more.

  5. Za Rodinu Says:

    You almost tempt me! Now being of a foreign persuasion, from a country where your Wellington gained some of his fame, could you provide a mail order source for materials? That would be most appreciated 🙂

    Thanks in advance!

  6. 6milphil Says:

    Sure try http://www.javis.co.uk/ also have a look at the EMA site which is linked to in the sidebar.

  7. Za Rodinu Says:

    Thank you kindly 🙂

  8. Eastern Funker Says:

    Looks very good!

  9. I have flocked a couple of bases... - World War 2 Talk Says:

    […] am making some experiments on flocking. A fine guide in in a blog owned by our co-member Wotnochad right here and here. These are very pretty too, even if belonging to a different era. On a different […]

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