Footbridge (terrain WiP)

I've made a start on a new piece of scenery, a foot bridge crossing a narrow stretch of river.

The tile is sized to fit with my other river pieces, but I'd like it to be an attractive little standalone model in its own right. We shall see.

The bridge is one that I 3d-printed from a model I found on Thingiverse; I thought it was bigger when I started printing it, but it will do OK as a foot bridge. The base is 3mm MDF, sealed with black spray primer. The rock formations are DAS air-drying clay, press-moulded into Woodland Scenics rubber rock moulds, and the rest of the groundwork is SculptaMold plaster/paper goop. The steps and flagstones are just pressed and scribed into that once it had firmed up.

Stage 2

All the groundwork and the bridge's stonework has been painted.

Everything is painted in very loose blotches of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and raw umber. The paint is quite liquid, so it spreads through the plaster of the groundwork and creeps into cracks and things. At this stage it looks pretty lurid and awful, but not to worry.

Next everything is covered in a black wash, which tones down all the colours and ties them together harmoniously. Hints of the original blotches still show through, so you don't get a monotonous grey overall.

Last, everything gets a dry-brushing in pure white, which delineates the highlights, and also gives the effect of stone in the process of being weathered over centuries by water, wind and frost.

Stage 3

The river. That's just painted, with varying shades of green to indicate depth, and then varnished with a high-gloss oil-based polyurethane. I choose that over a gloss acrylic, because it gives a smoother, harder gloss than any acrylic varnish I've found. The down-side is that it takes a very long time to cure, at least 24 hours to be safe.

I wanted the river to look deep and quite fast-flowing, so apart from some areas at the edges where I wanted to suggest shelving rock, it's all in quite dark tones, with bright highlights to suggest patches of white water.

I think that possibly I should have included a bit more blue to the green, but I think it's probably too late now unless I want to repaint it from scratch. I'll live with it for a while and see how much it bugs me.

Stage 4

Now it's time for some vegetation to bring the scene to life. The grass is a mixture of several shades of sawdust and foam flock, and the bushes are just bits of clump foam soaked in diluted PVA.

This will probably do as a finished piece now. I may revisit the painting of the river, but probably not.


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