Sunday, September 4, 2011

Terrain: Alien Trees via the "Dip Method"

I'd been experimenting with the dip method of painting miniatures -- I had a bunch of cheap plastic pirate figures to use for a (still unplayed) demo game.  The dip method as I understand it is to simply paint basic colors onto the mini and then  dip the whole mini into MinWax (a polyurethane stain).  As the stain drains off, you are left with instant shadowing and a bit of shading.   This worked pretty well for the pirates, but the warnings on the label of the stain were rather alarming -- alarming enough that I have now stopped using it, depending more on the "magic wash" method. 

In the meantime, though, while out on a walk with my daughter we discovered these wonderful little seed pods on some of the landscaping plants  -- dried out in the 100+ degree heat of South Carolina. Note the little seeds on the plate.  We started with a dozen pods of different sizes.

And thus was a project forged. Follow along as my assistant demonstrates the method.  

Simply dip the pods into the stain and place them on a paper plate (the type with a waxy coating) to dry.  Now theses pods soaked up a LOT of stain,  so "to dry" here means "turn occasionally," "move to a fresh paper plate occasionally," and "wait at least 2 days".

I was worried about the fragile stems of the pods, but after the dip they are hard as rock.  They've been cat-tested and survived.  Next is a drybrush and mounting them on a base.  Total active time: ~ 15 minutes