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Need help with my ground work

Discussion in 'Groundwork' started by Chris Kelm, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Chris Kelm Active Member

    Ok so here is my dilemma, I have been going to model shows for a long time and have been doing fairly well. Meaning that I place in my categories.
    But I feel that I am just not really happy with my overall presentation of the figure I have painted. My figure painting is going well,on the scale of 1-10,I feel I am about a 5.5 to 6 but my ground work and presentation is maybe a 2-3.
    What I use for my ground work is mainly, Woodland scenic products and it looks good at home but when it is out in the public in shows it is like day and night.
    I really don't know how to so called "up my game" when it comes to my ground work and presentation,so if you guys can help me in maybe showing me the way I would be grateful. I have watched some youtube videos but they to are a little veg and they use the same items as I have.
    So if any of you know of some "how to" videos or tutorials please feel free to help.
    Thank you.
    theBaron likes this.
  2. oldtrousers PlanetFigure Supporter

    Hi Chris,
    I have been making an effort to improve my ground work over the past few years, too. I usually try to find a landscape image in a book or on Google of the type of environment or place that I want to depict my figure in and then attempt to make my base as close to that as reasonably possible.
    For materials, I would suggests looking at the groundwork products available from Siflor Mininatur, Fredericus Rex, Gamer's Grass, and Diorama Materials. Those manufacturers have top of the line vegetation, grass tufts, and flowers that can really enhance your groundwork. Also be sure to look into the resin base accessories available from Armand Bayardi. He sells a wonderful variety of resin tree trunks, fallen limbs, walls, and ornamental architectural products.
    For base ground work, I have moved away from Celluclay and started using Magic Sculpt into which I press the figure, small stones, and accessories. After the Magic Sculpt is dry, I cover it with white glue and a layer of fine concrete sand.

    theBaron likes this.
  3. Chris Kelm Active Member

    Thanks for the information. Yes Armand Bayardi is great,I have used some of his products and his wife is very friendly to work with too.
    As for the ground work products I will have to look into them and see what they have to offer as well.
  4. DaddyO A Fixture

    Hi Chris
    I'll offer a few suggestions which might help, but firstly I'll agree with Scott that a good reference of the real thing is what you need to start with :)

    Assuming you live near some kind of roadway pop out when it's quite and collect some dust/grit from the gutter. This will provide a good foundation for a lot of bases. You can sift it if you are really keen, but usually I just paint the roughly sculpted groundwork with white glue and sprinkle it on. An alternative is coffee grounds mixed with PVA which can give a nice basis for adding other bits to.

    IMO most of the ready made or commercial grasses and tufts are too bright and need painting to tone down or blend in with everything else. A mixture of different types/sizes helps rather than cover with a single layer of static grass for instance.
    Here are a couple of my recent ones to show you what I mean -
    The Celt groundwork is 4 different types of static grasses, paint bristles, natural roots and mosses, ready made tufts and road dirt all painted after application (Not visible in this shot is the natural moss and ivy from twisted hair and balsa chips). The Hoplite is much simpler, but still uses 4 or 5 different materials including road dirt, cork, natural stones, ready made tufts and pastels ground up for dust and blending.

    Hope that helps
  5. balder PlanetFigure Supporter

    Hi Chris,

    I find the Woodland Scenics products are really only good for very small scales. Anything bigger than a warhammer type figure and they just don’t look right to my eye.

    Check out the YouTube channel “paepercuts”. His groundwork looks amazing.

    theBaron likes this.
  6. Chris Kelm Active Member

    Thank you everyone for your info!
  7. theBaron A Fixture

    That's an excellent point, to take scale into consideration.

  8. kagemusha A Fixture


    A link would be very helpful please (y)
  9. balder PlanetFigure Supporter

    Here is the link

    I recommend watching all the videos on his channel. They are all really well done in my opinion.

    -=König=-, arj, Mirofsoft and 3 others like this.
  10. kagemusha A Fixture

    Thanks Gerald....will do :)

  11. Kevtk135 Active Member

    To expand on what Gerald mention, You Tube is your friend re: modeling groundwork. Plus you can tell in the first 10 seconds of the technique is a dud or not.
    My favorite guy is Luke Towan. Here's one example -
    Mirofsoft and balder like this.
  12. mark126804 Active Member


    Search for this title (Creating woodland or forest groundwork Part 1) Pete Garrison posted this a while back. It a workshop we did with our club a couple of years ago. Hope this helps as well.

  13. Chris Kelm Active Member

    Thanks,will have look into it.
  14. Ronaldo A Fixture

    There is no end of every day detritus materials you can use , shrub roots make good scale trees ,concrete sand also known as sharp sand ,whin chips 20mm to down will give you a wide range of boulders and small rock , landscape bark also represents rock formations ,all incorporated into homogenous mass with with some sort of putty filler (I use a two part resin from the building trade which has a little grainy finish ; it sets in about 8 minutes ) A really good scatter is dried tomato compost , I use industrial super glue to fix this down . "Fridericus Rex" has some great grasses and miniature flowers .
    My way is to paint everything in the groundwork generally starting with an overall matt black then air brushing all sorts of tones and overlays . if you leave anything unpainted it sticks out like a sore thumb and you loose the cohesive effect .
    MattMcK., theBaron and Nap like this.
  15. Nap A Fixture

    Great comments and advice here

    Good video links as well


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