Concept: Really happy to present the first of a three part water project. My latest and most ambitious project ever, which took some five months. Let’s start with the Seaside! Not only a beach, but an actual seaside with vegetation. It’s four 1′ wide pieces, so that I could use it on a 3′ mat and have the option of the river section. I wanted to be able to stage a landing, or have characted wash up on the shore of some strange land. I sculpted the beach from foamboard, rocks from polystyrene. A challenge was creating a depth effect, at its thickest the water is about 1/2”, but looking from above it needed to project the illusion of depth. That was achieved painstakingly with ink. For the rest, I won’t go into all the steps because that would take forever, but let’s say I used a combination of epoxy resin (about 1,5 l for the whole project!) for the water body and gloss gel medium for the surface water effect and the waves. In all, I wanted it to look like natural seaside, not some cliche tropical beach, and have enough visual “hooks” that the eye would look past the obvious faults, which I think I achieved. Props to Terrain Scapes and The Terrain Tutor for all their tutorials.

Boats by Reaper, models from Dungeon Alliance, Descent and Reaper.

Materials: 1/4 MDF for the base. Polystyrene for the soil and rocks. Army painter tuft and grass. Epoxy resin for the water and gloss gel medium for the waves. AK wet snow for the frothing effect on the waves and the edge. Some sculpting paste to try and hide the foamboard lines. Bits of driftwood made from plants in my backyard. Seaweed recreated with some cheap dollarstore moss dyed black. Rocks sculpted from polystyrene.

What I’d do differently: Alright, I really love this project and am super proud of it. BUT, geesh. Where to begin? There’s lots of tutorials on projects online, they make it look easy but I found it really difficult! Lots of problems. First off, without an airbrush I struggled with the colors for the sand and the underwater seabed. I managed to get some interesting color and depth effect with ink but for the sand, it’s pretty unnatural looking. I considered a textured medium or mixing fine sand with paint but just in terms of scale, it didn’t seem to make sense, at 1/48 there’s no way you could see grains. Also, the epoxy resin never completely dried on the deep edges and is still sticky, leaves an imprint, I’ll always have to be really careful with it which is a bummer. Lastly, I could not, for the life of me, get the edges perfectly lined up, I thought it was level when I poured but just a slight uneven level makes a visible difference. Also, there are visible gaps from the material gathering along the edges and trying to even everything with a blade didn’t exactly succeed, the foamboard doesn’t allow really fine work. Overall, the problem is that these materials are costly and require lots of steps and time, it leaves little room for experimentation so it’s difficult to get right in one go, and then you can’t go back when everything is set. I’d worked with water effects before but maybe I set my sights too high on this one? Still, progress!

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