Saturday 5 October 2013

M60 - A muddy base

In the past, I've already said more than once I wouldn't be doing dioramas anytime soon, because I don't feel my skill as a modeller is good enough to tackle new areas of the hobby. Well, there really is only ONE way to improve skill, and that's by trying new things. Credit for this inspiration goes to my fellow bloggers Jon (The Combat Workshop) and Richard (Kermit's Bench) and to Matt's (Doogs' Models) "Words of wisdom" about stretching yourself and trying new things.

So, all of a sudden, I decided the best way to display a tank with a bulldozer blade is in a field of mud. Calling this a diorama would be too big a stretch, but if we just call it a "base" we're not sounding over-ambitious.

I took an unused picture frame (probably bought at Hema for less than  €1) that was about the right size and filled this with a mixture of diluted white glue and plaster. I added black paint to give it a grey colour, but I honestly don't know why I did that.

The idea was to use the actual model to make track-shaped indentations in the still-wet plaster, but that went rather sideways. The plaster was too sticky, so instead of making track-marks, I just pulled the plaster back up with the model, requiring me to scrape it all away again AND spend 15 minutes cleaning the model.

Instead, I just added dry plaster, made the track marks, than used a pipette to add diluted white glue to the dry mixture and let it all dry. The tracks aren't THAT visible, but will probably be emphasized with dry-brushing or a darker wash later. We'll just see how we handle that later.

The intended result is seen below.

A lot more mud needed to be added, but the plaster alone is too smooth, so in a second attempt I added sand to the mix and smeared that on the base.

As I was unhappy with the previous track marks, I used more of the plaster/sand-mix and did the same as before : apply dry, make track-marks, use pipette to add diluted glue.

Time for painting. I sprayed the entire base with black. I've already come to the conclusion that this wasn't the best choice and I maybe should have gone with something lighter.

Not having too big a choice in paint colours, I mixed and experimented with Tank brown and Dark Yellow to achieve a muddy look. The result for now is seen below. I'm not completely happy with it yet, but unsure what I'd like to do or see different. I have several pigments to experiment with, but for now I'll let it rest a while and work on something else.

Anybody reading this, feel free to comment with your thoughts on improving my little experiment. Thanks for reading.


  1. I think it looks good! Now we only need to see it with the little tanky on it ;).

  2. Great start. As to the color of the mud, that would depend on the location in the world your tank is in (ie Viet Nam = red clay color, North Africa = light tans and browns etc.)
    you can use ground up weathering powders, kids tempera paint, real dirt from the garden, sand, clay cat litter (unused ;-) ) all depends on the texture of your mud you want. Just have fun regardless " it is only a hobby not a occupation"

  3. Hey Jeroen thanks for the SBS, it really looks good!

    Kind regards, Sven.