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  • Raiding the Spice Rack

    Raiding the Spice Rack
    Hello, good day and welcome to another one of Chrispy'S
    Crazed Articles (tm). Today, I'd like to spend a bit on basing, which can be just as important as the painting of the miniature
    itself.. However, if you're like me and you absolutly refuse to pay $5 for a teeny weenie bag of flock which is, in essence,
    usually painted sawdust. Lately, I've tried to find a cheaper, more common alternative to some basing supplies.. As many
    of my articles have started out, I was on the shoutbox and we were discussing basing materials (it began with snow, then
    went into more common types of areas. Someone, I believe Sintricat (thought you'd get out of this, eh? :P), asked about a
    really good reddish/brown flock and even without thinking I replied: Cinnamon! As time went on, I took my own advice and
    I've had good results with it, so I thought I'd share some techniques
    and thoughts with you..
    First off, why use herbs? Some are just as expensive, if not more
    than basing supplies. Well, for one thing, you might already have some of these in your house and use them all the time,
    a bit on some mini's base won't hurt! Also, since herbs are all natural (how can you make an organic product fake?) they give
    off a real earth tone instead of a really cartoony color.. When's the last time YOU saw Goblin Green colored grass in the desert,
    huh? Also, the smell they give off is just great!
    Well, to begin with, I'll start with some regular, live grass, and then
    we'll move on to the more "dead" looking places, and then some foliage. So, here we have some ground Oregano:

    See? Nice and green without too much green. Yes, I photographed
    most of these on cardboard.. And all were applied with a bit of white glue and water. Remember, though when buying at the store to
    get Ground oregano and not Minced or fresh (unless you are a cook and get fresh herbs all the time, but that won't help you here) :P
    Some companies I used are Schilling and McCormick, but I know you can go to Sam's or any big Warehouse store and but huge
    quantites of them in hand held plastic containers.. Call me and my Mom crazy, but I think they keep fresher in the old metal
    containers, and herbs should ALWAYS be stored in a cool, dry place. Why? Herbs contain oils. Not only can those oils get out of
    the herbs by way of heat, but they can also cause spoilage. And keeping dry herbs from wetness should be a no-brainer..
    Ahem, moving on, we come to a more subdued green that could be
    good for either a brushland and/or tundra, both places the grasses don't get a lot of good lovin' from the weather. This I have
    done with some Thyme:

    If you want an in between of the two greens, just mix them ahead of
    time, or use the shaker top to your advantage by displacing it on the base, giving more room for another color. If you DO mix
    them, make sure you do NOT put them back in the container, find a different one.. I can see it now.. "Billy, why does this Oregano
    taste like Thyme?" Then you get desperate and blame it on me.. Look, I'm a second child, I've been someone's scapegoat since I
    could speak! :P
    Deadlands, not just a crazy Wild West game!
    Now, we go onto the places where the grass doesn't grow and there is dirt everywhere (like El Paso!). Instead of representing
    grass, these herbs represent dirt, dust, et al... So here we have that fabled Cinnamon:

    I know you see a little white, that's where the light caught some of the
    glue underneath the spice.. As you can see, this is a nice reddish brown, suitable for almost anywhere, especially deserts and desserts!
    (Hee hee! :P) One word of warning though, on many spices, but especially Cinnamon: Finely Ground spices can get slightly static, and
    can stick to your mini.. if you try and take em off with water on a brush, they stick there better! So, this brings up the old rivalry,
    base before or after you're dne painting? Me, I like to try and do this before hand.. it's better to have to re-apply some spice than
    strip and area and start all over agian..
    So, just watch it with the shaker, try not to inhale too much and be careful!
    For a more redder look, maybe if you want to do a Mars base (like the
    US government!) or an evil, blood stained dirt look, use a little Paprika:

    Yes, the glare's worse on this one, but you get the idea.. again, if
    you want to get a mix of Cinnamon and Paprika, mix them a bit and store it somewhere else. Again, watch out inhaling this, it's
    got a kick, in fact it's the secret ingredient in Emril's "Essence".. that and garlic power and pepper.. speaking of which:
    Black pepper is a staple in almost every home, on the table, or in the
    food. My family's crazy about our spices, so we have about two pepper mills, but full Peppercorns are getting expensive nowadays,
    but I like my peppera bit coarser than the already crushed and powdered stuff.. that being said, here's what we get:

    This is good for gravel, since it colors itself by being black and a bit white
    in places.. what, you thought black gravel was pure black? Only in Hawaii, my friend.. I don't think I have to remind you that most
    people sneeze around vast amounts of pepper, so turn away from your mini if you need to sneeze! That, or risk a client getting your
    germs all over themselves, and that's just wrong!
    Frosty, the Snowman...
    Yes, snow.. snow can be trouble for a lot of people, going out and
    buying God know's what to try and make nice, fluffy snow.. Well, some of those products may work, but I've yet to try them..
    Way back when, though.. I tried using salt and sugar, but I found out it's a little too clear and salt soaks up all the water in the
    glue.. it looks wierd, lemme tel you.. Well, here are some more practical solutions I've found by raiding the spice rack! First up, is
    Onion Powder.. Though a bit yellow, it can be painted if you want, but if you think it's better as sand, then use it like that, I'm not
    stopping you:

    And now, the all purpose solution to snow! Yes, it's.... Baking soda! It
    makes me wonder, if Arm& Hammer can be used in cleaning, toothpaste and making the fridge smell nice, why do you want to put
    it insomething and eat it? It's sorta like how Spam can be used as a wood polish and how YooHoo has no expiration date.. Oh,well,
    let it snow, let it snow:

    As you can see, I use a lot of glue.. if that happens to you, don't let it
    happen again.. if you have too much glue, it will move and your perfect snow will crack something ugly.. also, you get what is seen
    here, where the edges dried higher than the inner glue.. It's been suggested to used superglue or just use small layers of
    glue/baking soda.. This'll be good until I can go out and buy those clay flakes or Woodland scenics stuff, or magic fairy dust or
    whatever.. :P
    Why don't you make like a tree and Leaf?
    And now, I'd like to present some of the more coarser herbs on sale..
    Again, these are nice and cheap and are more realistic than some other flocks.. Now, tough not a leaf, big scragally grass is usally
    done with static grass, but for something a bit bigger,
    I used Dill Weed:

    I know, sounds like a Beavis and Butthead insult, but Dill Weed is
    the actual grass part of the herb, which goes good on salmon but they also sll Dill Seed. Same type of flavor, but looks different
    than the weed. So, there's your grass for bigger things, heck, this can also be used as a type of moss on some big senic bases..
    And now, for some actual leaves... Parsley is ubiquitous in every garnish
    and dish, though it has a small flavor, you can buy it in huge quantities. Since it is so cheap then, it can be used for whole fields of
    fallern tree leaves. That, and the leaves remind me of oak or maple:

    See? Nice and big, too.. if I had the time/patience I would try to paint
    some different colros of orange and brown for realistic fall colors! But then I don't, so I've yet too se what it looks like or how it
    could be executed, but a great though none the less!
    Lastly, we have another good smelling one, Basil. By the way, I lave it up to you to pronounce them.. Her-b, Err-b or even Ear-b,
    I just spell them right!:

    As you can see, Basil comprises some parts of the stem, which when dried looks like little bits of wood, and the rough flakes
    are grea for a woody base. Plus, that little seed that got on there could be a little acorn or nut, great stuff!
    Well, thus ends another crezzy article by yours truly, I just want to
    remind you once again:
    When mixing, find another container for the mix. If you choose to use a plate and catch some of the extra, put it in another
    contanier, too.
    When using potent or spicy herbs, do not inhale too much.. other than making you sneeze, some people can have allergic
    reations and it's just an overall bad expirence.
    Watch out for really fine ground herbs, as they have a tendancy to stick. If some does stick to your mini, do NOT use any
    water, try and blow off the excess.
    And finally, if your mother or significant other gets fed up with you nicking their spices, buy yer own!
    I'm out, until next time!!!
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. commsbyte's Avatar
      commsbyte -
      Great Idea. There is a small issue which maybe over looked. Over time all dried herbs will dry out further and lose pigment due to natural light.
      Therefore all your dried herbs with hints of green will all end up looking similar shades of brown. But if you want dried dead dessert effect then very cool idea.
    1. KayR's Avatar
      KayR -
      You can prevent most of the color loss by sealing them. I use a matte finish sealant on them.
    1. dolenmorgul's Avatar
      dolenmorgul -
      not really basing related but pepper is a spice so I'll post this here. Pepperballs make for great cannonballs when you paint them silver. I've used some to put on a base with the dwarf cannon. White pepper is better because these stay nice and round apparently and black ones don't.
    1. EvilEgg's Avatar
      EvilEgg -
      What a tastey idea!
    1. LokRobster's Avatar
      LokRobster -
      Thrift Stores or garage sales occasionally have old spice racks for sale really cheap, including bottles loaded with old, useless spices... perfect for basing!
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