Scenery using free or found materials?
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Thread: Scenery using free or found materials?

  1. #1

    Default Scenery using free or found materials?

    Hi all,

    I'm a big fan of modeling diorama using repurposed/free/upcycled/found materials, and I was wondering if there are any good guides out there...

    I have a friend who is looking for artistic projects for a group that are free or carry minimal cost, and I thought she'd have fun with something like this. I could start working on my own guide or lesson plan for her, but it would be awesome if there was already some out there that she could use.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osaka View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm a big fan of modeling diorama using repurposed/free/upcycled/found materials, and I was wondering if there are any good guides out there...

    I have a friend who is looking for artistic projects for a group that are free or carry minimal cost, and I thought she'd have fun with something like this. I could start working on my own guide or lesson plan for her, but it would be awesome if there was already some out there that she could use.

    Thank you!
    One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to carry around a few small plastic bags in your pocket when out for a walk. Look at leaf litter and twigs after a really windy day and if anyone near you has a privet hedge a few bits of that after it’s been trimmed dry out to good fake foliage.
    Now one thing to remember is that leave twigs etc aren’t sterile so either wash or if you feel brave bake them in an oven carefully to dry them out.
    And dried out teabags contents (and coffee grounds) make great leaf litter/surface materials, as does raiding the spice rack for ground ginger, ground cumin and celery salt.

    Look up Ben Komets and Ben Cexwish for their basing tutorials, both give good advice.
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
    Oh look my IQ results came in:-
    , and proud of it.

  3. #3

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    I love to re-purpose household items when model making, there is something very satisfying about recycling household waste.

    Much like the previous poster, I can also attest that the pantry is a treasure trove when it comes to modelling. My most recent project was this diorama the dead leaves under the trees are actually dried herbs. I bought a large pot of 'mixed herbs' for 89 pence from Home Bargains (UK store) which will last me for years, and most people will typically already have these or similar in their cupboards. You can even pull off some nice weathering effects using your spice rack, coarse salt for example can be used to create nice rust and chipped paint effects, tea can be used to make things look aged. The only downside to raiding the kitchen for your projects is that your models will smell amazing!

    EDIT: First picture was shrunk down for some reason, you can see the leaf litter in better detail here: https://i.imgur.com/n4Nxap5.png

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    Other materials I try to keep hold of include;

    Old Paper Egg Boxes- Coffee Shop cup holder trays also work as they are made from the same material, these typically have a rough texture and can be used to make really convincing stonework for walls and floors, check out this tutorial someone posted using them for paving stones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yMd0s_vbl4

    Aluminium Cans - I make my own corrugated metal panels out of old cans using an old metal 'Toothpaste squeezer', which are great for urban or futuristic scenery. Whilst the squeezer isn't technically free, they can be picked up relatively cheaply on ebay and will allow you to endlessly recycle old cans into terrain building materials. The below example is not my picture (I don't have my camera to hand), but was made using the same technique:

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    Youtube is a great source of inspiration when it comes to re-purposing household objects for scenery pieces, just do a search for 'Terrain from Trash' and you will find a wealth of amazing modelling projects that were completed using old household junk.
    Last edited by Genryu; 05-29-2020 at 07:04 AM.

  4. #4

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    There are some great tutorials on YouTube as well... Check out this one from Midwinter Minis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6L4dN_uyv8 He makes some great 40K terrain out of cereal boxes and such. Several videos on his channel relate to building from found/salvaged materials.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for all the responses! One thing I haven't figured out yet is green grass. I've found good substitutes for a lot of other things, but green flocking is still tricky! Any suggestions on that front?

    Also, for me, I could often get broken ceiling tiles from hardware stores for free, and they can make great hills and such with minimal work. Also, baking soda makes a very convincing snow!

  6. #6

    Default

    well grass can be tricky.

    some options:
    - buy static grass as it is the best
    - old brushes (the larger wall painting ones), tinted with paint and cut up to size (I use this for longer grass like the dryed ones here: http://www.coolminiornot.com/413431 )
    - oakum (even cheaper than brushes)
    - ground up sponges (altough if coarser, then they are better for bushes)
    - sawdust (this is one of the most old-school method)

    some book references for using cheap materials:
    - Laszlo Adoba: Let's build diorama series (example: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By8...ew?usp=sharing )
    - old GW hobby books (the how to terrain especially)
    - Battlegames for Middle Earth magazines (articles collected here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0By8...ew?usp=sharing )
    Forgot, that it works again.

  7. #7

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    Check out Lukes APS on You tube or even Luke Towan. The first has many many video tutorials on how to make cheap basic scenery materials.

  8. #8

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    I love using things from nature to be repurposed and painted to represent...things from nature.
    I have quite a collection of old cheap spices, my favorite being celery seeds, weird texture. I almost always use tea leaves for ground scatter. The best I have I have found are the cheap ones, especially "calming/soothing mixes". They seem to have little "flowers" in the mix. Sometimes I don't realize how cool it looks until it's primed. Boiling the bags and letting them dry out first is the best as it swells the tea leaves.
    My all time favorite material from the great outdoors is definitely pine tree bark painted as stone. I have been on the lookout for birch tree seed pods for miniature leaves, have to wait a few more months I think. Never used them, but they look awesome.
    Hmmm, other thoughts: clean cat litter, plant roots, twigs and stems. Ohhh and "sea foam" for trees (Scenic Express Super Trees). Reindeer moss and lichen. Sand, all kinds, playground, construction and beach. Got some cool jagged looking crushed...stuff, from a the inside of a Britta water filter.
    If you collect stuff from the wild just remember to cook all the "life" out of it before using. I put my bark and stuff in the oven on a low temp (200F) for an hour or so to make sure it's rendered inert.

    WIP: http://www.coolminiornot.com/forums/...ramblings-spot
    Blog: http://blog.coolminiornot.com/blog.p...6-Flaming-Tiki
    “A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”
    Leonardo da Vinci

  9. #9

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    In an other community a guy showed his figures. I saw a very detailed forrest like base. I asked about where he got the cool looking leaves from. Simple aswer, its tea.

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