Casualty markers SBS: part two
Posted by Martin on May 29, 2008
In part one we reached the point where the overlay had been glued to the base. Now that this has dried out properly, we can move on.
STEP 5: Varnishing
We want to protect the overlay from the rigours of handling during wargaming in just the same way that the paint jobs on figures need to be protected. So it should come as no surprise that I used the same varnishing approach for this overlay as I use for figures. The first coat of varnish is a polyeurethene gloss for protection and the second coat is a matt acrylic for appearance.
For the gloss varish I use Humbrol clear enamel 35 (which seems to go under a variety of names these days). The important thing to remember is that the varnish needs to be thoroughly shaken and stirred before use. I always keep a seperate brush exclusively for gloss varnishing and I clean it using Humbrol Liquid Poly (yes, I know this is a solvent that’s intended for sticking together plastic kits but it’s a great brush cleaner too). Once you’ve painted the base with the varnish put it aside in a dust-free location to dry overnight.
For the matt varnish I use Winsor and Newton acrylic matt varnish. This also needs a really thorough shaking before use. If you do the job properly, you’ll get an excellent flat matt finish – if not, then expect shiny results but these can be corrected with a second properly shaken coat. I sometimes find I need to touch up the bits I missed first time around with a second coat anyway. I dilute my matt varnish with water mixed with a drop of washing up liquid to help it flow better. Again, it’s good to leave this to dry in a dust-free environment but it doesn’t usually need anywhere as long as the gloss varnish before it’s safe to handle. Check the directions on you own preferred varnish for guidance here.
STEP 6: Adding the figure and basing material
When the matt varnish is dry (and assuming that your chosen casualty figure is also painted, varnished and dry) it’s time for some assembly work. I glue the casualty figure to the base using UHU but there are plenty of other adhesives that’ll do the job just as well. Once this is set, you can start adding your basing materials.
Everybody seems to have their own recipe for this so go ahead and do whatever works for you. I thought I’d share my approach though, in case it provides any inspiration. Well, it’s not really mine – I learnt it from the late great Ian Stables.
He used to use ready mixed pre-coloured flexible wood filler. There are all sort of brands of this type of stuff but Ian recommended Wilko dark brown. If you’re in the UK, you can buy this from Wilkinsons (which is a pile it high sell it cheap hardware chain store). The last time I bought a 1Kg tub it cost £1.49 and 1Kg goes a very long way indeed. Don’t try to use it neat from the tub though because it’s too hard to work. Instead, spoon a dollop out into a mixing bowl and dilute to taste with some water and maybe a bit of PVA glue. once you’ve got a consistency you’re happy with you can sculpt it on to your base, taking care to avoid your figure and the numbers printed on the overlay. I use those wooden stirring sticks from posh coffee shops as my sculpting tools.
The great thing about this Wilko wood filler is that it’s a good earth colour already so most of the painting job is done and it has a great texture to dry brush over. I tend to go for a light sandy colour. Lastly you can add anything else you like to spruce up the base – static grass, bits of cat litter for rocks, twigs from the garden for tree trunks etc etc.
Next time, I’ll post a photo of my finished casualty marker base for the second battalion of my Kurmark landwehr infantry.