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D&D General DIY xps foam terrain. Videos? Pics? Advice?

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
Side note:
(a) This is my first time creating usuable foam terrain and acrylic paint. I learn best by doing (maybe we all do). Comments and constructive criticism are much appreciated. :)
(b) Our group is on hiatus. Everyone in the group is new to Mystara, except me. Most of my knowledge stems from going down various rabbit-holes on the Pandius site. So it's sort of "the one-eyed man in the land of the blind" situation. This game board is intended as a conversation piece and a bit of a teaching tool for the Spheres of Power.


Here's the game board with Mod Podge mixed with Black Matte Acrylic as a base coat
Side 1: Stone Tiles (one inch)
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Side 2: Wooden Boards (Gridless. 1 inch =5 feet)
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Colors of the Spheres of Power
1 Crimson (Craftsmart) Energy -->Fire-->Red
2 Brown (Craftsmart) Matter -->Earth-->Brown
3 Ocean Breeze (Craftsmart) Time-->Water-->Blue
4 Splendid Gold (DecoArt) Thought-->Air -->Gold
0 Black (Crafsmart) Entropy--> oblivion-->Black

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Plain Stone Tiles (and 2 brown ones)
Fog Grey (Craftsmart) mixed with a little Black.
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Wooden Boards
Golden Brown (Craftsmart)
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These paints are cheap. If you think another color would work better, please let me know. I would appreciate it.

The colors are slightly darker irl than the pics


The test pieces still require Dry Brushing, Black Wash, and Sealant.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Great start. The texturing on the wooden board is great, as is the pattern on the wooden side of the big board.

I find the craftsmart paints are more than fine and even use them for minis sometimes.

As for the above, my suggestion would be to start with a darker color as the base over the mod podge doing a heavy dry brush, and then do the golden brown or whatever as a dry brush over that. It will provide a lot more texture and look less like slathered on paint.

I would do more aluminum foil ball texturing on the stone ones.
 


not-so-newguy

Adventurer
As for the above, my suggestion would be to start with a darker color as the base over the mod podge doing a heavy dry brush, and then do the golden brown or whatever as a dry brush over that. It will provide a lot more texture and look less like slathered on paint.

Thanks for pointing that out. It made a big difference. Also putting on the base brown with a very wet brush helped.
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pogre

Legend
If you paint a lot of stone work, and therefore, lots of gray tones, you might try using house paint. I have a quart of white and a quart of black that I got from the hardware store.

When I did a bunch of desert terrain I had the paint store mix up a sand/yellow-tan color house paint for my terrain boards. Pretty economical and wears well. My desert terrain boards were used and abused ina hobby store for years.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
If you paint a lot of stone work, and therefore, lots of gray tones, you might try using house paint. I have a quart of white and a quart of black that I got from the hardware store.

When I did a bunch of desert terrain I had the paint store mix up a sand/yellow-tan color house paint for my terrain boards. Pretty economical and wears well. My desert terrain boards were used and abused ina hobby store for years.
Too late 🤷
I went with grey, rather than trying to maintain a mixture.
Not sure what to do about the circled one. I put 2 coats on all of them as evenly as I could.
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not-so-newguy

Adventurer
Is this pink XPS foam? Could the thin plastic layer still be on that red circled one?
I bought this from Amazon before I knew better. They appear to be just a sheet of xps insulation that's been cut up and packaged.
(This is not the piece in question, but another one from the same package)

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The most recent piece I bought at Home Depot (which was 4' x 8' and yes I did bring my hobby knife with me to cut it up into pieces that fit in my car in the parking lot) had a thin film on it that I need to peel off. It cut easily, so I didn't realized it until after I had started shaping it, but thankfully before I applied mod podge or paint.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
The most recent piece I bought at Home Depot (which was 4' x 8' and yes I did bring my hobby knife with me to cut it up into pieces that fit in my car in the parking lot) had a thin film on it that I need to peel off. It cut easily, so I didn't realized it until after I had started shaping it, but thankfully before I applied mod podge or paint.
Nah, I don't think that's the case.

I just got home from work and checked it out. I think the problem is that it's slightly raised in the center and I was using quite a bit of water. I suspect the paint was moving away from the center and flowing to the sides because of that.

I'll put another coat on that one, but use a book or something to flatten it out. Paint one half tonight and the other tomorrow.
 

pogre

Legend
The most recent piece I bought at Home Depot (which was 4' x 8' and yes I did bring my hobby knife with me to cut it up into pieces that fit in my car in the parking lot) had a thin film on it that I need to peel off. It cut easily, so I didn't realized it until after I had started shaping it, but thankfully before I applied mod podge or paint.
As an aside, I had to purchase some foam for my recent projects and was duly impressed by how expensive a 4' x 8' sheet of two-inch foam is! I know you get a lot of terrain out of that foam, but I still had a bit of sticker shock. I knew that construction materials had jumped in price a lot due to the pandemic, but still...

In another too little too late suggestion category - I base all of my foam projects on floor tiles. I use really cheap linoleum 12" x 12" self-adhesive tiles. I then glue (to the self-adhesive side) a layer of cheap black felt to the bottom. I have not had any problems with warping when I am painting (knock on foam). The tile is also a little lighter than then mdf, which can also warp in my experience.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
As an aside, I had to purchase some foam for my recent projects and was duly impressed by how expensive a 4' x 8' sheet of two-inch foam is! I know you get a lot of terrain out of that foam, but I still had a bit of sticker shock. I knew that construction materials had jumped in price a lot due to the pandemic, but still...

In another too little too late suggestion category - I base all of my foam projects on floor tiles. I use really cheap linoleum 12" x 12" self-adhesive tiles. I then glue (to the self-adhesive side) a layer of cheap black felt to the bottom. I have not had any problems with warping when I am painting (knock on foam). The tile is also a little lighter than then mdf, which can also warp in my experience.
Nice trick. I'll have to keep it in mind for next time :)

I didn't expect it to be perfect, so I'm not too worried about it. It'll almost certainly be better than my beat up 10+ year old battlemat.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
As an aside, I had to purchase some foam for my recent projects and was duly impressed by how expensive a 4' x 8' sheet of two-inch foam is! I know you get a lot of terrain out of that foam, but I still had a bit of sticker shock. I knew that construction materials had jumped in price a lot due to the pandemic, but still...

That 4' x 8' board I bought was just under 20 bucks, but it was only a half-inch thick. I usually buy one-inch thick 2' x 2' boards for about 6 or 7 bucks.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
I'm going to try a trick that I picked up from this video


At the 12:10 mark, he describes a way of staining wood. He takes super fine grade (0000) steel wool pads and soaks them in vinegar for 3 days. The liquid is strained of metal bits and then the wooden pieces are soaked in this liquid, staining them a grayish brown.

I have 65 or so Jenga* pieces that will be stained this way and plan to use them to mark walls. It's not a great solution, but it seems like an easy one.


*actually a cheap Jenga ripoff.


_________

In other news, I remembered that there's a reason I will never throw out my old battlemat; or at least a piece of it.

Back in 2015, i drew the map of the Lost Valley of The Hutaaka from B10 on the Hex side of the mat. It is now permanently stained on it. If/when this mat becomes obsolete, then I plan to cut it out and retool it into a game prop of some sort. I mean I have all these nifty tools and videos now, how could i not?

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In case you don't know B10 (but I'm guessing you probably do), this map is a big reveal and turning point within the adventure.
 

not-so-newguy

Adventurer
My plan for today is to watch the niners beat the cowboys and work the game board.

I'll be dry brushing. Here's a pic of the base color + dry brushing colors:

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1. Grey (base)
2. Suede
3. Fog Grey
4. Vanilla
5. White

Does this seem like a decent plan? Should I use fewer colors for dry brushing? More?
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I would start with dark gray as the base coat, personally - but you gotta try to match your own vision. As for number of colors for dry brushing I usually do 2 to 3, sometimes 4 - but honestly I just do whatever until it looks like I want and I want it to look like random discoloration and dust collection and water staining - so that method works for me.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Today my focus is painting minis (I do a batch of minis for a week or so then switch my work area to crafting for a week or so, back and forth - I usually do flocking for either between "shifts" because that is the messiest part of the work for me). But I am also working on cutting pieces of package cardboard to be the stone façade of a keep I am making out of the cardboard insert that came with the new sink installed in the downstairs bathroom. I do this while waiting for minis to dry or while watching TV (yesterday, I did a bunch while watching Eternals).

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not-so-newguy

Adventurer
I would start with dark gray as the base coat, personally - but you gotta try to match your own vision. As for number of colors for dry brushing I usually do 2 to 3, sometimes 4 - but honestly I just do whatever until it looks like I want and I want it to look like random discoloration and dust collection and water staining - so that method works for me.
Yeah, using a lighter shade was a conscious choice. I like it better... in my head at least. I might switch to a darker grey on future tiles.s
Today my focus is painting minis (I do a batch of minis for a week or so then switch my work area to crafting for a week or so, back and forth - I usually do flocking for either between "shifts" because that is the messiest part of the work for me). But I am also working on cutting pieces of package cardboard to be the stone façade of a keep I am making out of the cardboard insert that came with the new sink installed in the downstairs bathroom. I do this while waiting for minis to dry or while watching TV (yesterday, I did a bunch while watching Eternals).

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Nice! Please share future pics!

Edit: nevermind. I just caught your Instagram link
 


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