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Creating a woodlands scene for The Pursu


This article will focus on creating a base for Michael Roberts’ “Vignette-in-a-box”, The Pursuit sculpted by Mike Stezel and Alan Ball’s Woodland Indian, released about the same time by his own company. From the beginning, I wanted these three figures in the same setting. I can fully imagine the third figure having been left out for reasons of economy and base size.

Planning the scene

The first thing I did was to play around with the kit base (Picture 1) and a display base to determine where the kit base would sit. Once I had decided where it would go, I cut some strips from a Styrofoam block to build up the edges (Picture 2).

Next came several trials of where the figures would be positioned. I had already decided I didn’t want them running down the streambed as in the box art since the second figure gets lost behind the guy jumping the fallen log.

Picture 3 displays one of the early trials, which I rejected because the guy jumping over the log didn’t make sense to me in this position. As work on the base continued more trials were done.

In the end, I decided that the jumping guy would not be hurdling the log, supported on his arm, but jumping the stream and log and should be attached to the edge of the log at his foot and his flattened hand would be replaced with a clenched hand holding a war club.

The basic groundwork

Before gluing anything in place I masked off the exposed parts of the base, because the next steps would be messy (Picture 4). The kit base was then attached using super glue (CA or Cynoacrylite glue) and the Styrofoam with white glue. This was set aside to dry overnight.

The next day, I glued several additional rocks in place, added an Armand Bayardi tree and a resin figure base at the end of the streambed.

I then made a slurry of Celluclay, ballast, white glue, woody turf material and brown acrylic craft paint and blended all these elements together, smoothing the edges with a moistened finger. Picture 5 included a test of the tree stump, which would represent the base of the fallen tree.

When the base was dry, I airbrushed the streambed with burnt umber and the rocks and tree with some shade of Model Master German Gray.. I painted any remaining dry ground with the same acrylic craft paint that had been used in the Celluclay mixture (Picture 6).

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About the Author

About Al LaFleche (AJLaFleche)


Thanks for this useful SBS...
FEB 21, 2007 - 05:56 PM
Thanks, guys. Glad you enjoyed it. Jean-Bernard, I've used Water Effects several times now and have not seen any significant retraction or shhrinkage. I guess the way to test any retraction would be to run a bead on a piece of paper and see if the paper is pulled back, i.e., the ends curl up.
FEB 21, 2007 - 06:17 PM
Hello Al, great SBS and a great base !!! Thanks for sharing. I have used the water effects several times and as you I think it is a great stuff to realize flowing water. Best wishes, Markus
FEB 21, 2007 - 06:26 PM
thanks for telling! congratulations again JB
FEB 21, 2007 - 06:42 PM
Thanks, Markus, I was inspired by your use of moss in your recent woodland scene to include that. Al
FEB 22, 2007 - 03:15 AM
Great stuff. Thanks for sharing this one Al.
FEB 22, 2007 - 06:39 AM
Hi Al, A great piece of work! I like it a lot. Thanks for sharing the detailed SBS with us. Now I like to see the finished vignette. Cheers Andreas
FEB 22, 2007 - 07:17 AM
Really nice work,you have captured the woodland atmophere well and with the figures added will look great. Steve
FEB 22, 2007 - 08:39 PM
Thanks, guys. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I've had a cold most of the last week and a half and haven't felt much like spending time in the chilly workshop, but I did spend some time with the figures for this last night.
FEB 23, 2007 - 09:07 PM
Hi Al, very useful feature you are presenting here. I like to ad a small input regarding the moss. I made a water scene like that some time ago. I used the green stuff you used as moss on the stones , but also added green pigments on the stones. I think this worked very well and i believe that your stones could use a bit of it above the stream level. I hope you don't mind that i includ a picture of it. Thanks for the SBS feature Claude
MAR 23, 2007 - 04:06 PM