Project diary: 1177 B.C. - 10

by David

Hey all,

welcome to Page Ten of my project diary. If you're wondering what this is, please check the announcement post, in which I explain the motivation and general goals of the diary. At the bottom of that post, you will find a link to all parts of this series (constantly updated as soon as new articles are published).

We're on the finish-line, folks. This will be the penultimate installment of the project diary, and today, I will talk about finishing the base. This included three main steps:

  1. painting the base
  2. adding the "deep water"
  3. finalizing the water effect

But before we start, let's take another look at the project when we left it in Part Nine:

The first thing I did was painting the base. This included three parts: first, to finish the sand, giving it a little "depth". For that, I simply gave the sand a slight wash with a very diluted brown (VMC Smoke). Once that was dry, I drybrushed the sandy surface with the basecolor (VMC Dark Sand) and, finally, some Ivory to bring out the highlights a little. Second, I treated the parts of the base where I envisioned slightly "deeper" water with a diluted wash of VMC Emerald and, where the deepest part would be, a little VMC Turquoise. This, later, will simulate some depth in the water. Finally, I also painted the cast shadow of the miniature, taking into account the zenithal lighting situation and the idea that the Mediterranean sun is standing high and glaring in the sky. I didn't worry too much about getting the shadow totally and exactly right as the water, which will flow around the raider's legs would distort the shadow and lighting a bit.

Some turquoise to imitate the depth of water...
... and a little grey for the cast shadow.

The next step was all about that deep water-fun! As will all my water-works, I followed my MV jungle brother Josua's fantabulous 2K Water Tutorial. So, I started constructing the borders into which I would be pouring the resin water, using some cut-up transparent plastic sheet, which I then glued to the plinth.

... and after.

Once the borders had been put in place, I prepared everything for pouring the 2K resin. As noted, I follow the commandments laid down by Josua for all times in his excellent tutorial. But as described in a previous tutorial of mine, in addition I like to stir the resin while bathing the container in a mug of hot water. This makes the resin "runnier", i.e., more liquid and like water - it becomes easier to pour and there will be fewer air bubbles. And that's exactly what I did with this base as well. Once the 2K resin was nicely mixed, I used a single-use plastic pipette and carefully let the liquid run into the area. I used a toothpick to make sure it spread everywhere I wanted and to remove the two or three tiny air bubbles that occured at the edges. And with this, I left the project to rest for about 24 hours.

All prepared for the resin pour...
... and done. The cent piece under the plinth ensures that the resin will remain mostly at the left side of the base.

Once the resin was hardened, I returned to the project and - as always when working with 2K water - was a little anxious about what would await me when I would remove the barriers. Well... Overall, I was happy with the result. BUT: there were two issues that needed work before I could finish the water. First: When I super-glued the barriers onto the plinth, a little bit of glue had snuck up and laid itself on top of the already painted sand area. Once I removed the barriers, the superglue stuck to the barriers, and I removed it along with the barriers, leaving a little hole or tunnel at the bottom of the 2K water.

There's a hole in the resin...

The second issue was that, despite the "genious" trick of positioning the plinth on a one-cent piece, a little bit of resin had run along the edges and now there was water where none should be:

... and some superfluous resin.

I first addressed the second issue, cutting away the superfluous resin that had run along the edges of the barrier. Along with the resin, I of course removed some of the "sand", so I had to recreate it with a little bit of Milliput, which was then painted. Then, I took on the first problem - simply by painting the sandy surface below the "deep" water and then adding a little UV-hardening resin into the "tunnel". When that was cured, I gave everything a nice little sanding to even the surfaces.

Then, it was time to add the waves. For that, I used Vallejo Water Texture, a thick, gooey acrylic gel that is white-opaque when it comes out of the container, but becomes transparent when it cures. With this, I did two rounds of adding waves, trying to recreate the look of surf at the beach, and letting the first layer cure before adding a second one.

Adding waves.
Layer one...
... cured and transparen.

Once the second "wave-layer" was cured, I added a bit more acrylic gel here and there, and added a tiny bit of Vallejo Still Water on the beach, where no waves would be. I did this, first, to give the sand the impression of wetness and, second, to smoothen the transition between "waves" and "sand".

And a second layer.

However, when I looked at the scene with a fresh set of eyes before starting to put the whitewater on the waves, I was not really happy with the look and "feel" of the waves. I was not really sure what it was, but when I compared the waves with images of "the real thing", something was off. So, and as so often with my projects, I decided to take a radical step - and put a sharp scalpel blades to the waves, which allowed me to start from scratch with modeling the waves...

Off to a fresh start

Thankfully, I remembered that I had seen a tutorial on modelling a beach scene some time ago, over on YouTube. This I decided to follow slavishly. So, I started out with carefully making the waves again, in a more realistic fashion. For the whitewater, I mixed the acrylic gel with a tiny bit of acrylic white color and some microballoons, usually used for recreating snow, and carefully added it to the waves. Finally, when all was dried and hardened, I gave the whole surface a slapping of some Still Water effect to restore the shininess. The last bit of work was some light and careful sanding, polishing, and gloss-coating of the sides of the hardened 2K-resin to make it nice and smooth.

Adding the waves...
... take two.

Looking back, to be honest, I was not super-satisfied with the result of my second water experiment, as I find the waves a bit too shallow and I dit not manage to recreate those little foamy crests. I also do not find the water lapping up the raider's hind-legs particularly convincing. But I decided to call it a day and leave it as is.

For the absolute final step, I checked the figure for some last-minute corrections. The only thing that I decided to do was to repair two little specks at the mini's sword-hand where I accidentally removed some paint during the sanding, and on the lower side of the shield, which had mistakenly been hit with some water texture. I also made my peace with the sword, deciding to leave it as it was. Then I painted the plinth black. I really like the effect of a deep-black painted plinth, which, in my eyes, serves as a nice and strongly contrasted "frame" to the scene, driving home the idea that the mini-and-base combination is a small sliver "taken out of some larger environment". I painted two layers, using cheap acrylic black color, and in between I carefully sanded the surface with fine-grit sandpaper. This makes the paint really nice and smooth. As a last thing, I added my signature at the base of the plinth - for me, this always signals a project's completion.

The final thing.

And that's that. For the final presentation, I will put a small, plaque on the plinth, which I'll have custom-made for this project by my friend Conny over at Fredericus Rex! I will post some final, good pictures at the blog once I have made them. In the meantime, and as always, feel invited to drop me a line in the comments? I hope to see you soon in the Epilogue for a quick debriefing!!

Best, D.

Tutorial: IKEA TERTIAL light improvement

by Andy

Hello everyone,

today I’ll want to show you a simple, easy and cheap way to improve your lighting setup.


Warning: Only do this modification if you’re using lamps with low heat development like e.g. LED-lamps. I’m taking no responsibility for any damage or fire!


I’m using two of the standard IKEA lamps called “TERTIAL” in combination with  11W 5000K LED bulb mainly for photography.

I always thought that the lamps produce a very strong focused, hard light, so I was looking for a possibility to soften it.

One day I strolled through the hardware store and found something called “transparent paper” - which in fact is translucent paper.

This paper looks similar to a diffusor for photography or photo tent material and so I gave it a try to improve the light situation. 

Assembly was relatively easy – take the lampshade, press it on the paper and mark the outer diameter with a pencil. Add 3-5 wings on the outer diameter for attachment.

You need to cut the paper carefully with a scissor otherwise the attachment wings are torn apart. I didn’t cut carefully enough but no worries, just take some clear adhesive tape to repair it and bring it back on.
Bend the wings and glue it to the lampshade with some sticky tape.

Modification done – as simple as that ;)

What’s the benefit of the mod? –> have a look:

                Before -> strong, hard, focused light After -> soft, even, more natural light

Let me know in the comments if you have questions and tell me if you like this small modification 

Thanks for reading, all the best and see you soon


More photo articles needed?

A guide that shows Roman's approach on taking photos.

Need a photobackground for your personal use?

Miniature Photography, part 1
Philip is taking a deep look inside professional equipment. 

Miniature Photography, part 2
Philip explains how to make good photos with a DSLR.

You want to support Massive Voodoo? 

If you like to support or say thanks the monkeys of Massive Voodoo in what they do, please feel invited to drop a jungle donation in their direction via paypal or check their miniatures they got on sale here.

SBS - Necromanceress by Ilyad Games

by Andy

Hello everyone,

Andi here! Remember me? I am the new monkey in the jungle!
Today I want to show you a step-by-step for a small scene I did earlier this year.

Everything started with a miniature exchange with my good hobby-friend Christoph. I had a bit of post-MV astronauts challenge blues and no sense for painting, so it was a good chance to spark new creative energies. We decided to send each other a secret miniature to be painted by the other, with minimal restrictions for the scene and painting. I received the beautiful Necromanceress from Ilyad Games. It’s a relatively rare, out-of-production miniature and I was a bit afraid whether I would be able to paint her in a way Christoph would like in the end.

Christoph's only request was to use a fantasy setting to match his Ilayd collection. Well, I’m not too much into fantasy, so it was a good challenge, which kicked me out of the comfort zone.

I started, like many times, with no idea how to start the project. Sounds pretty silly but it’s true ;)… but there are always tiny things I want to try. For years I have wanted to build a wooden door and had no proper project to implement one - this was my chance.

Measuring the height of the miniature, some calculations and cutting some wooden ice-sticks was pretty much everything I had to do. I attached everything with superglue, added some thin metal wire pieces as door handle and bolts and gently used a steel brush to create the wooden structured surface.

This was a good start, but not a base at all, so I glued the door to a piece of plasticard, created a frame for the door and some basic wooden structure. Again, the steel brush is a good tool for recreating the wood grain.

The free space was filled with Juweela stones, gaps were closed with Vallejo plastic putty and I did a first test on the base. With the wall and door in the background, the story of a zombie huntress, taking her bounty out of the house, developed in my head. At this point I was fully emerged in the project and the base building process began to flow easily .

To get a bit of extra height, I added some cork, filled the floor with chunks of Juweela plaster and used the same plaster to build the roof.

To get some life to the scene, potting soil and miniature plants have been added but it still looked a bit empty so I decided to add a tree. Sometimes I heard Bob Ross in my head saying „some bushes here and a happy little tree there“ :D

The tree was done with Vallejo plastic putty over a wire base and moss for the leaves/treetop.

I used my electrical scroll saw to get clean base edges and covered the whole base with plasticard. Basing work done.

After priming the whole scene with black airbrush primer, I was stuck again. 

How to approach the painting?? 

Thinking about atmosphere, daylight or nighttime, muted neutral colors or bright comic colors… comic colors… comic... sin city part one, the lady with the red dress… and BAM, there was the inspiration for the color scheme. 

And again, once I had the idea in my mind of the overall “feel” of the scene, everything went easy. In total it took about 4-5h to paint the whole scene with grisaille technique. I learned this at Roman's material masterclass workshop - which I highly recommend (some unpaid advertisement here *cough* ;) ).

The last step in the painting was the candy red dress popping out of the whole scene, which was glazed over the black-and-white grisaille with Schmincke AeroColor Brillant Red.

 still WIP but nearly finished

At the beginning of the painting process, I had no idea whether I would be able to handle the black and white scheme and how it would work with the red focus spot... but when he received it, Christoph was pretty happy, and that’s the most important part of the whole project. Thanks my friend for this opportunity;)


If you like the SBS, the result, or if you have any question, please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading!