Field Testing – Cityscapes Part 2

Welcome back for the next phase on our cityscapes tiles. With all the base colours and the essential texture down we can now play around with some of the other products and see what small scale effects we can achieve. This article will focus on the Stirred Earth texture and how it can be used to quickly dirty up our landscapes.

Stirred Earth

Dubbed a “Splatter Effect”, Stirred Earth is quite different to the other textures we’ve used already from this range. Instead of being a thick paste or putty with heaps of obvious texture right out of the pot, the Stirred Earth appears more like a thick paint. Application is very similar to a paint as well, you could almost be forgiven for thinking that’s all this stuff is on first use. Wanting to see what I could achieve with it, I first applied it to the big crater board with a brush. Using a stippling motion I went around the inside of the crater at varied intensities. I really wanted to see just how this stuff dried, so I made sure to completely paint over some of the rocks I’d painted previously to see if that underlying colour would still show though.

The dried result, a few different levels of intensity here.

As you can see, it really did dry quite opaque, obscuring more detail than I would have liked. I wouldn’t hold that against the product however, it’s just not how you’re meant to use it. What really stands out, and is unfortunately difficult to see in the photos, is that it has a very ‘dry’ look to it once the product has cured. More than just a matte finish, it actually looks dusty and, well dirty! Painters familiar with pigments will notice obvious similarities here, achieving a very similar look. I was actually quite happy to see the result, as while pigments have plenty of great uses and give you an amazing look – they can be quite difficult to use and bind effectively. A product which offers a similar look in a simple acrylic medium is going to be extremely handy to have around and will save me lots of time.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

Wanting to test the versatility, I used some different methods on the other two city tiles as well. For the small craters, I went very heavy and put heaps of the paste inside to see what difference that would make. As the other board didn’t really have any areas where the product needed to be used specifically, I instead just dabbed softly around some of the heavily cracked areas to see what a lighter touch would achieve. Let’s look at what the craters turned out like first.

The dried product when laid down thick
a closer look

Firstly, apologies for the photos – they aren’t the best – It’s just one of those things which proved difficult to show in a photograph, hopefully you can still see what laying it on thicker actually achieved. When used this way, the product actually levelled out instead of just creating a thick layer above the surface. You might also notice that it has created small clumps of dirt as it dried, giving this really nice fine built up dirt look – perfect for these little craters or something like the bottom of a river bed.

A light dabbing provides a fine dusty look.

The lighter touch achieved mostly what I assumed, no surprises here really. Just a nice way to give the appearance of flat & dry areas. This is probably the method I’d use most often for miniature bases and even things like tank tracks. By using just a small amount of product and using a ‘drybrush’ style of application, I can see this stuff working really well for adding dried dirt to those areas, providing a bit of realism and accentuating details with minimal effort.

In conclusion, very impressed with the results after a few simple tests. I’m a big fan of products which are versatile as I feel they give you more bang for your buck. As a quick drying alternative to pigments and just a great way to build subtle textures on your terrain, it really is a great option.

Now for something completely different

Before we wrap up, I’ll also pay mention to another product I tried. Looking to enhance the edges of some of the craters with subtle cracks I thought I’d give the Dark and Dry Crackle Effects a go. Unfortunately it didn’t really turn out the way I’d like – which was disappointing to say the least.

Cracking not quite as heavy as I expected

As you can see, it didn’t really ‘crack’ at all. I’ll admit to wishful thinking here – hoping that there would finally be a simple acrylic product to achieve cracking effects on a large scale. This product does actually work quite well, just not as easily as I hoped. The key to getting the right cracking going is to apply it in a clean thin layer rather than simply painting it on as I’ve done here. It’s also best to use it over a smooth surface rather than a textured one like I’ve done, it still cracks, but it’s quite subtle and uneven. Check out the detail shot below to see what the cracking actually looks like when it works.

Now we’re seeing some cracking, but still quite fine and subtle

Again, another case of not really using the product as intended rather than a fault in the design. Just something to keep in mind if you’re thinking about grabbing it. Based on these results, I’d probably be more likely to use it for dried paint on the side of buildings rather than damaged earth. It doesn’t quite form the deep cracks I was hoping for.

We’re almost done here! With all our textures laid down we’ll be looking at how well they take to a bit of oil and enamel washing, plus we’ll take a quick look at some water effects while we’re there!

Next Week – Things get messy!

As always, any questions or comments just leave them below. I’ll see you next week!



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