I had originally posted this in the P&M forum, but it vanished to page 7,000 after about 12 hours, so I am reposting it here.
So, somebody mentioned that I should do a little tutorial on making craters. Careful what you wish for...
Sculpey Modeling Clay - White. This dries when baked in your oven.
Elmers Wood Glue.
MDF Board (masonite) or other suitable basing material.
Woodland Scenics - Medium Ballast, Fine Talus, Medium Talus, Extra Coarse Talus.
Random, nifty bits from your bits box or terrain items.
Sculpey Modeling Clay - White.
get the Terracotta color. It is way to flakey and hard to moosh up.
Elmers Wood Glue. This is a gallon jug. Cost about $15 US at Home Depot.
I use this for EVERY terrain piece I make. Get it. Use it. Love it.
Woodland Scenics - Medium Ballast.
As the price tag says, $3.99 at Hobby Lobby. This bag is enough to make literally 50+ craters of reasonable size. No lie.
Why would you do that, though? Use it on other terrain projects, too.
Woodland Scenics - Fine Talus.
Same as above.
Medium Ballast and Fine Talus side by side.
Extra Coarse Talus
Cut your masonite into pre-drawn circles of varying size.
I have this AMAZING Band Saw that I bought at Lowe's for only $100. Best money I've spent in a LONG time. If you have a reasonably permanent residence with a garage/basement/workspace and you don't have one of these...
Man up, adjust your testes, and go buy one.
You'll thank me later (maybe for the testes adjustment idea, maybe for the saw. Whichever...)
1) Pre-heat your oven to 275° F (not sure what that is in celcius, you international wierdos...)
You will bake your craters at 275° for 15 minutes per ¼" of thickness.
2) Roll out a sausage of Sculpey to fit the desired circumference of your base.
3) Press the sausage sides down flush on the base. This is going to be the rim of your crater, so when you do this, be sure to make it look... rimmy...
4) Press various items into the sculpey rim you've just made for debris. Dip into your terrain bits and your bitz box for this.
I used all manner of things including barrel halves, brick chunks from my mold, aluminium tubing, and many bitz from models.
If you use any plastic bits (sprue rubble, guns, etc.) DO NOT permanently affix them to the Sculpey as they will melt in the oven and become disfigured.
What I do is press the plastic bit into the sculpey and then pull it out and set it aside until I bake the Sculpey. Then I glue it in place after baking.
Below are a few examples.
Aluminium rod, cut and bent.
Some large bricks made from plaster, cast in a mold I made. I broke them into bite-sized pieces.
These were primed already as I was going to use them in a different terrain piece some time ago.
zombie that had been scavenged for parts. It was already painted.
In the bottom is a half of an Eldar skimmer cockpit. It was glued down after baking and priming.
5) Using watered down wood glue, cover the inside and outside of the crater.
Go up the sides and be careful not to get glue on any bits you have added.
I thin the glue to the consistency of tomato soup.
6) Sprinkle on the Medium Ballast. Don't completely cover it. You need to put the Talus down yet.
The point here is to provide adequate coverage but to still leave glue for the talus in the next step.
7) That said, sprinkle the Talus. The point here is to fill in the gaps in the Ballast.
You want it to be evenly spread with the bigger rocks as un-clumped together as you can.
***At this point, you want to walk away for a couple of hours to let the glue dry COMPLETELY.
Better to wait too long than not long enough. If the glue is not 110% dry, you will pull clumps of Talus
off in the next two steps. This is a pain in the butt, let me tell you.***
8) Once you've determined that the glue is totally dry, take pieces of the Extra Coarse Talus
and use superglue to stick them in strategic places. I was very sparing in this example.
A little too sparing. I may go back and add some more to these. It's all up to you, of course.
9) Once you've glued everything down, get your wood glue back out and thin a good batch to the
consistency of milk and apply it over ALL the flock you've added thus far. Saturate this bad boy.
It should look like you spilled milk inside your crater.
This will create an extra level of protection to your crater. With models in and on them, transporting them,
storing them, and unforseen accidents, this will be a terrain life-saving step.
10) Once again, walk away for a couple of hours to let this coat dry COMPLETELY. Same as before.
11) Once the craters are totally dry, prime them black and paint them in any flavor you wish.
Below are a few examples:
Done in a standard brown for use primarily on desert or grassy terrain. Also fits in fairly well in city terrain.
This one is for use in city terrain. I painted the outer edge in greys while the inside is the earth exposed from the blast.
You can also do more complex crater pieces to represent larger explosions or artillery barrages by cutting the basing material into
multiple, attached crater bases then following the above steps.
Well, that's that. Hope you find this helpful. If any of you make craters with this tutorial, PLEASE post them in a reply.
I would love to see how they work for you. Variations on this would be intersting to see, too.
Great terrain is as important as awesomely sculpted and nicely painted models.
Cast off your chains of paint pot and felt terrain! Make some craters!!!