Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Pipe Dream - Part 5


Fly back with part FIVE of the Pipe Dream project. I last left you with the land painted and dry brushed and am now going to work on my favorite part: snow.

I live in Michigan. And living in Michigan, I am used to three things: The Detroit Lions blowing it, construction and snow. I'm sure there are more but I'll let one of your aunt's friends post a "You Know You're From Michigan When..." post on Facebook for you to read. Har Har, thanks for that wonderously funny share Aunt Charlene.

The snow portion of this board is as critical to me as the pipes. In fact, it might be even MORE critical because this will actually make it look like a real place instead of a Warhammer table with pvc pipes on it.

I scoured the internet for the best way to make snow and had finally settled on getting the modeling snow from Woodland Scenics, a company that makes a lot of model train stuff. I was under the impression that both Hobby Lobby and Michael's carried that line. Well that's a line of bullshit because they certainly did not, much to my disappointment. The staff at those stores also looked at me like I had a dick drawn on my face with a marker when I was attempting to describe what I was doing and looking for. Finally, I got the point across when I asked if they had snow so I could do a Christmas diorama. They led me to basically pillow stuffing. Not going to cut it. But I didn't want to waste the trip, so I went snooping around anyways and came across this: white sand. BOOM! This stuff was cheap too, for a 5lb bag, $8 or so. The glue costs more, but hey, I'm paying for a brand. I'm an Elmer's man.

The original plan with the Woodland Scenic snow was to mix it with white glue and water to make like a paste. I would then knife the paste out onto the board, let it dry the glue/sprinkle more snow on top. So here's where I go a little nuts: I do the same thing with the sand. The mixture mixes up nice but wants to separate out when I let it sit. I fixed this by just mixing it up every time I scooped more out. The consistency was 1:1 glue/water then adding sand until the mixture was a little thicker than a milk shake.  And then this is the result up top. Wow! That looks awesome! I used a painters knife that you would use to put on spackle or dry wall mud up with and just scraped it all on there. I was going for a melted snow look, so when I would scrape it around to get coverage it would take on the appearance above... which looked perfect. I couldn't have planned it to look better than this.

As I continued on, I just started picking areas where I wanted snow and started knifing it in place. The picking though followed a muse that came to me and spoke a question into my ear: "What if whatever is in those pipes and pools was hot? Like very hot?"
Well I'll answer that for you. There wouldn't be snow there! In fact, it would melt!
This gave me some rhyme and reason to my work. I had to mix up quite a few more little batches because I would often under estimate how much of the board each batch would cover.

I was falling in love with this project. Before I could see in my mind's eye the finished project and this was looking better than that. I can't wait to get done.

The last little part for today involved me starting to add some static grass to the field. I have two basic colors of grass, one very bright and vibrant, the other a greyer type of green. On my planet, the vibrant grass would grow nearer the hot pipes and pools because that grass would never have snow on it. The areas further away would just have the greyer grass where it was less lush.

To apply the grass, I just put dabs of white glue down and smeared it about in irregular shapes, then sprinkled the static grass on top and blew on it until it stood up. Then let dry.

When everything was all dry I was pleased to find that the snow had dried very hard and solid. I was afraid that it would crack and come off but instead it was as hard as rock and really adhered to the board.

I hope you are all enjoying the progress and can't wait to show you the next steps. Stay tuned!


  1. This is looking amazing! What a great board, I'm really impressed.

    Hurry up part six!

  2. Really nice. Also seems like it was all a relatively simple process, which is awesome.

  3. There's an interesting snow base discussion in this Facebook group you may appreciate, he used the Woodland Scenics snow:

  4. This is looking cool. Personally would have lathered it in snow but I really like how you have done it too. Great stuff

    1. I was tempted to.
      It just looked so good as a patch I just moved to keep it patchy. It worked!

  5. Looks amazing! You should put some safety/warning labels on the pipes to drive home the fact that they are hot: "<<< HOT VAPOR FLOW <<<" and "Caution Hot Vapor" and maybe one of those diamond shaped hazard signs with all level 4 hazards on them... might as well make it nasty stuff.

    1. That is an incredible idea. I want to work on making little knick knacks like that for the later stages.
      I just got a game in on my 90% complete table. It. Was. Awesome.