Ducks love mud

As you may recall, last time I was talking about experimenting with mud, and I’d say it was a reasonable success. The final result meant I could finish off the halberdier, to whom I also gave some ducks, as you can see here:

These are the same make of duck I’ve used a few times – Industria Mechanika – a set of waterfowl that comes with a few ducks, a couple of geese and, as you can see, some ducklings. A word to the wise: the ducklings are only a couple of millimetres long, so you need to be prepared to paint something tiny. On the plus side, they’re also pretty low on detail, so they’re pretty straight forward if you can get your brush on your side. They also come with etched brass feet, although I can’t imagine trying to get the ducklings’ feet on given the scale.

Anyway, the final model came out really well, in my opinion; you can see the full photo op over on Putty and Paint, but here he is, full frontal, as it were:

And on, now, to discuss mud. As you’ll recall, I was interested in using talcum powder as a ballast for the mud, so I mixed up a few different thicknesses with some PVA and paint, and then tested out the highlighting method. Lots of stippling and wet mixing, really. It was just a quick bash at it, of course, because mud should be messy. Naturally.

It was while I was waiting for it to dry that I remembered that I also have a Mig pigments set designed for mud that comes with a sort of resin medium that I thought might be more workable than PVA. So, I dug up the set and had a go with that, too (again, using talcum to bulk out the resin). The results:

SONY DSCThe column on the right is PVA, talcum powder and paint (VMC German Black Brown and Air Tank Brown, with deck tan added for highlight) in varying thicknesses, while the left is (from the top): PVA, talcum powder and VMC smoke; PVA, talcum powder and GW brown ink; and Mig resin, talcum powder and pigments. In both columns, I painted the right hand side with some gloss varnish to see what difference it makes. It’s all a bit, well, fecal.

Still, I came to the conclusion that I liked how sculptable the Mig resin was, and the talcum powder did work as a pretty decent ballast. A lot of control because it’s very fine. I also really liked the way the brown ink dried in the PVA – there’s some nice tonal variations – but that’s something for another occasion, I think.

Anyway, in the end I remembered that mud has a lot more to it than just dirt, so for the model I added some extra chunks: slate flakes from an old GW basing kit, dried grass fibres from some Italian diorama supplier, small chunks of plaster for rocks, and so on. I’ve since decided that the mud could do with more texture, so I’ll probably use more in later projects.

So, I’m feeling pretty productive at the moment given that I’ve finished three pieces in as many weeks, so it’s good that Euro approaches. Next update should have tonnes and tonnes of photos, assuming the turn-out is good. If you’re there, do feel free to buy me a beer or a gin.

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